He had all at once remembered the resolution of the goblins to
carry out their second plan upon the failure of the first. No
doubt they were already busy, and the mine was therefore in the
greatest danger of being flooded and rendered useless - not to
speak of the lives of the miners.
When he reached the mouth of the mine, after rousing all the miners
within reach, he found his father and a good many more just
entering. They all hurried to the gang by which he had found a way
into the goblin country. There the foresight of Peter had already
collected a great many blocks of stone, with cement, ready for
building up the weak place - well enough known to the goblins.
Although there was not room for more than two to be actually
building at once, they managed, by setting all the rest to work in
preparing the cement and passing the stones, to finish in the
course of the day a huge buttress filling the whole gang, and
supported everywhere by the live rock. Before the hour when they
usually dropped work, they were satisfied the mine was secure.
They had heard goblin hammers and pickaxes busy all the time, and
at length fancied they heard sounds of water they had never heard
before. But that was otherwise accounted for when they left the
mine, for they stepped out into a tremendous storm which was raging
all over the mountain. The thunder was bellowing, and the
lightning lancing out of a huge black cloud which lay above it and
hung down its edges of thick mist over its sides. The lightning
was breaking out of the mountain, too, and flashing up into the
cloud. From the state of the brooks, now swollen into raging
torrents, it was evident that the storm had been storming all day.
The wind was blowing as if it would blow him off the mountain, but,
anxious about his mother and the princess, Curdie darted up through
the thick of the tempest. Even if they had not set out before the
storm came on, he did not judge them safe, for in such a storm even
their poor little house was in danger. Indeed he soon found that
but for a huge rock against which it was built, and which protected
it both from the blasts and the waters, it must have been swept if
it was not blown away; for the two torrents into which this rock
parted the rush of water behind it united again in front of the
cottage - two roaring and dangerous streams, which his mother and
the princess could not possibly have passed. It was with great
difficulty that he forced his way through one of them, and up to
The moment his hand fell on the latch, through all the uproar of
winds and Waters came the joyous cry of the princess:
'There's Curdie! Curdie! Curdie!'
She was sitting wrapped in blankets on the bed, his mother trying
for the hundredth time to light the fire which had been drowned by
the rain that came down the chimney. The clay floor was one mass
of mud, and the whole place looked wretched. But the faces of the
mother and the princess shone as if their troubles only made them
the merrier. Curdie burst out laughing at the sight of them.
'I never had such fun!' said the princess, her eyes twinkling and
her pretty teeth shining. 'How nice it must be to live in a
cottage on the mountain!'
'It all depends on what kind your inside house is,' said the
'I know what you mean,' said Irene. 'That's the kind of thing my
By the time Peter returned the storm was nearly over, but the
streams were so fierce and so swollen that it was not only out of
the question for the princess to go down the mountain, but most
dangerous for Peter even or Curdie to make the attempt in the
'They will be dreadfully frightened about you,' said Peter to the
princess, 'but we cannot help it. We must wait till the morning.'
With Curdie's help, the fire was lighted at last, and the mother
set about making their supper; and after supper they all told the
princess stories till she grew sleepy. Then Curdie's mother laid
her in Curdie's bed, which was in a tiny little garret-room. As
soon as she was in bed, through a little window low down in the
roof she caught sight of her grandmother's lamp shining far away
beneath, and she gazed at the beautiful silvery globe until she