THE CASTLE OF KERGLAS 253
now easy for him to pluck an apple and to mount his horse, without being hindered by the dwarf, whom he left to his fate.
When they had left the plain behind them, Peronnik and his steed found themselves in a narrow valley in which was a grove of trees, full of all sorts of sweet-smelling things—roses of every colour, yellow broom, pink honeysuckle—while above them all towered a wonderful scarlet pansy whose face bore a strange expression. This was the flower that laughs, and no one who looked at it could help laughing too. Peronnik's heart beat high at the thought that he had reached safely the second trial, and he gazed quite calmly at the lion with the mane of vipers twisting and twirling, who walked up and down in front of the grove.
The young man pulled up and removed his cap, for, idiot though he was, he knew that when you have to do with people greater than yourself, a cap is more useful in the hand than on the head. Then, after wishing all kinds of good fortune to the lion and his family, he inquired if he was on the right road to Kerglas.
' And what is your business at Kerglas ? ' asked the lion wdth a growl, and showing his teeth.
' With all respect,' answered Peronnik, pretending to be very frightened, ' I am the servant of a lady who is a friend of the noble Rogear and sends him some larks for a pasty.'
' Larks ? ' cried the lion, licking his long whiskers. ' Why, it must be a century since I have had any I Have you a large quantity with you ? '
' As many as this bag will hold,' replied Peronnik, opening, as he spoke, the bag which he had filled with feathers and glue ; and to prove what he said, he turned his back on the lion and began to imitate the song of a lark.