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The witch in the stone boat.
Start of Story
At last the boat came alongside the ship,
and now the queen saw that it was a stone boat, out of which there came
on board the ship a fearfully ugly witch. The queen was more
frightened than words can describe, and could neither speak a word nor
move from the place so as to awaken the king or the sailors. The witch
came right up to the queen, took the child from her, and laid it on the
deck; then she took the queen and stripped her of all her fine clothes,
which she proceeded to put on herself and looked then like a human
being. Last of all she took the queen, put her into the boat and said:
"This spell I lay upon you, that you slacken not your course until you
come to my brother in the under world."
The queen sat stunned and motionless, but the boat at once shot away
from the ship with her, and before long she was out of sight.
When the boat could no longer be seen the child began to cry, and
though the witch tried to quiet it she could not manage it; so, with
the child on her arm, she went below to where the king was sleeping,
and awakened him, scolding him for leaving them alone on deck while he
and all the crew were asleep. It was great carelessness of him, she
said, to leave no one to watch the ship with her.
Sigurd was greatly surprised to hear his queen scold him so much, for
she had never said an angry word to him before; but he thought it was
quite excusable in this case, and tried to quiet the child along with
her but it was no use. Then he went and wakened the sailors and bade
them hoist the sails, for a breeze had sprung up and was blowing
straight toward the harbor.
They soon reached the land which Sigurd was to rule over, and found all
the people sorrowful for the old king's death, but they became glad
when they got Sigurd back to the court, and made him king over them.
The king's son, however, hardly ever stopped crying from the time he
had been taken from his mother on the deck of the ship, although he had
always been such a good child before, so that at last the king had to
get a nurse for him-one of the maids of the court. As soon as the
child got into her charge he stopped crying and behaved as well as
After the sea voyage it seemed to the king that the queen had altered
very much in many ways, and not for the better. He thought her much
more haughty and stubborn and difficult to deal with than she used to