A fantasy novel by George MacDonald

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256                           PHANTASTES:
wall they were completing, foot by foot, along with the stair. But the people said they had no just pre­text for interfering: although the real reason for letting the giants alone was, that everybody was far too much afraid of them to interrupt them.
" At length, with the help of a neighbouring quarry, the whole of the external wall of the castle was finished. And now the country folks were in greater fear than before. But for several years the giants remained very peaceful. The reason of this was afterwards supposed to be the fact, that they were distantly related to several good people in the country; for, as long as these lived, they re­mained quiet; but as soon as they were all dead the real nature of the giants broke out Having completed the outside of their castle, they pro­ceeded, by spoiling the country houses around them, to make a quite luxurious provision for their comfort within. Affairs reached such a pass, that the news of their robberies came to my father's ears ; but he, alas; was so crippled in his resources, by a war he was carrying on with a neighbouring prince, that he could only spare a very few men, to attempt the capture of their stronghold. Upon these the giants issued in the night, and slew every
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