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Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

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Author Topic: Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic  (Read 3242 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2009, 11:37:30 pm »

who goes with him may share them. This boy is my first recruit: who follows?"

By this time a whole group of courtiers, young and old, had assembled about Don Alonzo, and every man below thirty years was ready to pledge himself to the enterprise. But the older courtiers and the archbishop Oppas were beseeching the king to refrain. "Respect, O king," they said, "the custom held sacred by twenty-seven of thy predecessors. Give us but an estimate of the sum that may, in thy kingly mind, represent the wealth that is within the cavern walls, and we will raise it on our own domains, rather than see the sacred tradition set at nought." The king's only answer was, "Follow me," Don Alonzo hastily sending the boy Luis to collect the younger knights who had already pledged themselves to the enterprise. A gallant troop, they made their way down the steep steps which led from the palace to the cave. The news had spread; the ladies had gathered on the balconies, and the bright face of one laughing girl looked from a bower window, while she tossed a rose to the happy

p. 146

[paragraph continues] Luis. Alas, it fell short of its mark and hit the robes of Archbishop Oppas, who stood with frowning face as the youngster swept by. The archbishop crushed it unwittingly in the hand that held the crosier.

The rusty padlocks were broken, and each fell clanking on the floor, and was brushed away by mailed heels. They passed from room to room with torches, for the cavern extended far beneath the earth; yet they found no treasure save the jewelled table of Solomon. But for their great expectations, this table alone might have proved sufficient to reward their act of daring. Some believed that it had been brought by the Romans from Solomon's temple, and from Rome by the Goths and Vandals who sacked that city and afterwards conquered Spain; but all believed it to be sacred, and now saw it to be gorgeous. Some describe it as being of gold, set with precious stones; others, as of gold and silver, making it yellow and white in hue, ornamented with a row of pearls, a row of rubies, and another row of emeralds. It is generally agreed that it stood on three hundred and

p. 147

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