90 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE
that this calf is so swift that in a single day he can run three times round the world? Take heed to what I tell you. Bind one end of this silk thread to the left fore-leg of the calf, and the other end to the little toe of your left foot, so that the calf will never be able to leave your side, whether you walk, stand, or lie.' After this the prince went to bed and slept soundly.
The next morning he did exactly what the maiden had told him, and led the calf with the silken thread to the meadow, where it stuck to his side like a faithful dog.
By sunset, it was back again in its stall, and then came the master and said, with a frown, ' Were you really so clever yourself, or did somebody tell you what to do ?'
' Oh, I have only my own poor head,' answered the prince, and the old man went away growling, ' I don't believe a word of it! I am sure you have found some clever friend!'
In the evening he called the prince and said: ' Tomorrow I have no work for you, but when I wake you must come before my bed, and give me your hand in greeting.'
The young man wondered at this strange freak, and went laughing in search of the maiden.
' Ah, it is no laughing matter,' sighed she. ' He means to eat you, and there is only one way in which I can help you. You must heat an iron shovel red hot, and hold it out to him iustead of your hand.'
So next morning he wakened very early, and had heated the shovel before the old man was awake. At length he heard him calling, ' You lazy fellow, where are you? Come and wish me good-morning.' But when the prince entered with the red-hot shovel his master only said, ' I am very ill to-day, and too weak even to touch your hand. You must return this evening, when I may be better.'
The prince loitered about all day, and in the evening went back to the old man's room. He was received in