316 THE GROACH OF THE ISLE OF LOK
' Is it possible I can have forgotten her so soon ? What a wretch I am ! ' he thought to himself ; and he remained apart and watched the Groac'h while she emptied the fish into a plate, and bade him eat his dinner while she fetched wine from her cellar in a cave.
Houarn sat down and took out the knife which Bellah had given him, but as soon as the blade touched the fish the enchantment ceased, and four men stood before him.
' Houarn, save us, we entreat you, and save yourself too ! ' murmured they, not daring to raise their voices.
' Why, it must have been you who were crying out in the pot just now ! ' exclaimed Houarn.
' Yes, it was us,' they answered. ' Like you, we came to the isle of Lok to seek our fortunes, and like you we consented to marry the Groac'h, and no sooner was the ceremony over than she turned us into fishes, as she had done to all our forerunners, who are in the fish-pond still, where you will shortly join them.'
On hearing this Houarn leaped into the air, as if he already felt himself frizzling in the golden pot. He rushed to the door, hoping to escape that way ; but the Groac'h, who had heard everything, met him on the threshold. Instantly she threw the steel net over his head, and the eyes of a little green frog peeped through the meshes.
' You shall go and play with the rest,' she said, carrying him off to the fish-pond.
It was at this very moment that Bellah, who was skimming the milk in the farm dairy, heard the fairy bell tinkle violently.
At the sound she grew pale, for she knew it meant that Houarn was in danger ; and, hastily changing the rough dress she wore for her work, she left the farm with the magic stick in her hand.
Her knees were trembling under her, but she ran as