THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 347
Her husband said nothing, and began to talk of something else ; but the next morning he ordered his horse, took his spear, called his bloodhound, and set off for the castle.
It needed a brave man to approach it, for it made your hair stand on end merely to look at it; it was as dark as the night of a storm, and as silent as the grave. But the Knight of the Fish knew no fear, and had never turned his back on an enemy; so he drew out his horn, and blew a blast.
The sound awoke all the sleeping echoes in the castle, and was repeated now loudly, now softly ; now near, and now far. But nobody stirred for all that.
' Is there anyone inside ? ' cried the young man in his loudest voice ; ' anyone who will give a knight hospitality? Neither governor, nor squire, not even a page ? '
' Not even a page!' answered the echoes. But the young man did not heed them, and only struck a furious blow at the gate.
Then a small grating opened, and there appeared the tip of a huge nose, which belonged to the ugliest old woman that ever was seen.
' What do you want ? ' said she.
' To enter,' he answered shortly. ' Can I rest here this night ? Yes or No ?'
' No, No, No !' repeated the echoes.
Between the fierce sun and his anger at being kept waiting, the Knight of the Fish had grown so hot that he lifted his visor, and when the old woman saw how handsome he was, she began fumbling with the lock of the gate.
' Come in, come in,' said she, ' so fine a gentleman will do us no harm.'
' Harm !' repeated the echoes, but again the young man paid no heed.
' Let us go in, ancient-dame,' but she interrupted him.
' You must call me the Lady Berberisca,' she answered,