IS i THE PRINCESS AND CURD1E.
selves, and found a new dynasty; but whatever their purpose, there was treason in the palace of the worst sort; they were making and keeping the king incapable, in order to effect that purpose. The first thing to be seen to therefore was, that his majesty should neither eat morsel nor drink drop of anything prepared for him in the palace. Could this have been managed without the princess, Curdie would have preferred leaving her in ignorance of the horrors from which he sought to deliver her. He feared also the danger of her knowledge betraying itself to the evil eyes about her; but it must be risked—and she had always been a wise child.
Another thing was clear to him—that with such traitors no terms of honour were either binding or possible, and that, short of lying, he might use any means to foil them. And he could not doubt that the old princess had sent him expressly to frustrate their plans.
While he stood thinking thus with himself, the princess was earnestly watching the king, with looks of childish love and womanly tenderness that went to Curdie's heart. Now and then with a great fan of peacock feathers she would fan him very softly; now and then, seeing a cloud begin to gather upon the sky of his sleeping face, she would climb upon the bed, and bending to his ear whisper into it, then draw back and watch again—generally to see the cloud disperse. In his deepest slumber, the