24S THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
" And so there I was, in the nick of time to save the two princesses !"
" The two princesses, father ! The one on the great red horse was the housemaid," said Curdie, and ran to open the gates for the king.
They found Derba returned before them, and already busy preparing them food. The king put up his charger with his own hands, rubbed him down, and fed him.
When they had washed, and eaten and drunk, he called the colonel, and told Curdie and the page to bring out the traitors and the beasts, and attend him to the market-place.
By this time the people were crowding back into the city, bearing their dead and wfounded. And there was lamentation in Gwyntystorm, for no one could comfort himself, and no one had any to comfort him. The nation was victorious, but the people were conquered.
The king stood in the centre of the market-place, upon the steps of the ancient cross. He had laid aside his helmet and put on his crown, but he stood all armed beside, with his sword in his hand. He called the people to him, and, for all the terror of the beasts, they dared not disobey him. Those even, who were carrying their wounded laid them down, and drew near trembling.
Then the king said to Curdie and the page,—
" Set the evil men before me."