360 THE WINNING OF OLWEN
loved theeŚwilt thou not come away with me from this evil place ? '
' That I cannot do,' answered she, ' for I have given my word to my father not to go without his knowledge, for his life will only last till I am betrothed. Whatever is, must be, but this counsel I will give you. Go, and ask me of my father, and whatsoever he shall require of thee grant it, and thou shalt win me ; but if thou deny him anything thou wilt not obtain me, and it will be well for thee if thou escape with thy life.'
' All this I promise,' said he.
So she returned to the castle, and all Arthur's men went after her, and entered the hall.
' Greeting to thee, Yspaddaden Penkawr,' said they. ' We come to ask thy daughter Olwen for Kilwch, son of Kilydd.'
' Come hither to-morrow and I will answer you,' replied Yspaddaden Penkawr, and as they rose to leave the hall he caught up one of the three poisoned darts that lay beside him and flung it in their midst. But Bedwyr saw and caught it, and flung it back so hard that it pierced the knee of Yspaddaden.
' A gentle son-in-law, truly!' he cried, writhing with pain. ' I shall ever walk the worse for this rudeness. Cursed be the smith who forged it, and the anvil on which it was wrought ! '
That night the men slept in the house of Custennin the herdsman, and the next day they proceeded to the castle, and entered the hall, and said :
' Yspaddaden Penkawr, give us thy daughter and thou shalt keep her dower. And unless thou wilt do this we will slay thee.'
' Her four great grandmothers and her four great grandfathers yet live,' answered Yspaddaden Penkawr ; ' it is needful that I take counsel with them.'
' Be it so ; we will go to meat,' but as they turned he took up the second dart that lay by his side and cast