44 THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS
' Even that cord is not strong enough.'
The third day, on his return from the wood he consented to have his strength tested for the last time. So she took a very strong cord of silk, which she had prepared by the robber's advice, and this time, though the prince pulled and tugged with all his might, he could not break the cord. So he called to her and said : ' Sister, this time the cord is so strong I cannot break it. Come and unfasten it for me.'
But instead of coming she called to the robber, who rushed into the room brandishing a knife, with which he prepared to attack the prince.
But the prince spoke and said :
' Have patience for one minute. I would like before I die to blow three blasts on my hunting horn — one in this room, one on the stairs, and one in the courtyard.'
So the robber consented, and the prince blew the horn. At the first blast, the fox, which was asleep in the cage in the courtyard, awoke, and knew that his master needed help. So he awoke the wolf by flicking him across the eyes with his brush. Then they awoke the lion, who sprang against the door of the cage with might and main, so that it fell in splinters on the ground, and the beasts were free. Rushing through the court to their master's aid, the fox gnawed the cord in two that bound the prince's thumbs behind his back, and the lion flung himself on the robber, and when he had killed him and torn him in pieces each of the beasts carried off a bone.
Then the prince turned to the step-sister and said:
' I will not kill you, but I will leave you here to repent.' And he fastened her with a chain to the wall, and put a great bowl in front of her and said, ' I will not see you again till you have filled this bowl with your tears.'
So saying, he called his beasts, and set out on his travels. When he had gone a little way he came to an inn. Everyone in the inn seemed so sad that he asked them what was the matter.