Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/127

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113
THE TOWER OF BABYLON.

short bits of shining thread, whilst others again were in the form of rings, stars, and globes, and as these tiny animals moved or crawled they left behind them a luminous track, which continued to shine for some time after the animal had passed. Our traveller stood entranced with delight at the fairy scene as the fire-flies and glow-worms of the ocean flashed and sparkled over the water; he felt as if he breathed a different atmosphere, such as was breathed by naiads and mermaids and other nymphs.

In the midst of the park stood a splendid palace, surrounded by a most peculiar garden, in which only sea-weeds grew. These sea-weeds were of every colour, shade, and size, some with large fronds, others with tiny leaflets growing one inside the other. They grew by the side of deep red and rose-coloured coral reefs and pillars of sea shells and star-fish; in fact, all was enchanted ground and fairyland which surrounded him; and as he stood admiring the magic scene, he saw a lady walking in the garden attired like a queen. She had in her train a number of maids of honour, who all appeared to him very beautiful, though each of their faces had an expression like that of some fish or other.

When the queen saw the stranger approach the gate of the enclosed garden, she was much surprised at the intrusion; nevertheless she bent her steps most graciously towards him and inquired of him