IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 41
'Now it is my turn,' said Ian. But when he was halfway up the raven set upon him also.
'Quick! quick!' cried Ian to the men who held the rope. 'Quick! quick! or I shall be blinded!' And the men pulled with all their might, and in another moment Ian was on top, and the raven behind him.
' Will you give me a piece of tobacco ?' asked the raven, who was now quite quiet.
'You rascal! Am I to give you tobacco for trying to peck my eyes out?' answered Ian.
'That was part of my duty,' replied the raven; 'but give it to me, and I will prove a good friend to you.' So Ian broke off a piece of tobacco and gave it to him. The raven hid it under his wing, and then went on: 'Now I will take you to the house of the big giant, where the knight's daughter sits sewing, sewing, till even her thimble is wet with tears.' And the raven hopped before him till they reached a large house, the door of which stood open. They entered and passed through one hall after the other, until they found the knight's daughter, as the bird had said.
'What brought you here?' asked she. And Ian made answer:
'Why may I not go where you can go?'
'I was brought hither by a giant,' replied she.
'I know that,' said Ian; 'but tell me where the giant is, that I may find him.'
'He is on the hunting hill,' answered she; 'and nought will bring him home save a shake of the iron chain which hangs outside the gate. But, there, neither to leeward, nor to windward, nor in the four brown boundaries of the sea is there any man that can hold battle against him, save only Ian, the soldier's son, and he is now but sixteen years old, and how shall he stand against the giant?'
'In the land whence I have come there are many men with the strength of Ian,' answered he. And he went