Pengrych grew testy but ever more determined. “How may it be done?” he demanded. “When will she next appear?”
"Patience," said the woman, pulling a small bag
from her pocket. “Hold
thy tongue. You must begin watch with the first evening
star. Stand so far
to the east of the stone ring as to see the top of it.
The moment will come but once.
There is success in the cloud, danger in the blaze.
When the eye is covered, the spell is loosed. There are three that are mighty to contend with, three in the pouch
that will quell them at that hour.”
Pengrych was impatient to begin, but the old woman
had more to say: “My life is done.
The moment that frees the child will lay the parent
low. Success will bring long-overdue death for me, but fail and my daughter
will die.” With
that she vanished once more.
Heroic rescue. Sorely
puzzled, Pengrych, scratched his whiskers, bit his nails,
and inspected the contents of the little bag.
“Brimstone, by Ceridwen!” he muttered, pulling forth
a heavy, yellow lump of sulfur. Two other heavy lumps were in the bag, one
of rock salt and the other of iron.
“Goodly weapons,” he grumbled in frustration. “No doubt they could fell a sparrow from a twig.”
But he followed the crone’s advice and was early at
his post. He waited
impatiently, watching the eastern stone.
And in due time, a strange light fell over the areas.
Pengrych crept forward.
Countless revelers danced in the brightly lit circle.
They seemed beautiful at one moment and grotesque,
deformed monsters the next. In their midst—unchanging and ever-lovely—was the fair lady. Pengrych rose to charge forward but then hesitated.
“Evil is in the blaze. The hour is yet to come,” he thought, remembering
the old woman’s advice.
Suddenly a black cloud descended and blotted out the
light. Three unearthly
fiends emerged from its midst.
“Success in the cloud!
The eye is covered!” exclaimed Pengrych, rushing
forward. The fiends
seized the girl, placed a wreath of oak leaves on her head,
and laid her across the altar stone.
But Pengrych burst among them.
He snatched up the maiden and fled.
The fiends screamed in rage and gave pursuit.
Pengrych raced through the mountains to the east;
his lungs bursting, his legs buckling, his strong arms and
back aching, he carried the maiden in search of safety. But the three monsters gained ground with every