'I had set out to visit a part of my dominions occupied by a savage dwarf-people, strong and fierce, enemies to law and order, opposed to every kind of progress—an' evil race. I went alone, fearing nothing, unaware of the least necessity for precaution. I did not know that upon the hot stream beside which you found me, a certain woman, by no means so powerful as myself, not being immortal, had cast what you call a spell —which is merely the setting in motion of a force as natural as any other, but operating primarily in a region beyond the ken of the mortal who makes use of the force.
' I set out on my journey, reached the stream, bounded across it,-----'
A shadow of embarrassment darkened her cheek : I understood it, but showed no sign. Checked for the merest moment, she went on :
' —you know what a step it is in parts !—But in the very act, an indescribable cold invaded me. I recognised at once the nature of the assault, and knew it could affect me but temporarily. By sheer force of will I dragged myself to the wood—nor knew anything more until I saw you asleep, and the horrible worm at your neck. I crept out, dragged the monster from you, and laid my lips to the wound. You began to wake;
I buried myself among the leaves.'
She rose, her eyes flashing as never human eyes flashed, and threw her arms high over her head.
' What you have made me is yours ! ' she cried.
'I will repay you as never yet did woman ! My power, my beauty, my love are your own : take them.'
She dropt kneeling beside me, laid her arms across my knees, and looked up in my face.