scorched where she passed. She is more wicked even than her sister, also, she has got three heads. Let us rest a little, for to-morrow, early in the morning, we must be ready for the fight."
Next day they were ready to start, when suddenly, there began a howling and a rustling such as man had never heard before.
"Keep steady, Master, for here comes the Blasted Scorpion!" cried the Horse.
The Scorpion, with one cheek in heaven and the other on earth, was spitting flames and advancing like the wind. But the Horse flew as swiftly as an arrow right above her, the Boy shot, and off went one of her heads! As he was just going to have another shot, the Scorpion begged him with tears in her eyes to forgive her, writing down with her blood the promise that she would not harm him. Afterwards she entertained them even more magnificently than had the Wood-pecker, and the Boy stuck back her head in the same way, and was very much thanked for it. After three days had passed, the Boy and the Horse started once more upon their search.
Leaving the Scorpion's Kingdom behind them, they rode and rode again, until they came to a flower-covered field that was never left by Spring. Each flower was a beauty, and had such a sweet smell that it bewitched one quite! A soft breeze was hardly breathing, and here Boy and Horse stopped to rest.
"We have come safely so far," said the Horse, "but now we have got one more difficulty; we have to pass through a great danger, but if we get through it, then we are really safe. A little further on our way there lies the castle where lives Youth free from Age and Life free from Death. But that castle is surrounded by a tall and thick forest, where live the wildest beasts of the world; they are on the watch day and night, and as there are a great many of them there is no way of fighting them, therefore, there is no question of our being able to pass through the forest. However, we will try to fly over it."
So they rested for two days in the field, and after that, they once more got ready to start. Then the Horse, holding his breath, said:
"Master, tighten my girths as much as you can, and jumping on my back, sit firmly in your saddle, and hold on to my mane."