THE SINGING BONE.
evening, and then they went out together in the twilight, and walked by the river till it became quite dark. A little bridge lay across the river, over which they had to pass, and the eldest brother let the young one go before him. When they arrived at the middle of the stream, the wicked man gave his youngest brother a blow* from behind, and he fell down dead instantly.
But, fearing he might not be quite dead, he threw the body over the bridge into the river, and through the clear water saw it sink into the sand. After this wicked deed he ran home quickly, took the dead wild boar on his shoulders, and carried it to the king with the pretence that he had killed the animal, and that therefore he could claim the Princess as his wife according to the king's promise.
But these dark deeds are not often concealed, for something happens to bring them to light. Not many years after, a herdsman passing over the bridge with his flock saw beneath him in the sand a little bone as white as snow, and thought that it would make a very nice mouth-piece for his horn.
As soon as they had passed over the bridge, he waded into the middle of the stream, for the water was very shallow, took up the bone, and carried it home to make a mouthpiece for his horn.
But the first time he blew the horn after the bone was in, it filled the herdsman with wonder and amazement, for it began to sing of itself, and these were the words it sang,
" Ah ! dear shepherd, you are blowing your horn With one of my bones, which night and morn Lay still unburied, beneath the wave Where I was thrown in a sandy grave. I killed the wild-boar, and my brother slew me, And gained the princess by pretending 'twas he."
"What a wonderful horn," said the shepherd, " that can sing oi itself; I must take it to my lord, the king."
As soon as the horn was brought before the king and blown by the shepherd, it at once began to sing the same song and the same words.
The king was at first surprised, but his suspicion being aroused, he ordered that the sand under the bridge should be examined immediately, and then the entire skeleton of the murdered man was discovered, and the whole wicked deed came to light.