THE BATTLE OF THE BIRDS 265
giant. ' And if thou forgettest thy promise, I will remember it.'
Light of heart the king's son went on his road, till he came to the green valley near his father's palace. Slowly he unloosed the bundle, fearing lest he should find nothing but a heap of stones or rags. But no ! all was as it had been before, and as he opened the castle door there stood within the most beautiful maiden that ever was seen.
' Enter, king's son,' said she, ' all is ready, and we will be married at once,' and so they were.
The maiden proved a good wife, and the king's son, now himself a king, was so happy that he forgot all about the giant. Seven years and a day had gone by, when one morning, while standing on the ramparts, he beheld the giant striding towards the castle. Then he remembered his promise, and remembered, too, that he had told the queen nothing about it. Now he must tell her, and perhaps she might help him in his trouble.
The queen listened in silence to his tale, and after he had finished, she only said :
' Leave thou the matter between me and the giant,' and as she spoke, the giant entered the hall and stood before them.
' Bring out your son,' cried he to the king, ' as you promised me seven years and a day since.'
The king glanced at his wife, who nodded, so he answered :
' Let his mother first put him in order,' and the queen left the hall, and took the cook's son and dressed him in the prince's clothes, and led him up to the giant, who held his hand, and together they went out along the road. They had not walked far when the giant stopped and stretched out a stick to the boy.
' If your father had that stick, what would he do with it ? ' asked he.
' If my father had that stick, he would beat the