THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 189
do nothing of the sort, as from my childhood I have heard stories of the beauty of the goddess Venus, and it was not for nothing that I had shoes made of leather with soles of steel, and have travelled for nine years and nine months, and have won in battle the silver wreath, which I hope you may allow me to give you, and have done and suffered everything to be where I now am." This is what you must say. What happens after is your affair.'
Petru asked no more, but went towards the house.
By this time it was pitch dark, and there was only the ray of light that streamed through the windows to guide him, and at the sound of his footsteps two dogs began to bark loudly.
' Which of those dogs is barking ? Is he tired of life ?' asked the goddess Venus.
' It is I, O goddess!' replied Petru, rather timidly. ' I have lost my way on the heath, and do not know where I am to sleep this night.'
'Where did you leave your horse? ' asked the goddess sharply.
Petru did not answer. He was not sure if he was to lie, or whether he had better tell the truth.
' Go away, my son, there is no place for you here,' replied she, drawing back from the window.
Then Petru repeated hastily what the horse had told him to say, and no sooner had he done so than the goddess opened the window, and in gentle tones she asked him :
' Let me see this wreath, my son,' and Petru held it out to her.
' Come into the house,' went on the goddess; ' do not fear the dogs, they always know my will.' And so they did, for as the young man passed they wagged their tails to him.
'Good evening,' said Petru as he entered the house, and, seating himself near the fire, listened comfortably to