The engineer and the dwarfs
The sunlight gilded the rocks before them, till they looked as if they contained streaks of gold ore. They crossed the little moor, and clambered over the rocks till they reached the stunted fir-grove.
Looking back they saw that the sky had become a glowing red as it often does just before the light dies out; seen through the dark, twisted trees the wood appeared to be on fire. The lovers sat down and gazed for a few moments in silence till the glory faded from the sky.
"Now for it, Norah," said Karl getting up and offering her a hand, "the way down into dwarfland must be quite near here!"
"Of course I know, I can find it at once," she answered.
They searched carefully around for the great crack in the rocks, but could find nothing in the least resembling it.
"How absurd; how can we miss it when it is certainly not more than a yard or two away," said Norah.
"The steps were not so easily recognisable, if I remember rightly," said Karl, "but we are sure to find them in a minute."
It grew darker and darker; the mountain was covered with boulders of stone, juniper bushes and stunted trees; but no trace of the great rent in the mountain-side could they discover.
"Did we dream it all?" said Karl.
"Impossible, why I have been down there many times," said Norah beginning to feel bitterly disappointed.
"Supposing I were to fetch some of my men here and blow up the rocks with dynamite; we must be able to get in then, for the mountain is as full of dwarfs as bees in a hive," said Karl, who was getting in a temper.
"And do you think they would reward you handsomely for your services," said Norah sarcastically, "and O the poor little men, they always treated me with the utmost kindness and politeness, and gave me far more money than ever I bargained for!"
"They nearly pinched me black and blue, till I frightened them with my revolver," said Karl.
"The wretches!" said Norah, "but why?"
"Because I was silly enough to tell them about the airship, and they thought I was humbugging them.