Then he called to the other eight giants, "Your brother is in the city; come, one after the other, so that I can let you also down into the city!" And the giants, not knowing what had happened to the first one, climbed up one after the other, and thus the king's son cut off their heads till he had killed all the nine.
After that, he himself slowly descended the pine-tree and went into the city, walking through all the streets, but there was not one living creature to be seen. The city seemed quite deserted. Then he said to himself, "Surely those giants have made this great devastation and carried all the people away".
After walking about a very long time, he came to a tall tower, and, looking up, he saw a light in one of the rooms. So he opened the door, and went up the steps, into the room. And what a beautiful room it was in which he had entered! It was decorated with gold and silk and velvet, and there was no one there except a girl lying on a couch sleeping. As soon as the king's son entered, his eyes fell upon the girl, who was exceedingly beautiful. Just then he saw a large serpent coming down the wall, and it had stretched out its head and was ready to strike the girl on the forehead, between the eyes. So he drew his dagger very quickly, and nailed the snake's head to the wall, exclaiming, "God grant that my dagger may not be taken out of the wall by any hand but my own!" and thereupon he hurried away, and passed over the city wall, climbing up and going down the pine-trees. When he got back to the cavern where the giants had been, he plucked a brand from the fire, and ran away very quickly to the spot where he had left his brothers, and found them still sleeping.
He soon lighted the fire again, and meanwhile the sun having arisen he awoke his brothers, and they arose and all three continued their journey. The same day they came to the road leading to the city. In that city lived a mighty king, who used to walk about the streets every morning, weeping over the great destruction of his people by the giants. The king feared greatly that one day his own daughter might also be eaten up by one of them. That morning he rose very early, and went to look about the city; the streets were all empty, because most of the people of the city had been eaten up by the giants. Walking about, at last he observed a tall pine-tree, pulled up quite by the roots, and leaning against the city wall. He drew near, and saw a great wonder. Nine giants, the frightful enemies of his people, were lying there with their heads off. When the king saw that he rejoiced exceedingly, and all the people who were left, gathered round and praised God, and prayed for good health and good luck to those who had killed the giants. At that moment a servant came running, to tell the king that a serpent had very nearly killed his daughter. So the king hurried back to the palace, and went quickly to the room wherein his daughter was, and there he saw the snake pinned to the wall, with a dagger through its head. He tried to draw the knife out, but he was not able to do so.
"The King's son drew his sword and cut his head off".
Then the king sent a proclamation to all the corners of the kingdom, announcing that whoever had killed the nine giants and nailed the snake to the wall, should come to the king, who would make him great presents and give him his daughter for a wife. This was proclaimed throughout the whole kingdom. The king ordered, moreover, that large inns should be built on all the principal roads, and that every traveller who passed by should be asked if he had ever heard of the man who had killed the nine giants, and any traveller who knew anything about the matter should come and tell what he knew to the king, when he should be well rewarded.
After some time the three brothers, travelling in search of their sisters, came one night to sleep at one of those inns. After supper the master of the inn came in to speak to them, and, after boasting very much what great things he had himself done, he asked them if they themselves had ever done any great thing?
Then the eldest brother began to speak, and said, "After I started with my brothers on this journey, one night we stopped to sleep by a lake in the midst of a great forest; whilst my two brothers slept I watched, and, suddenly, an alligator came out of the lake to swallow us, but I took my knife and cut off its head; if you don't believe me, see! here are the two ears from his head!" And he took the ears from his pocket and threw them on the table.
When the second brother heard that, he said, "I kept guard the second night, and I killed an alligator with two heads; if you do not believe me, look! here are its four ears!" and he took the ears out of his pocket and showed them.
But the youngest brother kept silence. The master of the inn began then to speak to him, saying, "Well, my boy, your brothers are brave men; let us hear if you have not done some bold deed".
Then the youngest brother began, "I have also done something, though it may not be a great thing. When we stayed to rest the third night in the great wilderness on the shore of the lake, my brothers lay down to sleep, for it was my turn to keep guard. In the middle of the night the water stirred mightily, and a three-headed alligator came out and wished to swallow us, but I drew my sword and cut off all the three heads; if you do not believe, see! here are the six ears of the alligator!" The brothers themselves were greatly surprised, and he continued: "Meanwhile the fire had gone out, and I went in search of fire. Wandering about the mountain I met nine giants in one cave"; and so he went on, telling all that had happened and what he had done. When the innkeeper heard that he hurried off and told everything to the king. The king gave him plenty of money, and sent some of his men to bring the three brothers to him. When they came to the king, he asked the youngest, "Have you really done all these wonders in this city - killed the giants and saved my daughter from death?" "Yes, your majesty," answered the king's son. Then the king gave him his daughter to wife, and allowed him to take the first place after him in the kingdom. After that he said to the two elder brothers, "If you like I will also find wives for you two and build palaces for you." But they thanked him, saying they were already married, and so told him how they had left home to search for their sisters. When the king heard that, he kept by him only the youngest brother, his son-in-law, and gave the other two each a mule loaded with sacks full of money; and so the two elder brothers went back to their kingdom. All the time, however, the youngest brother was thinking of his three sisters, and many a time he wished to go in search of them again, though he was also sorry to leave his wife. The king would never consent to his going, so the prince wasted away slowly without speaking about his grief.