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The Little Soldier
start of story
'Clic!' once more the flames parted.
Ludovine was a woman down to her waist. She took the tunic and put it on.
It was a magnificent tunic of orange velvet, embroidered in pearls,
but the pearls were not so white as her own neck.
'That is not all,' she said.
'Go to the gallery, take the staircase which is on the left,
and in the second room on the first story you will find another closet with my skirt.
Bring this to me.'
The Kinglet did as he was told,
but in entering the room he saw, instead of merely hands, eight arms,
each holding an enormous stick.
He instantly unsheathed his sword and cut his way through with such vigour that he hardly received a scratch.
He brought back the skirt, which was made of silk as blue as the skies of Spain.
'Here it is,' said John, as the serpent appeared.
She was now a woman as far as her knees.
'I only want my shoes and stockings now,' she said.
'Go and get them from the closet which is on the second story.'
The little soldier departed, and found himself in the presence of eight goblins
They were armed with hammers, and flames darting from their eyes.
This time he stopped short at the threshold.
'My sword is no use,' he thought to himself;
'these wretches will break it like glass,
and if I can't think of anything else, I am a dead man.
' At this moment his eyes fell on the door, which was made of oak, thick and heavy.
He wrenched it off its hinges and held it over his head, and then went straight at the goblins, whom he crushed beneath it.