THE STORY OF HALFMAN 349
' That is a very sensible remark,' replied the ogre: ' but what fattens you quickest? '
' Butter, meat, and red wine,' answered Halfman.
' Very good; we will lock you into this room, and here you shall stay till you are ready for eating.'
So Halfman was locked into the room, and the ogre and his wife brought him his food. At the end of three months he said to his gaolers : ' Now I have got quite fat; take me out, and kill me.'
' Get out, then! ' said the ogre.
' But,' went on Halfman, ' you and your wife had better go to invite your friends to the feast, and your daughter can stay in the house and look after me! '
' Yes, that is a good idea,' answered they.
' You had better bring the wood in here,' continued Halfman, ' and I will split it up small, so that there may be no delay in cooking me.'
So the ogress gave Halfman a pile of wood and an axe, and then set out with her husband, leaving Halfman and her daughter busy in the house.
After he had chopped for a little while he called to the girl, ' Come and help me, or else I shan't have it all ready when your mother gets back.'
' All right,' said she, and held a billet of wood for him to chop. But he raised his axe and cut off her head, and ran away like the wind. By-and-by the ogre and his wife returned and found their danghter lying without her head, and they began to cry and sob, saying, ' This is Half man's work, why did we listen to him?' But Half-man was far away.
When he escaped from the house he ran on straight before him for some time, looking for a safe shelter, as he knew that the ogre's legs were much longer than his, and that it was his only chance. At last he saw an iron tower which he climbed up. Soon the ogre appeared, looking right and left lest his prey should be sheltering behind a rock or tree, but he did not know Halfman