A fantasy novel by George MacDonald

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attitude, hammer in hand, a second youth, tall as the former, but far more slightly built. Reversing the usual course of perception in such meetings, I thought them, at first sight, very unlike; and, at the second glance, knew that they were brothers. The former, and apparently the elder, was muscular and dark, with curling hair, and large hazel eyes, which some­times grew wondrously soft. The second was slender and fair, yet with a countenance like an eagle, and an eye which, though pale blue, shone with an almost fierce expression. He stood erect, as if looking from a lofty mountain crag, over a vast plain outstretched below. As soon as we entered the hall, the elder turned to me, and I saw that a glow of satisfaction shone on both their faces. To my surprise and great pleasure, he addressed me thus:
" Brother, will you sit by the fire and rest, till we finish this part of our work ? "
I signified my assent; and, resolved to await any disclosure they might be inclined to make, seated myself in silence near the hearth.
The elder brother then laid the sword in the fire, covered it well over, and when it had attained a suffi­cient degree of heat, drew it out and laid it on the anvil, moving it carefully about, while the younger,
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