286 THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN
find him they were sorely grieved, and they returned to the castle.
Then Owen went to the maiden and placed his hand on her shoulder, and she guided him to a large room, painted all over with rich colours, and adorned with images of gold. Here she gave him meat and drink, and water to wash with and garments to wear, and he lay down upon a soft bed, with scarlet and fur to cover him, and slept gladly.
In the middle of the night he woke hearing a great outcry, and he jumped lip and clothed himself and went into the hall, where the maiden was standing.
' What is it ? ' he asked, and she answered that the knight who owned the castle was dead, and they were bearing his body to the church. Never had Owen beheld such vast crowds, and following the dead knight was the most beautiful lady in the world, whose cry was louder than the shout of the men, or the braying of the trumpets. And Owen looked on her and loved her.
' Who is she ? ' he asked the damsel. ' That is my mistress, the countess of the fountain, and the wife of him whom thou didst slay yesterday.'
' Verily,' said Owen, ' she is the woman that I love best.'
' She shall also love thee not a little,' said the maiden.
Then she left Owen, and after a while went into the chamber of her mistress, and spoke to her, but the countess answered her nothing.
' What aileth thee, mistress ? ' inquired the maiden.
' Why hast thou kept far from me in my grief, Luned ? ' answered the countess, and in her turn the damsel asked :
' Is it well for thee to mourn so bitterly for the dead, or for anything that is gone from thee ? '
' There is no man in the world equal to him,' replied