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The witch in the stone boat.

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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 before. 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 be.


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