Flemish Legend The Three Sisters by Charles de Coster Chapter 5

How, by the command of God, the three ladies rode to adventure

On the morrow, therefore, before daylight, the suitors returned once again in great numbers, but first left their horses behind them in their stables. Soon after daybreak they saw the three ladies ride out from their courtyard, in obedience to the command which God had given them, each one mounted upon her palfrey. Supposing that they were but going out into the neighbouring meadows to take the clean air, they followed behind, one and all, singing merry carols in their honour.

For so long as they were in the streets of the town the palfreys moved slowly, but once out in the open country they began galloping.

The lovers tried still to follow them, but at last were forced to drop off, and fell one by one along the wayside.

When they had covered some miles the palfreys stood still; and the three ladies, seeing that they had come free of their pursuers, resolved to give honour to God for his aid, and to this end to build him a fair church.

Where? They did not know. But the thing was already decided in Paradise, as you shall see.

For as soon as they were once again on their horses, the animals, guided by God’s holy spirit, set off at a high trot.

And leapt rivers, threaded forests, passed through towns, whereof the gates opened of themselves to let them by, and closed again after, bounded over walls and like obstacles.

And startled every one they met, all amazed to see go by, quick as the wind, these three white horses and these three fair ladies.

And travelled in this way for a thousand leagues, or rather more.