Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/129

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The queen being reassured that no danger could befall her brother by remaining in the palace, conducted him through several chambers whose walls were, some of coral, others of mother-of-pearl, whilst one in particular was panelled with beautiful transparent fish scales which reflected every colour. The audience hall was a cave which reached down to the bottom of the sea. It had bright stalactites hanging from the roof, from every point of which flashes and sparks flew like so many fireflies. The appearance of the ocean's bed was quite a marvel to the fisherman's son, who never remembered having seen any thing so wonderful. By large masses of coral of fanciful shapes, like a forest carved in stone, were seen sponges of beautiful growth, and graceful mauve plants, some spreading their gorgeous fronds in the transparent water, and affording a retreat for innumerable little creatures, which no doubt served as food, or at least as bonnes bouches for the great king of fishes. Once or twice he shuddered as he saw a huge serpent armed with silver scales, or some other sea monster of strange and appalling shape, plunge into the deep.

All at once a hollow rushing sound was heard as of a coming hurricane; and advancing from the same direction, on the surface of the water, the monster king of fishes was seen approaching the shore with eyes which glared like red and fiery lamps, and