THE TWO BROTHERS
serpent lay dead at his feet he loosed the bonds of the king's daughter, and she flung herself into his arms and said, ' You have saved me from that monster, and now you shall be my husband, for my father has made a proclamation that whoever could slay the serpent should have his daughter to wife.'
But he answered, ' I cannot become your husband yet, for I have still far to travel. But wait for me seven years and seven months. Then, if I do not return, you are free to marry whom you will. And in case you should have forgotten, I will take these seven tongues with me, so that when I bring them forth you may know that I am really he who slew the serpent.'
So saying he cut out the seven tongues, and the princess gave him a thick cloth to wrap them in; and he mounted his horse and rode away.
Not long after he had gone there arrived at the river a slave who had been sent by the king to learn the fate of his beloved daughter. And when the slave saw the princess standing free and safe before him, with the body of the monster lying at her feet, a wicked plan came into his head, and he said, ' Unless you promise to tell your father it was I who slew the serpent, I will kill you and bury you in this place, and no one will ever know what befell.'
What could the poor girl do? This time there was no knight to come to her aid. So she promised to do as the slave wished, and he took up the seven heads and brought the princess to her father.
Oh, how enchanted the king was to see her again, and the whole town shared his joy !
And the slave was called upon to tell how he had slain the monster, and wiien he had ended the king declared that he should have the princess to wife.
But she flung herself at her father's feet, and prayed him to delay. ' You have passed your royal word, and cannot go back from it. Yet grant me this grace, and let