There was once a great and mighty emperor, whose kingdom was so large that no one knew where it began and where it ended. Some believed it was boundless, others said that they dimly remembered having heard from very old people that the emperor had formerly engaged in war with his neighbors, some of whom had proved greater and more powerful, others smaller and weaker than he. One piece of news about this emperor went all through the wide world—that he always laughed with his right eye and wept with the left. People vainly asked the reason that the emperor's eyes could not agree, and even differed so entirely. When great heroes went to the emperor to question him, he smiled evasively and made no reply. So the enmity between the monarch's eyes remained a profound mystery, whose cause nobody knew except the emperor himself. Then the emperor's sons grew up. Ah, what princes they were! Three princes in one country, like three morning stars in the sky! Florea, the oldest, was a fathom tall, with shoulders more than four span broad. Costan was very different, short, strongly built, with a muscular arm and a stout fist. The third and youngest prince was named Petru—a tall, slender fellow, more like a girl than a boy. Petru did not talk much, he laughed and sang, sang and laughed, from morning till night. Only he was often seen in a graver mood, when he pushed back the curling locks from his forehead and looked like one of the old wiseacres who belonged to the emperor's council.
"Come, Florea, you are grown up, go to our father and ask him why one of his eyes always weeps and the other always laughs," said Petru, one fine morning to his brother Florea. But Florea would not go; he knew by experience that the emperor was always vexed if any one asked him that question.
Petru fared just the same when he went to his brother Costan.
"Very well, if nobody else dares, I'll venture it!" he said at last. No sooner said than done, Petru instantly went and asked.
"May your mother blind you! What's that to you?" replied the emperor wrathfully, giving him one cuff on the right ear and another on the left. Petru went sadly away, and told his brothers how his father had served him. Yet, after the young prince had asked what was the matter with the eyes, it seemed as though the left one wept less and the right one laughed more.
Petru plucked up his courage and went to the emperor again. A box on the ear is a box on the ear, and two of them are two! It was no sooner thought than done. He fared just the same the second time. But the left now only wept occasionally, and the right one seemed ten years younger.
"If that's the way things stand," thought Petru, "I know what I have to do. I'll keep going to him, keep repeating the question, and keep receiving the cuffs on the ear until both eyes laugh."
No sooner said than done. Petru never made the same remark twice.
"My son Petru," began the emperor, this time in a pleasant tone and laughing with both eyes, "I see that you can't drive this anxiety out of your head, so I'll tell you what is the matter with my eyes. Know that this eye laughs when I see that I have three such sons as you, but the other weeps because I fear that you will not be able to reign in peace and protect the country against bad neighbors. But if you bring me water from the fountain of the Fairy Aurora that I may bathe my eyes with it, both will laugh, because I shall then know that I have brave sons on whom I can rely."
Such were the emperor's words. Petru took his hat from the bench by the stove, and went to tell his brothers what he had heard. The princes consulted together and soon settled the matter, as is proper among own brothers. Florea, being the oldest, went to the stables, chose the best and handsomest horse, saddled it, and bade farewell to home.
"I will go," he said to his brothers; "and if, at the end of a year, a month, a week, and a day, I have not returned with the water, you can follow me, Costan." With these words he departed.
For three days and three nights Florea did not stop; his horse flew like a ghost over the mountains and valleys till it reached the frontiers of the empire. But all around the emperor's dominions ran a deep gulf, and across this abyss there was only a single bridge. Here Florea halted to look back and bid farewell to his native land.
May the Lord preserve even a Pagan from what Florea now beheld when he wanted to go on—a dragon! But a dragon with three heads and the most horrible faces, with one jaw in the sky and another on the earth. Florea did not wait for the dragon to bathe him in flames, but set spurs to his horse and vanished as if he had never been in existence. The dragon sighed once and disappeared, without leaving a trace behind.
A week passed; Florea did not return; a fortnight slipped by, but nothing was heard of him. A month elapsed; Costan began to search among the horses to choose one. When morning dawned after a year, a month, a week, and a day, Costan mounted his horse, took leave of his youngest brother, and saying to him, "Come, if I am lost too," rode off as Florea had done.
