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|The Princess and the Goblin||George MacDonald|
|Page 2 of 6||
'Why, how ever did you come here, Irene?'
'My great-great-grandmother sent me; and I think I've found out why. You can't get out, I suppose?'
'No, I can't. What are you doing?'
'Clearing away a huge heap of stones.'
'There's a princess!' exclaimed Curdie, in a tone of delight, but still speaking in little more than a whisper. 'I can't think how you got here, though.'
'my grandmother sent me after her thread.'
'I don't know what you mean,' said Curdie; 'but so you're there, it doesn't much matter.'
'Oh, yes, it does!' returned Irene. 'I should never have been here but for her.'
'You can tell me all about it when we get out, then. There's no time to lose now,'said Curdie.
And Irene went to work, as fresh as when she began.
'There's such a lot of stones!' she said. 'It will take me a long time to get them all away.'
'How far on have you got?' asked Curdie.
'I've got about the half away, but the other half is ever so much bigger.'
'I don't think you will have to move the lower half. Do you see a slab laid up against the wall?'
Irene looked, and felt about with her hands, and soon perceived the outlines of the slab.
'Yes,' she answered, 'I do.'
'Then, I think,' rejoined Curdie, 'when you have cleared the slab about half-way down, or a bit more, I shall be able to push it over.'
'I must follow my thread,' returned Irene, 'whatever I do.'
'What do you mean?'exclaimed Curdie. 'You will see when you get out,' answered the princess, and went on harder than ever.
But she was soon satisfied that what Curdie wanted done and what the thread wanted done were one and the same thing. For she not only saw that by following the turns of the thread she had been clearing the face of the slab, but that, a little more than half-way down, the thread went through the chink between the slab and the wall into the place where Curdie was confined, so that she could not follow it any farther until the slab was out of her way. As soon as she found this, she said in a right joyous whisper:
'Now, Curdie, I think if you were to give a great push, the slab would tumble over.'
'Stand quite clear of it, then,' said Curdie, 'and let me know when you are ready.'
Irene got off the heap, and stood on one side of it. 'Now, Curdie!' she cried.
Curdie gave a great rush with his shoulder against it. Out tumbled the slab on the heap, and out crept Curdie over the top of it.
'You've saved my life, Irene!' he whispered.
'Oh, Curdie! I'm so glad! Let's get out of this horrid place as fast as we can.'
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|The Princess and the Goblin
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