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PORTUGUESE FAIRY TALES.

words he burst into tears and replied, "I have always been afraid to accost you, but since you seem to take an interest in me, and I know that no one can possibly penetrate within these walls, I will tell you all. You must know that there is a large chest at the bottom of the sea, which is the cause of all my sufferings. Every time this chest is touched, if only by a tiny fish, I at once feel it and am struck with such fear and dismay that death is preferable to me then than life, and yet if I were happy, and had no doom impending ever over my head, I could wish to live, for who is there that loves not life? I must also tell you that inside that chest there is a fish, and inside that fish there is a sea-lion, and inside that lion there is a bird, and in that bird there is an egg; and that egg, if once broken on my head, will cause my death. Thus, I am in continual dread and agony of mind and body, lest there should be a person who, knowing the consequences to me, and having sufficient power, should bring up that dreaded chest from the depth of the sea, which has lain hid so many years. I shudder at the tremendous blow by which I am doomed to be killed."

When the tender-hearted girl had heard the poor old man's story, she endeavoured to comfort him with kind sympathising words. But she took care not to tell him that there was a stranger actually in the tower, who had entered by some mysterious magic power.