(Lars) #1

The four companions agreed to stay awake all night, guarding
the princess. Tall said, “I will stretch myself out and wrap myself
around the room like a fence so that no one can steal her from us.”
Wide announced, “And I will swell myself in the doorway like a
cork so that no one can get in or out.” Piercing Eyes declared,
“Nothing can happen in this hall without my seeing it!” Yet, despite
their best intentions, the men were soon lulled to sleep by the
wizard’s magic.
Shortly before sunrise, they woke and saw that the princess
was gone. All were alarmed, but Piercing Eyes looked quickly
around and saw an acorn hanging from the top branch of a tree.
“That wasn’t there yesterday. It must be the princess!” he cried.
Tall stretched himself out the window and grabbed the acorn. He
dropped it into the prince’s hand just as the wizard was entering the
hall, and the acorn turned back into the princess. When the wizard
saw her, one of the iron belts around his waist cracked and fell off.
Furious, he stomped out of the room.
The second night was just like the first: the four men fell asleep,
and when they woke, the princess had disappeared. This time,
Piercing Eyes saw that a sparkling garnet was buried under a tall
mountain that stood next to the castle. He quickly burned a tunnel
through the mountain, and Tall reached through it and grabbed
the gemstone. Once again, as the prince took the garnet from Tall,
it turned back into the princess. When the wizard opened the door,
another belt broke and clattered to the floor. In a rage, he glared at
the men and spat, “We will see who wins this game.”
The third night was the same as the others, but this time when
Piercing Eyes woke, the princess was so well hidden that he was
afraid that he would never find her. Finally, he exclaimed, “There
she is! She is at the bottom of a deep sea, disguised as a golden
ring!” Not wanting to waste any time, Tall grabbed Piercing Eyes
and Wide in his arms and sprinted toward the sea on his long legs.
When he reached the edge of the water, however, he realized that it
was too deep for him to reach the ring. Without waiting to think,
Wide bent down and, in one giant gulp, swallowed the sea. Then
Tall grabbed the ring and rushed back to the castle.