' How? Dear me, that is easy enough! I shall just take the brook!'
At these words the dragon's jaw dropped. This was the last thing that had ever entered his head, for the brook had been as it was since the days of his grandfather.
' I '11 tell you what! ' he said. ' Let me carry your skins for you.'
' Most certainly not,' answered Stan, going on with his digging, and the dragon, in dread lest he should fulfil his threat, tried what bribes would do, and in the end had again to promise seven sacks of ducats before Stan would agree to leave the brook alone and let him carry the water into the house.
On the third day the old mother sent Stan into the forest for wood, and, as usual, the dragon went with him.
Before you could count three he had pulled up more trees than Stan could have cut down in a lifetime, and had arranged them neatly in rows. When the dragon had finished, Stan began to look about him, and, choosing the biggest of the trees, he climbed up it, and, breaking off a long rope of wild vine, bound the top of the tree to the one next it. And so he did to a whole line of trees.
' What are you doing there? ' asked the dragon.
' You can see for yourself,' answered Stan, going quietly on with his work.
'Why are you tying the trees together? '
' Not to give myself unnecessary work ; when I pull up one, all the others will come up too.'
'But how will you carry them home? '
' Dear me! don't you understand that I am going to take the whole forest back with me ? ' said Stan, tying two other trees as he spoke.
'I'll tell you what,' cried the dragon, trembling with fear at the thought of such a thing ; ' let me carry the wood for you, and you shall have seven times seven sacks full of ducats.'