The dragon at the bridge was now still more terrible, his heads were more frightful—and the hero fled still faster. Nothing more was heard of the two brothers; Petru remained alone.
"I am going to follow my brothers," he said one day to his father.
"Then may God go with you," replied the emperor. "He alone knows whether you will have better luck than your brothers."
So the monarch's youngest son also bade him farewell and set off for the frontiers of the empire. On the bridge stood a dragon still larger and more horrible, with jaws even more yawning and frightful. The creature now had seven heads instead of three.
Petru stopped when he beheld this monster. "Get out of the way!" he shouted. The dragon did not stir. Petru called a second and a third time, then rushed forward with uplifted sword. Instantly the sky darkened so that he saw nothing but fire—fire on the right, fire on the left, fire before him, fire behind him. The dragon was spitting fire from every one of its seven heads. The horse began to neigh and rear, so that our hero could not strike with his sword.
"Hold! This won't do!" said Petru, dismounting and seizing the horse's bridle with his left hand, while he held his sword in the right.
That plan would not do either. The hero saw nothing but fire and smoke.
"I'll go home—to get a better horse," said Petru, and he mounted his steed, and went away to come back again.
When he reached the place his nurse, old Birscha, was waiting for him at the court-yard gate.
"Ah, my son Petru! I knew you would be obliged to come back again, because you didn't set out right."
"How ought I to have gone?" asked Petru, half angrily, half sadly.
"You see, my dear Petru," the old nurse began, "you can't reach the fountain of the Fairy Aurora unless you ride the horse which your father the emperor rode in his youth; go, ask where and whose that horse is, then mount it and depart."
Petru thanked her for her directions, and then went off to inquire about the horse.
"May the light grow black to you!" said the emperor. "Who told you to ask me that? It must surely have been that witch of a Birscha. Are you crazy? Fifty years have passed since I was young, who knows where the bones of the horse I rode then are rotting? It seems to me that there's one strap of the bridle lying on the stable floor. It's all I have left of the horse."
Petru went off in a rage and told his old nurse the whole story.
"Just wait," cried the old woman, laughing. "If that's the way things are, very well. Go and bring me the piece of the bridle, I shall know how to turn it to some account."
The floor was covered with saddles, bridles, and straps; Petru chose the most tattered, rusted, and blackest, and carried it to the old woman, that she might do with it what she had promised. The old nurse took the bridle, smoked it with incense, muttered a short spell over it, and then said to Petru. "Now take the bridle and strike the pillars of the house with it."
Petru did as he was told. The old woman's charm worked well. Scarcely had Petru struck the pillars when something happened—I don't know how—that utterly amazed him. A horse stood before him, a horse whose superior the world never saw. Its saddle was made of gold and jewels, its bridle glittered so that one dared not look at it for fear of being blinded. A beautiful horse, beautiful saddle, and beautiful bridle for the handsome prince!
"Jump on the bay's back, my young hero," cried the old woman, making the sign of the cross over horse and rider; then she repeated a short charm and went into the palace.
After Petru had leaped on the horse he felt thrice as much strength in his arm and thrice as much courage in his heart.
"Hold fast, master, for we have a long journey and must go swiftly," said the bay, and the hero soon saw that they galloped, galloped, galloped, as never horse and hero had galloped before.
On the bridge now stood a dragon whose like had never been there, a dragon with twelve heads, each one more terrible, more fiery than the others. Ah, but the monster found its match. Petru did not quail, but began to roll up his sleeves and spit upon his hands. "Out of the way!" he shouted. The dragon began to spit fire. Petru wasted no more words, but drew his sword and prepared to rush upon the bridge.
"Hold, calm yourself, master," said the bay, "do as I tell you; press the spurs into my flanks, draw your sword, and be ready, for we must now leap over the bridge and the dragon. When you see that we are directly over the monster, cut off its head, wipe the blood from your sword on your sleeve, and put it in the sheath, that you may be prepared to fight when we touch the earth again."
