46 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
in the heart of it, whence the rest of the light shot out in rays that faded towards the ends until they vanished. It shed hardly any light around it, although in itself it was so bright as to sting the eyes that beheld it Wonderful stories had from ages gone been current in the mines about certain magic gems which gave out light of themselves, and this light looked just like what might be supposed to shoot from the heart of such a gem. They went up the old gallery to find out what it could be.
To their surprise they found, however, that, after going some distance, they were no nearer to it, so far as they could judge, than when they started. It did not seem to move, and yet they moving did not approach it. Still they persevered, for it was far too wonderful a thing to lose sight of so long as they could keep it At length they drew near the hollow where the water lay, and still were no nearer the light Where they expected to be stopped by the water, however, water was none: something had taken place in some part of the mine that had drained it off, and the gallery lay open as in former times. And now, to their surprise, the light, instead of being in front of them, was shining at the same distance to the right, where they did not know there was any passage at alL Then they discovered, by the light of the lanterns they carried, that there the water had broken through, and made an adit to a part of the moun-