342 THE BROWNIE OF THE LAKE
and stood with his hand on the mane of one of the animals, waiting till they had done, and thinking all the while of Barbaik, when a voice came out of the gorse close by.
' What is the matter, Jegu ? You mustn't despair yet.'
The young man glanced up in surprise, and asked who was there.
' It is I, the brownie of the lake,' replied the voice.
' But where are you ? ' inquired Jegu.
' Look close, and you will see me among the reeds in the form of a little green frog. I can take,' he added proudly, ' any shape I choose, and even, which is much harder, be invisible if I want to.'
' Then show yourself to me in the shape in which your family generally appear,' replied Jegu.
' Certainly, if you wish,' and the frog jumped on the back of one of the horses, and changed into a little dwarf, all dressed in green.
This transformation rather frightened Jegu, but the brownie bade him have no fears, for he would not do him any harm ; indeed, he hoped that Jegu might find him of some use.
' But why should you take all this interest in me ? ' asked the peasant suspiciously.
' Because of a service you did me last winter, which I have never forgotten,' answered the little fellow. ' You know, I am sure, that the korigans x who dwell in the White Corn country have declared war on my people, because they say that they are the friends of man. We were therefore obliged to take refuge in distant lands, and to hide ourselves at first under different animal shapes. Since that time, partly from habit and partly to amuse ourselves, we have continued to transform ourselves, and it was in this way that I got to know you.'
1 The spiteful fairies.