A Children's Fantasy Book By George MacDonald - illustrated version.

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CURDIES MISSION.                             71
u Of course I did But now it is over, and all is welL —Would you like to know why I made you put your hands in the fire?"
Curdie looked at them again—then said,—
" To take the marks of the work off them, and make them fit for the king's court, I suppose."
" No, Curdie," answered the princess, shaking her head, for she was not pleased with the answer. " It would be a poor way of making your hands fit for the king's court to take off them all signs of his service. There is a far greater difference on them than that Do you feel none ? "
" No, ma'am."
" You will, though, by and by, when the time comes. But perhaps even then you might not know what had been given you, therefore I will tell you.—Have you ever heard what some philosophers say—that men were all animals once ? "
" No, ma'am."
" It is of no consequence. But there is another thing that is of the greatest consequence—this : that all men, if they do not take care, go down the hill to the animals' country; that many men are actually, all their lives, going to be beasts. People knew it once, but it is long since they forgot it."
" I am not surprised to hear it, ma'am, when I think of some of our miners."
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