When I did at last
reach the door it was fast
closed, and on
panel set before a grating the light that came in thereby showed unto
that my passage was barred by the king's secret lock.
Before the handle
of the door might be turned, it was needful to place the hands of three
several dials in their proper places.
If you but knew the proper letter
for each dial, the secret was of a truth to your hand; but as ten
were upon the face of every dial, you might try nine hundred and
ninety-nine times and only succeed on the thousandth attempt
was indeed to escape I must waste not a moment.
Now, once had I
heard the learned monk who did
invent the lock
he feared that the king's servants, having such bad
mayhap forget the right letters; so perchance, thought I, he had on
account devised some way to aid their memories.
And what more natural
than to make the letters form some word?
I soon found a word that was
English, made of three letters—one letter being on each of
After that I had pointed the hands properly to the letters the
door opened and I passed out.
What was the secret