244 THE STONES OF PLOUHINEC
On they came, bent a little forward, the tallest of them all at their head, breaking everything that stood in their way. At the sight Bernez stood transfixed with horror, and said,
' We are lost! They will crush us to death.'
' Not me !' answered the sorcerer, holding up the crowsfoot and the five-leaved trefoil, ' for these will pre≠serve me. But in order to keep my riches, I was obliged to sacrifice a Christian to the stones, and an evil fate-threw you in my way.' And as he spoke he stretched out the magic herbs to the stones, which were advancing rapidly. As if acknowledging a power greater than theirs, the monstrous things instantly parted to the right and left of the wizard, but closed their ranks again as they approached Bernez.
The young man did not try to escape, he knew it was useless, and sank on his knees and closed his eyes. But suddenly the tall stone that was leading stopped straight in front of Bernez, so that no other could get past.
It was the stone on which Bernez had carved the cross, and it was now a baptized stone, and had power to save him.
So the- stone remained before the young man till the rest had taken their places, and then, darting like a bird to its own hole, came upon the beggar, who, thinking himself quite safe, was staggering along under the weight of his treasures.
Seeing the stone approaching, he held out the magic herbs which he carried, but the baptized stone was no longer subject to the spells that bound the rest, and passed straight on its way, leaving the wizard crushed into powder in the heather.
Then Bernez went home, and showed his wealth to Marzinne, who this time did not refuse him as a brother-in-law, and he and Rozennik were married, and lived happy for ever after.
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