222 PRINCE RICARDO.
"Thou hast come, oh, Pachacamac, as is foretold in the prophecy of the Cord of the Venerable Knots ! Thou hast come, but behold the shadow of the stone ! Thou art too late, oh Lord of the Earth and the Sea! "
Then he pointed to the shadow, which, naturally, was growing shorter, as the sun drew near mid-day.
He spoke in the language of the ancient Incas of Peru, which of course Prigio knew very well; and he also knew that Pachacamac was the god of that people.
" I have come," Prigio said, with presence of mind, " as it has been prophesied of old."
" Riding on a beast that flies," said the old priest, u even as the oracle declared. Glory to Pachacamac, even though we die today ! "
" In what can I help my people ?" said Prigio.
11 Thou knowest ; why should we instruct thee ? Thou knowest that on midsummer-day, every year, before the shadow shrinks back to the base of the huaca* of Manoa, we must offer a maiden to lull the Earthquaker with a new song. ' Lo, now the shadow shrinks to the foot of the huaca, and the maid is not offered \ Eor the lot fell on the daughter of thy servant the * Huaca, sacred stone.