THE SE VEN RAVENS.
ing of wings in the air over his head, and presently seven coal black ravens flew over the house.
The father could not recall the dreadful words, and both parents grieved terribly over the loss of their seven sons ; their only consolation now was the little daughter, who every day grew stronger and more beautiful.
For a long time the maiden was not told that she had brothers, her parents were most careful to avoid all mention of them. But one day she overheard some persons talking, and they said that no doubt the young girl was very beautiful, but that there must have been some strange cause for the misfortune which had happened to her seven brothers.
Oh, how surprised and sad she felt when she heard this ! She went at once to her father and mother and asked them if she really had had any brothers, and what had become of them. Then her parents dared not any longer keep the secret from her. They told her, however, that it was the decree of Heaven, and that her birth was the innocent cause of all. As soon as she was alone she made a firm determination that she would try and break the enchantment in which her brothers were held.
She had neither rest nor peace till she had made up her mind to leave home and seek her brothers, and set them free, cost what it might.
When at last she left home, she took nothing with her but a little ring, in memory of her parents, a loaf of bread, a jug of water, and a little stool, in case she felt tired.
So she went from her home, and travelled farther and farther, till she came to the end of the world, and there was the sun; but it was so hot and fierce that it scorched the little child, and she ran away in such a hurry that she ran into the moon. Here it was quite cold and dismal, and she heard a voice say, " I smell man's flesh," which made her escape from the moon as quickly as she could, and at last she reached the-stars.
They were very kind and friendly to her. Each of the stars was seated on a wonderful chair, and the Morning Star stood up and said, " If ) ou have not a key you will not be able to unlock the iceberg in which your brothers are shut up."
So the Morning Star gave the maiden the key, and told her to wrap it up carefully in her little handkerchief, and showed her