NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 67
managed to stick on till midnight: then a sleep overtook him that he could not battle against, and when he woke up he found himself, as before, sitting on the log, with the halter in his hands. He gave a shriek of dismay, and sprang up in search of the wanderers. As he went he suddenly remembered the words that the old woman had said to the mare, and he drew out the fox hair and twisted it in his fingers.
' What is it, my brother?' asked the fox, who instantly appeared before him.
' The old witch's mare has run away from me, and I do not know where to look for her.'
' She is with us,' replied the fox,' and has changed herself into a big fox, and her foal into a little one, but strike the ground with a halter and say, " Come here, O mare of the mountain witch! "'
The prince did so, and in a moment the fox became a mare and stood before him, with the little foal at her heels. He mounted and rode back, and the old woman placed food on the table, and led the mare back to the stable.
' You should have gone to the foxes, as I told you,' said she, striking the mare with a stick.
' I did go to the foxes,' replied the mare, ' but they are no friends of mine and betrayed me.'
' Well, this time you had better go to the wolves,' said she, not knowing that the prince had heard all she had been saying.
The third night the prince mounted the mare and rode her out to the meadows, with the foal trotting after. He tried hard to keep awake, but it was of no use, and in the morning there he was again on the log, grasping the halter. He started to his feet, and then stopped, for he remembered what the old woman had said, and pulled out the wolf's grey lock.
'What is it, my brother?' asked the wolf as it stood before him.