16 A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD
thanks the old man had touched her softly on the head three times with his silver staff. In an instant Eisa knew that she was turning into a bird: wings sprang from beneath her arms; her feet were the feet of eagles, with long claws; her nose curved itself into a sharp beak, and feathers covered-her body. Then she soared high in the air, and floated up towards the clouds, as if she had really been hatched an eagle.
For several days she flew steadily south, resting from time to time when her wings grew tired, for hunger she never felt. And so it happened that one day she was flying over a dense forest, and below hounds were barking fiercely, because, not having wings themselves, she was out of their reach. Suddenly a sharp pain quivered through her body, and she fell to the ground, pierced by an arrow. When Eisa recovered her senses, she found herself lying under a bush in her own proper form. What had befallen her, and how she got there, lay behind her like a bad dream.
As she was wondering what she should do next the king's son came riding by, and, seeing Eisa, sprang from his horse, and took her by the hand, saying, 'Ah! it was a happy chance that brought me here this morning. Every night, for half a year, have I dreamed, dear lady, that I should one day find you in this wood. And although I have passed through it hundreds of times in vain, I have never given up hope. To-day I was going in search of a large eagle that I had shot, and instead of the eagle I have found — you.' Then he took Eisa on his horse, and rode with her to the town, where the old king received her graciously.
A few days later the wedding took place, and as Eisa was arranging the veil upon her hair fifty carts arrived laden with beautiful things which the lady of the Tontlawald had sent to Eisa. And after the king's death Eisa became queen, and when she was old she told this story. But that was the last that was ever heard of the Tontlawald.
[From Ehstnische Marchen.]