THE SHEPHERDS FLOWER.
for the whole day, for she knew that when bedtime came she must get into bed before her step-sister. However, she kept awake till the other slept, and then she got behind her, next the wall, and pushed her step-sister in front. There she lay, trembling and in fear, till, in the middle of the night, her step-mother entered the room, in the dark, with an axe in her right hand. The poor girl lay quite still, as if asleep; indeed, she hardly dared to breathe, for she knew the wicked woman was feeling about the bed for the one outside. And presently she took the axe in both hands, lifted it up, and cut off the head of her own child. Then she went out of the room to her own bed.
In great fear the poor girl lay still, till all was quiet. Then she got up, dressed herself, and went softly out of the house to her lover, who was named Roland, and knocked at the door. As soon as he opened it, she exclaimed, " Oh, dearest Roland, we must take flight very quickly. My step-mother intended to kill me, and she has killed her own daughter by mistake. When daylight comes, and she sees what she has done, we are lost, if we stay here."
" But I would advise you," said Roland, " first to take away her witch's staff. Otherwise she will pursue and overtake us."
In fear and trembling the maiden returned home, and after securing the magic wand, she went upstairs and carried away the dead head to bury it, and in doing so three drops of blood fell from it: one on the bed, another on the stairs, and one in the kitchen. Then she hastened back to her lover.
In the morning, when the old witch rose, she called to her daughter to get up, as she had got the apron for her. But she did not come. " Where are you ?" she cried.
"Out here on the step, turning round," answered one blcod-drop.
The woman went out, but there was no one on the step, so she asked again, "Where are you?"
11 Here in the kitchen, warming myself," cried the second drop of blood.
She went irito the kitchen, but on seeing nobody there, she called out angrily a third time, " Where are you ?"
" In bed, asleep," answered the third drop of blood.
Then she went to the sleeping-chamber, and approached the bed, and what did she see there!—Her own child, weltering in