As the bull did not touch her she began to peep at him, and she saw that he was a very beautiful animal; she even fancied he looked quite a kind bull. He had soft, tender, brown eyes, and horns as smooth and white as ivory: and when he breathed you could feel the scent of rosebuds and clover blossoms in the air.
The bull ran little races round Europa and allowed her to stroke his forehead with her small hands, and to hang wreaths of flowers on his horns. He was just like a pet lamb, and very soon Europa quite forgot how big and strong he really was and how frightened she had been. She pulled some grass and he ate it out of her hand and seemed quite pleased to be friends. He ran up and down the field as lightly as a bird hopping in a tree; his hoofs scarcely seemed to touch the grass, and once when he galloped a good long way Europa was afraid she would not see him again, and she called out, “Come back, you dear bull, I have got you a pink clover-blossom.” Then he came running and bowed his head before Europa as if he knew she was a King’s daughter, and knelt down at her feet, inviting her to get on his back and have a ride.
At first Europa was afraid: then she thought there could surely be no danger in having just one ride on the back of such a gentle animal, and the more she thought about it, the more she wanted to go.
What a surprise it would be to Cadmus, and Phoenix, and Cilix if they met her riding across the green field, and what fun it would be if they could all four ride round and round the field on the back of this beautiful white bull that was so tame and kind!
“I think I will do it,” she said, and she looked round the field. Cadmus and his brothers were still chasing the butterfly away at the far end. “If I got on the bull’s back I should soon be beside them,” she thought. So she moved nearer, and the gentle white creature looked so pleased, and so kind, she could not resist any longer, and with a light bound she sprang up on his back: and there she sat holding an ivory horn in each hand to keep her steady.
“Go very gently, good bull,” she said, and the animal gave a little leap in the air and came down as lightly as a feather. Then he began a race to that part of the field where the brothers were, and where they had just caught the splendid butterfly. Europa shouted with delight, and how surprised the brothers were to see their sister mounted on the back of a white bull!
They stood with their mouths wide open, not sure whether to be frightened or not. But the bull played round them as gently as a kitten, and Europa looked down all rosy and laughing, and they were quite envious. Then when he turned to take another gallop round the field, Europa waved her hand and called out “Good-by,” as if she was off for a journey, and Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix shouted “Good-by” all in one breath. They all thought it such good fun.
And then, what do you think happened? The white bull set off as quickly as before, and ran straight down to the seashore. He scampered across the sand, then he took a big leap and plunged right in among the waves. The white spray rose in a shower all over him and Europa, and the poor child screamed with fright. The brothers ran as fast as they could to the edge of the water, but it was too late.