THE DRAGON'S GRANDMOTHER. 473
rock, which is used as a house. If he enters this house, he will obtain help."
The two desponding soldiers could not see much to hope for in this advice, so they remained seated in the wood, but the third exclaimed in a merry voice : " I shall go and try my luck."
He went at once deeper into the forest till he came to the overturned rock which formed a hut, and immediately went in. In the hut sat a very old woman who was the dragon's grandmother, and when she saw the soldier, she asked him what he wanted and where he came from. He answered all her questions, and told her his business so pleasantly that she was quite pleased with him, and so full of pity that she promised to help him.
Then she lifted up a great stone in the floor, and showed him a cellar beneath it, and said : " You can hide yourself there, and listen to all that passes up here. When the dragon comes home, you must remain quite still without moving. I will then ask him about the riddle, and if you pay great attention, you will find out the answers." The soldier readily agreed to her wishes, and creeping down into the cellar, the old woman replaced the stone over him in the floor.
At about twelve o'clock the dragon came flying home with rushing wings, and crying out for his supper. The grandmother quickly laid the cloth, and brought out plenty of good things to eat and drink, and they supped together.
The dragon enjoyed his supper so much that he was quite in a good humour, and the old woman began to question him. "Well," she said, " what success have you had to-day ? How many poor creatures have you caught ?"
" I have not had much luck," he replied ; " but there are. three soldiers who cannot escape me; I have them fast enough."
"Ah, indeed; three soldiers? I suppose you have given them some impossible task to perform ?"
"Yes, I have," he said, with a chuckle; " the riddles I shall ask them they will never find out; they are mine safe enough."
" What are the riddles ?" she asked.
" Oh, I don't mind telling you," he replied. " In the great North Sea lies a dead sea cat, this will serve them for roast meat; the ribs of a whale shall be their silver spoon ; and an old, hollow horse-shoe they shall use for a wine-glass."