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The Ogre's Feather

Learning the purpose of the young man's mission one of them said, "If you can, would you bring back a feather for us, too? And would you ask the Ogre why our fortunes vanished overnight, and if there's anything we can do about it?"

The young man agreed, and the noblemen were amazed. "You are going to help us, perfect strangers to you?" they said. "Why not?" said the attendant. The two noblemen exchanged glances and one of them said, "Tell us, what do you know about the Ogre?"

The young man said he knew the monster lived in a cave at the last of seven peaks. Said the noblemen, "Ah, if that's all you know, my friend, surely you are doomed!" He leaned forward. "Listen carefully and we'll tell you what you must do. You must wait till sundown to approach the cave because that's when the Ogre is away, and the only time when his senses are less sharp. When you get inside the cave you must go all the way to the end of it. It will be very dark, so take these candles and matches to light your way. At the end of the cave, look for a door. Knock on it; if you're lucky, the Ogre's wife will be there. Take our word - she's your only hope to get the feathers, and to escape with your very life."

Grateful for the information, the attendant went on his way. It wasn't long before he came to the mountaintop he had been traveling toward, and could see all seven peaks spread before him.

As he hiked toward the seventh peak, the woods darkened and became harsher, and brambles and thick vines seemed to clutch at his legs. At last, he reached the seventh peak, and there indeed was a cave that must belong, he felt sure, to the Ogre. Stepping inside, he was glad for the candles and matches, since it was pitch dark. By candlelight he made his way to the end of the cave, where there was a large wooden door.

He knocked and the door creaked open. Much to his surprise, the Ogre's wife was not a monstrous giantess but a beautiful maiden, dark-haired and dark-eyed, though tired-looking and worn down.

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