The Sea Fairies
8. A Banquet Under Water
The palaces of the mermaids were all aglow with lights as they approached them, and
Trot was amazed at the sight.
"Where do the lamps come from?" she asked their guide wonderingly.
"They are not lamps, my dear," replied Merla, much amused at this suggestion. "We use
electric lights in our palaces and have done so for thousands of years--long before the
earth people knew of electric lights."
"But where do you get 'em?" inquired Cap'n Bill, who was as much astonished as the girl.
"From a transparent jellyfish which naturally emits a strong and beautiful electric light,"
was the answer. "We have many hundreds of them in our palaces, as you will presently
Their way was now lighted by small, phosphorescent creatures scattered about the sea
gardens and which Merla informed them were hyalaea, or sea glowworms. But their light
was dim when compared to that of the electric jellyfish, which they found placed in
clusters upon the ceilings of all the rooms of the palaces, rendering them light as day.
Trot watched these curious creatures with delight, for delicately colored lights ran around
their bodies in every direction in a continuous stream, shedding splendid rays throughout
the vast halls.
A group of mermaids met the visitors in the hall of the main palace and told Merla the
queen had instructed them to show the guests to their rooms as soon as they arrived. So
Trot followed two of them through several passages, after which they swam upward and
entered a circular opening. There were no stairs here, because there was no need of them,
and the little girl soon found herself in an upper room that was very beautiful indeed.
All the walls were covered with iridescent shells, polished till they resembled mother-of-
pearl, and upon the glass ceiling were clusters of the brilliant electric jellyfish, rendering
the room bright and cheerful with their radiance. In one corner stood a couch of white
coral, with gossamer draperies hanging around it from the four high posts. Upon
examining it, the child found the couch was covered with soft, amber sponges, which
rendered it very comfortable to lie upon. In a wardrobe she found several beautiful
gossamer gowns richly embroidered in colored seaweeds, and these Mayre was told she
might wear while she remained the guest of the mermaids. She also found a toilet table
with brushes, combs and other conveniences, all of which were made of polished
Really, the room was more dainty and comfortable than one might suppose possible in a
palace far beneath the surface of the sea, and Trot was greatly delighted with her new
quarters. The mermaid attendants assisted the child to dress herself in one of the prettiest