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Tales of Old Lusitania - chapter 31 headpiece.jpg


MARIA SILVA.




A young prince one day went out hunting, and as he entered the forest he heard what seemed the piteous cry of a little child. As he approached the spot whence the cry seemed to proceed he heard a voice saying—

Ay, seek her, prince, for, come what may,
She that weeps you'll wed one day.

The prince laughed at this, and said, "Very well, we shall see if those words come true." He continued, however, to search for the child, and at last came to a grass plot, where he saw a little girl amusing herself by playing and rolling about on the soft grass. He raised her up from the ground, and that he might know her again he cruelly marked her with a heated iron, cut off one of her little fingers, and then laid her down in a bush and left her to her fate. This poor child had been deserted by her unnatural mother, and left there with no one to care for her.

A shepherd belonging to that part of the country was in the habit of taking his flock to pasture near the thicket where the poor child had been laid by the prince. One day, when calling his flock together at