THE GROAC'H OF THE ISLE OF LOK 315
' What do you mean ? ' cried he.
' My husband, Korandon, is dead,' she replied, ' and if you wish it, I will marry you.'
The young man gazed at her in surprise. Could any one so rich and so beautiful really wish to be his wife ? He looked at her again, and Bellah was forgotten as he answered :
' A man would be mad indeed to refuse such an offer. I can only accept it with joy.'
' Then the sooner it is done the better,' said the Groac'h, and gave orders to her servants. After that was finished, she begged Houarn to accompany her to a fish-pond at the bottom of the garden.
' Come lawyer, come miller, come tailor, come singer !' cried she, holding out a net of steel; and at each summons a fish appeared and jumped into the net. When it was full she went into a large kitchen and threw them all into a golden pot; but above the bubbling of the water Houarn seemed to hear the whispering of little voices.
' Who is it whispering in the golden pot, Groac'h ? ' he inquired at last.
' It is nothing but the noise of the wood sparkling,' she answered ; but it did not sound the least like that to Houarn.
' There it is again,' he said, after a short pause.
' The water is getting hot, and it makes the fish jump,' she replied ; but soon the noise grew louder and like cries.
' What is it ?' asked Houarn, beginning to feel uncomfortable.
' Just the crickets on the hearth,' said she, and broke into a song which drowned the cries from the pot.
But though Houarn held his peace, he was not as happy as before. Something seemed to have gone wrong, and then he suddenly remembered Bellah.