t84 THE ROBBERS BRIDEGROOM.
Not long after a suitor came for his daughter's hand. He ap≠peared to be very rich, and the miller could find nothing to say against him. So he promised him his daughter. But the maiden did not love this suitor as a bride should love her bridegroom. She had no confidence in him, and not only the sight, but the very thought of him filled her heart with horror.
One day he said to her, " You are my affianced bride, but you have never once paid me a visit."
Then said the maiden, "I don't know where your house is."
But when he told her he lived far down in the depths of the forest, she made many excuses, and said she should never find the way.
" Yes, you will,* he said; " and you must come next Sunday. I expect company on that day; and to enable you to find your way through the wood to my house, I will strew ashes along the pathway."
So on Sunday the young bride-elect, who had a little curi≠osity about her future husband's home, determined to try and find the road through the wood. But so fearful was she of not being able to retrace her steps, that she filled her pockets full of peas and linseed to drop on the path. And as she walked along the road which was strewed with ashes, she dropped peas right and left on the ground at every step. And thus she walked for hours in the shade of the trees, till she came to the darkest part of the forest, and there she found a solitary house, which did not please her at allóit looked gloomy, and not: at all homelike. The door was open, so she walked in, but there was no one to be seen, and the deepest silence reigned. Suddenly a voice cried out,
" Return, return, thou youthful bride ! A murderer's house it is inside."
The maiden glanced up and saw that the voice came from a bird, whose cage hung on the wall; again it cried,
M Return, thou youthful bride, return ! This is a murderer's houseóreturn I"
Yet still her curiosity led her on from room to room till she had been ail over the house, which was quite empty, not a single human being could be seen. At last, she found in a cellar or cave behind the house, a very old woman seated, who nodded at her.