Cedric didn't care to trouble with it, but instinctively he picked it up, and said—
" I wonder wThere this key belongs to ? " At that moment his view of the Land's End became slowly obscured by a huge iron door, the lock of which was outlined with gold. He tried the key he held. It fitted! A turn, the heavy door was unlocked, and he put the key in his pocket. He turned the handle, pushed the door open just enough to squeeze through, and it swung to behind him.
There had been a great commotion in Fairyland. The gnomes—who formed the Opposition Party—had turned disloyal and wanted a republic ; whereupon the King, hurt in his dignity, insisted upon abdicating. In fact, he was tired of power, and glad of the excuse to resign. In spite of the prayers and entreaties of those who desired him to remain in office he returned to the Treasury the Golden Key, together with the crown and other royal jewels, and, to the concern of every one who wasn't a gnome, went forth to play skittles—his sole interest and only hobby.
Of all the regalia, the most precious object was the Golden Key, for whoever held it was made King of Fairyland by virtue of its possession ; and it was ordained that it could only be parted with at