Petru struck in the spurs, drew his sword, hacked off the head, wiped the blood away, thrust the blade into its sheath, and was ready when he again felt firm ground under the horse's hoofs. So they crossed the bridge.
"Now we must go on," Petru began, after he had cast one more glance back to his native land.
"Forward," replied the bay, "but you must now tell me, master, how we are to hasten. Like the wind? Like thought? Like longing? Or like a curse?"
Petru looked before him and saw nothing but sky and earth—a wilderness which made his hair bristle with horror.
"We will change our pace and ride like each in turn,—not too fast that we may not grow weary, and not too slow lest we should be late."
They rode on,—one day like the wind, one like thought, one like longing, and one like a curse, until in the gray dawn of the morning of the fourth day, they reached the end of the wilderness.
"Now stop and go on at a walk, that I may see what I have never beheld," cried Petru, rubbing his eyes like a person waking from sleep or one who beholds something that seems like an illusion. Before the eyes of the young prince stretched a copper forest—trees, saplings, shrubs, bushes, ferns, and flowers of the most beautiful varieties, all made of copper. Petru stood staring, as a man gazes who beholds something he has never seen or heard of. He rode into the wood. The blossoms along the wayside began to praise themselves and tempt Petru to gather them and make a garland:
"Take me, I am beautiful and give strength to him who breaks me," said one.
"Oh, no, take me, for whoever wears me in his hat will be loved by the greatest beauty in the world," said another. Then a third and a fourth, each lovelier than its companions, stirred, and in sweet tones tried to persuade Petru to gather it.
The bay sprang aside whenever it saw its master stoop toward a flower.
"Why don't you keep quiet?" cried Petru, somewhat sternly.
"Pick no blossoms, you will fare badly if you gather them," replied the bay.
"Why should I fare badly?"
"A curse rests on these flowers—whoever gathers them must fight with the Welwa of the wood."
 Welwa, an indescribable monster that exists in the imagination of the Roumanian peasantry.
"With what sort of a Welwa?"
"Now let me alone! But listen; look at the flowers and gather none of them, keep quiet." Having said this the horse went on at a walk. Petru knew by experience that he would do well to heed the bay's advice. So he turned his thoughts away from the flowers. But it was all in vain! If one is unlucky, he can't get rid of his ill-fortune even if he tries with all his might. The flowers still offered themselves to him, and his heart grew weaker and weaker.
"Come what may," said Petru after a while, "I shall at least see the Welwa of this wood, that I may know what the monster is like and with whom I have to deal. If I am fated to die by its hands, it will kill me in some way, and if not I shall escape, though there should be hundreds and thousands like it." Then he began to pull off the flowers.
"You have done wrong!" said the bay anxiously. "But as the thing has happened it can't be changed, so gird yourself and prepare to fight, for here is the Welwa."
The bay had scarcely spoken and Petru had hardly twined his wreath, when a light breeze blew from all quarters of the compass and soon rose to a gale. The gale increased until everywhere there was naught save gloom and darkness, gloom and darkness. The ground under Petru's feet trembled and shook, till he felt as though somebody had taken the world on his back and was dragging it away at full speed.
"Are you afraid?" asked the bay, shaking its mane.
"Not at all," replied Petru, summoning up his courage, though chills were running down his back. "If a thing must be, all right; let it be as it is."
"You need not fear," replied the bay, to encourage him. "Take the bridle from my neck and try to catch the Welwa with it."
The horse had just time to say this and Petru had not even a chance to unfasten the bridle properly, when the Welwa stood before him, a monster so frightful, so terrible, that he could not look at it. It has no head, yet it is not headless, it does not fly through the air, yet neither does it walk on the earth. It has a mane like the horse, horns like the stag, a face like the bear, eyes like the polecat, and a body that resembles every thing except a living being! Such was the Welwa which rushed upon Petru.
Petru rose in his stirrups and began to strike, sometimes with his sword, sometimes with his arm, till the perspiration ran down his body in streams.
