8 HOW THE DRAGON WAS TRICKED
but I want something more. You must bring me the covering with the little bells that lies on the bed of the dragon, or I will have you hewn into a thousand pieces.'
' Is that all ?' answered the youth. ' That is easily done.'
And when night came he went away to the dragon's house and climbed up on to the roof. Then he opened a little window in the roof and let down the chain from which the kettle usually hung and tried to hook the bed covering and to draw it up. But the little bells all began to ring, and the dragon woke and said to his wife, ' Wife, you have pulled off all the bed-clothes! ' and drew the covering towards him, pulling, as he did so, the young man into the room. Then the dragon flung himself on the youth and bound him fast with cords saying as he tied the last knot, ' To-morrow when I go to church you must stay at home and kill him and cook him, and when I get back we will eat him together.'
So the following morning the dragoness took hold of the young man and reached down from the shelf a sharp knife with which to kill him. But as she untied the cords the better to get hold of him, the prisoner caught her by the legs, threw her to the ground, seized her and speedily cut her throat, just as she had been about to do for him, and put her body in the oven. Then he snatched up the covering and carried it to the king.
The king was seated on his throne when the youth appeared before him and spread out the covering with a deep bow. 'That is not enough,' said his majesty; ' you must bring me the dragon himself, or I will have you hewn into a thousand pieces.'
' It shall be done,' answered the 3Touth; ' but you must give me two years to manage it, for my beard must grow so that he may not know me.'
' So be it,' said the king.
And the first thing the young man did when his beard