182 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN
was on the watch and threw the bridle over her head, as she rushed on, so that when the day broke there were three horses trotting beside him.
; May your wife be the most beautiful of women,' said the Welwa, ' for you have delivered me from my enchantment.' So the four horses galloped fast, and by nightfall they were at the borders of the golden forest.
Then Petru began to think of the crowns that he wore, and what they had cost him.
' After all, what do I want with so many? I will keep the best,' he said to himself; and taking off first the copper crown and then the silver, he threw them away.
' Stay! ' cried the horse, 'do not throw them away! Perhaps we shall find them of use. Get down and pick them up.' So Petru got down and picked them up, and they all went on.
In the evening, when the sun is getting low, and all the midges are beginning to bite, Petru saw a wide heath stretching before him.
At the same instant the horse stood still of itself.
' What is the matter?' asked Petru.
' I am afraid that something evil will happen to us,' answered the horse.
'But why should it?'
' We are going to enter the kingdom of the goddess Mittwoch,1 and the further we ride into it the colder we shall get. But all along the road there are huge fires, and I dread lest you should stop and warm yourself at them.'
' And why should I not warm myself?'
' Something fearful will happen to you if you do,' replied the horse sadly.
' Well, forward!' cried Petru lightly,' and if I have to bear cold, I must bear it!'
With every step they went into the kingdom of Mittwoch, the air grew colder and more icy, till even the 1 In German ' Mittwoch,' the feminine form of Mercury.