The monster rose up almost as tall as a steeple and suddenly laid his great clutches upon the Prince’s shoulders, saying: “I will do both, if you do but wrestle with me courageously. You must do it, for there is no other way of escaping from my hands.”
The Prince had never been handled so roughly before, and as he was brave, strong, and active, he made a great effort to free himself, and tried a thousand ways, but to no purpose. The giant did not hurt him, however, though he pressed him very hard, and at length he cried out: “Ho, ho! you are a brave young man! Leave off struggling, and you shall have some food and drink, such as you would never have tasted had you not come to me.”
Thereupon he led him to his own coarse wooden table, and set before him half of a hard brown loaf and a pitcher of water; but so hungry and thirsty was the Prince that the bread seemed to him the best he had ever eaten, and the water sweeter than any in the world.
“Unfasten your horse’s bridle,” said Necessity, when the Prince had done, “and I will soon teach him where to find something to feed upon.”
The Prince did as the giant told him at once, and then his stern-looking companion pointed to a wooden bedstead in a dark corner of the cave, which looked as hard as his own face, saying: “There, lie down and sleep.”
“I can never sleep on that thing,” said the Prince.
“Ho, ho!” cried the other; “Necessity can make any bed soft,” and taking a bundle of straw, he threw it down on the bedstead.
Sleep was sweeter to the Prince that night than it had ever been upon a bed of down, and when he rose the next morning the monster’s features did not seem half so stern and forbidding as they had done at first. The inside of the cave, too, looked much more light and blithesome, though it was a dark and frowning place enough still, with hard rock all round, and nothing but one window to let in a little sunshine.
Necessity, however, did not intend to keep the Prince there, and as soon as he was up the giant said to him: “Come, trudge; you must quit my cave, and go on.”
“You must open the door for me, then,” said the Prince; “for the bolt is so high up I cannot reach it.”
“You cannot get out by the door through which you came in,” said the giant, “for it is the door of Idleness. There is but one way for you to get out, and that I will show you.”
So, taking him by the hand, he led him on into a very dark part of the cave, which went a long way under ground, and then said to him: “You must now go on until you come to a great house, where you will find an old woman, who will give you your meals at least.”
“But I want to return to my own palace of Prosperity,” replied the Prince.
“She will show you the way,” replied the monster, “and without her you will never find it. Go on at once, and don’t stand talking.”