12G THE MAGICIAN'S HORSE
answered the king. ' Besides, I have n't got a horse fit for you. But see, there is a carter on the road carting hay, you may take his horse.'
So the prince took the carter's horse, but the poor beast wras old and tired, and after it had gone a few yards it stumbled and fell. So the prince returned sadly to the garden and watched the king ride forth at the head of the army accompanied by his two sons-in-law. When they were out of sight the prince betook himself to the vaulted chamber by the brook-side, and having taken counsel of the faithful black horse, he put on the glittering suit of armour, and was borne on the back of the horse through the air, to where the battle was being-fought. And once more he routed the king's enemies, hacking to right and left with his sword. And again they all cried : ' A god has come to our rescue! ' But when they tried to detain him the black horse rose in the air and bore him out of their sight-When the king and his sons-in-law returned home they could talk of nothing but the hero who had fought for them, and all wondered who he could be.
Shortly afterwards the king of a neighbouring country declared war, and once more the king and his sons-in-law and his subjects had to prepare themselves for battle, and once more the prince begged to ride with them, but the king said he had no horse to spare for him. ' But,' he added, ' you may take the horse of the wroodman who brings the wood from the forest, it is good enough for you.'
So the prince took the wroodman's horse, but it was so old and useless that it could not carry him beyond the castle gates. So he betook himself once more to the vaulted hall, where the black horse had prepared a still more magnificent suit of armour for him than the one he had worn on the previous occasions, and when he had put it on, and mounted on the back of the horse, he bore him straight to the battle-field, and once more he scattered the king's enemies, fighting single-handed in their