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64
PORTUGUESE FAIRY TALES.

being every day as they pass through these hills, according to whose turn it may be to serve as a morsel for the hungry beast. I am the daughter of a king, but the lot fell upon me to-day, and here I am, waiting in dread for my unhappy fate."

"Fear nothing," said the man, "I have three dogs here that are always ready to attack any living thing they meet with, whether man or beast."

That moment a great hissing was heard, which resounded for three leagues round, and soon after a snake of enormous size, with seven huge heads, was seen advancing towards them. It came creeping slowly and steadily—a dreadful monster, with two brilliant eyes flashing from side to side. The girl all the time stood motionless with dismay; but the dogs, at the man's command, bounded forward, and, quicker than I can tell it you, threw themselves upon the dangerous monster and killed it, and the redoubtable snake lay a huge and helpless mass. The girl, surprised to find herself saved so soon and in so marvellous a way, said to the man: "Come with me to the palace, for my father, the king, is prepared to pay you a great price for your noble deed; he has even promised to give me in marriage to any man that shall kill the monster."

"I thank you much, but I do not wish to marry."

"Nevertheless, come and receive the reward you merit."