pressed the cheese till buttermilk flowed through his fingers.
When the dragon saw that, he thought it was time he made the best of his way home again, but Stan stood in his path.
' We have still some accounts to settle,' said he, ' about what you have been doing here,' and the poor dragon was too frightened to stir, lest Stan should slay him at one breath and bury him among the flowers in the mountain pastures.
' Listen to me,' he said at last. ' I see you are a very useful person, and my mother has need of a fellow like you. Suppose you enter her service for three days, which are as long as one of your years, and she will pay you each day seven sacks full of ducats.'
Three times seven sacks full of ducats! The offer was very tempting, and Stan could not resist it. He did not waste words, but nodded to the dragon, and they started along the road.
It was a long, long way, but when they came to the end they found the dragon's mother, who was as old as time itself, expecting them. Stan saw her eyes shining like lamps from afar, and when they entered the house they beheld a huge kettle standing on the fire, filled with milk. When the old mother found that her son had arrived empty-handed she grew very angry, and fire and flame darted from her nostrils, but before she could speak the dragon turned to Stan.
' Stay here,' said he, ' and wait for me ; I am going to explain things to my mother.'
Stan was already repenting bitterly that he had ever come to such a place, but, since he was there, there was nothing for it but to take everything quietly, and not show that he was afraid.
' Listen, mother,' said the dragon as soon as they were alone, ' I have brought this man in order to get rid of him. ' He is a terrific fellow who eats rocks, and can