The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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120             THE MAGICIAN'S HORSE
' Mount me at once,' answered the horse, ' and I will gallop as fast as I can.' And he set off so fast that the earth seemed to fly from under his hoofs.
' Look back once more,' he said, after a short time, ' and see if he is in sight.'
' I see a cloud and a flame,' answered the prince; ' but a long way off.'
' We must make haste,' said the horse. And shortly after he said: ' Look back again; he can't be far off now.'                                                        '
The prince turned in his saddle, and exclaimed: ' Pie is close behind us, in a minute the flame from his horse's nostrils will reach us.'
' Then throw the brush on the ground,' said the horse.
And the prince threw it, and in an instant the brush was changed into such a thick wood that even a bird could not have got through it, and when the old man got up to it the roan horse came suddenly to a stand-still, not able to advance a step into the thick tangle. So there was nothing for the magician to do but to retrace his steps, to fetch an axe, with which he cut himself a way through the wood. But it took him some time, during which the prince and the black horse got on well ahead.
But once more they heard the sound of pursuing feet. ' Look back,' said the black horse, ' and see if he is following.'
'Yes,' answered the prince, 'this time I hear him distinctly.'
' Let us hurry on,' said the horse. And a little later he said: ' Look back now, and see if he is in sight.'
' Yes,' said the prince, turning round, ' I see the flame ; he is close behind us.'
' Then you must throw down the whip,' answered the horse. And in the twinkling of an eye the whip was changed into a broad river. When the old man got up to it he urged the roan horse into the water, but as the wrater
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