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Faroutintheocean,wherethewaterisasblueastheprettiestcornflower,andasclearascrystal,itisvery,verydeep;sodeep,indeed,thatnocablecouldfathomit:manychurchsteeples,piledoneuponanother,wouldnotreachfromthegroundbeneathtothesurfaceofthewaterabove. TheredwelltheSeaKingandhissubjects. Wemustnotimaginethatthereisnothingatthebottomoftheseabutbareyellowsand. No,indeed;themostsingularflowersandplantsgrowthere;theleavesandstemsofwhicharesopliant,thattheslightestagitationofthewatercausesthemtostirasiftheyhadlife. Fishes,bothlargeandsmall,glidebetweenthebranches,asbirdsflyamongthetreeshereuponland. Inthedeepestspotofall,standsthecastleoftheSeaKing.Itswallsarebuiltofcoral,andthelong,gothicwindowsareoftheclearestamber. Theroofisformedofshells,thatopenandcloseasthewaterflowsoverthem. Theirappearanceisverybeautiful,forineachliesaglitteringpearl,whichwouldbefitforthediademofaqueen. TheSeaKinghadbeenawidowerformanyyears,andhisagedmotherkepthouseforhim. Shewasaverywisewoman,andexceedinglyproudofherhighbirth;onthataccountsheworetwelveoystersonhertail;whileothers,alsoofhighrank,wereonlyallowedtowearsix. Shewas,however,deservingofverygreatpraise,especiallyforhercareofthelittlesea-princesses,hergrand-daughters. 

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