232 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
old mantle of the king's thrown over him, he was soon fast asleep.
Somewhere about the middle of the night, he woke suddenly, started to his feet, and rubbed his eyes. He could not tell what had waked him. But could he be awake, or was he not dreaming ? The curtain of the king's door, a dull red ever before, was glowing a gorgeous, a radiant purple ; and the crown wrought upon it in silks and gems was flashing as if it burned ! What could it mean ? Was the king's chamber on fire ? He darted to the door and lifted the curtain. Glorious terrible sight!
A long and broad marble table, that stood at one end of the room, had been drawn into the middle of it, and thereon burned a great fire, of a sort that Curdie knew— a fire of glowing, flaming roses, red and white. In the midst of the roses lay the king, moaning, but motionless. Every rose that fell from the table to the floor, some one, whom Curdie could not plainly see tor the brightness, lifted and laid burning upon the king's face, until at length his face too was covered with the live roses, and he lay all within the fire, moaning still, with now and then a shuddering sob. And the shape that Curdie saw and could not see, wept over the king as he lay in the fire, and often she hid her face in handfuls of her shadowy hair, and from her hair the water of her