THE KINO OF THE WATERFALLS 85
and then burst into tears, for she was tired and very frightened. But her husband did not understand why she wept, and he was tired and bruised from his climb, and a little cross too.
' You give me but a sorry welcome,' grumbled he, ' when I have half-killed myself to get to you.'
' Do not heed him,' said the horses to the weeping woman; ' put him in front of us, where he will be safe, and give him food, for he is weary.' And she did as the horses told her, and he ate and rested, till by and bye a long shadow fell over them, and their hearts beat with fear, for they knew that the giant was coming.
' I smell a stranger,' cried the giant, as he entered ; but it was dark inside the chasm, and he did not see the king, who was crouching down between the feet of the horses.
' A stranger, my lord ! no stranger ever comes here, not even the sun ! ' and the king's wife laughed gaily as she went up to the giant and stroked the huge hand which hung down by his side.
' Well, I perceive nothing, certainly,' answered he, ' but it is very odd. However, it is time that the horses were fed;' and he lifted down an armful of hay from a shelf of rock and held out a handful to each animal, who moved forward to meet him, leaving the king behind. As soon as the giant's hands were near their mouths they each made a snap, and began to bite them, so that his groans and shrieks might have been heard a mile off. Then they wheeled round and kicked him till they could kick no more. At length the giant crawled away, and lay quivering in a corner, and the queen went up to him.
' Poor thing ! poor thing !' she said, ' they seem to have gone mad ; it was awful to behold.'
' If I had had my soul in my body they would certainly have killed me,' groaned the giant.