328 THE ESCAPE OF THE MOUSE
' If I knew any cause that I should succour it, I would take thy counsel,' answered Manawyddan, 'but as I know of none, I am minded to destroy it.'
' Do so then,' said Kicva.
So he went up a hill and set up two forks on the top, and while he was doing this he saw a scholar coming towards him, whose clothes were tattered. Now it was seven years since Manawyddan had seen man or beast in that place, and the sight amazed him.
' Good day to thee, my lord,' said the scholar.
' Good greeting to thee, scholar. Whence dost thou come ?'
' From singing in England ; but wherefore dost thou ask?'
' Because for seven years no man hath visited this place.'
' I wander where I will,' answered the scholar. ' And what work art thou upon ? '
' I am about to hang a thief that I caught robbing me!'
' What manner of thief is that ?' inquired the scholar. ' I see a creature in thy hand like unto a mouse, and ill does it become a man of thy rank to touch a reptile like this. Let it go free.'
' I will not let it go free,' cried Manawyddan. ' I caught it robbing me, and it shall surfer the doom of a thief.'
' Lord ! ' said the scholar, ' sooner than see a man like thee at such a work, I would give thee a pound which I have received as alms to let it go free.'
' I will not let it go free, neither will I sell it.'
' As thou wilt, lord,' answered the scholar, and he went his way.
Manawyddan was placing the cross-beam on the two forked sticks, where the mouse was to hang, when a priest rode past.