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Oh, Flann, my treasure-bringer," said Flame-of-Wine, when she came to him. "I have brought you the Comb of Magnificence," said he. Her hands went out and her eyes became large and shining. He put the Comb of Magnificence into her hands.

She put the comb into the back of her hair, and she became at once like the tower that is builded--what broke its height and turned the full sunlight from it has been taken away, and the tower stands, the pride of a King and the delight of a people. When she put the Comb of Magnificence into her hair she became of all Kings' daughters the most stately.

She walked with Flann along the paths of the orchard, but always she was watching her shadow to see if it showed her added magnificence. Her shadow showed nothing. She took Flann to the well in the orchard, and looked down into it, but her image in the well did not show her added magnificence either. Soon she became tired of walking on the orchard paths, and when she came to the gate she walked no further but stood with Flann at the gate. "A kiss for you, Flann, my treasure-bringer," said she, and she kissed him and then went hurrying away. And as Flann watched her he thought that although she had kissed him he was not now in her mind.

He went out of the orchard disconsolate, thinking that when he was on his seven years' service with Mogue Princess Flame-of-Wine might forget him. As he walked on he passed the little house where the Spae-Woman had her besoms and heather-stalks. She ran to him when she saw him.

"Have you heard that the King's Son has found what went before, and what comes after the Unique Tale?" said she.

"That I have. And I have to go to the Hags of the Long Teeth to find out who my father and mother were, for surely I am the child who was taken from Sheen."

"And do you remember that Sheen's seven brothers were changed into seven wild geese?" said she.

"I remember that, mother."

"And seven wild geese they will be until a maiden who loves you will give seven drops of her heart's blood to bring them back to their human shapes."

"I remember that, mother."

"Whatever maid you love, her you must ask if she would give seven drops of her heart's blood. It may be that she would. It may be that she would not and that you would still love her without thought of her giving one drop of blood of her little finger."

"I cannot ask the maiden I love to give seven drops of her heart's blood."

"Who is the maiden you love?"

"The King's daughter, Flame-of-Wine."

He told the Spae-Woman about the presents he had given her--he told the Spae- Woman too that he had bound himself to seven years' service to Mogue on account of these presents. The Spae-Woman said, "What other treasures are in Mogue's pack?"

"One treasure more the Girdle of Truth. Whoever puts it on can speak nothing but the truth."

Said the Spae-Woman, "You are to take the Girdle of Truth and give it to Flame-of-Wine. Tell Mogue that I said he is to give it to you without adding one day to your years' service. When Flame-of-Wine has put the girdle around her waist ask her for the seven drops of heart's blood that will bring your mother's seven brothers back to their human shapes. She may love you and yet refuse to give you the seven drops from her heart. But tell her of this, and hear what she will say."

Flann left the Spae-Woman's and went back to Mogue's tent. The loss of his treasures had overcome Mogue and he was drinking steadily and went from one bad temper to another.

"Begin your service now by watching the tent while I sleep," said he.

"There is one thing more I want from you, Mogue," said Flann. "By the Eye of Balor! you're a cuckoo in my nest. What do you want now?"

"The Girdle of Truth." "Is it my last treasure you'd be taking on me?"

"The Spae-Woman bid me tell you that you're to give me the Girdle of Truth."

"It's a pity of me, it's a pity of me," said Mogue. But he took the box out of his pack, and let Flann take the girdle.

Next: Part VIII