382 MOGARZEA AND HIS SON
' Yes, that is true,' replied the boy. ' But why is it you are always so sad? Tell me your history, father.'
' What is the use of my telling you things that would only make you sad too? '
' Oh, never mind that! I should like to hear. Are you not my father, and am I not your son ? '.
' Well, if you really want to know my story, this is it: As I told you, my name is Mogarzea, and my father is an emperor. I was on my way to the Sweet Milk Lake, which lies not far from here, to marry one of the three fairies who have made the lake their home. But on the road three wicked elves fell on me, and robbed me of my soul, so that ever since I have stayed in this spot watching my sheep without wishing for anything different, without having felt one moment's joy, or ever once being able to laugh. And the horrible elves are so ill-natured that if anyone sets one foot on their land he is instantly punished. That is why I warn you to be careful, lest you should share my fate.'
' All right, I will take great care. Do let me go, father,' said the boy, as they stretched themselves out to sleep.
At sunrise the boy got up and led his sheep out to feed, and for some reason he did not feel tempted to cross into the grassy meadows belonging to the elves, but let his flock pick up what pasture they could on Mogarzea's dry ground.
On the third day he was sitting under the shadow of a tree, playing on his flute — and there was nobody in the world who could play a flute better — when one of his sheep strayed across the fence into the flowery fields of the elves, and another and another followed it. But the boy was so absorbed in his flute that he noticed nothing till half the flock were on the other side.
He jumped up, still playing on his flute, and went after the sheep, meaning to drive them back to their own side of the border, when suddenly he saw before him three beautiful maidens who stopped in front of him, and began