Very soon, however, he began to get his blood up, and, kicking out his legs like a wild goat of Cashmere, he prepared to show her that it would have to be a very smart old woman who could beat him in a race. So away they went, like a cat and a dog, the Prince clearing the great gaps as fast as Mahbracca could make them.
Indeed, the enemy was upon them almost as soon as they perceived their danger. Mahbracca stepped to one side, and the crowd, opening, discovered in the midst forty-seven spotted demons, who carried a great copper brazier, like an enormous covered pot, which they quickly set down, almost at the feet of the Giant.
As it drew nearer, they perceived the glittering spears and the flags, and heard the sounds of drum and horn. This great multitude was nothing more than two or three hundred thousand of the inhabitants of the city of the mighty King, who were marching upon the stronghold of Mahbracca.
While the Prince stood, scarcely able to refrain from laughing at the comical countenance of the young demon in the jar, he heard the opening of a door, and, turning, saw the sorceress Mahbracca enter the apartment. This worthy dame presented a remarkable appearance.
The Prince shouted loudly to her to send him the keys, at which the whole crowd set up a shout of laughter, and Mahbracca hysterically screamed to him, "Enter! Enter, great Prince! Why wait so long outside? You grieve your lovely Princess!" The Prince, enraged, drew his sword of adamant, and at one blow thrust it through the lock, but the door did not open, and the sword was fixed immovably.
She advanced with a smile, which did not make her look any more lovely, and extended her hand to the Prince. Being a man of politeness, of course he took it, but her touch was ten times more clammy and deadly than that of a snake. "I am glad to see you," said Mahbracca. "Will you take some rest and refreshment? You must be tired, for you have surely travelled a long way."
"Now, sir," said the sea-gentleman to the Prince, "you must cheer up and be lively, or you cannot hope to succeed in this matter. My boy will take you to the sea-side entrance of the cave of Mahbracca. There I hope you will have no difficulty in entering, but I can say nothing positive upon the subject."
"Behold!" cried Mahbracca, springing in front of him, and waving her arms "behold the dwelling of your Princess! Come! let us run, let us bound!" Seizing him by the hand with a strength that was not to be resisted, she led him, at great speed, to the foot of the tower. Then at the top of her voice she called out, "Princess! appear at your window quickly! Your love has come from afar unto you.
But, as they were about leaving the tower, they were startled by a sudden burst of yells and howls, and saw, issuing from the brazen gate by which the Prince had first entered, a great crowd, which was approaching them at full speed, headed by Mahbracca, who skipped along at an astonishing rate. Our friends did not attempt to retreat.
The Prime Minister was seized and imprisoned, and the palace was searched; and when it was found that the Princess was indeed gone, the whole city put full faith in the Prince's story, and all who could bear arms, or play music, and could possibly leave home, formed themselves into a great army, and started off for the cave of Mahbracca.