184 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
He went off again in a minute or so; but for a little while he was restless, and once when he lifted his hand it came down on the spikes of his crown, and he half waked."
" But where is the crown ?" cried Irene, in sudden terror.
" I stroked his hands," answered Curdie, " and took the crown from them; and ever since he has slept quietly, and again and again smiled in his sleep."
" I have never seen him do that," said the princess. "But what have you done with the crown, Curdie ? "
" Look," said Curdie, moving away from the bedside.
Irene followed him—and there, in the middle of the floor, she saw a strange sight Lina lay at full length, fast asleep, her tail stretched out straight behind her and her fore-legs before her : between the two paws meeting in fiont of it, her nose just touching it behind, glowed and flashed the crown, like a nest for the humming-birds of heaven.
Irene gazed, and looked up with a smile.
m But what if the thief were to come, and she not to wake ? " she said. " Shall I try her ? " And as she spoke she stooped towards the crown.
uNo, no, no!" cried Curdie, terrified. "She would frighten you out of your wits. I would do it to show you, but she would wake your father You have no concep-