176 THE THREE PRINCESSES OF WHITELAND
' Whiteland,' answered the man, and then he begged the youth to tell him whence he came and what he was going to do, and the youth did so.
' Well, then,' said the man, ' if you walk on farther along the seashore here, you will come to three princesses who are standing in the earth so that their heads alone are out of it. Then the first of them will call you—she is the eldest—and will beg you very prettily to come to her and help her, and the second will do the same, but you must not go near either of them. Hurry past, as if you neither saw nor heard them ; but you shall go to the third and do what she bids you; it will bring you good fortune.'
When the youth came to the first princess, she called to him and begged him to come to her very prettily, but he walked on as if he did not even see her, and he passed by the second in the same way, but he went up to the third.
' If thou wilt do what I tell thee, thou shalt choose among us three,' said the Princess.
So the lad said that he was most willing, and she told him that three Trolls had planted them all three there in the earth, but that formerly they had dwelt in the castle which he could see at some distance in the wood.
' Now,' she said,' thou shalt go into the castle, and let the Trolls beat thee one night for each of us, and if thou canst but endure that, thou wilt set us free.'
' Yes,' answered the lad, ' I will certainly try to do so.'
' When thou goest in,' continued the Princess, ' two lions will stand by the doorway, but if thou only goest straight between them they will do thee no harm; go straight forward into a small dark chamber; there thou shalt lie down. Then the Troll will come and beat thee, but thou shalt take the flask which is hanging on the wall, and anoint thyself wheresoever he has wounded thee, after which thou shalt be as well as before. Then lay hold of the sword which is hanging by the side of the flask, and smite the Troll dead.'
So he did what the Princess had told him. He walked straight in between the lions just as if he did not see them, and then into the small chamber, and lay down on the bed.
The first night a Troll came with three heads and three rods, and beat the lad most unmercifully ; but he held out until the Troll was done with him, and then he took the flask and rubbed himself. Having done this, he grasped the sword and smote the Troll dead.