178 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN
were running down his back. ' What must come will come, whatever it is.'
' Don't be afraid,' said the horse. 'I will help you. Take the bridle from my neck, and try to catch the Welwa with it.'
The words were hardly spoken, and Petru had no time even to unbuckle the bridle, when the Welwa herself stood before him ; and Petru could not bear to look at her, so horrible was she.
She had not exactly a head, yet neither was she without one. She did not fly through the air, but neither did she walk upon the earth. She had a mane like a horse, horns like a deer, a face like a bear, eyes like a polecat; while her body had something of each. And that was the Welwa.
Petru planted himself firmly in his stirrups, and began to lay about him with his sw'ord, but could feel nothing.
A day and a night went by, and the fight was still undecided, but at last the Welwa began to pant for breath.
' Let us wait a little and rest,' gasped she.
Petru stopped and lowered his sword.
' You must not stop an instant,' said the horse, and Petru gathered up all his strength, and laid about him harder than ever.
The Welwa gave a neigh like a horse and a howl like a wolf, and threw herself afresh on Petru. For another day and night the battle raged more furiously than before. And Petru grew so exhausted he could scarcely move his arm.
' Let us wait a little and rest,' cried the Welwa for the second time, ' for I see you are as weary as I am.'
' You must not stop an instant,' said the horse.
And Petru went on fighting, though he barely had strength to move his arm. But the Welwa had ceased to throw herself upon him, and began to deliver her