THE WITCH AND HER SERVANTS 173
natured Prince came once more to the rescue, and let the fox out of the trap.
The fox thanked him heartily, tore two hairs out of his bushy tail, and said: ' Should you over stand in need of my help throw these two hairs into the fire, and in a moment I shall be at your side ready to obey you.'
Iwanich put the fox's hairs with the scale and the feather, and as it was getting dark he hastened home with his horses.
In the meantime his service was drawing near to an end, and in three more days the year was up, and he would be able to get his reward and leave the witch.
On the first evening of these last three days, when he came home and was eating his supper, he noticed the old woman stealing into the stables.
The Prince followed her secretly to see what she was going to do. He crouched down in the doorway and heard the wicked witch telling the horses to wait next morning till Iwanich was asleep, and then to go and hide themselves in the river, and to stay there till she told them to return; and if they didn't do as she told them the old woman threatened to beat them till they bled.
When Iwanich heard all this lie went back to his room,determined that nothing should induce him to fall asleep next day. On the following morning he led the mare and foal to the fields as usual, but bound a cord round them both which he kept in his hand.
But after a few hours, by the magic arts of the old witch, he was overpowered by sleep, and the marc and foal escaped and did as they had been told to do. The Prince did not awake till late in the evening; and when he did, he found, to his horror, that the horses had disappeared. Filled with despair, he cursed the moment when he had entered the service of the cruel witch, and already he saw his head sticking up on the sharp spike beside the others.
Then he suddenly remembered the fish's scale, which, with the eagle's feather and the fox's hairs, lie always carried about with hint. He drew the scale from his pocket, and hurrying to the river he threw it in. In a minute the grateful fish swum towards the bank on which Iwanich was standing, and said : ' What do you command, my friend and benefactor ? '
The Prince replied: ' I had to look after a mare and foal, and they have run away from me and have hidden themselves in the river; if you wish to save my life drive them back to the land.'
'"Wait a moment,' answered the fish,'and I and my friends