ESBEN AND THE WITCH
* Ye— e — s! '
' And took ray dove? '
' And my beautiful boar ? '
' And drowned my twelfth daughter in the well, and took my lamp ? '
' Ye — e — s ! '
' And now you have roasted my thirteenth and last daughter in the oven, and taken my coverlet?'
' Are you coming back again? '
' No, never again,' said Esben.
At this the witch became so furious that she sprang into numberless pieces of flint, and from this come all the flint stones that one finds about the country.
Esben had found again his little stick, which the witch had taken from him, so he said,
Fly quick, my little stick, Carry me across the stream.
Next moment he was back at the king's palace. Here things were in a bad w,ay, for the king had thrown all the eleven brothers into prison, and they were to be executed very shortly because they had not brought him the coverlet. Esben now went up to the king and gave him the coverlet, with which the king was greatly delighted. When he touched it it could be heard over eight kingdoms, and all the other kings sat and were angry because they had not one like it.
Esben also told how everything had happened, and how Sir Red had done the brothers all the ill he could devise because he was envious of them. The brothers were at once set at liberty, while Sir Red, for his wickedness, was hanged on the highest tree that could be found, and so he got the reward he deserved.
Much was made of Esben and his brothers, and these