Curdie's Clue 179
seen anything to be afraid of in the palace. But when they saw Curdie with his pick in his hand, their rage was mingled with fear, for they took him for the first of an invasion of miners. The king notwithstanding drew himself up to his full height of four feet, spread himself to his full breadth of three and a half, for he was the handsomest and squarest of all the goblins, and strutting up to Curdie, planted himself with out - spread feet before him, and said with dignity—
" Pray what right have you in my palace?"
"The right of necessity, your majesty," answered Curdie. "I lost my way, and did not know where I was wandering to."
" How did you get in?"
" By a hole in the mountain."
"But you are a miner! Look at your pickaxe!"
Curdie did look at it, answering,
"I came upon it, lying on the ground, a little way from here. I tumbled over some wild beasts who were playing with it. Look, your majesty." And Curdie showed him how he was scratched and bitten.