The Three Men of Power—Evening, Midnight, and Sunrise
Nobody made bones about that, and so Evening stood at the door of the hut while the others rode off—Midnight on his black horse, and Sunrise on his horse, white as a summer cloud. They rode off into the forest, and disappeared among the green trees.
Evening watched them out of sight, and then, without thinking twice about what he was doing, went out into the yard, picked out the finest sheep he could see, caught it, killed it, skinned it, cleaned it, and set it in a cauldron on the stove so as to be ready and hot whenever his brothers should come riding back from the forest. As soon as that was done, Evening lay down on the broad bench to rest himself.
He had scarcely lain down before there were a knocking and a rattling and a stumbling, and the door opened, and in walked a little man a yard high, with a beard seven yards long flowing out behind him over both his shoulders. He looked round angrily, and saw Evening, who yawned, and sat up on the bench, and began chuckling at the sight of him. The little man screamed out,—
"What are you chuckling about? How dare you play the master in my house? How dare you kill my best sheep?"
Evening answered him, laughing,—
"Grow a little bigger, and it won't be so hard to see you down there. Till then it will be better for you to keep a civil tongue in your head."
The little man was angry before, but now he was angrier.
"What?" he screamed. "I am little, am I? Well, see what little does!"
And with that he grabbed an old crust of bread, leapt on Evening's shoulders, and began beating him over the head. Yes, and the little fellow was so strong he beat Evening till he was half dead, and was blind in one eye and could not see out of the other. Then, when he was tired, he threw Evening under the bench, took the sheep out of the cauldron, gobbled it up in a few mouthfuls, and, when he had done, went off again into the forest.
When Evening came to his senses again, he bound up his head with a dishcloth, and lay on the ground and groaned.