94 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE
and catch the fish. And the goblins jumped up,.and flew like the wind.
The young pair had almost reached the edge of the wood, when the maiden stopped again. ' Something has happened,' said she. ' The ball is moving in my hand,' and looking round she beheld a cloud flying towards them, large and blacker than the first, and striped with red. ' Those are our pursuers,' cried she, and turning the ball three times in her hand she spoke to it thus:
' Listen to me, my ball, my ball. Be quick and change us both. Me into a wild rose bush, And him into a rose on my stem.'
And in the twinkling of an eye it was done. Only just in time too, for the goblins were close at hand, and looked round eagerly for the stream and the fish. But neither stream nor fish was to be,seen; nothing but a rose bush. So they went sorrowing home, and when they were out of sight the rose bush and rose returned to their proper shapes and walked all the faster for the little rest they had had.
'Well, did you find them?' asked the old man when his goblins came back.
' No,' replied the leader of the goblins, ' we found neither brook nor fish in the desert.'
' And did you find nothing else at all? ' '
' Oh, nothing but a rose tree on the edge of a wood, with a rose hanging on it.'
' Idiots !'cried he. 'Why, that was they.' And he threw open the door of the seventh stall, where his mightiest goblins were locked in. 'Bring them to me, however you find them, dead or alive !' thundered he, ' for I will have them ! Tear up the rose tree and the roots too, and don't leave anything behind, however strange it may be!'
The fugitives were resting in the shade of a wood, and