replied that it was only a short time since he had come there. Red then asked him to send them both to cut down wood next morning, and see which of them could do most work. Snati-Snati heard this and told it to Ring, advising him to ask the King for two axes, so that he might have one in reserve if the first one got broken. Next morning the King asked Ring and Red to go and cut down trees for him, and both agreed. Ring got the two axes, and each went his own way ; but when the Prince had got out into the wood Snati took one of the axes and began to hew along with him. In the evening the King came to look over their day's work, as Red had proposed, and found that Ring's wood-heap was more than twice as big.
41 suspected,' said the King, 'that Ring was not quite useless; never have I seen such a day's work.'
Ring was now in far greater esteem with the King than before, and Red was all the more discontented. One day he came to the King and said, (If Ring is such a mighty man, I think you might ask him to kill the wild oxen in the wood here, and flay them the same day, and bring you the horns and the hides in the evening.'
' Don't you think that a desperate errand ? ' said the King,' seeing they are so dangerous, and no one has ever yet ventured to go against them ? '
Red answered that he had only one life to lose, and it would be interesting to see how brave he was; besides, the King would have good reason to ennoble him if he overcame them. The King at last allowed himself, though rather unwillingly, to be won over by Red's persistency, and one day asked Ring to go and kill the oxen that were in the wood for him, and bring their horns and hides to him in the evening. Not knowing how dangerous the oxen were, Ring was quite ready, and went off at once, to the great delight of Red, who was now sure of his death.
As soon as Ring came in sight of the oxen they came bellowing to meet him; one of them was tremendously big, the other rather less. Ring grew terribly afraid.
' How do you like them ? ' asked Snati.
'Not well at all,' said the Prince.
' "We can do nothing else,' said Snati, ' than attack them, if it is to go well; you will go against the little one, and I Bhall take the other.'
With this Snati leapt at the big one, and was not long in bringing him down. Meanwhile the Prince went against the other with