He made the mixture and swallowed it, and straightway began to grow big and tall. This greatly delighted him, until he found he was getting much bigger than the average man and rapidly becoming a giant. So he sought for a way to arrest the action of the magical draft; but before he could find it he had grown to enormous proportions, and was bigger than the biggest giant. There was nothing in the book of magic to make one grow smaller, so he was obliged to remain as he was--the largest man in the Enchanted Island.

All this had happened in a single night. The morning after his master's murder the page announced himself lord of the castle; and, seeing his enormous size, none dared deny his right to rule. On account of his bushy hair, which was fiery red in color, and the bushy red beard that covered his face when he became older, people came to call him the Red One. And after his evil deeds and quarrelsome temper had made him infamous throughout the island, people began to call him the Red Rogue of Dawna.

He had gathered around him a number of savage barbarians, as wicked and quarrelsome as himself, and so none dared to interfere with him, or even to meet him, if it were possible to avoid it.

This same Red Rogue it was who had drawn the good Baron Merd into a quarrel and afterward slain the old knight and his followers, destroyed his castle, and carried his little daughter Seseley and her girl friends, Berna and Helda, into captivity, shutting them up in his own gloomy castle.

The Red Rogue thought he had done a very clever thing, and had no fear of the consequences until one of his men came running up to the castle to announce that Prince Marvel and his companions were approaching to rescue the Lady Seseley.

"How many of them are there?" demanded the Red Rogue.

"There are eight, altogether," answered the man, "but two of them are girls."

"And they expect to force me to give up my captives?" asked the Red One, laughing with a noise like the roar of a waterfall. "Why, I shall make prisoners of every one of them!"

The man looked at his master fearfully, and replied:

"This Prince Marvel is very famous, and all people speak of his bravery and power. It was he who conquered King Terribus of Spor, and that mighty ruler is now his friend, and is one of the eight who approach."

The Red Rogue stopped laughing, for the fame of Spor's terrible king had long ago reached him. And he reflected that any one who could conquer the army of giants and dwarfs and Gray Men that served Terribus must surely be one to be regarded seriously. Moreover--and this was a secret--the Red Rogue had never been able to gain the strength to correspond with his gigantic size, but had ever remained as weak as when he was a puny boy. So he was accustomed to rely on his cunning and on the terror his very presence usually excited to triumph over his enemies. And he began to be afraid of this prince.

"You say two of the party are girls?" he asked.

"Yes," said the man, "but also among them are King Terribus himself, and the renowned Wul-Takim, formerly king of thieves, who was conquered by the prince, although accounted a hard fighter, and is now his devoted servant. And there are two old men who are just alike and have a very fierce look about them. They are said to come from the hidden Kingdom of Twi."

By this time the Red Rogue was thoroughly frightened, but he did not yet despair of defeating his enemies. He knew better than to attempt to oppose Prince Marvel by force, but he still hoped to conquer him by trickery and deceit.

Among the wonderful things that the Red Rogue's former master, the wise scholar and magician, had made were two large enchanted mirrors, which were set on each side of the great hallway of the castle. Heavy curtains were drawn over the surfaces of these mirrors, because they both possessed a dreadful magical power. For whenever any one looked into one of them his reflection was instantly caught and imprisoned in the mirror, and his body at the same time became invisible to all earthly eyes, only the mirror retaining his form.

The Enchanted Island of Yew Page 47

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