326 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY
was the best thing it could do, as now the girl's blood was up, and the light of battle in her eyes. Then without looking round, she rode across the bridge.
The emperor, proud of this first victory, took a short cut, and waited for her at the end of another day's journey, close to a river, over which he threw a bridge of silver. And this time he took the shape of a lion.
But the horse guessed this new danger and told the princess how to escape it. But it is one thing to receive advice when we feel safe and comfortable, and quite another to be able to carry it out when some awfnl peril is threatening us. And if the wolf had made the girl quake with terror, it seemed like a lamb beside this dreadful lion.
At the sound of his roar the very trees quivered and his claws were so large that every one of them looked like a cutlass.
The breath of the princess came and went, and her feet rattled in the stirrups. Suddenly the remembrance flashed across her of the wolf whom she had put to flight, and waving her sword, she rushed so violently on the lion that he had barely time to spring on one side, so as to avoid the blow. Then, like a flash, she crossed this bridge also.
Now during her whole life, the princess had been so carefully brought up, that she had never left the gardens of the palace, so that the sight of the hills and valleys and tinkling streams, and the song of the larks and blackbirds, made her almost beside herself with wonder and delight. She longed to get down and bathe her face in the clear pools, and pick the brilliant flowers, but the horse said ' No,' and quickened his pace, neither turning to the right or the left.
'Warriors,' he told her, 'only rest when they have won the victory. You have still another battle to fight, and it is the hardest of all.'
This time it was neither a wolf nor a lion that was