CURDIES MISSION. 65
door ? There was the great sky, and the stars, and beneath he could see nothing—only darkness ! But what was that in the sky, straight in front of him ? A great wheel of fire, turning and turning, and flashing out blue lights !
" Come in, Curdie," said the voice again.
"I would at once, ma'am," said Curdie, "if I were sure I was standing at your door."
"Why should you doubt it, Curdie?"
" Because I see neither walls nor floor, only darkness and the great sky."
" That is all right, Curdie. Come in."
Curdie stepped forward at once. He was indeed, for the very crumb of a moment, tempted to feel before him with his foot; but he saw that would be to distrust the princess, and a greater rudeness he could not offer hen So he stepped straight in—I will not say without a little tremble at the thought of finding no floor beneath his foot. But that which had need of the floor found it, and his foot was satisfied.
No sooner was he in than he saw that the great revolving wheel in the sky was the princess's spinning-wheel, near the other end of the room, turning very fast He could see no sky or stars any more, but the wheel was flashing out blue—oh such lovely sky-blue light!— and behind it of course sat the princess, but whether an old woman as thin as a skeleton leaf, or a glorious lady