Short Stories » Septimus

If a spark of pity which I yet feel for Septimus should abandon me, I will not answer that he also do not feel the effects of my vengeance. Hasten, however, to prepare every thing for the execution of my plans, and let us remember, my dear Barbarec , that having abandoned the laws of the Peris for those of the Dives, we are become the enemies of fairies and of mankind, and that we must neglect nothing to overwhelm them all with the weight of our hatred." The Fairy of the Fields could not hear this discourse without shuddering ; she remained for some time motionless; but recalling her senses, and feeling of what consequence it was to stay any longer in this terrible abode, she hastened to implore the powerful assistance of the Queen of the Fairies. She immediately left the island, which she had scarcely done, when the sky became obscured, the earth trembled, and dreadful groanings, accompanied with thunder and lightning seemed to announce the speedy destruction of the universe. Shortly afterwards the air was restored to calmness ; but the day growing still darker and darker, a new spectacle, as terrible as the preceding, succeeded, The twenty-four dragons who guarded the approaches to the isle, making frightful howlings, lanced against each other streams of flame and strove in fiery combat, which concluded by consuming them all. Day again re-appeared, and where the torrent and island had been, nothing was to be seen but a dry and arid rock, while from its summit, there was seen to fly a black ostrich, carrying on its back Prince Septimus and the little princess, Gangans niece. These prodigies had not so much overcome the Fairy of the Fields but that, moved with the situation of these amiable children and her kindness inclining her to follow them, she immediately set out with so much diligence, that, in a short time, she overtook the black ostrich. Her first impulse was to take from it the prince and princess ; but observing that the bird was directing its flight towards the Fortunate Island, she contented herself with following and watching it at a short distance.

Indeed, in a short time, the ostrich alighted on that island, and directed its steps towards the Queen of the Fairies herself. This sovereign was seated at the entrance of her palace on a golden throne enriched with jewels, surrounded by her twelve fairies, the twenty-four black genii who have been before mentioned, and by a numerous court. The moment the ostrich approached the throne, the Fairy of the Fields seized the prince and princess and placed them at the queen's feet ; when Gangan resumed her original shape and proper character : confusion, malice and despair were depicted by turns on her countenance, and she was in the most cruel suspense as to what was about to happen, when the queen spoke to her in these words : " The malignity of your mind and the perversity of your heart have, I see, prevented yourmaking agood use of that power which I bestowed upon you. Very far from repairing your first faults by the gift of Grand Fairyism, which the laws and my kindness vouchsafed to you, you have, on the contrary abused that, and as this abuse now calls for my justice upon you ; receive at once the punishment due to your misdeeds. You will lose for two years all power as a fairy, and assuming during that period the shape of a stork, you shall be the slave of my humblest geni." With these words, the queen touched her with her sceptre ; and all the fairies, having held over her their wands in token of approbation, they pronounced certain words, during which the unfortunate Gangan became a Stork, and immediately went to join the other animals of the species.

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