Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/149

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137
THE CRUSADER LOVER.

heart whose love had more honored him than all his victories in war.

When the people heard this resolve of his, they came and told him there was a pitiless dragon in human disguise in the Haunted Cave, a dread creature which no knight had yet been bold enough to face, and begged him to rid the land of its desolating presence. He said he would do it. They told him about the song, and when he asked what song it was, they said the memory of it was gone, for nobody had been hardy enough to listen to it for the past four years and more.

Towards midnight the Crusader came floating down the river in a boat, with his trusty cross-bow in his hands. He drifted silently through the dim reflections of the crags and trees, with his intent eyes fixed upon the low cliff which he was approaching. As he drew nearer, he discerned the black mouth of the cave. Now,—is that a white figure? Yes. The plaintive song begins to well forth and float away over

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A FATAL MISTAKE.

meadow and river,—the cross-bow is slowly raised to position, a steady aim is taken, the bolt flies straight to the mark,—the figure sinks down, still singing, the knight takes the wool