40 THE DRAGON AND HIS GRANDMOTHER
plentifully as blackberries; but as they had signed their names they were his, unless when the seven years had passed they could guess a riddle. The old woman said, ' If you would help yourselves, one of you must go into the wood, and there he will come upon a tumble-down building of rocks which looks like a little house. He must go in, and there he will find help.'
The two melancholy ones thought, ' That won't save us !' and they remained where they were. But the third and merry one jumped up and went into the wood till he found the rock hut. In the hut sat a very old woman, who was the Dragon's grandmother. She asked him how he came, and what was his business there. He told her all that happened, and because she was pleased with him she took compassion on him, and said she would help him.
She lifted up a large stone which lay over the cellar, saying, ' Hide yourself there ; you can hear all that is spoken in this room. Only sit still and don't stir. When the Dragon comes, I will ask him what the riddle is, for he tells me everything; then listen carefully what he answers.'
At midnight the Dragon flew in, and asked for his supper. His grandmother laid the table, and brought out food and drink till he was satisfied, and they ate and drank together. Then in the course of the conversation she asked him what he had done in the day, and how many souls he had conquered.
' I haven't had much luck to-day,' he said, ' but I have a tight hold on three soldiers.'
' Indeed ! three soldiers !' said she. ' Who cannot escape you ? ' ' They are mine,' answered the Dragon scornfully, ' for I shall only give them one riddle which they will never be able to guess.'
' What sort of a riddle is it ? ' she asked.
' I will tell you this. In the North Sea lies a dead sea-cat— that shall be their roast meat; and the rib of a whale—that shall be their silver spoon; and the hollow foot of a dead horse—that shall be their wineglass.'
When the Dragon had gone to bed, his old grandmother pulled up the stone and let out the soldier.
' Did you pay attention to everything ? '
' Yes,' he replied, ' I know enough, and can help myself splendidly.'
Then he went by another way through the window secretly, and in all haste back to his comrades. He told them how the Dragon