THE CASTLE OF KERGLAS 251
colt beneath their weight. To his dying day Peronnik never knew whether these things were real or if he only imagined them, but he pulled down his knitted cap so as to cover his eyes, and trusted the colt to carry him down the right road.
At last the forest was left behind, and they came out on a wide plain where the air blew fresh and strong. The idiot ventured to peep out, and found to his relief that the enchantments seemed to have ended, though a thrill of horror shot through him as he noticed the skeletons of men scattered over the plain, beside the skeletons of their horses. And what were those grey forms trotting away in the distance ? Were they—could they be—wolves ?
But vast though the plain seemed, it did not take long to cross, and very soon the colt entered a sort of shady park in which was standing a single apple-tree, its branches bowed down to the ground with the weight of its fruit. In front was the korigan—the little fairy man—holding in his hand the fiery sword, which reduced to ashes everything it touched. At the sight of Peronnik he uttered a piercing scream, and raised his sword, but without appearing surprised the youth only lifted his cap, though he took care to remain at a little distance.
' Do not be alarmed, my prince,' said Peronnik, ' I am just on my way to Kerglas, as the noble Rogear has begged me to come to him on business.'
' Begged you to come !' repeated the dwarf, ' and who, then, are you ? '
' I am the new servant he has engaged, as you know very well,' answered Peronnik.
' I do not know at all,' rejoined the korigan sulkily, ' and you may be a robber for all I can tell.'
' I am so sorry,' replied Peronnik, ' but I may be wrong in calling myself a servant, for I am only a bird-catcher. But do not delay me, I pray, for his