THE LAST CHAPTER
LL the rest went up the mountain, and separated in groups to the
homes of the miners. Curdie and his father and mother took Lootie
with them. And the whole way a light, of which all but Lootie
understood the origin, shone upon their path. But when they looked
round they could see nothing of the silvery globe.
For days and days the water continued to rush from the doors and
windows of the king's house, and a few goblin bodies were swept out
into the road.
Curdie saw that something must be done. He spoke to his father and
the rest of the miners, and they at once proceeded to make another
outlet for the waters. By setting all hands to the work,
tunnelling here and building there, they soon succeeded; and having
also made a little tunnel to drain the water away from under the
 king's house, they were soon able to get into the wine cellar,
where they found a multitude of dead goblins—among the rest the
queen, with the skin-shoe gone, and the stone one fast to her ankle—for
the water had swept away the barricade, which prevented the
men-at-arms from following the goblins, and had greatly widened the
passage. They built it securely up, and then went back to their
labours in the mine.
A good many of the goblins with their creatures escaped from the
inundation out upon the mountain. But most of them soon left that
part of the country, and most of those who remained grew milder in
character, and indeed became very much like the Scotch brownies.
Their skulls became softer as well as their hearts, and their feet
grew harder, and by degrees they became friendly with the
inhabitants of the mountain and even with the miners. But the
latter were merciless to any of the cobs' creatures that came in
their way, until at length they all but disappeared. Still—
"But, Mr. Author, we would rather hear more
about the Princess and Curdie. We don't care
about the goblins and their nasty creatures. They
"But you know if you once get rid of the goblins
there is no fear of the princess or of Curdie."
"But we want to know more about them."
"Some day, perhaps, I may tell you the further
history of both of them; how Curdie came to
visit Irene's grandmother, and what she did for
him; and how the princess and he met again after
they were older—and how—But there! I don't
mean to go any farther at present."
"Then you're leaving the story unfinished, Mr. Author!"
"Not more unfinished than a story ought to
be, I hope. If you ever knew a story finished, all
I call say is, I never did. Somehow, stories won't
finish. I think I know why, but I won't say that