184 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN
' He is sitting in council with his nobles,' answered the casket.
'Is he well?'
' Not particularly, for he is furiously angry.'
' What has angered him? '
' Your brothers Costan and Florea,' replied the casket. ' It seems to me they are trying to rule him and the kingdom as well, and the old man says they are not fit to do it.'
' Push on, good horse, for we have no time to lose!' cried Petru; then he shut up the box, and put it in his pocket.
They rushed on as fast as ghosts, as whirlwinds, as vampires when they hunt at midnight, and how long they rode no man can tell, for the way is far.
' Stop! I have some advice to give you,' said the horse at last.
' What is it?' asked Petru.
' You have known what it is to suffer cold; you will have to endure heat, such as you have never dreamed of. Be as brave now as you were then. Let no one tempt you to try to cool yourself, or evil will befall you.'
' Forwards! ' answered Petru. ' Do not worry yourself. If I have escaped without being frozen, there is no chance of my melting-'
' Why not? This is a heat that will melt the marrow in your bones — a heat that is only to be felt in the kingdom of the Goddess of Thunder.'1
And it was hot. The very iron of the horse's shoes began to melt, but Petru gave no heed. The sweat ran down his face, but he dried it with his gauntlet. What heat could be he never knew before, and on the way, not a stone's throw from the road, lay the most delicious valleys, full of shady trees and bubbling streams. When Petru looked at them his heart burned within him, and
1 In the German 'Donnerstag' — the day of the Thunder God, t. e. Jupiter.