THE STORY OF HALFMAN 355
' I have a question I want to ask you.'
' Well, ask it; but I know quite well what it is. Your wife wishes you to ask whether I shall carry off your second son as I did the first.'
' Yes, that is it,' replied Half man. Then he seized her hand and said, ' Oh, let me see my son, and how he looks, and what he is doing.'
The ogress was silent, but stuck her staff hard in the earth, and the earth opened, and the boy appeared and said, ' Dear father, have you come too?' And his father clasped him in his arms, and began to cry. But the boy struggled to be free, saying ' Dear father, put me down. I have got a new mother, who is better than the old one; and a new father, who is better than you.'
Then his father sat him down and said, ' Go in peace, my boy, but listen first to me. Tell your father the ogre and your mother the ogress, that never more shall they have any children of mine.'
' All right,' replied the boy, and called ' Mother!'
'What is it?'
' You are never to take away any more of my father and mother's children! '
' Now that I have got you, I don't want any more,' answered she.
Then the boy turned to his father and said, ' Go in peace, dear father, and give my mother greeting and tell her not to be anxious any more, for she can keep all her children.'
And Halfman mounted his horse and rode home, and told his wife all he had seen, and the message sent by Mohammed — Mohammed the son of Halfman, the son of the judge.
I M'archen tend Gedidde aus der Stadt Tripolis. Hans von Stumi-ie.]