THE TWO BROTHERS
serpent with seven heads, who threatened to lay waste the whole land by breathing fire and flame from his nostrils unless the king sent him every morning a man for his breakfast. This had gone on so long that now there were*no men left, and he had been obliged to send his own daughter instead, and the poor girl was waiting till the monster got hungry and felt inclined to eat her.
When the young man saw the maiden weeping bitterly he said to her, ' What is the matter, my poor girl ?'
' Oh! ' she answered, ' I am chained here till a horrible serpent with seven heads comes to eat me. Oh, sir, do not linger here, or he will eat you too.'
'I shall stay,' replied the young man, ' for I mean to set you free.'
' That is impossible. You do not know what a fearful monster the serpent is; you can do nothing against him.'
' That is my affair, beautiful captive,' answered he; ' only tell me, which way will the serpent come?'
' Well, if you are resolved to free me, listen to my advice. Stand a little on one side, and then, when the serpent rises to the surface, I will say to him, " O serpent, to-day you can eat two people. But you had better begin first with the young man, for I am chained and cannot run away." When he hears this most likely he will attack you.'
So the young man stood carefully on one side, and by-and-bye he heard a great rushing in the water; and a horrible monster came up to the surface and looked out for the rock where the king's daughter was chained, for it was getting late and he was hungry.
But she cried out, ' O serpent, to-day you can eat two people. And you had better begin with the young man, for I am chained and cannot run away.'
Then the serpent made a rush at the youth with wide-open jaws to swallow him at one gulp, but the young man leaped aside and drew his sword, and fought till he had cut off all the seven heads. And when the great