354 THE STORY OF HALF MAN
' Well, put this ring on your finger, and then you won't forget.'
' Very well,' replied the boy, and went home.
The next morning, as he was at breakfast, his mother said to him, ' Child, where did you get that ring?'
' A woman gave it to me yesterday, and she told me, father, to tell you that she wanted her forfeit, and when was she to have it ? '
Then his father burst into tears and said, ' If she comes again you must say to her that your parents bid her take her forfeit at once, and depart.'
At this they both began to weep afresh, and his mother kissed him, and put on his new clothes and said, ' If the woman bids you to follow her, you must go,' but the boy did not heed her grief, he was so pleased with his new clothes. And when he went out, he said to his playfellows, ' Look how smart I am ; I am going away with my aunt to foreign lands.'
At that moment the ogress came up and asked him, ' Did you give my message to your father and mother ?'
' Yes, dear aunt, I did.'
' And what did they say ? '
' Take it away at once!'
So she took him.
But when dinner-time came, and the boy did not return, his father and mother knew that he would never come back, and they sat down and wept all day. At last Halfman rose up and said to his wife, 'Be comforted; we will wait a year, and then I will go to the ogress and see the boy, and how he is cared for.'
' Yes, that will be the best,' said she.
The year passed away, then Halfman saddled his horse, and rode to the place where the ogress had found him sleeping. She was not there, but not knowing what to do next, he got off his horse and waited. About midnight she suddenly stood before him.
' Halfman, why did you come here?' said she.