THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 7: MERLIN'S TOWER
"You have had time enough. I have given you every advantage,
and not interfered. It is plain your magic is weak. It is only
fair that I begin now."
I made about three passes in the air, and then there was an awful
crash and that old tower leaped into the sky in chunks, along
with a vast volcanic fountain of fire that turned night to noonday,
and showed a thousand acres of human beings groveling on the ground
in a general collapse of consternation. Well, it rained mortar and
masonry the rest of the week. This was the report; but probably
the facts would have modified it.
It was an effective miracle. The great bothersome temporary
population vanished. There were a good many thousand tracks
in the mud the next morning, but they were all outward bound.
If I had advertised another miracle I couldn't have raised an
audience with a sheriff.
Merlin's stock was flat. The king wanted to stop his wages; he
even wanted to banish him, but I interfered. I said he would be
useful to work the weather, and attend to small matters like that,
and I would give him a lift now and then when his poor little
parlor-magic soured on him. There wasn't a rag of his tower left,
but I had the government rebuild it for him, and advised him
to take boarders; but he was too high-toned for that. And as for
being grateful, he never even said thank you. He was a rather
hard lot, take him how you might; but then you couldn't fairly
expect a man to be sweet that had been set back so.