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He was out, as I have said, in the width and the height, the length and the breadth, the gloom and the gleam of the world. He fired arrows into the air. He leaped over ditches, he rolled down hillsides, he raced over level places until he came to what surprised him more than all the things in the world--a river. He had never seen such water before and he wondered to see it moving with swiftness. "Where is it going?" said Gilly of the Goatskin. "Does it go on like that in the night as well as in the day?" He ran by its side and shouted to the river. He saw a wide-winged bird flying across it. It was the bird that we call the crane or the heron. And as Gilly watched the great winged thing he saw that it held a little animal in its claws. Gilly fired an arrow and the crane dropped towards the ground. The little animal that was in its claws fell down. The crane rose up again and flew back across the river.

The little animal that had been in the claws of the crane came to Gilly of the Goatskin. It was smaller than the one-eyed cat that used to sit on the hearth of the Hag of the House. It kept its head up and was very bold-looking. "Good morning, Lad in the Goatskin," it said to Gilly, "you saved my life and I'm very thankful to you." "What are you?" said Gilly of the Goat-skin. "I'm the Weasel. I'm the boldest and bravest creature in this country. I'm the lion of these parts, I am. And," said the Weasel, "I never served anyone before, but I'll be your servant for a quarter of a year. Tell me what way you're going and I'll go with you." "I'm going the way he's going," said Gilly, nodding towards the river, "and I'll keep beside him till he wants to turn back." "Oh, then you'll have to go a long way," said the Weasel, "but I'll go with you no matter bow far you go." The Weasel walked by Gilly's side very bravely and very independently.

"Oh, look," said Gilly to the Weasel, "what is that that's in the water?"

The Weasel looked and saw a crystal egg in the shallows.

"It's an egg," said the Weasel, "I often eat one myself. I'll bring it up from the bottom to you. I'm good at carrying eggs."

The Weasel went into the water and put his mouth to the egg and tried to lift it. He could not move it. He tried to lift it with his paws as well as with his mouth; but this did not do either. He came up the bank then, and said to Gilly, "You'll think I'm a poor sort of a servant because I can't take an egg out of the water. But if I can't win one way I'll win another way." He went into the reeds by the river and he said, "Hear me, frogs! There's a great army coming to take you out of the reeds and eat you red and raw." Then Gilly saw the queer frogs lifting up their heads, "Oh, what will we do, what will we do?" they cried to the Weasel. "There's only one thing to be done," said the Weasel. "You gather up all the pebbles in the bed of the fiver and we'll make a big wail on the bank to defend you." The frogs dived into the water at once and dragged up pebbles. Gilly and the Weasel piled them on the bank. Then three frogs carried up the Crystal Egg. The Weasel took it from them when they left it on the bank. Then he climbed a tree and cried out to the frogs, "The army is frightened and is running away." "Oh, thank you, thank you," said the frogs, "we'll never forget your goodness to us." Then they sat down in the marsh and told each other what a narrow escape they all had.

The Weasel gave Gilly the Crystal Egg. It was heavy and he carried it for a while in his hand. They went on. After a while said Gilly of the Goatskin, "The night's coming on and the fiver shows no sign of turning back. I wish there was a nice place to shelter us." No sooner did he say the word than he and the Weasel found them-selves standing before the open door of a nice little house. They went in. A clear fire was burning on the hearth, an arm chair was before it, and a bed was made at the other side of the fire. "This is good," said Gilly, "and now I wish that we had something to eat." No sooner did he say the words than a table appeared with bread and meat, fruit and wine on it. "Where do these fine things come from, I wonder," said Gilly of the Goatskin. "It's my belief," said the Weasel, "that all these things come to us on account of the egg you have in your hand. It's a magic egg." Gilly of the Goatskin put the egg on the table and wished that he might see himself as he had seen himself in the river. Nothing appeared. Then he took the egg in his hand and wished again. And then there was a looking glass on the wall before him, and he saw himself in it better than he had seen himself in the river. Gilly of the Goatskin knew that he had only to hold the Crystal Egg in his hand and wish, to get all he could think of.

Next: Part VIII