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"If you are cold, come down and warm yourself," he said.
"No, no," she replied; "your animals will bite me.
"Indeed, they will do no such thing. Come down, old mother," he said kindly; "none of them shall hurt you."
He did not know that she was a wicked witch, so when she said, "I will throw you down a little switch from the tree, and if you just touch them on the back with it they cannot hurt me." He did as she told him, and as soon as they were touched by the wand the animals were all turned to stone. Then she jumped down, and touching the prince on the back with the switch, turned him, also, into stone. Thereupon she laughed maliciously, and dragged him and his animals into a grave where many similar stones lay.
When the princess found that her husband did not return, her anxiety and care increased painfully, and she became very unhappy*
Now, it so happened that just at this time the twin brother of the prince, who since their separation had been wandering in the East, arrived in the country of which his brother's father-in-law was king. He had tried to obtain a situation, but could not succeed, and only his animals were left to him.
One day, as he was wandering from one place to another, it occurred to his mind that he might as well go and look at the knife which they had stuck in the trunk of a tree at the time of their separation. When he came to it, there was his brother's side of the knife half rusted, and the other half still bright.
In great alarm he thought, "My brother must have fallen into some terrible trouble. I will go and find him. I may be able to rescue him, as the half of the knife is still bright."
He set out with his animals on a journey, and while traveling west came to the town in which his brother's wife, the king's daughter, lived. As soon as he reached the gate of the town the watchman advanced toward him and asked if he should go and announce his arrival to the princess, who had for two days been in great trouble about him, fearing that he had been detained in the forest by enchantment.
The watchman had not the least idea that the young man was any other than the prince himself, especially as he had the wild animals running behind him. The twin brother saw this, and he said to himself, "Perhaps it will be best for me to allow myself to be taken for my brother; I shall be able more easily to save him." So he followed the sentinel to the castle, where he was received with great
The young princess had no idea that this was not her husband, and asked him why he had remained away so long.
He replied, "I rode a long distance into the wood, and could not find my way out again." But she thought he was very cold and distant to her.
In a few days he discovered all about his brother that he wished to know, and was determined to go and seek for him in the enchanted wood. So he said, "I must go to the hunt once more."
The king and the young princess said all they could to dissuade him, but to no purpose, and at length he left the castle with a large company of attendants.
When he reached the wood all happened as it had done with his brother. He saw the beautiful white deer, and told his attendants to wait while he went after it, followed only by his animals; but neither could he overtake it; and the white deer led him far down into the forest, where he found he must remain all night.
After he had lighted a fire he heard, as his brother had done, the old woman in the tree, crying out that she was freezing with cold, and he said to her, "If you are cold, old mother, come down and warm yourself."
"No," she cried; "your animals will bite me!"
"No, indeed; they will not," he said.
"I can't trust them!" she cried; "here, I will throw you a little switch, and if you gently strike them across the back, then they will not be able to hurt me.
When the hunter heard that he began to mistrust the old woman, and said, "No; I will not strike my animals; you come down, or I will fetch you."
"Do as you like," she said; "you can't hurt me."
"If you don't come down," he replied, "I will shoot you."
"Shoot away," she said; "your bullet can do me no harm."
He pointed his gun and shot at her; but the witch was proof against a leaden bullet. She gave a shrill laugh, and cried, "It is no use trying to hit me."
The hunter knew, however, what to do; he cut off three silver buttons from his coat, and loaded his gun with them. Against these she knew all her arts were vain; so as he drew the trigger she fell suddenly to the ground with a scream. Then he placed his foot upon her, and said, "Old witch, if you do not at once confess where my brother is, I will take you up and throw you into the fire."
She was in a great fright, begged for pardon, and said, "He is lying with his animals, turned to stone, in a grave."
Then he forced her to go with him, and said, "You old cat, if you don't instantly restore my brother to life, and all the creatures that are with him, over you go into the fire."
She was obliged to take a switch and strike the stones, and immediately the brother, his animals, and many others—traders, mechanics, and shepherds—stood before him, alive and in their own forms.
Thankful for having gained their freedom and their lives, they all hastened home; but the twin brothers, when they saw each other again, were full of joy, and embraced and kissed each other with great affection. They seized the old witch, bound her, and placed her on the fire, and as soon as she was burned the forest became suddenly clear and light, and the king's castle appeared at a very little distance.
After this the twin brothers walked away together toward the castle, and on the road related to each other the events that had happened to them since they parted. At last the younger told his brother that he had married the king's daughter, and that the king had made him lord over the whole land.
"I know all about it," replied the other; "for when I came to the town they all took me for you, and treated me with kingly state; even the young princess mistook me for her husband, and made me sit by her side."
But as he spoke the prince became so fierce with jealously and anger that he drew his sword and cut off his brother's head. Then as he saw him lie dead at his feet his anger was quelled in a moment, and he repented bitterly, crying, "Oh, my brother is dead, and it is I who have killed him!" and kneeling by his side he mourned with loud cries and tears.
In a moment the hare appeared and begged to be allowed to fetch the life-giving root, which she knew would cure him. She was not away long, and when she returned, the head was replaced and fastened by the healing power of the plant, and the brother restored to life, while not even a sign of the wound remained to be noticed.
The brothers now walked on most lovingly together, and the one who had married the king's daughter said, "I see that you have kingly clothes, as I have; your animals are the same as mine. Let us enter the castle at two opposite doors, and approach the old king from two sides together."
So they separated; and as the king sat with his daughter in the royal apartment a sentinel approached him from two distant entrances at the same time, and informed him that the prince, with his animals, had arrived.
"That is impossible!" cried the king; "one of you must be wrong; for the gates at which you watch are quite a quarter of a mile apart."
But while the king spoke the two young men entered at opposite ends of the room, and both came forward and stood before the king.