556 THE ROBBERS' CA VE.
Hans quitted his father's house, and journeyed on till he came to a dark woody forest.
Presently he heard a cracking of branches in one of the trees, and, looking up, he saw a great overgrown fellow winding and twisting a cord round a fir tree, and bending the tree as if it had been a willow twig.
" Hi!" cried Hans, " what are you about up there ?"
" Oh," replied the man, " I gathered the twigs yesterday, and now I mean to pull down the whole tree l"
" I like that," thought Hans, " he has plenty of strength I see." So he called out to him: " Leave the tree alone, and come with me."
The man clambered down at this request, and, when he stood by Hans, he was a head taller, although Hans was a big fellow himself.
"You shall be called ' Fir-twister,'" said Hans, as they went away together.
After travelling some distance, they heard such violent knocking and hammering, that at every stroke the earth trembled, and, as they walked on, they saw an enormous rock, before which stood a giant striking off large pieces of rock with his fist.
Hans asked him what he was doing, and he replied : " When ' want to sleep at night, the bears and wolves, and all sorts of wild animals, come sniffing and yelping round me, and will not let me even close my eyes, so I am going to make a cave in this rock, that I may lie at night in peace."
" This fellow will suit me," thought Hans, " I may want him." So he said : " Leave your house-building and go with me, and you shall be called ' Rock-splitter/ "
The man was quite willing. So the three rambled on through the wood together, and, wherever they came, the wild animals fled in terror from their path.
One evening they saw before them an old forsaken castle on a rising ground, up which they ascended; and, entering the great hall, they laid themselves down and slept. The next morning Hans went out into the garden, which was quite a wilderness full of thorns and briars, and suddenly from amidst the brushwood a wild boar sprung upon him ; but Hans lifted his sj;aff, and with one blow laid him dead at his feet!