84 THE KING OF THE WATERFALLS
' Oh, take heart,' replied the hawrk ; ' things are never so bad but what they might be worse. Eat and sleep and I will watch thee,' and the king did as he was bidden by the hawk, and by the morning he felt brave again.
' Farewell,' said the bird, ' and if danger presses call to me, and I will help you.'
On he walked, and on and on, till as the dusk was falling he came to a great river, and on the bank there were sticks lying about.
' I will make myself a fire,' he thought, and thus he did, and by and bye a smooth brown head peered at him from the water, and a long body followed it.
' Sore was the plight of thy wife and thy horses when they passed the river last night,' said the otter.
' I have sought them and not found them,' answered the king, ' and nought shall I get for my trouble.'
' Be not so downcast,' replied the otter; ' before noon to-morrow thou shalt behold thy wife. But eat and sleep and I will watch over thee.' So the king did as the otter bid him, and when the sun rose he woke and saw the otter lying on the bank.
' Farewell,' cried the otter as he jumped into the water, ' and if danger presses, call to me and I will help you.'
For many hours the king walked, and at length he reached a high rock, which was rent in two by a great earthquake. Throwing himself on the ground he looked over the side, and right at the very bottom he saw his wife and his horses. His heart gave a great bound, and all his fears left him, but he was forced to be patient, for the sides of the rock were smooth, and not even a goat could find foothold. So he got up again, and made his way round through the wood, pushing by trees, scrambling over rocks, wrading through streams, till at last he was on flat ground again, close to the mouth of the cavern.
His wife gave a shriek of joy when he came in,