A day and night passed away; the battle was not yet decided.
"Stop, so that we can rest a little while," said the Welwa, panting for breath.
The hero let his sword fall.
"Don't stop!" cried the bay quickly, and Petru set to work again with all his might.
The Welwa now neighed once like a horse, then howled like a wolf, and again rushed upon Petru. The battle went on for another day and night, and was even more terrible than before. Petru grew so weary that he could scarcely move.
"Stop now! I see I am dealing with a person who understands fighting. Stop!" said the Welwa for the second time. "Stop and let us settle our quarrel."
"Don't stop!" cried the bay.
Petru fought on, though he could scarcely breathe. But the Welwa no longer rushed so fiercely upon him and began to act with more care and caution, as people do when they feel they have not much strength. So the fight lasted till the dawn of the third day. When the rosy light of morning began to glimmer, Petru—how, I don't know, it's enough that he did it—threw the bridle over the head of the wearied Welwa, which instantly became a horse—the handsomest horse in the world.
"Sweet be your life, for you have delivered me from enchantment," said the transformed Welwa, and began to caress the bay charger. Petru learned from their conversation that the Welwa was a brother of the bay horse, and had been bewitched many years before by Holy Wednesday.
 Miercuri-Mittwoch (Wednesday) and Mercuria, that is, feminine form of Mercury.
Petru tied the Welwa to his horse, sprang into the saddle, and continued his journey. How did he ride? That I need not say. He rode swiftly till he got out of the copper forest.
"Stand still, and let me look at what I have never seen before," said Petru again, when they came out of the copper forest. A still more marvelous one now stretched before him, a forest of glittering bushes bearing the handsomest and most tempting flowers—he was entering the Silver Wood. The blossoms began to talk still more sweetly and enticingly than they had done in the Copper Forest. "Gather no more flowers," said the Welwa that was tied to the bay, "for my brother is seven times stronger than I."
But did my fearless hero restrain himself? Scarcely two minutes had passed ere he began to gather flowers and twine them into a wreath. The tempest howled louder, the darkness was greater, and the earth quaked still more than in the Copper Forest; the Welwa of the Silver Wood rushed upon Petru with seven-fold greater fierceness than the other Welwa had done. But he was not idle either. The battle again lasted for three days and three nights, and at dawn on the fourth morning our hero bridled the second Welwa.
"Sweet be your fortune, for you have delivered me from enchantment!" said the Welwa, and they pursued their journey along the road by which they had come.
"Stop, stand still, go on at a walk, and let me gaze at what I have never seen before," cried Petru for the third time; then he covered his eyes with his hand lest he should be blinded by the rays streaming from the Gold Forest. He had already beheld marvelous things, but never even dreamed of a sight like this.
"We will stand here or we shall fare badly," cried the horses in one breath.
"Why should we fare badly?" asked Petru.
"You'll pluck the flowers again. I know your heart will give you no rest until you do! And our youngest brother is seven times seven times stronger and more terrible than we three together. So let us go round the forest," said the bay.
"Certainly not," replied Petru; "let us go through it! Let us see all, since we have seen something, and experience all, now that we have experienced part. Have no fear, I have none!"
I need not tell you that Petru did again what he had already done twice. Oh dear! How could he help it?
Scarcely was the wreath twined when something began which had never been experienced before. It was not a more furious tempest or greater darkness, neither did the earth quake more violently. No! I don't know how or what it was, but it seemed to Petru as though somebody had got into the middle of the earth to overturn it. What happened was something awful, and may Heaven preserve any one from it!
"You see!" said the bay angrily, "why couldn't you keep quiet?"
Petru saw that he saw nothing more, began to feel that he felt nothing more, and understood that he could understand nothing more, so he made no reply, but girded his sword tighter and prepared to fight. "Now the Welwa can come," he cried, "I will die or throw the bridle over its head." He had scarcely uttered the words when something whose like he had never beheld before approached him. A dense fog surrounded Petru, a fog so dense that he could not even see himself in it.
