Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/324

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3 1 4 Collectanea.

So then the Boy went to the stables to choose his horse. He took hold of the tail of each horse and pulled, and when he pulled the horse fell down ; so, one by one, he pulled down all the horses until he came to a thin, sick and glandered horse, which, turning its head towards him, said :

"What do you want from me. My Master? Thank God for once more giving me the happiness of being touched by a brave

man

And as he talked, he stiffened himself, and remained as straight as a candle while the Boy tried to pull him down.

The Boy then told the Horse what he wanted.

" If you want your wish to be fulfilled," said the Horse, "you must ask your father for the Sword, the Lance, the Bow with the Quiver and the Arrows, as well as the Clothes that he wore when he was young ; and then you will have to care for me with your own hands for six weeks, boiling my barley in milk."

The Boy did so, and when six weeks had passed, he came to tell the Horse that everything was ready. The Horse shook him- self, and all the glanders fell from him, and there he stood, a beautiful, black, four-winged Horse.

"We'll start to-morrow morning," said the Boy, rejoicing at this marvel.

" Long shalt thou live. My Master ! " answered the Horse, " I am ready to go this moment if you wish me to ! "

On the next day, after taking leave of the much-grieved Emperor and the weeping Empress, they started. They rode and rode towards the rising sun for three days and three nights, until they came to a wide-spread field on which there lay in heaps the bones of men.

Stopping there to rest, the Horse said :

" I must tell you. My Master, that we now find ourselves in the Kingdom of a gigantic Wood-pecker, who is so cruel that no one may step over her borders without being killed. She was once a woman like any other woman, but she never obeyed her parents, and so their curse fell upon her, and she turned into a Wood- pecker. Just now she is with her children, but to-morrow morning we shall meet her in the woods, coming to kill you. She is fright- fully big, but do not be alarmed by her. Keep yourself ready