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In the old days, a long, long while ago, before Our Saviour was
born on earth and lay asleep in a manger, these Islands were in the
same place, and the stormy sea roared round them, just as it roars
now. But the sea was not alive, then, with great ships and brave
sailors, sailing to and from all parts of the world. It was very
lonely. The Islands lay solitary, in the great expanse of water.
The foaming waves dashed against their cliffs, and the bleak winds
blew over their forests; but the winds and waves brought no
adventurers to land upon the Islands, and the savage Islanders knew
nothing of the rest of the world, and the rest of the world knew
nothing of them.
It is supposed that the Phoenicians, who were an ancient people,
famous for carrying on trade, came in ships to these Islands, and
found that they produced tin and lead; both very useful things, as
you know, and both produced to this very hour upon the sea-coast.
The most celebrated tin mines in Cornwall are, still, close to the
sea. One of them, which I have seen, is so close to it that it is
hollowed out underneath the ocean; and the miners say, that in
stormy weather, when they are at work down in that deep place, they
can hear the noise of the waves thundering above their heads.
So, the Phoenicians, coasting about the Islands, would come, without
much difficulty, to where the tin and lead were.