THE MAN IN THE BEAR'S SKIN. 343
After he was gone, the bride dressed herself in black, and when she thought of her bridegroom the tears would come into her eyes. To her sisters it was a great amusement, and they did nothing but mock and jeer her about her lover. "You must pay attention to the manner in which he takes your hand," said the eldest, "for his claws may be sharp."
"And take care," said the other, "that he does not eat you up if you please him, for bears are fond of sweet things."
" Ah, yes," continued the eldest; " and you must always do as he pleases, or he will growl at you."
"Well," said her sister, " we shall have a merry wedding at all events, for bears are noted for their dancing." The bride kept silence, and her sisters soon found that they could not make her angry with anything they said to her.
Meanwhile, Bearskin was travelling about from one place to another, doing good on every opportunity, and relieving the poor and afflicted with the greatest sympathy. So that he had many to pray for him, that he might live long.
The last day of the seventh year dawned, and Bearskin went out to the heath and seated himself under the trees which grew in a circle. He did not wait long, for with a rush of wind came the demon who had appeared to him just seven years before, and looked at him with a most ill-tempered and disappointed face. He threw down the soldier's own coat, and asked him for his green coat and bearskin cloak.
" Stop a bit," said the soldier, " you are going too fast; you must wash me first."
So the demon was obliged, whether he liked it or not, to fetch water and wash and shave the soldier, and afterwards to comb his hair and cut his nails. When this was done, the brave soldier looked himself again, and, indeed, much handsomer than before.
As soon as his unpleasant companion had happily left him, he rose with a light heart, and went to the town, bought a magnificent velvet suit, and seated himself in a carriage drawn by four splendid white horses, and drove to the house of his bride. No one recognised him. The merchant took him for a nobleman or a field-officer, and led him into the room where his three daughters sat. He was obliged to yield to the request of the two eldest, that he would sit between them at dinner. They helped him to wine,