THE GOLDEN GOOSE
Dullhead bethought him of the little grey man, who could, he felt sure, help him ; so he went off to the forest, and on the very spot where he had cut down the tree he saw a man sitting with a most dismal expression of face.
Dullhead asked him what he was taking so much to heart, and the man answered: ' I don't know how I am ever to quench this terrible thirst I am suffering from. Cold water doesn't suit me at all. To be sure I've emptied a whole barrel of wine, but what is one drop on a hot stone ? '
' I think I can help you,' said Dullhead. ' Come with me, and you shall drink to your heart's content.' So he took him to the King's cellar, and the man sat down before the huge casks and drank and drank till he drank up the whole contents of the cellar before the day closed.
Then Dullhead asked once more for his bride, but the King felt vexed at the idea of a stupid fellow whom people called ' Dullhead ' carrying off his daughter, and he began to make fresh conditions. He required Dullhead to find a man who could eat a mountain of bread. Dullhead did not wait to consider long but went straight off to the forest, and there on the same spot sat a man who was drawing in a strap as tight as he could round his body, and making a most woeful face the while. Said he : ' I've eaten up a whole oven full of loaves, but what's the good of that to anyone who is as hungry as I am ? I declare my stomach feels quite empty, and I must draw my belt tight if I'm not to die of starvation.'
Dullhead was delighted, and said : ' Get up and come with me, and you shall have plenty to eat,' and he brought him to the King's Court.
Now the King had given orders to have all the flour in his kingdom brought together, and to have a huge mountain baked ot it. But the man from the wood just took up his stand before the mountain and began to eat, and in one day it had all vanished.
For the third time Dullhead asked for his bride, but again the King tried to make some evasion, and demanded a ship ' which could sail on land or water ! When you come sailing in such a ship,' said he, 'you shall have my daughter without further delay.'
Again Dullhead started off to the forest, and there he found the little old grey man with whom he had shared his cake, and who said : ' I have eaten and I have drunk for you, and now I will give you the ship. I have done all this for you because you were kind and merciful to me.'