Since the disappearance of the guzla the sword had been placed on guard before the house, and whoever came near it was cut to pieces.

Niezguinek traced a circle with holy chalk, and placing himself on horseback in the centre of it, said:

"Sword who of thyself can smite, I come to brave thy ire; Peace or war upon this site Of thee I do require. If thou canst conquer, thine my life ; Should I beat thee, then ends this strife".

The sword clinked, leapt into the air, and fell to the ground divided into a thousand other swords, which ranged themselves in battle array and began to attack Niezguinek. But in vain; they were powerless to touch him; for on reaching the chalk-traced circle they broke like wisps of straw. Then the sword-in-chief, seeing how useless it was to go on trying to wound him, submitted itself to Niezguinek and promised him obedience. Taking the magic weapon in his hand, he mounted his horse and said:

"Marvel of strength and of beauty so white, Horse of my heart, while I sing, Rise in the air, like a bird take thy flight, Back to the court of my king".

The horse started with renewed courage, and by noon was eating his hay in the royal stables. Niezguinek went in to the king and presented him with the sword. While he was rejoicing over it one of his servants rushed in quite out of breath and said, "Sire, your enemies who attacked us last year, and whose king is your prisoner, surround our town. Being unable to redeem their sovereign, they have come with an immense army, and threaten to destroy us if their king is not released without ransom".

The king armed himself with the magic sword, and going outside the city walls, said to it, as he pointed to the enemy's camp, "Magic Sword, smite the foe".

Immediately the sword clinked, leapt flashing in the air, and fell in a thousand blades that threw themselves on the camp. One regiment was destroyed during the first attack, another was defeated in the same way, while the rest of the terrified soldiers fled and completely disappeared. Then the king said, "Sword, return to me".

The thousand swords again became one, and so it returned to its master's hand.

The victorious king came home filled with joy. He called Niezguinek to him, loaded him with gifts, and assuring him of his favour, made him the highest general of his forces. In carrying out the duties of this new post Niezguinek was often obliged to punish his brothers, who became more and more enraged against him, and took counsel together how they might bring about his downfall.

One day the king found a letter by his door, and after reading it he called Niezguinek to him and said, "I should very much like to see Princess Sudolisu, whom you wish to bring me".

"Sire, I do not know the lady, and have never spoken to her." "Here, look at your letter." Niezguinek read:

"Beyond the nine kingdoms, far beyond the ocean, within a silver vessel with golden masts lives Princess Sudolisu. If the king wishes it, I will seek her for him.

Imperishable Part 5 42

"(Signed) Niezguinek".

"It is true the writing is like unto mine; nevertheless, I neither composed the letter nor wrote it".

"No matter," answered the king. "You will be able to get this princess, as you did the guzla and the sword: if not, I will have you killed".

Niezguinek bowed and went out. He entered the stable where stood his horse looking very weak and sad, with his head bent down.

"What is the matter, dear horse? Are you in want of anything?"

"1 am sorrowful," answered the horse, "because I foresee a long and difficult journey".

"You are right, for we have to go beyond the nine kingdoms, and far beyond the ocean, to find Princess Sudolisu. Can you tell me what to do?"

"I will do my best, and if it is God's will we shall succeed. Bring your club of four hundred and eighty pounds weight, and let us be off".

Niezguinek saddled his horse, took his club, and mounting said:

"Marvel of strength and of beauty so white, Horse of my heart, do not lag on the road ; Rise in the air, through the clouds take thy flight, Haste to Princess Sudolisu's abode".

Then the horse looked up as if there were something he wanted in the clouds, and with a spring flew through the air, swift as an arrow; and so by the second day they had passed over ten kingdoms, and finding themselves beyond the ocean, halted on the shore. Here the horse said to Niezguinek, "Do you see that silver ship with golden masts that rides on the waves yonder? That beautiful vessel is the home of Princess Sudolisu, youngest daughter of old Yaga. For after the witch had lost the guzla and magic sword she feared to lose her daughter too: so she shut her up in that vessel, and having thrown the key thereof into the ocean, sat herself in her oaken trough, where with the help of the iron crutches she rows round and round the silver ship, warding off tempests, and keeping at a distance all other ships that would approach it.

"The first thing to be done is to get the diamond key that opens the ship. In order to procure this you must kill me, and then throw into the water one end of my entrails, by which bait you will trap the King of the Lobsters. Do not set him free until he has promised to get you the key, for it is this key that draws the vessel to you of its own accord".

"Ah, my beloved steed," cried Niezguinek, "how can I kill you when I love you as my own brother, and when my fate depends upon you entirely?"

"Do as I tell you; you can bring me to life again, as you did before".

Niezguinek caressed his horse, kissed him and wept over him; then, raising his mighty club, struck him full on the forehead. The poor creature staggered and fell down dead. Niezguinek cut him open, and putting an end of his entrails in the water, he kept hold of it and hid himself in the water-rushes. Soon there came a crowd of crawfish, and amongst them a gigantic lobster as large as a year-old calf. Niezguinek seized him and threw him on the beach. The lobster said, "I am king of all the crawfish tribe. Let me go, and I will give you great riches for my ransom".