“Go into the kitchen and cook us some supper,” said the old man turning again to Indra. The girl did as she was bidden. Soon a good meal was ready which she placed upon the table, but she gave nothing to the animals and without speaking to them, or even so much as looking at them, she sat down at the old man’s side and ate heartily.
“Now I am satisfied,” said Indra. “Show me where to sleep.” The animals said nothing. “Go into the room above and make ready the two beds you will find there, then I will come and lie down and sleep also, for I am weary,” said the old man.
Indra spread the two beds with fresh linen. Then without giving one thought to the hungry animals below, she laid herself down in one of the beds and fell fast asleep.
When at last the old man climbed to the loft and saw Indra lying in a deep slumber, he looked sorrowfully at her for a long time. Then shaking his head sadly and slowly, he opened a curious door beneath the bed on which the girl lay and let her down into the dark, underground cellar of the hut.
That night there was trouble and sorrow for good Mother Grougans and for Carla and Alween. As soon as daylight came they went forth to search for Sister Indra; but, though they scoured the forest far and wide, not a trace of her could be found, and at last they were forced to give their dear one up as lost.
Now as the two sisters Carla and Alween gathered berries in the forest one day not long after, Carla, in her eagerness to fill her pail with the biggest berries, strayed away just as her sister Indra had done. Alween was forced to return home alone, and it happened with Carla just as it had with her elder sister. She followed the light that shone from the cottage window, knocked at the door, entered, and saw the old man sitting and the animals lying by the fire. She too begged for food and a bed in which to sleep.
Turning to the animals the old man said,—
“My cock, my hen,
My brindled cow,
What say you now?
What say you now?”
The cock, the hen, and the brindled cow all opened their mouths and called out together,—
“Oh, let her stay!
We’ll not say nay.”
Then the old man sent Carla to prepare supper. Just as her sister had done, she cooked and ate and gave not so much as a glance or a thought to the hungry animals. “Now I am satisfied,” said Carla at last. “Show me where to sleep.” The animals said nothing, but the old man told her to prepare the two beds in the loft. After spreading them with fresh linen the girl laid herself down upon one of the beds and fell fast asleep.
When the old man climbed to the loft and saw Carla lying in a sound slumber, he opened the curious door again and let her also down into the cellar.