The three princesses in the blue mountain
They then began to prepare for the wedding of the two eldest sisters; it should be such a wedding as never was heard or spoken of before, and there was no end to the brewing and the baking and the slaughtering.
In the meantime the soldier walked and strolled about down in the other world. He thought it was hard that he should see neither people nor daylight any more; but he would have to do something, he thought, and so for many days he went about from room to room and opened all the drawers and cupboards and searched about on the shelves and looked at all the fine things that were there. At last he came to a drawer in a table, in which there lay a golden key; he tried this key to all the locks he could find, but there was none it fitted till he came to a little cupboard over the bed, and in that he found an old rusty whistle. “I wonder if there is any sound in it,” he thought, and put it to his mouth. No sooner had he whistled than he heard a whizzing and a whirring from all quarters, and such a large flock of birds swept down, that they blackened all the field in which they settled.
“What does our master want to-day?” they asked.
If he were their master, the soldier said, he would like to know if they could tell him how to get up to the earth again. No, none of them knew anything about that; “But our mother has not yet arrived,” they said; “if she can’t help you, no one can.”
So he whistled once more, and shortly heard something flapping its wings far away, and then it began to blow so hard that he was carried away between the houses like a wisp of hay across the courtyard, and if he had not caught hold of the fence he would no doubt have been blown away altogether.
A big eagle—bigger than you can imagine—then swooped down in front of him.
“You come rather sharply,” said the soldier.
“As you whistle so I come,” answered the eagle. So he asked her if she knew any means by which he could get away from the world in which they were.
“You can’t get away from here unless you can fly,” said the eagle, “but if you will slaughter twelve oxen for me, so that I can have a really good meal, I will try and help you.