THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 273
yet have to go, or indeed if they were on the right road. He could not even see his cows, and his heart sank lest, after all, he should have failed to bring them safely back. What was he to do?
He waited thus, for he could go neither forwards nor backwards, till he felt a great friendly paw laid on his shoulder.
'My cave is just here,' said the Dog of Maol-m6r, of whom Covan son of Gorla had heard much. 'Spend the night here, and you shall be fed on the flesh of lamb, and shall lay aside three-thirds of thy weariness.'
And Covan entered, and supped, and slept, and in the morning rose up a new man.
'Farewell, Covan,' said the Dog of Maol-mor. 'May success go with you, for you took what I had to give and did not mock me. So, when danger is your companion, wish for me, and I will not fail you.'
At these words the Dog of Maol-mor disappeared into the forest, and Covan went to seek his cows, which were standing in the hollow where the darkness had come upon them.
At the sight of Covan the Brown-haired, they walked onwards, Covan followed ever behind them, and looking neither to the right nor to the left. All that day they walked, and when night fell they were in a barren plain, with only rocks for shelter.
'We must rest here as best we can,' spoke Covan to the cows. And they bowed their heads and lay down in the place where they stood. Then came the black raven of Corri-nan-creag, whose eyes never closed, and whose wings never tired; and he fluttered before the face of Covan and told him that he knew of a cranny in the rock where there was food in plenty, and soft moss for a bed.
'Go with me thither,' he said to Covan, 'and you shall lay aside three-thirds of your weariness, and depart ui the morning refreshed.' And Covan listened thank-