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to do but to accomplish his promise. Princes
are usually faithful in these kinds of undertakings.
Niagoë had much wealth at his
command, and knew of an able architect
named Manoli. To him he entrusted the
task of constructing the temple,—bidding
him collect the best Greek, Arab, and Byzantine
workmen. That solitary region was
accordingly soon peopled with strangers. The
forests began to retire, the flanks of the
mountains were torn open; and the bears
that looked in while passing down the long
glades on the rugged ruins, became
convinced that their occupation in that part of
the world was gone for ever.

Manoli had set about his task with
enthusiasm. There were day gangs and night
gangs; so that the walls rose as if by
magic.

Already the topmost pinnacle began to
appear to the distant traveller over the
surrounding trees, when suddenly the edifice
sunk into the earth, and spread upon it in
ruin. Manoli attributed this disaster to some
defect in his plan, or to the too great haste
with which it was carried out; and began
again with more caution. But, no sooner
had the building reached the former elevation
than down it came again. Not one stone
remained upon another. Manoli had confidence
in his own talent, and was therefore convinced
that some invisible power was determined to
cross his purposes. He would have been
inclined to give up the work altogether; but
Niagoë had become furious. As usual in
building enterprises, the expenses of the first
construction exceeded the estimate by at least
a half. To effect the second, the prince was
obliged to sell the diamonds of his wife. His
vow was costing him dear; but he dared not
break it. The simpler course was to swear
by his beard that Manoli should be
decapitated, and all his workmen hanged, if the
church were not finished by a given time.

Under these circumstances, Manoli went
to consult the aged anchorite who had
witnessed Prince Niagoë's vow, and asked him
what was to be done. "Build again," was
the reply, "and when the last stone is about
to be placed, come to me, and by that time I
may have found an expedient." Manoli
accordingly, for the third time, laboured, and
for the third time brought the church near
perfection. Then he paused and went to the
anchorite, who received him with a glare of
horror such as he had never seen before,
hurriedly interrupted his pious salutation,
and said, in a strange unearthly voice,
"Watch to-morrow from the pinnacle, and
the first woman thou beholdest approaching
from the east cause her to be taken, when she
reaches the place of work, with whatever she
may have in her arms, and walled up within
one of the pillars of the church. Thus only
will success crown thy efforts."

Manoli was a humane man; and his heart
shrank within him at hearing this order.
But his own life, with that of many others,
was at stake, and he went away from the
cell sadly, determined to obey what he
conceived to be a divine command. He was
awakened next morning by the singing of the
workmen, and climbed up immediately to
the appointed place, when, shading his eyes
from the low sun with his hand, he anxiously
looked forth. Some time passed and no female
form appeared. At length a slight figure
was seen approaching down a glade, in the
midst of a light mist, kindled into gold by
the still slanting rays of the sun. Manoli
was about to rejoice, when suddenly he
recognised in the devoted victim his own
young wife Uca,—his wife of two summers
only, the mother of the boy whose smiles and
even whose cries gladdened his heart, when
he drew near home. He knelt down and
prayed, with streaming eyes, that some
obstacle might present itself to turn back her
steps. He had scarcely concluded, when a
huge dog rushed out from a thicket, over-
turned the basket of provisions which Uca
was bringing for her husband, and forced her
to go back to prepare a new meal.

Manoli rejoiced, and continued to look
towards the silent and motionless east.
Suddenly the form of a woman again appeared.
He strained his eyes beneath his broad hard
hand, leaning forward, so that he nearly
toppled over, and to his dismay saw that it
was Uca again. The good housewife had
returned to her home, had replenished her
basket, and was now not walking, but
running, lest her husband might suffer by the
delay. Manoli resorted to prayer once more;
although he believed it was almost impious
thus to strive with fate. This time a gaunt
wolf stalked forth from beneath the trees,
and Uca again fled back to her dwelling.

Manoli returned thanks in a passion of
joy, and remained for the whole day still
looking anxiously out. The sun had gone
down beneath the long black horizon behind
him; the trees had melted into a dim shadow;
the course of the stream could no longer be
traced; the flocks on the hill sides faded from
sight, though their monotonous bleating and
the shouting of the shepherds could still
be heard. Manoli began to believe that the
church was destined never to be finished, and
resolved to share its destruction. Suddenly,
near at hand, quite among the workmen, he
beheld the indomitable Uca, with a third
basket of provisions on one arm, and her babe
upon the other. She looked around for her
husband, eager to explain the causes of her
delay and to justify herself. He was soon in
her presence. Looking on, by the workmen's
torches which were already lighted, she
wondered at the solemnity of his aspect. He did
not now shed many tears; for he believed
that he was obeying the thrice-expressed will
of Heaven. He kissed his wife tenderly,
putting aside the hands of the little child,
which endeavoured to clasp his neckfor

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