Notes and Queries. 295
So the boy went into the little house, and in the middle of the floor stood a round yellow thing, into which he dipped his head, and his head became golden, and the house was full of shining and light.
Then he came out and jumped on the horse that had talked with him, and they fled.
Now when they had gone a long way — they went very fast — behold, there came, following them, the one who called himself the Great Spirit. And he said, " You bad rascals, stop ; you shall not live, whither will you go in such a small country as this ? " Saying this, he came toward them, when they were much frightened. And again he said, " You are bad ras- cals, stop ; you shall not live."
Then the horse said, " Take the egg you have and throw it rearward." And he did so, whereupon the whole breadth of the country became a sea, so that he who followed them came to a standstill, and said, " Alas, my horse, have mercy on me and take me to the other side ; if you do, I will value you very much." And the horse replied, " Ah, I am not willing to do that." But he continued to urge him ; whereupon he threw himself above the water, and so that, when he came to the middle, he went down, and both were drowned. By this means the boy passed safely on.
So it was they came to the dwellings of a people, and remained there. But from behind they came to attack, and fought with them ; but the boy turned his head around, and his head was covered with gold, and the horse also that he sat upon was golden, and those who came against them, he caused to be thrown off, and only a few remained when he left them. Again, when they returned to the attack, he destroyed them all. And so the boy was much thought of by the people.
The story deals with the incidents of the Forbidden Chamber and the Enchanted Horse, which appear in many tales of the Old World. In his " Mythology of the Aryan Nations" (London, 1897), G. W. Cox considers that " The Treasure of the House of Ixion, which none may enter without being destroyed like Hesionicus, or betrayed by marks of gold or blood, reappears in a vast number of popular stories, and is the foundation of the story of Bluebeard " (vol. ii. p. 36). Whatever truth there may be in this statement, the myth seems to have had antiquity and wide currency.
Thus in " Popular Tales of the West Highlands," No. 41 (vol. ii. pp. 265- 275), J. F. Campbell recites a tale of the three daughters of a poor man who successively enter a forbidden chamber full of dead gentlewomen. In each case they are carried off by a king's son, who has by enchantment been changed into the form of a horse ; after two of the sisters have stained themselves with blood, and been decapitated, the third is assisted by a cat, and is able to restore the prince to his original shape.
In an Italian story recorded by A. de Gubernatis, " Mythologie Zoolo- gique " (Paris, 1874, ii. 36), we also have an abduction of the heroine, entry into the forbidden chamber, and resuscitation of the king's son.
In a series of similar tales magic animals, especially the horse, serve as the means of punishment for uncontrolled curiosity.
In the "Arabian Nights," we read in the story of the "Third Royal