52 PRINCE PRIGIO.
was deathly pale, and two chill-blue eyes, dead-coloured like stones, looked out of it.
Then there came a whisper, like the breath of the bitter east wind on a wintry day :
" Where are you, and how can I come to you ?"
" Here I am ! " said the prince from the top of the hill.
Then the flat, white head set itself against the edge of the chink from which it had peeped, and slowly, like the movement of a sheet of ice, it slipped upwards and curled upwards, and up, and up ! There seemed no end to it at all; and it moved horribly, without feet, holding on by its own frost to the slippery side of the frozen hill. Now all the lower part of the black-hill was covered with the horrid white thing coiled about it in smooth, flat shiny coils; and still the head was higher than the rest; and still the icy cold came nearer and nearer, like Death.
The prince almost fainted : everything seemed to swim ; and in one moment more he would have fallen stiff on the mountain-top, and the white head would have crawled over him, and the cold coils would have slipped over him and turned him to stone. And still the thing slipped up, from the chink under the mountain.
But the prince made a great effort; he moved, and in two steps he was far away, down in the valley where it was not so very cold.
" Hi ! " he shouted, as soon as his tongue could move within his chattering teeth.