AND LITTLE KLAUS 235
' How easy he is to carry now ! That must be because I heard part of the service.'
So he went to the river, which was deep and broad, threw in the sack with the old driver, and called after it, for he thought Little Klaus was inside :
' Down you go ! You won't mock me any more now ! '
Then he went home; but when he came to the cross-roads, there he met Little Klaus, who was driving his cattle.
' "What's this ? ' said Big Klaus. ' Haven't I drowned you ? '
i Yes,' replied Little Klaus ; ' you threw me into the river a good half-hour ago! '
' But how did you get those splendid cattle ? ' asked Big Klaus.
' They are sea-cattle !' said Little Klaus. ' I will tell you the whole story, and I thank you for having drowned me, because now I am on dry land and really rich ! How frightened I was when I was in the sack! How the wind whistled in my ears as you threw me from the bridge into the cold water ! I sank at once to the bottom; but I did not hurt myself, for underneath was growing the most beautiful soft grass. I fell on this, and immediately the sack opened; the loveliest maiden in snow-white garments, with a green garland round her wet hair, took me by the hand, and said, "Are you Little Klaus ? Here-are some cattle for you to begin with, and a mile farther down the road there is another herd, which I will give you as a present! " Now I saw that the river was a great highroad for the sea-people. Along it they travel underneath from the sea to the land till the river ends. It was so beautiful, full of flowers and fresh grass; the fishes which were swimming in the water shot past my ears as the birds do here in the air. What lovely people there were, and what fine cattle were grazing in the ditches and dykes !'
' But why did you come up to us again ?' asked Big Klaus. ' I should not have done so, if it is so beautiful down below ! '
(Oh I' said Little Klaus, 'that was just so politic of me. You heard what I told you, that the sea-maiden said to me a mile farther along the road—and by the road she meant the river, for she can go by no other way- there was another herd of cattle waiting for me. But I know what windings (he river makes, nn\v here, now there, so that it is a long way round. Therefore it makes it much shorter if one comes on the land and drives across the field to the river. Thus I have spared myself quite half a mile, and have come much quicker to my sea-cattle I'