No sooner had he discovered her than the old woman begged him to allow her to come down to the fire and warm herself a little. So he told her she might come down and warm herself as soon as she pleased. She answered, however, "Oh, my son, I dare not come down because of your company. I am afraid of the animals you have with you - your bear, and wolf, and dog, and cat".
At this he tried to reassure her and said, "Don't be afraid! They will do you no harm." However, she would not trust them, so she plucked a hair from her head, and threw it down, saying, "Put that hair on their necks and then I shall not be afraid to come down".
Accordingly the man took the hair and threw it over his animals, and in a moment the hair was turned into an iron chain which kept his four-footed followers bound fast together.
When the old woman saw that he had done as she desired, she came down from the tree and took her place by the fire. She seemed at first a very little woman; as she sat by the fire, however, she began to grow larger. When he saw this he was greatly astonished, and said to her, "But, my old woman, it seems to me that you grow bigger and bigger!" Thereupon she answered, shivering, "Ha! ha! no, no, my son! I am only warming myself!" But, nevertheless, she continued to grow taller and taller, and had already grown half as tall as the beech-tree. The goat-herd watched her growing with wide-open eyes, and, beginning to get frightened, said again, "But really you are getting a fearful size, and are growing taller and taller every moment".
"Ha, ha, my son," she coughed and shivered, "I am only warming myself!" Seeing, however, that she was now as tall as the tallest beech-tree, and, fearing that his life was in danger, he called anxiously to his companions, "Hold her fast, my bear! Hold her fast, my wolf! Hold her fast, my dog! Hold her fast, my cat!" But it was all in vain that he called to them; none of them could move a step from his place. When he saw that, he endeavoured to run away, but found that he could no more move from his place than if he were fast chained to it. Then the old woman, seeing everything had gone on just as she wished, bent down a little, and, touching him with her little finger, said, "Go, you have lost your head!" and the self-same moment he turned to ashes. After that, she touched, with the little toe of her left foot, all his animals, one after the other, and they also turned at once to ashes as their master had done.
Having collected all the ashes she buried them under an oak-tree. Then as soon as she took the iron chain in her hand, it turned again into a hair, which she put back into its place on her head.
She had before done with many young and noble knights just as she had now done with this poor goat-herd.
The second brother, after serving a long time in a strange place, was seized with a great desire to go to the oak-tree at the cross-roads, where he had parted with his brothers, in order to see if their knives were still sticking in the tree. When he got there, he found the knife of his eldest brother still firmly fixed in the trunk of the oak, but his youngest brother's knife had fallen to the ground. Then he knew that his younger brother was dead, or in great danger of death, and he resolved at once to follow the way he had gone and try to discover what had become of him. Going then along the same road which his younger brother had travelled, he came, on the third day, to the king's palace, and went in and begged the king to take him into his service. Whereupon the king took him as goat-herd, exactly as he had taken before the youngest brother.
When the second brother had tended the king's goats a long time, he one day drove them up a high hill, and, finding there a very tall pine-tree, resolved at once to climb up to its top and look about to see what kind of a country lay on the other side of the hill. When he had looked round a while from the tree he noticed a great volume of smoke rising from a mountain afar off, and the thought came at once to his mind that his brothers might be there. Accordingly, he came down quickly, collected his goats, and went back to the king's palace, followed by his four companions, that is to say, by his bear, his wolf, his dog, and his cat. When he had reached the palace he went straight to the king, and begged him to pay him his wages at once, and to let him go to look after his brothers; for he had seen a smoke upon a mountain, and he believed they were there. The king tried in vain to dissuade him by telling him that none who went there ever came back; but all his Majesty's words availed nothing. Thereupon, seeing he was decided on going, the king paid him what he owed him, and let him go.
He at once set out, and went straight to the mountain; but, when he got there, he was a long time before he could find any fire. At last, however, he found one burning under a beech-tree, and he went up to it to warm himself, wondering all the time who had made it, since he saw no one near. As he warmed himself he heard a woman's voice in the tree above his head, and, looking up, saw there an old woman huddled up on a branch, and shaking with cold.
As soon as he saw her, the old woman asked him to let her come down and warm herself by the fire, and he told her she might come and warm herself as long as she liked.
She said, however, "I am afraid of the company which you have with you. Take this hair and lay it over your bear, and wolf, and dog, and cat, and then I shall be able to come down".
So saying, she pulled a hair out of her head and threw it down. He laughed at her fears, and assured her that his companions would not hurt her; finding, however, notwithstanding all he said, that she was still afraid to come down from the tree, he at last took the hair and laid it on the beasts as she had directed. In an instant the hair turned into an iron chain, and bound the four animals fast together. Then the old woman came down, and took a place by the fire to warm herself. As the second brother watched her warming herself, he saw her grow bigger and bigger, until she had grown half as tall as the beech-tree.