THE BROWNIE OF THE LAKE 343
' How ? ' exclaimed Jegu, filled with astonishment.
' Do you remember when you were digging in the field near the river, three months ago, you found a robin redbreast caught in a net ? '
' Yes,' answered Jegu, ' I remember it very well, and I opened the net and let him go.'
' Well, I was that robin redbreast, and ever since I have vowed to be your friend, and as you want to marry Barbaiik, I will prove the truth of what I say by helping you to do so.'
' Ah ! my little brownie, if you can do that, there is nothing I won't give you, except my soul.'
' Then let me alone,' rejoined the dwarf, • and I promise you that in a very few months you shall be master of the farm and of Barbaiik.'
' But how are you going to do it ?' exclaimed Jegu wonderingly.
' That is my affair. Perhaps I may tell you later. Meanwhile you just eat and sleep, and don't worry yourself about anything.'
Jegu declared that nothing could be easier, and then taking off his hat, he thanked the dwarf heartily, and led his horses back to the farm.
Next morning was a holiday, and Barbaik was awake earlier than usual, as she wished to get through her work as soon as possible, and be ready to start for a dance which was to be held some distance off. She went first to the cow-house, which it was her duty to keep clean, but to her amazement she found fresh straw put down, the racks filled with hay, the cows milked, and the pails standing neatly in a row.
' Of course, Jegu must have done this in the hope of my giving him a dance,' she thought to herself, and when she met him outside the door she stopped and thanked him for his help. To be sure, Jegu only replied roughly that he didn't know what she was