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The Sea Fairies

13. Prisoners Of The Sea Monster
The room in the enchanted castle which Zog called the "den" and in which the wicked sea
monster passed most of his time was a perfectly shaped dome of solid gold. The upper
part of this dome was thickly set with precious jewels--diamonds, rubies, sapphires and
emeralds, which sparkled beautifully through the crystal water. The lower walls were as
thickly studded with pearls, all being of perfect shape and color. Many of the pearls were
larger than any which may be found upon earth, for the sea people knew where to find the
very best and hide them away where men cannot discover them.
The golden floor was engraved with designs of rare beauty, depicting not only sea life,
but many adventures upon land. In the room were several large, golden cabinets, the
doors of which were closed and locked, and in addition to the cabinets there were tables,
chairs and sofas, the latter upholstered with softest sealskins. Handsome rugs of
exquisitely woven seaweeds were scattered about, the colors of which were artistically
blended together. In one corner a fountain of air bubbled up through the water. The entire
room was lighted as brilliantly as if exposed to the direct rays of the sun, yet where this
light came from our friends could not imagine. No lamp or other similar device was
visible anywhere.
The strangers at first scarcely glanced at all these beautiful things, for in an easy chair sat
Zog himself, more wonderful than any other living creature, and as they gazed upon him,
their eyes seemed fascinated as if held by a spell. Zog's face was the face of a man,
except that the tops of his ears were pointed like horns and he had small horns instead of
eyebrows and a horn on the end of his chin. In spite of these deformities, the expression
of the face was not unpleasant or repulsive. His hair was carefully parted and brushed,
and his mouth and nose were not only perfect in shape but quite handsome.
Only the eyes betrayed Zog and made him terrible to all beholders. They seemed like
coals of glowing fire and sparkled so fiercely that no one ever cared to meet their gaze for
more than an instant. Perhaps the monster realized this, for he usually drooped his long
lashes over his fiery eyes to shut out their glare. Zog had two well-shaped legs which
ended in the hoofs of beasts instead of feet, and these hoofs were shod with gold. His
body was a shapeless mass covered with richly embroidered rainment, over which a great
robe of cloth of gold fell in many folds. This robe was intended to hide the magician's
body from view, but Trot noticed that the cloth moved constantly in little ripples, as if
what lay underneath would not keep still.
The best features of which Zog could boast were his arms and hands, the latter being as
well formed, as delicate and white as those of a well-bred woman. When he spoke, his
voice sounded sweet and clear, and its tones were very gentle. He had given them a few
moments to stare at him, for he was examining them in turn with considerable curiosity.
"Well," said he, "do you not find me the most hateful creature you have ever beheld?"
 
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