THE TWO BROTHERS
' Oh, come away,' she cried; ' has not that light already proved your bane ? Do you wish to fight a second time with that old witch? '
He marked her words, though she knew it not, and they taught him where his brother was, and what had befallen him. So before sunrise he stole out early, saddled his horse, and rode off to the mountain. But the way was further than he thought, and on the road he met a little old man who asked him whither he was going.
Then the young man told him his story, and added, * Somehow or other I must free my brother, who has fallen into the power of an old witch.'
' I will tell you what you must do,' said the old man. ' The witch's power lies in her hair; so when you see her spring on her and seize her by the hair, and then she cannot harm you. Be very careful never to let her hair go, bid her lead you to your brother, and force her to bring him back to life. For she has an ointment that will heal all wounds, and even wake the dead. And when your brother stands safe and well before you, then cut off her head, for she is a wicked woman.'
The young man was grateful for these words, and promised to obey them. Then he rode on, and soon reached the castle. He walked boldly up the steps and entered the hall, where the hideous old witch came to meet him. She grinned horribly at him, and cried out, ' With one hair of my head I can change you into stone.'
'Can you, indeed?' said the young man, seizing her by the hair. ' You old wretch! tell me what you have done with my brother, or I will cut your head off this very instant.' Now the witch's strength was all gone from her, and she had to obey.
' I will take you to your brother,' she said, hoping to get the better of him by cunning, ' but leave me alone. You hold me so tight that I cannot walk.'
'You must manage somehow,'he answered, and held her tighter than ever. She led him into a large hall