mony of investing her with the Golden Key. They had proceeded up to a certain point when, to their horror and amazement, on opening the treasure chamber to bear the symbol in solemn procession upon a velvet cushion, as the law demanded, they discovered that the Golden Key was gone!
Cedric suddenly guessed that he possessed the key to Fairyland. For he found himself in a sunbathed valley with clouds of rainbow hues in the azure sky above. In the distance he beheld a rippling lake of golden water, on the borders of which stood a palace made of gems gathered from the circling mountains which stood as sentinels around the valley. Down these mountains meandered little golden rills that fed the lake. Nothing stirred but gaily coloured birds, which fluttered amongst the blossoming fruit trees and the rich and dainty flowers.
All around the lake, as though from nowhere, sprang crowds of fairies, gnomes, pixies, and sprites; they were landing from the tiny flower-decked craft, forming processions, hurrying in and out of the palace—presenting to Cedric's astonished gaze a scene of wonderful animation and pretty bustle. Great preparations were apparently proceeding.
After a time they gathered together in waiting