HANS, THE MERMAID'S SON 115
anvil. When Hans had got this he said, ' Many thanks, father; now I have got my inheritance.' With this he set off into the country, and the smith was very well pleased to be- rid of that son, before he ate him out of house and home.
Hans first arrived at a large estate, and it so happened that the squire himself was standing outside the farmyard.
' Where are you going? ' said the squire.
' I am looking for a place,' said Hans, ' where they have need of strong fellows, and can give them plenty to eat.'
' Well,' said the squire, ' I generally have twenty-four men at this time of the year, but I have only twelve just now, so I can easily take you on.'
' Very well,' said Hans, ' I shall easily do twelve men's work, but then I must also have as much to eat as the twelve would.'
All this was agreed to, and the squire took Hans into the kitchen, and told the servant girls that the new man was to have as much food as the other twelve. It was arranged that he should have a pot to himself, and he eould then use the ladle to take his food with.
It was in the evening that Hans arrived there, so he did nothing more that day than eat his supper — a big pot of buck-wheat porridge, which he cleaned to the bottom, and was then so far satisfied that he said he could sleep on that, so he went off to bed. He slept both well and long, and all the rest were up and at their work while he was still sleeping soundly. The squire was also on foot, for he was curious to see how the new man would behave who was both to eat and work for twelve.
But as yet there was no Hans to be seen, and the sun was already high in the heavens, so the squire himself went and called on him.
' Get up, Hans,' he cried; ' you are sleeping too long.'