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The Shadow Witch

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151 pages
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Shadow Witch, by Gertrude CrownfieldThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Shadow WitchAuthor: Gertrude CrownfieldIllustrator: Anne Merriman PeckRelease Date: April 6, 2008 [EBook #25005]Last updated: March 2, 2009Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE SHADOW WITCH ***Produced by Irma Spehar, Markus Brenner and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (Thisfile was produced from images generously made availableby The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)Title pageTHESHADOWWITCHBYGERTRUDECROWNFIELDILLUSTRATIONS BYANNE MERRIMAN PECKE. P. DUTTON & COMPANYNEW YORKCOPYRIGHT 1922, BYE. P. DUTTON & COMPANYAll rights reservedPrinted in the United States of AmericaTO THE FRIENDWHOM I HAVE NEVER SEENCONTENTSPAGEPrologue 1CHAPTERI. 5II. 23III. 37IV. 52V. 68VI. 79VII. 101VIII. 113IX. 122X. 148XI. 166XII. 181XIII. 201XIV. 213XV. 224XVI. 243LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONSPAGEPrince Ember stretched eager hands to receive it 107She saw before her a glorious figure, Prince Ember 145The Prince led his bride home to his Palace of Good Cheer 249THE SHADOW WITCHPROLOGUEOME, sit with me beside the broad hearthstone and gaze into the depths of the fire ...
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Shadow Witch,by Gertrude CrownfieldThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at nocost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project GutenbergLicense includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Shadow WitchAuthor: Gertrude CrownfieldIllustrator: Anne Merriman PeckRelease Date: April 6, 2008 [EBook #25005]Last updated: March 2, 2009Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOKTHE SHADOW WITCH ***Produced by Irma Spehar, Markus Brenner and theOnline
OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net(Thisfile was produced from images generously madeavailableby The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)Title pageTHESHADOWWITCHBYGERTRUDECROWNFIELDILLUSTRATIONS BYANNE MERRIMAN PECKE. P. DUTTON & COMPANYNEW YORKCopyright 1922, BYE. P. DUTTON & COMPANYAll rights reserved
Printed in the United States of AmericaTO THE FRIENDWHOM I HAVE NEVER SEENCONTENTSPAGEPrologue1CHAPTERI.II.III.IV.V.VI.VII.VIII.IX.X.XI.XII.XIII.XIV.XV.XVI.52337526879101113122148166181201213224243LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PAGEtPrince Ember stretched eager hands to receive i107She saw before her a glorious figure, Prince Em145berThe Prince led his bride home to his Palace of G249ood CheerTHE SHADOW WITCHPROLOGUECome, sit with me beside the broad hearthstone andgaze into the depths of the fire when it burns low, fornot among the leaping flames alone are there to beseen marvelous things.Deep hidden from your eyes at first, but plainly visibleas you look closer, are countless forms of brightnessand of beauty. You will find them among the shiningcoals that glimmer in scarlet and gold before you whenthe embers lie clear and warm upon the hearth. Youwill behold them among the shadows that flit acrossthe embers with delicate grace and changeful hues.Here, spread wide open, is a part of the magical Landof Fire, the wonderland of the good and peacefulEmber Fairies. A golden gate gives entrance to it.Shining pathways lead through its bright gardens. Itsskies are warm and glowing. Here, decked withflaming banners, stands the home of the good PrinceEmber—his fairy Palace of Good Cheer. Here moves
the beautiful Shadow Princess, in trailing garments ofrose and amethyst. Here she may be seen in herdance of joy and ecstasy followed by her faithful bandof Shadows.Long ago, in the Land of Shadows, lived the ShadowWitch, the one beautiful and loving creature in all thatdim and darksome land that lies away from the Landof Fire, and between it and the Chimney Back. Closeto her domain is the great Plain of Ash, where thegiant, Curling Smoke, rises, where the crafty AshGoblin lurks, where the boisterous Wind in theChimney swoops down from out the Chimney Mouth.Near by, also, in his Cave of Darkness, her brother theWizard works his enchantments.If you will but hearken, I will tell you how the ShadowWitch came to leave that grim land with its evil fairies,and why it is that she now dances with happiness amidthe good fairies of the Fire, in the Land of GlowingEmbers. You shall hear, also, of the noble PrinceEmber, and of the quest upon which he once set out.What speed he had in his high adventure, and whetheror no he brought it to a happy and fortunate close, thistale will make known to you.CHAPTER IOne morning at early dawn, the Shadow Witch stoledown her palace steps and out into her Garden ofShadows, to walk there alone.Not many days before, a stranger prince, seeking todeliver a beautiful flame princess whom he loved, had
passed through the Land of the Evil Fairies that lies faraway from the heart of the Fire. The Shadow Witchhad seen him, and at first, half in mischief, and halfbecause she was lonely, had tried, by her magic, tolure him away from his quest into her own land. Butsoon, moved by his courage and goodness, yet mostof all by his faithful love to his princess, she had givenhim aid in his undertaking, and had saved him fromdestruction by her brother, the Wizard of the Cave ofDarkness.No such bright visitant had ever before come into thestrange country where she dwelt, and when hedeparted, her dim palace, her misty woods andgardens, even her own magic, no longer gave herpleasure as they once had done.Far from her dominions lay that lovely land fromwhence the prince had come, the land of the good andhappy Fire Fairies. Of the bright spells, the noblemagic, the joyous life of these fairies she knewnothing.Through her dusky land she moved, attended by herservants, the Shadows, working with them her curious,and sometimes mischievous, spells. Her brother, theWizard, gave her no cheer, spent no love upon her,taught her nothing good, and she, for her own part,seldom sought his presence.As she walked this morning in her garden, her darkeyes were troubled, and she let her grey garmentssweep the ground unheeded, while in fancy shefollowed Prince Radiance, who had come for one brief
