SNOW-WHITE AND RED-ROSE. 489
natured children did all they could—they held the little man fast to pull him back, and struggled so fiercely with the eagle, that at last the bird relinquished his prey and set him free.
But he had no sooner recovered from his fright than the ungrateful little wretch exclaimed, " What do you mean by catching hold of me so roughly ? You clawed at my new coat till it is nearly torn off my back—awkward little clowns that you are!"
Then he took up his sack of precious stones, and slipped away among the rocks. The maidens were accustomed to his ingratitude, and did not care for it. So they went on their way to the town, and made their purchases.
On their return, while crossing the heath, they came unexpectedly again upon the dwarf, who had emptied his sack of precious stones in a quiet corner, not supposing that anyone would pass at such a late hour. The evening sun shone brightly on the glittering jewels, which sparkled and flashed out such beautiful colours in his golden light that the children stood and gazed in silent admiration.
"What are you standing there gaping at?" asked the dwarf, his usually grey face quite red with rage. He was going on with his spiteful words when suddenly a terrible growl was heard, and a large black bear rushed out of the thicket.
The dwarf sprang up in a great fright, but he could not escape to a place of concealment, for the bear stood just in his way. Then he cried out piteously in his agony, " Dear Mr. Bear, do spare my life. I will give you up all my treasures, ?:nd those jewels that you can see lying there, if you will only grant me my life. Such a weak little creature as I am would scarcely be a mouthful for you. See, there are two nice little tender bits—those two wicked maidens. They are as fat as young quails. Just eat them instead of me."
But the bear paid no attention to his complaints. Without a word he lifted up his left fore-paw, and with one stroke laid the ugly, wicked little wretch dead on the ground.
The maidens in a fright were running away; but the bear called to them, "Snow-white, Red-rose, don't be afraid. Wait; and I will go home with you."
They instantly recognised his voice, and stood still till he came up to them; but as he approached what was their astonishment to see the bearskin suddenly fall off, and instead of a rough bear