had left his fatherland behind him, when close to the road he came upon a huge tree, and on its topmost bough an eagle was sitting shaking the branches with all his might. This seemed so strange and so unlike an eagle, that the prince stood still with surprise, and the bird saw him and flew to the ground. The moment its feet touched the ground he changed into a king.

‘Why do you look so astonished?’ he asked.

‘I was wondering why you shook the boughs so fiercely,’ answered the prince.

‘I am condemned to do this, for neither I nor any of my kindred can die till I have rooted up this great tree,’ replied the king of the eagles. ‘But it is now evening, and I need work no more to-day. Come to my house with me, and be my guest for the night.’

The prince accepted gratefully the eagle’s invitation, for he was tired and hungry. They were received at the palace by the king’s beautiful daughter, who gave orders that dinner should be laid for them at once. While they were eating, the eagle questioned his guest about his travels, and if he was wandering for pleasure’s sake, or with any special aim. Then the prince told him everything, and how he could never turn back till he had discovered the Land of Immortality.

‘Dear brother,’ said the eagle, ‘you have discovered it already, and it rejoices my heart to think that you will stay with us. Have you not just heard me say that death has no power either over myself or any of my kindred till that great tree is rooted up? It will take me six hundred years’ hard work to do that; so marry my daughter and let us all live happily together here. After all, six hundred years is an eternity!’

‘Ah, dear king,’ replied the young man, ‘your offer is very tempting! But at the end of six hundred years we should have to die, so we should be no better off! No, I must go on till I find the country where there is no death at all.’

Then the princess spoke, and tried to persuade the guest to change his mind, but he sorrowfully shook his head. At length, seeing that his resolution was firmly fixed, she took from a cabinet a little box which contained her picture, and gave it to him saying:

‘As you will not stay with us, prince, accept this box, which will sometimes recall us to your memory. If you are tired of travelling before you come to the Land of Immortality, open this box and look at my picture, and you will be borne along either on earth or in the air, quick as thought, or swift as the whirlwind.’

The prince thanked her for her gift, which he placed in his tunic, and sorrowfully bade the eagle and his daughter farewell.

Never was any present in the world as useful as that little box, and many times did he bless the kind thought of the princess. One evening it had carried him to the top of a high mountain, where he saw a man with a bald head, busily engaged in digging up spadefuls of earth and throwing them in a basket. When the basket was full he took it away and returned with an empty one, which he likewise filled. The prince stood and watched him for a little, till the bald-headed man looked up and said to him: ‘Dear brother, what surprises you so much?’

‘I was wondering why you were filling the basket,’ replied the prince.

‘Oh!’ replied the man, ‘I am condemned to do this, for neither I nor any of my family can die till I have dug away the whole of this mountain and made it level with the plain. But, come, it is almost dark, and I shall work no longer.’ And he plucked a leaf from a tree close by, and from a rough digger he was changed into a stately bald-headed king. ‘Come home with me,’ he added; ‘you must be tired and hungry, and my daughter will have supper ready for us.’ The prince accepted gladly, and they went back to the palace, where the bald-headed king’s daughter, who was still more beautiful than the other princess, welcomed them at the door and led the way into a large hall and to a table covered with silver dishes. While they were eating, the bald-headed king asked the prince how he had happened to wander so far, and the young man told him all about it, and how he was seeking the Land of Immortality. ‘You have found it already,’ answered the king, ‘for, as I said, neither I nor my family can die till I have levelled this great mountain; and that will take full eight hundred years longer. Stay here with us and marry my daughter. Eight hundred years is surely long enough to live.’

‘Oh, certainly,’ answered the prince; ‘but, all the same, I would rather go and seek the land where there is no death at all.’

So next morning he bade them farewell, though the princess begged him to stay with all her might; and when she found that she could not persuade him she gave him as a remembrance a gold ring. This ring was still more useful than the box, because when one wished oneself at any place one was there directly, without even the trouble of flying to it through the air. The prince put it on his finger, and thanking her heartily, went his way.