Once, in the land of our chieftain, there was a young Earl.  This mighty warrior had fought many battles before his Lord, brandished his ash-wood spear in fierce battle-play.

The fearless warrior was weary of battle, the young Earl.  He wished for a wife, a worthy maiden to bring to his dwelling.  He desired a noble maiden, of good reputation, from a good clan.

The young Earl set out alone, to journey, anxious inspirit, trusting in fate, to a far off land, not his native land, to seek there for a worthy maiden, a good wife.  He found many friends, good clans with courageous warriors and young maidens.  Alas, none were worthy to wife, he could make no discoveries of a maiden wise in spirit, blessed by the Lord.  The young Earl, the bold warrior, was filled with grief in his breast.

So, the princely warrior returned to his native land, the dwelling of his beloved kinsmen.  He was care-worn, woeful in spirit, he wished to possess joy in life.  Alas, with bitter sorrow he returned from his journey without a worthy maiden to make his wife.

Then, one night a violent storm raged, hail beat the walls of his dwelling, ice and snow and violent winds blew.  There was great turmoil and commotion through the night, it was a fearful night.

As the storm grew more violent, a sound was heard at the door, a loud pounding upon the door.  The young warrior, courageous and fearless, opened the door himself, he wanted to discover the cause of such violent knocking.

Outside was a maiden, a princess, her hair and gown had been ravaged by the violent storm.  She was weary, near death, her spirit was so beaten by the storm.  Water was pouring from her hair and clothes.  The maiden, the weary young woman, begged entrance into the dwelling.  The young Earl asked the maiden where she had come from, where was her clan.  She said she was from a noble clan, and she a most noble maiden, a worthy princess of her clan.

Upon hearing the maiden, the young Earl’s mother desired to give the maiden a trial, a truth-test, to prove her a virtuous maiden, worthy to wife.  The old woman, the Earl’s mother, went outside the mead-hall, she walked to where there were many small stones next to a stream.  She searched for a small, smooth stone, not as large as the eye of a hawk.  When she found this perfect stone, the old mother took it to the dwelling where the maiden would sleep for the night.  She wished to give the young woman a truth-test to discover if she was truly worthy to marry the young Earl.

The old noble woman had the servants ready a bed for the maiden.  First the tiny, smooth stone, the truth-stone, was placed on the bed-stead.  Then, placed upon the stone were twenty bed-mats, filled with the best straw.  Upon the bed-mats, the servants placed twenty broadcloths filled with the feathers of many birds.  These feather-filled broadcloths were piled on top of the mats, the bed towered high, it nearly reached the cross-bars (boards) of the ceiling.  And all of this, this towering pile of bedclothes, was on top of the truth-stone.

The young Earl’s mother believed only the most worthy and virtuous maiden would feel such a tiny stone beneath so many bedclothes.  This is how the noble old woman would discover if the girl was from the best clan, a worthy maiden and wife for the young warrior.

After a long night, as the hail-storm blew, the young maiden lay upon the high pile of bedclothes.  When the cock crowed, the young Earl and his noble mother eagerly awaited the young maiden, they wished to ask if she was able to sleep.  By and by, the young woman appeared from her bed chambers.  When she arrived, her eyes were red and her face was weary.  The poor maiden told her hosts that her body felt weary, she felt bruised and beaten, as though fighting a battle all through the night.  Then, the young princess told the old woman, though grateful for shelter from the storm, the bed-mats must have been filled with stones, her delicate skin was raw and bruised.

Thus, the young maiden passed the truth-test, she felt the tiny truth-stone as only the most worthy and virtuous maiden, from a good clan, could.  The young Earl was filled with joy, his spirit felt glorious, he found a worthy maiden, a true princess he could take to wife.  And that is just what he did, he made the maiden his wife and brought her to dwell with his clan.

Alas!  The tiny stone, the one used to find a truly virtuous wife for the young Earl, was lost, taken by treasure-seekers, for it was believed to be a precious stone, a stone with strong powers of truth-seeking.

Now this is a true story.