202 THE MAN WITHOUT A HEART
the return journey, and again their path led through the wood and past the old man's cottage.
There he stood before the door, and cried: ' Oh! you fine fellows, what a charming bride you have brought me!'
' She is not for you,' said the young men. ' She is for our youngest brother, as we promised.'
' What!' said the old man, k promised ! I '11 make you eat your promises! ' And with that he took his magic wand, and, murmuring a charm, he touched both brothers and brides, and immediately they were turned into grey stones.
Only the youngest sister he had not bewitched. He took her into the cottage, and from that time she was obliged to keep house for him. She was not very unhappy, but one thought troubled her. What if the old man should die and leave her here alone in the solitary cottage deep in the heart of the wood! She would be as ' terribly lonely' as he had formerly been.
One day she told him of her fear.
' Don't be anxious,' he said. ' You need neither fear my death nor desire it, for I have no heart in my breast! However, if I should die, you will find my wand above the door, and with it you can set free your sisters and their lovers. Then you will surely have company enough.'
1 Where in all the world do you keep your heart, if not in your breast? ' asked the girl.
'Do you wrant to know everything?' her husband said. ' Well, if you must know, my heart is in the bedcover.'
When the old man had gone out about his business his bride passed her time in embroidering beautiful flowers on the bed quilt to make his heart happy- The old man was much amused. He laughed, and said to her: ' You are a good child, but I was only joking. My heart is really in — in------'