224 THE SISTER OF THE SUN
boiling and bubbling over the sides. He looked and shuddered, but there was no escape ; so he shut his eyes to avoid seeing.
The word was given for him to mount the steps which led to the top of the cask, when, suddenly, some men were seen running with all their might, crying as they went that a large ship with its sails spread was making straight for the city. No one knew what the ship was, or whence it came; but the king declared that he would not have the boy burned before its arrival, there would always be time enough for that.
At length the vessel was safe in port, and a whisper went through the watching crowd that on board was the Sister of the Sun, who had come to marry the young peasant, as she had promised. In a few moments more she had landed, and desired to be shown the way to the cottage which her bridegroom had so often described to her ; and whither he had been led back by the king's order at the first sign of the ship.
' Don't you know me ? ' asked the Sister of the Sun, bending over him where he lay, almost driven out of his senses writh terror.
' No, no ; I don't know you,' answered the youth, without raising his eyes.
' Kiss me,' said the Sister of the Sun ; and the youth obeyed her, but still without looking up.
' Don't you know me now ? ' asked she.
' No, I don't know you—I don't know you,' he replied, with the manner of a man whom fear had driven mad.
At this the Sister of the Sun grew rather frightened, and beginning at the beginning, she told him the story of his meeting with her, and how she had come a long way in order to marry him. And just as she had finished in walked the king, to see if what the boy had said was really true. But hardly had he opened the door of the cottage when he was almost blinded by the light that filled it; and he remembered what he had been told about the star on