THE WINNING OF OLWEN 355
boon I seek likewise at the hands of thy warriors. From Sol, who can stand all day upon one foot; from Ossol, who, if he were to find himself on the top of the highest mountain in the world, could make it into a level plain in the beat of a bird's wing; from Clust, who, though he were buried under the earth, could yet hear the ant leave her nest fifty miles away : from these and from Kai and from Bedwyr and from all thy mighty men I crave this boon.'
' 0 Kilwch,' said Arthur, ' never have I heard of the maiden of whom thou speakest, nor of her kindred, but I will send messengers to seek her if thou wilt give me time.'
' From this night to the end of the year right willingly will I grant thee,' replied Kilwch; but when the end of the year came and the messengers returned Kilwch was wroth, and spoke rough words to Arthur.
It was Kai, the boldest of the warriors and the swiftest of foot—he who could pass nine nights without sleep, and nine days beneath the water—that answered him :
' Rash youth that thou art, darest thou speak thus to Arthur ? Come with us, and we will not part company till we have won that maiden, or till thou confess that there is none such in the world.'
Then Arthur summoned his five best men and bade them go with Kilwch. There was Bedwyr the one-handed, Kai's comrade and brother in arms, the swiftest man in Britain save Arthur ; there was Kynddelig, who knew the paths in a land where he had never been as surely as he did those of his own country ; there was Gwrhyr, that could speak all tongues; and Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar, who never returned till he had gained what he sought; and last of all there was Menw, who could weave a spell over them so that none might see them, while they could see everyone.
So these seven journeyed together till they reached