236 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
' And what was in thine, Curdie—for thy first word was of battle ? "
" See, your majesty," answered Curdie; " I have polished my mattock. If your majesty had not taken the command, I would have met the enemy at the head of my beasts, and died in comfort, or done better."
" Brave boy !" said the king. " He who takes his life in his hand is the only soldier. Thou shalt head thy beasts to-day.—Sir Bronzebeard, wilt thou die with me if need be ? "
" Seven times, my king," said the coloneL
" Then shall we win this battle ! " said the king. "—Curdie, go and bind securely the six, that we lose not their guards.—Canst thou find us a horse, think'st thou, Sir Bronzebeard ? Alas ! they told us our white charger was dead."
" I will go and fright the varletry with my presence, and secure, I trust, a horse for your majesty, and one for myself."
" And look you, brother ! " said the king ; " bring one for my miner boy too, and a sober old charger for the princess, for she too must go to the battle, and conquer with us."
"Pardon me, sire," said Curdie; "a miner can fight J>est on foot I plight smite my horse dead under me