818 THE ICE MAIDEN
firmness of the thick plaited branches that formed the lower part of the nest, and when he had secured a thick steady piece he swung himself up by it from the ladder, and leaned against the branch, so that his head and shoulders were above the level of the nest. A stifling stench of carrion streamed towards him, for in the nest lay chamois, birds, and lambs, in a putrid state. The Spirit of Giddiness, that had no power over him, blew the poisonous vapour into his face, to make him sick and trouble his senses ; and below, in the black yawning gulf, on the rushing waters, sat the Ice Maiden herself, with her long whitish-green hair, and stared at him with cold deathlike eyes.
1 Now I shall catch you I ' she thought.
In a corner of the nest he saw the young one, which was not yet fledged, sitting large and stately. Rudy fixed his eyes upon it, held himself fast with all the strength of one hand, while with the other he threw the noose over the young eagle. It was caughtócaught alive ! Its legs were entangled in the tough noose, and Rudy threw the cord and the bird across his shoulder, so that the creature hung some distance beneath him, while he held fast by a rope they had lowered down to assist him, till his feet touched the topmost round of the ladder.
4 Hold fast! Don't fancy you're going to fall, and you won't fall ! ' It was the old maxim, and he followed it ; he held fast and climbed, was convinced that he should not fall, and accordingly he did not fall.
And now a whoop resounded, strong and jubilant, and Rudy stood safe and sound on the firm rock with the captured eaglet.
What News the Parlour Cat had to Tell
' Here is what you wished for !' said Rudy, as he entered the house of the miller at Bex.
He set down a great basket on the ground, and lifted the cloth that covered it. Two yellow eyes bordered with black stared forth ; they seemed to shoot forth sparks, and gleamed burning and savage, as if they would burn