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Heart Of Ice

from The Green Fairy Book

Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen who were foolish
beyond all telling, but nevertheless they were vastly fond of one
another. It is true that certain spiteful people were heard to say
that this was only one proof the more of their exceeding
foolishness, but of course you will understand that these were not
their own courtiers, since, after all, they were a King and Queen,
and up to this time all things had prospered with them. For in
those days the one thing to be thought of in governing a kingdom
was to keep well with all the Fairies and Enchanters, and on no
account to stint them of the cakes, the ells of ribbon, and
similar trifles which were their due, and, above all things, when
there was a christening, to remember to invite every single one,
good, bad, or indifferent, to the ceremony. Now, the foolish Queen
had one little son who was just going to be christened, and for
several months she had been hard at work preparing an enormous
list of the names of those who were to be invited, but she quite
forgot that it would take nearly as long to read it over as it had
taken to write it out. So, when the moment of the christening
arrived the King--to whom the task had been entrusted--had barely
reached the end of the second page and his tongue was tripping
with fatigue and haste as he repeated the usual formula: 'I
conjure and pray you, Fairy so-and-so'--or 'Enchanter such-a-one'
--'to honour me with a visit, and graciously bestow your gifts upon
my son.'

To make matters worse, word was brought to him that the Fairies
asked on the first page had already arrived and were waiting
impatiently in the Great Hall, and grumbling that nobody was there
to receive them. Thereupon he gave up the list in despair and
hurried to greet those whom he had succeeded in asking, imploring
their goodwill so humbly that most of them were touched, and
promised that they would do his son no harm. But there happened to
be among them a Fairy from a far country about whom they knew
nothing, though her name had been written on the first page of the
list. This Fairy was annoyed that after having taken the trouble
to come so quickly, there had been no one to receive her, or help
her to alight from the great ostrich on which she had travelled
from her distant home, and now she began to mutter to herself in
the most alarming way.

'Oh! prate away,' said she, 'your son will never be anything to
boast of. Say what you will, he will be nothing but a Mannikin--'

No doubt she would have gone on longer in this strain, and given
the unhappy little Prince half-a-dozen undesirable gifts, if it
had not been for the good Fairy Genesta, who held the kingdom
under her special protection, and who luckily hurried in just in
time to prevent further mischief. When she had by compliments and
entreaties pacified the unknown Fairy, and persuaded her to say no
more, she gave the King a hint that now was the time to distribute
the presents, after which ceremony they all took their departure,
excepting the Fairy Genesta, who then went to see the Queen, and
said to her:

'A nice mass you seem to have made of this business, madam. Why
did you not condescend to consult me? But foolish people like you
always think they can do without help or advice, and I observe
that, in spite of all my goodness to you, you had not even the
civility to invite me!'

'Ah! dear madam,' cried the King, throwing himself at her feet;
'did I ever have time to get as far as your name? See where I put
in this mark when I abandoned the hopeless undertaking which I had
but just begun!'

'There! there!' said the Fairy, 'I am not offended. I don't allow
myself to be put out by trifles like that with people I really am
fond of. But now about your son: I have saved him from a great
many disagreeable things, but you must let me take him away and
take care of him, and you will not see him again until he is all
covered with fur!'

At these mysterious words the King and Queen burst into tears, for
they lived in such a hot climate themselves that how or why the
Prince should come to be covered with fur they could not imagine,
and thought it must portend some great misfortune to him.

However, Genesta told them not to disquiet themselves.

'If I left him to you to bring up,' said she, 'you would be
certain to make him as foolish as yourselves. I do not even intend
to let him know that he is your son. As for you, you had better
give your minds to governing your kingdom properly.' So saying,
she opened the window, and catching up the little Prince, cradle
and all, she glided away in the air as if she were skating upon
ice, leaving the King and Queen in the greatest affliction. They
consulted everyone who came near them as to what the Fairy could
possibly have meant by saying that when they saw their son again
he would be covered with fur. But nobody could offer any solution
of the mystery, only they all seemed to agree that it must be
something frightful, and the King and Queen made themselves more
miserable than ever, and wandered about their palace in a way to
make anyone pity them. Meantime the Fairy had carried off the
little Prince to her own castle, and placed him under the care of
a young peasant woman, whom she bewitched so as to make her think
that this new baby was one of her own children. So the Prince grew
up healthy and strong, leading the simple life of a young peasant,
for the Fairy thought that he could have no better training; only
as he grew older she kept him more and more with herself, that his
mind might be cultivated and exercised as well as his body. But
her care did not cease there: she resolved that he should be tried
by hardships and disappointments and the knowledge of his
fellowmen; for indeed she knew the Prince would need every
advantage that she could give him, since, though he increased in
years, he did not increase in height, but remained the tiniest of
Princes. However, in spite of this he was exceedingly active and
well formed, and altogether so handsome and agreeable that the
smallness of his stature was of no real consequence. The Prince
was perfectly aware that he was called by the ridiculous name of
'Mannikin,' but he consoled himself by vowing that, happen what
might, he would make it illustrious.

