326 HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED
that even the eldest Stalo was awakened by it, and that was a thing which had never occurred before. Raising himself in his bed, he called to his youngest brother to go out and separate the reindeer or they would certainly kill themselves.
The young Stalo did as he was bid, and left the house; but no sooner was he out of the door than he was stabbed to the heart by one of the Sodnos, and fell without a groan. Then they went back to worry the reindeer, and the noise became as great as ever, and a second time the Stalo awoke.
'The boy does not seem able to part the beasts,' he cried to his second brother; 'go and help him, or I shall never get to sleep.' So the brother went, and in an instant was struck dead as he left the house by the sword of the eldest Sodno. The Stalo waited in bed a little longer for things to get quiet, but as the clatter of the reindeers' horns was as bad as ever, he rose angrily from his bed muttering to himself:
'It is extraordinary that they cannot unlock themselves; but as no one else seems able to help them I suppose I must go and do it.'
Rubbing his eyes, he stood up on the floor and stretched his great arms and gave a yawn which shook the walk. The Sodnos heard it below, and posted themselves, one at the big door and one at the little door at the back, for they did not know which their enemy would come out at.
The Stalo put out his hand to take his iron mantle from the bed, where it always lay, but the mantle was not there. He wondered where it could be, and who could have moved it, and after searching through all the rooms, he found it hanging over the kitchen fire. But the first touch burnt him so badly that he let it alone, and went with nothing, except a stick in his hand, through the back door.
The young Sodno was standing ready for him, and as