A fantasy novel by George MacDonald

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A FAERIE ROMANCE.                       263
The time passed away in work and song, in talk and ramble, in friendly fight and brotherly aid. I would not forge for myself armour of heavy mail like theirs, for I was not so powerful as they, and depended more for any success I might secure, upon nimbleness of motion, certainty of eye, and ready response of hand. Therefore I began to make for myself a shirt of steel plates and rings; which work, while more troublesome, was better suited to me than the heavier labour. Much assistance did the brothers give me, even after, by their instructions, I was able to make some progress alone. Their work was in a moment abandoned, to render any re­quired aid to mine. As the old woman had promised, I tried to repay them with song; and many were the tears they both shed, over my ballads and dirges. The songs they liked best to hear were two which I made for them. They were not half so good as many others I knew, especially some I had learned from the wise woman in the cottage; but what comes nearest to our needs we like the best.
The king sat on his throne,
Glowing in gold and red ; The crown in his right hand shone,
And the grey hairs crowned his head.
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