THE CASTLE OF KEROLAS 259
reached the further bank, and advanced towards the castle.
In front of the entrance was a sort of tent supported on poles, and under it the giant was sitting, basking in the sun. As soon as he noticed the colt bearing Peronnik and the lady, he lifted his head, and cried in a voice of thunder :
' Why, it is surely the idiot, riding my colt thirteen months old ! '
' Greatest of magicians, you are right,' answered Peronnik.
' And how did you manage to catch him ? ' asked the giant.
' By repeating what I learnt from your brother Bryak on the edge of the forest,' replied the idiot. ' I just
Colt, free to run and free to eat, Colt, gallop fast until we meet,
and it came directly.'
' You know my brother, then ? ' inquired the giant. ' Tell me why he sent you here.'
' To bring you two gifts which he has just received from the country of the Moors,' answered Peronnik : ' the apple of delight and the woman of submission. If you eat the apple you will not desire anything else, and if you take the woman as your servant you will never wish for another.'
' Well, give me the apple, and bid the woman get down,' answered Rogear.
The idiot obeyed, but at the first taste of the apple the giant staggered, and as the long yellow finger of the woman touched him he fell dead.
Leaving the magician where he lay, Peronnik entered the palace, bearing with him the flower that laughs. Fifty doors flew open before him, and at length he reached a long flight of steps which seemed to lead into the bowels of the earth. Down these he went till he