58 GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.
" God only knows where they are wandering about in the world." Then she led the little girl to the secret room and unlocked it, and showed her the twelve coffins with the shavings and the little pillows.
" These coffins," said she, " were intended for your twelve brothers, but they went away far from home when you were born," and she related how everything had come to pass. Then said the little girl,
" Dear mother, do not weep, I will go and seek my brothers."
So she took the twelve shirts and went far and wide in the great forest. The day sped on, and in the evening she came to the enchanted house. She went in and found a youth, who asked,
"Whence do you come, and what do you want?" and he marvelled at her beauty, her royal garments, and the star on her forehead. Then she answered,
" I am a king's daughter, and I seek my twelve brothers, and I will go everywhere under the blue sky until I find them." And she showed him the twelve shirts which belonged to them. Then Benjamin saw that it must be his sister, and said,
" I am Benjamin, your youngest brother."
And she began weeping for joy, and Benjamin also, and they kissed and cheered each other with great love. After a while he said,
" Dear sister, there is still a hindrance; we have sworn that any maiden that we meet must die, as it was because of a maiden that we had to leave our kingdom." Then she said,
"I will willingly die, if so I may benefit my twelve brothers."
" No," answered he, " you shall not die; sit down under this tub until the eleven brothers come, and I agree with them about it." She did so; and as night came on they returned from hunting, and supper was ready. And as they were sitting at table and eating, they asked,
" What news ? " And Benjamin said,
" Don't you know any?"
" No," answered they. So he said,
"You have been in the wood, and I have stayed at home, and yet I know more than you."