264 ESBEN AND THE WITCH
along. When he saw his brothers' sorrowful looks he cried, 'Hallo, what's the matter now?'
' Oh, what's the use of telling you ? ' said his brothers. * You can't help us, at any rate.'
'Ah, you don't know that,' said Esben; 'I've helped you before.'
In the end they told him how Sir Red had stirred up the king against them, so that he had ordered them to get for him a boar with bristles of gold and silver time about.
' That's all right,' said Esben; ' give me a sack of malt, and it is not quite impossible that I may be able to help you.'
Esben got his sack of malt; then he took his little white stick, set himself upon it, and said,
Fly quick, my little stick, Carry me across the stream.
Off wrent the stick with him, and very soon he was again in the witch's courtyard. There he emptied out the malt, and next moment came the boar, which had every second bristle of gold and of silver. Esben at once put it into his sack and hurried off before the witch should catch sight of him; but the next moment she came running, and shouted after him, ' Hey ! is that you, Esben? '
'Ye —e —s!'
' Is it you that has taken my pretty boar?'
' Ye — e — s ! '
' It was also you that took my dove ? '
' Ye —e —sV
' And it was 3-ou that made me kill my eleven daughters ?'
' Ye —e —s!'
' Are you coming back again? '
' That may be,' said Esben.
' Then you '11 catch it,' said the witch.
Esben was soon back at the palace with the boar, and