"What's this?" cried the champion, somewhat startled, when he began to feel that he was aching all over. But he was still more alarmed when he perceived that he could not hear his own voice through the mist. So he began to strike about him with his sword to the right and left, before and behind, in every direction, and with all the strength he had—as a man does when he sees that matters are growing serious. So he fought on during a day and a night, without seeing any thing except thick darkness, or hearing any thing except his own perspiration trickling down his horse's flanks. For some time he had even felt as if he were no longer alive, but had died long before. Suddenly the fog began to scatter. At dawn on the second day it disappeared entirely, and when the sun rose in the sky Petru's eyes again saw the light. He felt as if he had been born anew.
The Welwa? it seemed to have vanished from the earth.
"Get your breath now, for the battle will begin again presently," said the bay.
"What was that?" asked Petru.
"The Welwa," replied the horse, "the Welwa changed into fog. Get your breath, it is coming again."
The bay had hardly spoken and Petru had hardly had time to breathe, when he saw approaching from one side something,—but what it was he did not know. Water, yet it was not like water, for it did not seem to flow on the earth, but in some queer fashion to fly, or move in some way—Enough, it left no trace behind and did not fly high. It was something that appeared to be nothing.
"Oh, dear!" cried Petru.
"Take courage and defend yourself, don't stand still," said the bay, but could not utter another word, for the water filled its mouth.
The fight began again. Petru struck about him without stopping for a day and a night, not knowing at what he was aiming, and fought without knowing with whom. When the next day dawned he felt that his feet were paralyzed.
"Now I am lost!" he cried somewhat angrily; yet he began to show himself doubly brave and dealt still stronger blows. The sun rose and the water vanished, one could not tell how or when.
"Get your breath!" said the bay, "get your breath, for you haven't much time to lose. The Welwa will come back directly."
Petru made no answer; the poor fellow was so tired that he did not know what to do. So he settled himself more firmly in the saddle, seized his sword with a tighter grip, and thus prepared awaited the approach of the foe he saw advancing.
Such a thing, how can I describe it? It was like a man dreaming that he sees something which has what it has not, and has not what it has—this was the shape in which the Welwa now appeared to Petru. Oh, heavens! how could the Welwa now be a gold forest after having twice left it in disgrace? It flew with its feet and walked with its wings, its head was behind and its tail was before, its eyes were in its breast and its breast was on its forehead—and as for the rest, no mortal could describe it.
Petru shuddered in every limb, and crossed himself twice, then he plucked up courage and began to fight as he had already fought once, and also as he had never yet fought before. The day passed and Petru's strength failed. Evening came, and Petru's eyes began to grow dim. When midnight arrived he felt that he was no longer on horseback. He himself did not know how and when he had reached the earth, but he was on foot. When night was yielding to day Petru could not keep up, but sank on his knees.
"Stand up, gather your strength once more!" cried the bay, seeing that his master was losing his vigor.
Petru wiped away the perspiration with his shirt-sleeve, strained every nerve, and once more stood erect.
"Now strike the Welwa on the mouth with the bridle?" said the bay.
Petru did as he was bid. The Welwa neighed so loudly that Petru thought he should be deafened, then, though so tired that it was scarcely able to move, rushed upon the hero. The fight was now not long. Petru managed to throw the bridle over this Welwa's head, too.
When broad day came, the hero was riding on the fourth horse. "May you have a beautiful wife, for you have delivered me from enchantment!" said the Welwa.
They rode on, and when night was shrouding the day, they reached the borders of the Gold Forest.
While pursuing their way Petru began to get tired, and, in order to have something to do, examined the beautiful wreaths. "What shall I do with the wreaths?" he said to himself. "One is enough for me. I'll keep the handsomest." So he threw down the copper one, then the silver one, and reserved only the gold garland.
"Stop," said the bay horse. "Don't throw the wreaths away. Dismount and pick them up, they may yet be useful to you."
Petru did as he was told and rode on. Toward evening, when the sun was only a hand's breadth above the horizon and the little flies were beginning to swarm, our rider reached the edge of the forest. Before him stretched a wide moor, on which as far as the eye could wander nothing was visible. The horses stopped.
