THE GROAC'H OF THE ISLE OF LOK 313
to shore. But the bird had guessed his intentions, and plunged beneath the water, carrying Houarn with him to the palace of the Groac'h.
Now, unless you have been under the sea and beheld all the wonders that he there, you can never have an idea what the Groac'h's palace was like. It was all made of shells, blue and green and pink and lilac and white, shading into each other till you could not tell where one colour ended and the other began. The staircases were of crystal, and every separate stair sang like a woodland bird as you put your foot on it. Round the palace were great gardens full of all the plants that grow in the sea, with diamonds for flowers.
In a large hall the Groac'h was lying on a couch of gold. The pink and white of her face reminded you of the shells of her palace, while her long black hair was intertwined with strings of coral, and her dress of green silk seemed formed out of the sea. At the sight of her Houarn stopped, dazzled by her beauty.
' Come in,' said the Groac'h, rising to her feet. ' Strangers and handsome youths are always welcome here. Do not be shy, but tell me how you found your way, and what you want.'
' My name is Houarn,' he answered, ' Lanillis is my home, and I am trying to earn enough money to buy a little cow and a pig to fatten.'
' Well, you can easily get that,' replied she ; ' it is nothing to worry about. Come in and enjoy yourself.' And she beckoned him to follow her into a second hall whose floors and walls were formed of pearls, while down the sides there were tables laden with fruit and wines of all kinds ; and as he ate and drank, the Groac'h talked to him and told him how the treasures he saw came from shipwrecked vessels, and were brought to her palace by a magic current of water.