Curdie and his Mother 237
"Oh, mother, mother!" cried Curdie, bursting into tears; " I don't deserve that, surely!"
" But what I am going to tell you is very strange," persisted his mother; "and if having heard it you were to say I must have been dreaming, I don't know that I should have any right to be vexed with you, though I know at least that I was not asleep."
"Do tell me, mother. Perhaps it will help me to think better of the princess."
"That's why I am tempted to tell you," replied his mother. "But first, I may as well mention, that according to old whispers, there is something more than common about the king's family; and the queen was of the same blood, for they were cousins of some degree. There were strange stories told concerning them—all good stories— but strange, very strange. What they were I cannot tell, for I only remember the faces of my grandmother and my mother as they talked together about them. There was wonder and awe—not fear, in their eyes, and they whispered, and never spoke aloud. But what I saw myself, was this: Your father was going to work in the mine, one night, and I had been down with his