"What is it?" asked Petru.
"We may fare badly here," replied the bay.
"Why should we fare badly?"
"We are now entering the domain of Holy Wednesday. So long as we ride through it, we shall experience nothing but cold, cold, cold. Fires are kept burning all along the roadside, and I'm afraid you will go and warm yourself."
"Why shouldn't I warm myself?"
"You'll fare badly if you do," said the bay anxiously.
"Forward," said Petru fearlessly, "I will be cold, too, if necessary."
The further Petru entered Holy Wednesday's kingdom the more he felt that it was no pleasant region. At every step the air grew colder and frostier, there was so much cold and ice that it froze even the marrow in one's bones. But Petru was no coward, he proved as brave in enduring hardship as he had been in battle. Along the roadside one fire after another was burning, and beside these fires were gathered groups of people who called to him in the sweetest, most enticing words. Petru's very breath froze, yet he did not yield, but ordered the bay to go on at a walk. How long our hero battled with the cold and frost can not be told, for every body knows that Holy Wednesday's kingdom is longer than one stone's throw or even two. The cold there is not moderate, but bitter, so bitter that even the rocks are split by the frost. That's the way it is in that country. But Petru had not grown up without some hardships, so he only ground his teeth, though he was so benumbed that he couldn't even wink.
They reached Holy Wednesday. Petru dismounted, flung the bridle over the bay's head, and entered the house.
"Good morning, mother."
"Thank you, my frozen hero!"
Petru laughed, but made no answer.
"You have proved yourself a brave fellow," said Holy Wednesday, patting him on the shoulder. "Now I'll give you the reward." She went to an iron chest, opened it, and took out a little box. "See," she said, "this casket has been destined from the earliest times for the person who penetrated the realm of the cold. Take it and guard it carefully, for it may be of great service to you. When you open it, you will receive news from whatever place you desire and truthful tidings from your native land."
Petru thanked her for her words and her gift, mounted his horse, and rode on. After he was a good stone's throw away, he opened the magic box. "What do you command?" asked something inside.
"Give me news of my father," replied Petru rather timidly.
"He is sitting in the council chamber with the elders of the kingdom."
"Is he prospering?"
"Not especially; he has troubles."
"Who is annoying him?" asked Petru, somewhat sharply.
"Your brothers, Costan and Florea," the voice in the box answered. "As it seems to me, they are trying to wrest the scepter from him and the old monarch says that they are not yet worthy of it."
"Forward, bay, we have no time to lose," cried Petru. Then, shutting the box, he put it into his knapsack.
They hurried as ghosts flit when whirlwinds are blowing and vampires hunting at midnight. How long they rode can not be told, but it was a long, long time.
"Stop! Let me give you another piece of advice," said the bay after a while.
"Well, tell me," said Petru.
"You have been tormented by the cold, now you'll have to encounter heat such as you never felt before. Keep up your courage, and don't let yourself be attracted to the cool places."
"Forward!" replied Petru. "Don't be anxious—if I didn't freeze, I shan't melt."
Indeed! This heat was enough to melt the very marrow of one's bones, a heat that exists nowhere except in the kingdom of Holy Thursday. The further they went the greater the heat became. Even the iron of the horses' shoes began to melt, but Petru would not yield. The perspiration ran down his body in streams, he wiped it away with his sleeve, and rode swiftly on. As for the heat, intense as it became, there was something else that tortured Petru more. Along the roadside, always a good stone's throw apart, were cool valleys with cold springs ready to quench the traveler's thirst. When Petru looked at them, he felt as if his heart was shriveled and his tongue dried up with thirst. Lilies, violets, and roses grew in the soft grass around the springs, and on these beds of flowers reclined girls so beautiful that heaven only knows how it would have been possible for them to be lovelier. Petru would fain have shut his eyes in order not to see such bewitching creatures any longer.
 Joi—Thursday and Jupiter.
"Come, hero, come to the cooling waters, let us amuse you," called the enticing maidens.
