Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard was quite content at this, and, sitting down, soon finished the whole ox. When he had ended his dinner he got up and went away.
Shortly afterwards Sir Peppercorn and the Mill-turner came for their dinners, and, being very hungry, shouted from afar to the Pikeman, "Let us dine at once!" But the Pikeman, keeping himself hidden among the bushes, called out to them, "There is nothing left for us to eat! A little while ago Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard came up and ate up the whole ox to the very last morsel! I was afraid of him, and so I did not say one word against it".
Peppercorn and the Mill-turner reproached their companion bitterly for allowing all their dinner to be stolen without once trying to prevent it, and the Mill-turner said scornfully, "Well, I will stop to-morrow and look after the meat, and Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard may come if he likes!"
So the next day the Mill-turner stayed to roast the ox, and his two comrades went to look after the fence they had built round about the city.
Just before dinner - time Yard - high - forehead - and-span-long-beard came out of the forest and walked straight up to the ox, and stretched his hands out greedily to grasp it. The Mill-turner was so frightened by his strange appearance that he ran off as hard as he could to look for a place to hide in.
By-and-by Peppercorn and the Pikeman came for their dinners and asked angrily where the meat was. Whereupon the Mill-turner answered, "There is no meat! It has all been eaten by that horrible Yard-high - forehead - and - span - long - beard, and his looks frightened me so that I dared not say a single word to him".
It was no use complaining, so Peppercorn only said. "To-morrow I will stay to mind the ox, and you two shall go and look after the fence. I will see if we are to remain the third day without dinner".
The next morning the Pikeman and the Mill-turner went to see if all was right round about the city, and Peppercorn remained to roast the ox. Exactly as on the two former days, just before dinner was ready, Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard made his appearance, and went up to seize the meat. But Peppercorn pushed him roughly back, saying, "Two days I have been dinnerless on your account, but the third day I will not be so, as long as my head stands on my shoulders!"
Much astonished at his boldness, Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard exclaimed, "Take care you don't begin to quarrel with me. There is no one in all the world who can conquer me, except a fellow called Peppercorn!"
Peppercorn was very pleased to hear this, and, without more hesitation, sprang at once on Yard-high-fore-head-and-span-long-beard, and, after some struggling, pulled him down to the earth and bound him. This done, he tied him fast to a tall pine-tree. Now the Pikeman and Mill-turner came up and were exceedingly glad to find their dinners safe. Just as they were in the middle of their dinners, however, Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard, with a sudden jerk, pulled up the pine-tree by the roots and ran off with tree and all, making furrows in the earth with it just as if three ploughs had been passing over the ground.
Seeing him run off, the Pikeman and Mill-turner jumped up quickly and ran after him, but Peppercorn called them back and told them to finish their dinners first, for there would be plenty of time to catch him after they had dined! So they all three went on eating, and when they had done they followed the furrows which Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard had made in the ground. After a while they came to a deep dark hole in the earth, and when they had examined it all round and tried in vain on account of the darkness to look down into it, they returned to the king and asked him to give them a thousand miles of strong rope so that they could go down into the pit.
The king at once ordered his servants to give them what they required, and when they had got the great cable they went back to the hole. On the way, as they were going, they discussed which of the three should venture down first, and it was at last settled that the Pikeman should be let down. However, he made them solemnly promise him that they should pull him up again the instant he shook the rope.
He had been let down but a very little way before he shook the rope, and so they pulled him up as they had promised.
Then the Mill-turner said, "Let me go down." And so the other two lowered him, but in a moment or two he shook the rope violently; and so he, too, was pulled up.
"They pulled him up as they had promised".
Now Peppercorn grew angry, and exclaimed, "I did not think you were such cowards as to be afraid of a dark hole! Now let me down!" So they let him down and down until his foot touched solid ground. Finding that he had reached the bottom, he looked round him, and saw that he stood just in the very middle of a most beautiful green plain - a plain so beautiful that it was a real pleasure to look on it.
At one end of the plain stood a large handsome palace, and Peppercorn went nearer to look at it. There, in the gardens, walking, he met two young girls, and asked them if they were not the daughters of the king. When they said that they were, he inquired what had become of the other sister; and the princesses told him that their youngest sister was in the palace very busy binding up the wounds that Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard had lately received from a certain knight called Peppercorn.
Then Peppercorn told them who he was, and that he had come down on purpose to release them, and to take them back to the king, their father. On hearing this good news, the two princesses rejoiced greatly, and told Peppercorn where he would find Yard-high-forehead-and-span-long-beard and their youngest sister. But they warned him not to rush in on the giant, but rather to go softly, and first try to get hold of the sabre which hung on the wall over his bed, for this sabre possessed the wonderful power of killing a man when he was a whole day's journey from it.