The Red Swan
Maidwa accepted this kind invitation, and entered the lodge. The old man then remarked, as if in mere course of conversation: "My kettle with water stands near the fire;" and immediately a small earthen pot with legs appeared by the fire. He then took one grain of corn, also one of whortleberry, and put them in the pot.
Maidwa was very hungry, and seeing the limited scale of the old man's housekeeping, he thought his chance for a supper was very slight. The old man had promised him something very delicate, and he seemed likely to keep his word. Maidwa looked on silently, and did not change his face any more than if the greatest banquet that was ever spread had been going forward.
The pot soon boiled, when the old man said in a very quiet way:
"The pot will stand at a distance from the fire."
It removed itself, and the old man added to Maidwa:
"My grandchild, feed yourself;" handing him at the same time a dish and ladle of the same ware as the pot itself.
The young man, whose hunger was very great, helped himself to all that was in the pot. He felt ashamed to think that he had done so, but before he could speak the old man said:
"Eat, nay grandchild; eat, eat!" and soon after he again said—"Help yourself from the pot."
Maidwa was surprised, on dipping in his ladle, to see that it was full; and although he emptied it a second time, it was still again filled and refilled till his hunger was entirely satisfied. The old man then observed, without raising his voice:
"The pot will return to its corner;" and the pot took itself off to its accustomed place in an out-of-the-way corner of the lodge.
Maidwa observed that the old man was about to address him, and took an attitude which showed that he was prepared to listen.
"Keep on, my grandchild," said the old man; "you will surely gain that you seek. To tell you more I am not permitted; but go on as you have begun and you will not be disappointed. To-morrow you will again reach one of my fellow old men, but the one you will see after him will tell you all, and the manner in which you must proceed to accomplish your journey.