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The Sea Fairies

4. The Palace Of Queen Aquareine
Trot was surprised to find it was not at all dark or gloomy as they descended farther into
the deep sea. Things were not quite so clear to her eyes as they had been in the bright
sunshine above the ocean's surface, but every object was distinct nevertheless, as if she
saw through a pane of green-tainted glass. The water was very clear except for this green
shading, and the little girl had never before felt so light and buoyant as she did now. It
was no effort at all to dart through the water, which seemed to support her on all sides.
"I don't believe I weigh anything at all," she said to Cap'n Bill.
"No more do I, Trot," said he. "But that's nat'ral, seein' as we're under water so far. What
bothers me most is how we manage to breathe, havin' no gills like fishes have."
"Are you sure we haven't any gills?" she asked, lifting her free hand to feel her throat.
"Sure. Ner the mermaids haven't any, either," declared Cap'n Bill.
"Then," said Trot, "we're breathing by magic."
The mermaids laughed at this shrewd remark, and the Princess said, "You have guessed
correctly, my dear. Go a little slower, now, for the palaces are in sight."
"Where?" asked Trot eagerly.
"Just before you."
"In that grove of trees?" inquired the girl. And really, it seemed to her that they were
approaching a beautiful grove. The bottom of the sea was covered with white sand, in
which grew many varieties of sea shrubs with branches like those of trees. Not all of
them were green, however, for the branches and leaves were of a variety of gorgeous
colors. Some were purple, shading down to a light lavender; and there were reds all the
way from a delicate rose-pink to vivid shades of scarlet. Orange, yellow and blue shades
were there, too, mingling with the sea-greens in a most charming manner. Altogether,
Trot found the brilliant coloring somewhat bewildering.
These sea shrubs, which in size were quite as big and tall as the trees on earth, were set so
close together that their branches entwined; but there were several avenues leading into
the groves, and at the entrance to each avenue the girl noticed several large fishes with
long spikes growing upon their noses.
"Those are swordfishes," remarked the Princess as she led the band past one of these
avenues.
"Are they dang'rous?" asked Trot.
 
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