272 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN
While he was thus waiting there ran up to him a youth, scarcely able to speak so swiftly had he sped; and he crieci aloud:
'Hasten, hasten, Covan the Brown-haired, for your cows are in the corn, and you must drive them out!'
'Nay,' said Covan smiling, 'it had been easier for you to have driven them out than to come here to tell me.' And he went on listening to the music.
Very soon the same youth returned, and cried with panting breath:
'Out upon you, Covan son of Gorla, that you stand there agape. For our dogs are chasing your cows, and you must drive them off!'
'Nay, then,' answered Covan as before, 'it had been easier for you to call off your dogs than to come here to tell me.' And he stayed where he was till the music ceased.
Then he turned to look for his cows, and found them all lying in the place where he had left them; but when they saw Covan they rose up and walked homewards, taking a different path to that they had trod in the morning. This time they passed over a plain so bare that a pin could not have lain there unnoticed, yet Covan beheld with surprise a foal and its mother feeding there, both as fat as if they had pastured on the richest grass. Further on they crossed another plain, where the grass was thick and green, but on it were feeding a foal and its mother, so lean that you could have counted their ribs. And further again the path led them by the shores of a lake whereon were floating two boats; one full of gay and happy youths, journeying to the land of the Sun, and another with grim shapes clothed in black, travelling to the land of Night.
'What can these things mean?' said Covan to himself, as he followed his cows.
Darkness now fell, the wind howled, and torrents of rain poured upon them. Covan knew not how far they might