THE COFFIN OF GLASS.
The tailor knew not what to do or which yay to turn, or, indeed, whether he should ever find himself safely out of this dreadful wilderness and again amongst human beings.
While he stood thus irresolute, a voice sounded from the rock, and called him, saying, " Enter in without fear. No harm shall happen to you."
He hesitated, certainly; but a hidden power seemed to draw him forward. He, therefore, obeyed the voice; and, passing through the iron door, found himself in a lofty and spacious hall. The ceiling, the walls, and the floor of this hall were formed of square polished stones which glittered in the light, and, unknown to him, were symbols containing some particular meaning.
He gazed around him with wonder and fear, and was on the point of going away, when the voice spoke again, and said to him, " Step on that stone which lies in the centre of the hall, and there wait for good fortune."
His courage appeared to have grown so rapidly that he at once obeyed the command; but no sooner had he placed his feet on the stone than it sunk slowly down into the depths beneath.
When it again became stationary, and the tailor was able to look about him, he found himself in a spacious hall, quite as large as the one he had just left, but still more wonderful.
In the walls were niches in which stood elegant glass vases full of brightly coloured spirits or blue vapour. On the floor of the hall he observed, one opposite the other, two large glass cases which at once excited his curiosity.
He walked across the hall to one of them, and saw within a beautiful building—an ancient castle in miniature—containing everything requisite for a nobleman's household—barns, stables, outhouses, and everything beautifully and artistically arranged, showing the work of a skilful hand, and the most correct eye for elegance and minuteness.
He would have been quite unable to take his eyes from this wonderful sight if he had not again heard the voice advising him to turn and examine the wonderful chest of glass which stood opposite the castle.
He stepped across the hall at these words, and saw with astonishment through the glass case in which she lay as if in a coffin, a maiden of the greatest beauty.