THE BLACK THIEF AND KNIGHT OF THE GLEN 63
have come through many dangers : you have freed these two princes by your stories ; but I am sorry myself that this young prince has to suffer for all. Now, if you could tell me something as wonderful as you have told already, I would pardon him likewise ; I pity this youth and do not want to put him to death if I could help it.'
' That happens well,' says the Thief of Sloan, ' for I like him best myself, and have reserved the most curious passage for the last on his account.'
' Well, then,' says the knight, ' let us hear it.'
' I was one day on my travels,' says the Black Thief, ' and I came into a large forest, where I wandered a long time, and could not get out of it. At length I came to a large castle, and fatigue obliged me to call in the same, where I found a young woman and a child sitting on her knee, and she crying. I asked her what made her cry, and where the lord of the castle was, for I wondered greatly that I saw no stir of servants or any person about the place.
'" It is well for you," says the young woman, " that the lord of this castle is not at home at present; for he is a monstrous giant, with but one eye on his forehead, who lives on human flesh. He brought me this child," says she, "I do not know where he got it, and ordered me to make it into a pie, and I cannot help crying at the command."
' I told her that if she knew of any place convenient that I could leave the child safely I would do it, rather than it should be killed by such a monster.
' She told me of a house a distance off where I would get a woman who would take care of it. " But what will I do in regard of the pie?"
'" Cut a finger off it," said I, " and I will bring you in a young wild pig out of the forest, which you may dress as if it was the child, and put the finger in a certain place, that if the giant doubts anything about it you may know where to turn it over at the first, and when he sees it he will be fully satisfied that the pie is made of the child."
' She agreed to the scheme I proposed, and, cutting off the child's finger, by her direction I soon had it at the house she told me of, and brought her the little pig in the place of it. She then made ready the pie, and after eating and drinking heartily myself, I was just taking my leave of the young woman when we observed the giant coming through the castle gates.