THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 169
The dragon on the bridge was more fearful and his three heads more terrible than before, and the young hero rode away still faster than his brother had done.
Nothing more was heard either of him or Florea; and Petru remained alone.
'I must go after my brothers,' said Petru one day to his father.
< Go, then,' said his father, ' and may you have better luck than they '; and he bade farewell to Petru, who rode straight to the borders of the kingdom.
The dragon on the bridge was yet more dreadful than the one Florea and Costan had seen, for this one had seven heads instead of only three.
Petru stopped for a moment when he caught sight of this terrible creature. Then he found his voice.
' Get out of the way! ' cried he. ' Get out of the way! ' he repeated again, as the dragon did not move. ' Get out of the way! ' and with this last summons he drew his sword and rushed upon him. In an instant the heavens seemed to darken round him and he was surrounded by fire — fire to right of him, fire to left of him, fire to front of him, fire to rear of him; nothing but fire whichever way he looked, for the dragon's seven heads were vomiting flame.
The horse neighed and reared at the horrible sight, and Petru could not use the sword he had in readiness.
'Be quiet! this won't do!' he said, dismounting hastily, but holding the bridle firmly in his left hand and grasping his sword in his right.
But even so he got on no better, for he could see nothing but fire and smoke.
' There is no help for it; I must go back and get a better horse,' said he, and mounted again and rode homewards.
At the gate of the palace his nurse, old Birscha, was waiting for him eagerly.
' Ah, Petru, my son, I knew you would have to come