176 THE HERMIT AND KING'S DAUGHTER
with the long white beard stood before him, praying that he might earn his bread, he replied, ' Oh, father, I could not suffer you to work, but you shall be overseer, and look after the rest.'
Now the old man was a holy hermit, and when he saw how kind-hearted the youth was he determined to do all he could for him to gain the wish of his heart.
By-and-bye, when the ship was finished, the hermit said to his young friend, ' Now you can go and claim the king's daughter, for the ship will float both by land and sea.'
' Oh, good father,' cried the young man, ' you will not forsake me? Stay with me, I pray you, and lead me to the king! '
' If you wish it, I will,' said the hermit, ' on condition that you will give me half of anything you get.'
' Oh, if that is all,' answered he, ' it is easily promised!' And they set out together on the ship.
After they had gone some distance they saw a man standing in a thick fog, which he was trying to put into a sack.
' Oh, good father,' exclaimed the youth, ' what can he be doing ? '
' Ask him,' said the old man.
' What are you doing, .my fine fellow?'
' I am putting the fog into my sack. That is my business.'
' Ask him if he will come with us,' whispered the hermit.
And the man answered : ' If you will give me enough to eat and drink I will gladly stay with you.'
So they took him on their ship, and the youth said, as they started off again, ' Good father, before we were two, and now we are three ! '
After they had travelled a little further they met a man who had torn up half the forest, and was carrying all the trees on his shoulders.