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52
PORTUGUESE FAIRY TALES.

of confidence in their father, and not suspecting any treachery, readily prepared to accompany him, and after travelling many leagues arrived at the celebrated tower. When the king had them safe in the castle, he said to his daughters, "Remain here, whilst I pay a short visit to a friend and worthy subject, who lives in this neighbourhood. On my return I will take you back to the palace." The wicked king, who only made up this excuse to blind his daughters to his real intentions, fastened the great gates of the Tower as he went out, so that his daughters could not possibly escape. He supplied them with food every day until his marriage day, but after that he never concerned himself about them any more, but left them to their fate.

Hours passed, and days came and went, and still no succour arrived, and they began to be in a dreadful state, without a morsel of food or water to refresh them. And so it happened that one day, when they had given up all hopes of being relieved, and were nearly dead from starvation, the eldest of the princesses said to her sisters, "Why should we all starve? The best thing you two can do is to kill me and feed upon me as long as I afford you sustenance." She had hardly said these words when she dropped down dead from want.

A few days after this sad event the surviving princesses were again short of food, and nothing