Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/142

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


words he burst into tears and replied, "I have always been afraid to accost you, but since you seem to take an interest in me, and I know that no one can possibly penetrate within these walls, I will tell you all. You must know that there is a large chest at the bottom of the sea, which is the cause of all my sufferings. Every time this chest is touched, if only by a tiny fish, I at once feel it and am struck with such fear and dismay that death is preferable to me then than life, and yet if I were happy, and had no doom impending ever over my head, I could wish to live, for who is there that loves not life? I must also tell you that inside that chest there is a fish, and inside that fish there is a sea-lion, and inside that lion there is a bird, and in that bird there is an egg; and that egg, if once broken on my head, will cause my death. Thus, I am in continual dread and agony of mind and body, lest there should be a person who, knowing the consequences to me, and having sufficient power, should bring up that dreaded chest from the depth of the sea, which has lain hid so many years. I shudder at the tremendous blow by which I am doomed to be killed."

When the tender-hearted girl had heard the poor old man's story, she endeavoured to comfort him with kind sympathising words. But she took care not to tell him that there was a stranger actually in the tower, who had entered by some mysterious magic power.