344 THE MAN IN THE BEAR'S SKIN.
and placed all the choicest dishes before him, while they thought they had never seen such a handsome man before.
The bride, who sat opposite to him, in her black dress, with downcast eyes, did not utter a word. At last, when they were alone, the father asked the soldier if he would like to marry either of his daughters. On hearing of this, the two eldest ran away to their rooms to change their dresses ; and both arrayed themselves in the gayest attire they possessed, for each fancied she would be the chosen one in preference to her sister.
Meanwhile the stranger found himself alone with his bride, and taking out the half of the ring which he had kept, from his pocket, he threw it into a glass of wine which stood on the table, and presented it to her. As she took it she saw at the bottom of the glass the half of the ring. With a beating heart she lifted a ribbon which hung round her neck, to which the other half was suspended She placed the two halves together, and found that they exactly joined.
Then the soldier, looking fondly at her, exclaimed, " I am your bridegroom, whom you once knew as Bearskin. Through the mercy of heaven I have recovered my natural shape, and am made free from the evil power which caused me to be so disfigured." Then he went over to her, took her in his arms, and embraced her fondly.
Just at this moment the sisters entered the room in full dress; but when they discovered that this handsome young soldier belonged to their sister, and heard that he was the man they had laughed at who was called " Bearskin," they were so overcome with rage and vexation that one went and drowned herself in the well, and the other hung herself on a tree in the garden.
In the evening there was a knock at the door, and when the bride-elect opened it there was a strange man in a green coat, and he said to her, " See, now, I have lost one* but I have gained two instead." .