SORIA MORIA CASTLE
When she got there she told them how Halvor had come home again, and now they should just see how magnificent he was. ' He looks like a prince,' she said.
' We shall see that he is just the same ragamuffin that he was before,' said the girls, tossing their heads.
At that same moment Halvor entered, and the girls were so astonished that they left their kirtles lying in the chimney corner, and ran away in nothing but their petticoats. "When they came in again they were so shamefaced that they hardly dared to look at Halvor, towards whom they had always been so proud and haughty before.
' Ay, ay! you have always thought that you were so pretty and dainty that no one was equal to you,' said Halvor, ' but you should just see the eldest Princess whom I set free. You look like herds-women compared with her, and the second Princess is also much prettier than you; but the youngest, who is my sweetheart, is more beautiful than either sun or moon. I wish to Heaven they were here, and then you would see them.'
Scarcely had he said this before they were standing by his side, but then he was very sorrowful, for the words which they had said to him came to his mind.
Up at the farm a great feast was made ready for the Princesses, and much respect paid to them, but they would not stay there.
' We want to go down to your parents,' they said to Halvor, ' so we will go out and look about us.'
He followed them out, and they came to a large pond outside the farm-house. Very near the water there was a pretty green bank, and there the Princesses said they would sit down and while away an hour, for they thought that it would be pleasant to sit and look out over the water, they said.
There they sat down, and when they had sat for a short time the youngest Princess said, * I may as well comb your hair a little, Halvor.'
So Halvor laid his head down on her lap, and she combed it, and it was not long before he fell asleep. Then she took her ring from him and put another in its place, and then she said to her sisters : ' Hold me as I am holding you. I would that we were at Soria Moria Castle.'
When Halvor awoke he knew that he had lost the Princesses, and began to weep and lament, and was so unhappy that he could not be comforted. In spite of all his father's and mother's entreaties,