THE STORY OF ClCCU 353
the stone where Ciccu was waiting for them, he swung himself up and held her round the waist. As he put his arms round her waist, the fairest in the world unwound the veil from her head and cast it to the ground, and then she drew a ring from her finger and flung it into the stream. But she said nothing, and they rode on fast, fast.
The king of Ciccu's country was watching for- them from the top of a tower, and when he saw in the distance a cloud of dust, he ran down to the steps so as to be ready to receive them. Bowing low before the fairest in the world, he spoke: ' Noble lady, will you do me the honour to become my wife?'
But she answered, ' That can only be when Ciccu brings me the veil that I let fall on my way here.'
And the king turned to Ciccu and said, ' Ciccu, if you do not find the veil at once, you shall lose your head.'
Ciccu, who by this time had hoped for a little peace, felt his heart sink at this fresh errand, and he went into the stable to complain to the faithful horse.
' It will be all right,' answered the horse when he had heard his tale; 'just take enough food for the day for both of us, and then get on my back.'
They rode back all the way they had come till they reached the place where they had found the eagle caught in the snare; then the horse bade Ciccu to call three times on the king of the birds, and when he replied, to beg him to fetch the veil which the fairest in the world had let fall.
'Wait a moment,' answered a voice that seemed to come from somewhere very high up indeed. ' An eagle is playing with it just now, but he will be here with it in an instant; ' and a few minutes after there was a sound of wings, and an eagle came fluttering towards them with the veil in his beak. And Ciccu saw it was the very same eagle that he had freed from the snare. So he took the veil and rode back to the kino-.
Now the king was enchanted to see him so soon, and