hour into her dull life. She could not but wonderwhether she must be always lonely as she now was,whether she must always wish in vain for suchhappiness as his land could give. Up and down thealleys of the garden she went, and for a long time noone came to disturb her, but at length a voice broke inupon her musings.“Mistress of the Shadows,” it said, “a messenger fromyour brother, the Wizard, desires to speak to you.”The Shadow Witch lifted her eyes. Before her stoodher most faithful servant, Creeping Shadow.“What is his message?” the Shadow Witch demanded.“He declares that it is for your ear alone,” the Shadowanswered.Her mistress frowned impatiently. She was in no moodto talk with him.“He waits at the palace door,” continued CreepingShadow, “and says that he will remain there until youare pleased to receive him.”“Go, then, and bring him hither,” was the reluctantanswer. “I will hear what he has to say.”Creeping Shadow hastened to obey, and presentlyreturned accompanied by a dwarfed creature, black asthe blackest soot and clad in raiment as dusky ashimself. It was the Chief Imp, a trusted messenger ofthe Wizard.
The Shadow Witch especially disliked him. He was attimes impertinent when he came on her brother’serrands, therefore she held herself haughtily andfolded her robes closer about her when he drew near.But the Chief Imp bore himself humbly today and hisdisagreeable face wore an air of deep distress. Hebowed himself to the earth, and waited permission tospeak.“What says your master?” demanded the ShadowWitch imperiously. “Speak.”“Alas!” groaned the Imp, as if in profound grief, “Mymaster lies in his cavern sick unto death. He begs thatyou will come to him, and, by your magic, restore himto himself.”The Shadow Witch regarded him unmoved. “Has sogreat a magician as my brother no magic of his ownthat will be potent to restore him, that he must ask aidof mine?” she inquired.“Nay, madam,” replied the Chief Imp, rolling up hiseyes, “He has tried every means within his power andgrows no better. He turns to you, therefore, in hisextremity and beseeches you not to refuse him.”Knowing, as she did, the craftiness of her brother, theShadow Witch heard his message with distrust. Sheknew that if he had discovered that it was by her helpthat the prince had escaped him and that evil hadbeen brought upon himself, it would go hard with heronce she was in his power. Therefore, shedetermined, before she yielded to his request, to learn
from his servant whether or not he suspected her ofwhat she had done. So she bent a searching gazeupon the Chief Imp and began to question him.“Tell me,” she commanded, “what is this sickness fromwhich your master suffers, and what is its cause?”The Imp hastened to inform her. “A strange princepenetrated the Cave of Darkness, a short time since.For reasons of his own, the Wizard sought tooverpower him with the spell of his Urn of Vapors, butthe prince, who had come upon him without warning,suddenly flashed about him a magic weapon, theSword of Flames, that instantly took from my masterall power to protect himself. He cried aloud to us, andat once we hurried him away to an inner chamber, farfrom its dreadful sway. There he lay for a timeinsensible, and we feared for his life, but at length,tended by his servants, he became able to move alittle, and, at last, even to speak. But that is all.”“What has become of this prince and his magicsword?” demanded the Shadow Witch, watching himyet more closely. “Have you permitted him to escapewith it unharmed?”“Ah, madam,” the Chief Imp replied, “When we cameto seek him, to wreak vengeance upon him, he hadvanished and had left no trace.”“Had this prince no servants, no companions?”insisted she. None who guided him to my brother’scavern?”“Nay,” he assured her, “the prince was quite alone.”
The Shadow Witch asked him no further questions,but stood silent, pondering deeply whether or no sheshould grant the Wizard’s request. She herself hadseen him overcome by the fairy sword, had seen theprince depart in safety, but that her brother trusted toany magic of her own to restore him, she greatlydoubted. Still, she believed that there could be nograve danger to herself in going to him. Never, even inthe fulness of his power, had he been able to reallyinjure her. Why should she fear him now, when he washelpless. Besides, from what the Imp had said, it wasnot known that she had guided and protected theprince. Therefore she had no cause for uneasiness.She turned to where the Chief Imp waited, regardingher with his crafty eyes. “Go back to your master,” shebade him. “Say to him that I will come shortly torender him what aid I can.”Well pleased at the result of his errand, the Chief Impdeparted.As soon as he was out of sight the Shadow Witchbeckoned Creeping Shadow to her side and instructedher with lifted finger. “I go alone to visit my brother,the Wizard, who lies ill, and has sent for me. If,however, much time passes, and I have not returned,you may be sure that some evil has befallen me. Seekme then, instantly, in the Cave of Darkness, for I shallhave need of you.”Creeping Shadow swore to obey what she had beentold, and her mistress, gathering her trailing robesover her arm, took her way to the Wizard’s Cave.
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