282 THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN
black man on top of the mound, as he had said, and in truth he was mightier in all ways than I had thought him to be. As for the club, Kai, it would have been a burden for four of our warriors. He waited for me to speak, and I asked him what power he held over the beasts that thronged so close about him.
" I will show thee, little man," he answered, and with his club he struck a stag on the head till he brayed loudly. And at his braying the animals came running, numerous as the stars in the sky, so that scarce was I able to stand among them. Serpents were there also, and dragons, and beasts of strange shapes, with horns in places where never saw I horns before. And the black man only looked at them and bade them go and feed. And they bowed themselves before him, as vassals before their lord.
' " Now, little man, I have answered thy question and showed thee my power," said he. " Is there anything else thou wouldest know ? " Then I inquired of him my way, but he grew angry, and, as I perceived, would fain have hindered me ; but at the last, after I had toll him who I was, his anger passed from him.
' " Take that path," said he, " that leads to the head of this grassy glade, and go up the wood till thou reachest the top. There thou wilt find an open space, and in the midst of it a tall tree. Under the tree is a fountain, and by the fountain a marble slab, and on the slab a bowl of silver, with a silver chain. Dip the bowl in the fountain, and throw the water on the slab, and thou wilt hear a mighty peal of thunder, till heaven and earth seem trembling with the noise. After the thunder will come hail, so fierce that scarcely canst thou endure it and live, for the hailstones are both large and thick. Then the sun will shine again, but every leaf of the tree will be lying on the ground. Next a flight of birds will come and alight on the tree, and never didst thou hear a strain so sweet as