188 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN
they found themselves nearing the house. Petru's heart leaped at the sight, for all the way along he had been followed by a crowd of shadowy figures who danced about him from right to left, and from back to front, and Petru, though a brave man, felt now and then a thrill of fear.
' They won't hurt you,' said the horse ; ' they are just the daughters of the whirlwind amusing themselves while they are waiting for the ogre of the moon.'
Then he stopped in front of the house, and Petru jumped off and went to the door.
' Do not be in such a hurry,' cried the horse. ' There are several things I must tell you first. You cannot enter the house of the goddess Venus like that. She is always watched and guarded by the whirlwind.'
'What am I to do then?'
' Take the copper wreath, and go with it to that little hill over there. When you reach it, say to yourself, "Were there ever such lovely maidens! such angels! such fairy souls ! " Then hold the wreath high in the air and cry, " Oh! if I knew whether any one would accept this wreath from me ... if I knew ! if I knew ! " and throw the wreath from you !'
' And why should I do all this? ' said Petru.
' Ask no questions, but go and do it,' replied the horse. And Petru did.
Scarcely had he flung away the copper wreath than the whirlwind flung himself upon it, and tore it in pieces.
Then Petru turned once more to the horse.
' Stop ! ' cried the horse again. ' I have other things to tell you. Take the silver wreath and knock at the windows of the goddess Venus. When she says, '' Who is there?" answer that you have come on foot and lost your way on the heath. She will then tell you to go your way back again; but take care not to stir from the spot. Instead, be sure you say to her, " No, indeed I shall