252 THE CASTLE OF KERGLAS
highness the magician expects me, and, as you see, has lent me his colt so that I may reach the castle all the quicker.'
At these words the korigan cast his eyes for the first time on the colt, which he knew to be the one belonging to the magician, and began to think that the young man was speaking the truth. After examining the horse, he studied the rider, who had such an innocent, and indeed vacant, air that he appeared incapable of inventing a story. Still, the dwarf did not feel quite sure that all was right, and asked what the magician wanted with a bird-catcher.
' From what he says, he wants one very badly,' replied Perronik, ' as he declares that all his grain and all the fruit in his garden at Kerglas are eaten up by the birds.'
' And how are you going to stop that, my fine fellow ? ' inquired the korigan ; and Peronnik showed him the snare he had prepared, and remarked that no bird could possibly escape from it.
' That is just what I should like to be sure of,' answered the korigan. ' My apples are completely eaten up by blackbirds and thrushes. Lay your snare, and if you can manage to catch them, I will let you pass.'
' That is a fair bargain,' and as he spoke Peronnik jumped down and fastened his colt to a tree ; then, stooping, he fixed one end of the net to the trunk of the apple tree, and called to the korigan to hold the other while he took out the pegs. The dwarf did as he was bid, when suddenly Peronnik threw the noose over his neck and drew it close, and the korigan was held as fast as any of the birds he wished to snare.
Shrieking with rage, he tried to undo the cord, but he only pulled the knot tighter. He had put down the sword on the grass, and Peronnik had been careful to fix the net on the other side of the tree, so that it was