180 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN
than the other two, and again Petru's companions pleaded with him to ride through it quickly, and to leave the flowers alone. But Petru turned a deaf ear to all they said, and before he had woven his golden crown he felt that something terrible, that he could not see, was coming near him right out of the earth. He drew his sword and made himself ready for the fight. ' I will die!' cried he, ' or he shall have my bridle over his head.'
He had hardly said the words when a thick fog wrapped itself around him, and so thick was it that he could not see his own hand, or hear the sound of his voice. For a clay and a night he fought with his sword, without ever once seeing his enemy, then suddenly the fog began to lighten. By dawn of the second day it had vanished altogether, and the sun shone brightly in the heavens. It seemed to Petru that he had been born again.
And the Welwa ? She had vanished.
' You had better take breath now you can, for the fight will have to begin all over again,' said the horse.
' What was it? ' asked Petru.
' It was the Welwa,' replied the horse, ' changed into a fog! Listen ! She is coming!'
And Petru had hardly drawn a long breath when he felt something approaching from the side, though what he could not tell. A river, yet not a river, for it seemed not to flow over the earth, but to go where it liked, and to leave no trace of its passage.
' Woe be to me!' cried Petru, frightened at last.
' Beware, and never stand still,' called the brown horse, and more he could not say, for the water was choking him.
The battle began anew. For a day and night Petru fought on, without knowing at whom or what he struck. At dawn on the second, he felt that both his feet were lame.
'Now I am done for,' thought he, and his blows fell thicker and harder in his desperation. And the sun came