2 16 LILITH
of a man's life. He in return breathed into mine the breath of a horse's life, and we loved one another. What eyes he had! Blue-filmy like the eyes of the dead, behind each was a glowing coal! The raven, with wings half extended, looked on pleased at my love-making to his magnificent horse.
' That is well! be friends with him,' he said : ' he will carry you all the better to-morrow !—Now we must hurry home ! '
My desire to ride the horse had grown passionate.
' May I not mount him at once, Mr. Baven ?' I cried.
' By all means !' he answered. ' Mount, and ride him home.'
The horse bent his head over my shoulder lovingly. I twisted my hands in his mane and scrambled on his back, not without aid from certain protuberant bones.
' He would outspeed any leopard in creation! ' I cried.
' Not that way at night,' answered the raven; ' the road is difficult.—But come; loss now will be gain then ! To wait is harder than to run, and its meed is the fuller. Go on, my son—straight to the cottage. I shall be there as soon as you. It will rejoice my wife's heart to see son of hers on that horse! '
I sat silent. The horse stood like a block of marble.
I Why do you linger ? ' asked the raven.
'I long so much to ride after the leopardess,' I answered, ' that I can scarce restrain myself ! '
' You have promised !'
' My debt to the Little Ones appears, I confess, a greater thing than my bond to you.'
' Yield to the temptation and you will bring mischief upon them—and on yourself also.'