THE TWIN BROTHERS.
The hunter made no reply to this ; but the next morning he rose early, and taking his animals with him, climbed up the dragon's mountain.
There stood near the top a little church, and on the altar inside were three full goblets, bearing this inscription: "Whoever drinks of these goblets will be the strongest man upon earth, and will discover the sword which lies buried before the threshold of this door."
The hunter did not drink, he first went out and sought for the sword in the ground, but he could not find the place. Then he returned, and drank up the contents of the goblets. How strong it made him feel; and how quickly he found the sword, which, heavy as it was, he could wield easily.
Meanwhile the hour came when the young maiden was to be given up to the dragon, and she came out, accompanied by the king, the marshal, and the courtiers.
They saw from the distance the hunter on the mountain, and the princess, thinking it was the dragon waiting for her, would not go on. At last she remembered that, to save the town from being lost, she must make this painful sacrifice, and therefore wished her father farewell. The king and the court returned home full of great sorrow. The king's marshal, however, was to remain, and see from a distance all that took place.
When the king's daughter reached the top of the mountain, she found, instead of the dragon, a handsome young hunter, who spoke to her comforting words, and, telling her he had come to rescue her, led her into the church, and locked her in.
Before long, with a rushing noise and a roar, the seven-headed dragon made his appearance. As soon as he caught sight of the hunter, he wondered to himself, and said at last, " What business have you here on this mountain ?"
"My-business is a combat with you," replied the hunter.
" Many knights and nobles have tried that, and lost their lives,1' replied the dragon; "with you I shall make short work." And he breathed out fire as he spoke from his seven throats.
The flames set fire to the dry grass, and the hunter would have been stifled with heat and smoke, had not his faithful animals ran forward and stamped out the fire. Then in a rage the dragon drew near, but the hunter was too quick for him; swinging his