Petru silently shook his head, he had lost the power of speech.
They rode on so for a long, long time. Suddenly they felt that the heat was beginning to lessen, and on a distant hill-top a hut appeared. This was the dwelling of Holy Thursday. Petru approached, and when almost at the door Holy Thursday came out and welcomed him. Petru expressed his thanks, as is customary among distinguished and well-behaved people, and they entered into conversation as people who have never seen each other are in the habit of doing. Petru brought news of Holy Wednesday, related his adventures, and mentioned the goal for which he had started, and then bade her farewell, for he really had no time to lose. Who could tell how far he still had to go to reach the Fairy Aurora?
"Wait a little while, until I can say a few words to you," said Holy Thursday. "You are now about to enter the domain of Holy Friday; go to her and tell her that I wish her health and happiness. When you return, come to me again, and I'll give you something that will be useful to you."
 Vineri means Friday as well as Venus.
Petru thanked her and rode on.
He had scarcely ridden long enough to smoke a pipeful of tobacco, when he entered a new country. Here it was neither hot nor cold, but like the climate in spring when the lambs are being weaned. Petru began to breathe easily, but he was on a desolate moor consisting of sand and thistles.
"What can this be?" asked Petru, when he saw an object something like a house, but a long, long distance off; just where his eyes beheld the end of the dreary heath.
"That is Holy Friday's house," replied the bay; "if we ride on, we may be able to reach it before dark."
And so it happened. Night was just closing in as the hero slowly neared the distant house. On the moor was a throng of phantoms flitting on Petru's right and left hand, before and behind him.
"Don't be afraid," said the bay. "Those are the Whirlwind's daughters; they are dancing in the air, waiting for the moon eater."
So they reached Holy Friday's house. "Dismount and enter," said the bay.
Petru was about to do what he had been told.
"Stop, don't be in such a hurry," the horse continued. "Let me first tell you what you are to do. You can't go into Holy Friday's house so unceremoniously; she is guarded by the Whirlwinds."
"What am I to do?"
"Take the copper wreath and go with it to the hill you see yonder. When you reach the top, begin to call: 'Good Heavens, what beautiful girls, what angels, what fairy-like creatures!' Then hold the garland aloft, and say: 'If I only knew whether any body would take this wreath from me—if I only knew! If I only knew!' and hurl the garland away."
"Why should I do that?" asked Petru, as a man is in the habit of questioning, when he wants to know the cause of his acts.
"Silence! Go and do it," replied the bay curtly, and Petru, without further words, did as he was bid.
Scarcely had the hero flung the wreath aside, when the Whirlwinds rushed upon it and tussled around it.
Petru now turned toward the house.
"Stop," cried the bay again, "I haven't yet told you every thing. Take the silver wreath and knock at Holy Friday's window. When she asks 'Who is there?' say that you came on foot and have lost your way on the moor. She will rebuff you. But you mustn't stir from the spot. Say to her: 'I won't go away, for ever since I was a little child I have always heard of Holy Friday (Venus) and—I didn't have steel shoes made with calf-skin straps, did not travel nine years and nine months, did not fight for this silver wreath I want to give her, did not do and suffer all these things merely to turn back now that I have reached her.' Act and speak as I have told you—what follows must be your own care."
Petru made no reply, but went up to the house. As it was perfectly dark, the hero did not see the dwelling, and was guided only by the rays of light streaming through the window. When he reached the house several dogs began to bark, because they knew some stranger was near.
"Who is fighting with the hounds? May his life be bitter," cried Holy Friday angrily.
"It is I, Holy Friday!" said Petru, with laboring breath, like a man who likes and yet is not quite satisfied with what he is doing. "I have lost my way on the moor, and don't know where I can spend the night." Here he stopped, not daring to say more.
"Where did you leave your horse?" asked Holy Friday rather sharply.
Petru reflected; he did not know whether he ought to tell a lie or speak the truth, so he made no answer.
"Go, in God's name, my son, I have no room for you," said Holy Friday retiring from the window.