In order to carry out her plans for his welfare the Fairy now
began to send Prince Mannikin the most wonderful dreams of
adventure by sea and land, and of these adventures he himself was
always the hero. Sometimes he rescued a lovely Princess from some
terrible danger, again he earned a kingdom by some brave deed,
until at last he longed to go away and seek his fortune in a far
country where his humble birth would not prevent his gaining
honour and riches by his courage, and it was with a heart full of
ambitious projects that he rode one day into a great city not far
from the Fairy's castle. As he had set out intending to hunt in
the surrounding forest he was quite simply dressed, and carried
only a bow and arrows and a light spear; but even thus arrayed he
looked graceful and distinguished. As he entered the city he saw
that the inhabitants were all racing with one accord towards the
market-place, and he also turned his horse in the same direction,
curious to know what was going forward. When he reached the spot
he found that certain foreigners of strange and outlandish
appearance were about to make a proclamation to the assembled
citizens, and he hastily pushed his way into the crowd until he
was near enough to hear the words of the venerable old man who was
their spokesman:

'Let the whole world know that he who can reach the summit of the
Ice Mountain shall receive as his reward, not only the
incomparable Sabella, fairest of the fair, but also all the realms
of which she is Queen!' 'Here,' continued the old man after he had
made this proclamation--'here is the list of all those Princes
who, struck by the beauty of the Princess, have perished in the
attempt to win her; and here is the list of these who have just
entered upon the high emprise.'

Prince Mannikin was seized with a violent desire to inscribe his
name among the others, but the remembrance of his dependent
position and his lack of wealth held him back. But while he
hesitated the old man, with many respectful ceremonies, unveiled a
portrait of the lovely Sabella, which was carried by some of the
attendants, and after one glance at it the Prince delayed no
longer, but, rushing forward, demanded permission to add his name
to the list. When they saw his tiny stature anti simple attire the
strangers looked at each other doubtfully, not knowing whether to
accept or refuse him. But the Prince said haughtily:

'Give me the paper that I may sign it,' and they obeyed. What
between admiration for the Princess and annoyance at the
hesitation shown by her ambassadors the Prince was too much
agitated to choose any other name than the one by which he was
always known. But when, after all the grand titles of the other
Princes, he simply wrote 'Mannikin,' the ambassadors broke into
shouts of laughter.

'Miserable wretches!' cried the Prince; 'but for the presence of
that lovely portrait I would cut off your heads.'

But he suddenly remembered that, after all, it was a funny name,
and that he had not yet had time to make it famous; so he was
calm, and enquired the way to the Princess Sabella's country.

Though his heart did not fail him in the least, still he felt
there were many difficulties before him, and he resolved to set
out at once, without even taking leave of the Fairy, for fear she
might try to stop him. Everybody in the town who knew him made
great fun of the idea of Mannikin's undertaking such an
expedition, and it even came to the ears of the foolish King and
Queen, who laughed over it more than any of the others, without
having an idea that the presumptuous Mannikin was their only son!

Meantime the Prince was travelling on, though the direction he had
received for his journey were none of the clearest.

'Four hundred leagues north of Mount Caucasus you will receive
your orders and instructions for the conquest of the Ice

Fine marching orders, those, for a man starting from a country
near where Japan is nowadays!

However, he fared eastward, avoiding all towns, lest the people
should laugh at his name, for, you see, he was not a very
experienced traveller, and had not yet learned to enjoy a joke
even if it were against himself. At night he slept in the woods,
and at first he lived upon wild fruits; but the Fairy, who was
keeping a benevolent eye upon him, thought that it would never do
to let him be half-starved in that way, so she took to feeding him
with all sorts of good things while he was asleep, and the Prince
wondered very much that when he was awake he never felt hungry!
True to her plan the Fairy sent him various adventures to prove
his courage, and he came successfully through them all, only in
his last fight with a furious monster rather like a tiger he had
the ill luck to lose his horse. However, nothing daunted, he
struggled on on foot, and at last reached a seaport. Here he found
a boat sailing for the coast which he desired to reach, and,
having just enough money to pay his passage, he went on board and
they started. But after some days a fearful storm came on, which
completely wrecked the little ship, and the Prince only saved his
life by swimming a long, long way to the only land that was in
sight, and which proved to be a desert island. Here he lived by
fishing and hunting, always hoping that the good Fairy would
presently rescue him. One day, as he was looking sadly out to sea,
he became aware of a curious looking boat which was drifting
slowly towards the shore, and which presently ran into a little
creek and there stuck fast in the sand. Prince Mannikin rushed
down eagerly to examine it, and saw with amazement that the masts
and spars were all branched, and covered thickly with leaves until
it looked like a little wood. Thinking from the stillness that
there could be no one on board, the Prince pushed aside the
branches and sprang over the side, and found himself surrounded by
the crew, who lay motionless as dead men and in a most deplorable
condition. They, too, had become almost like trees, and were
growing to the deck, or to the masts, or to the sides of the
vessel, or to whatever they had happened to be touching when the
enchantment fell upon them. Mannikin was struck with pity for
their miserable plight, and set to work with might and main to
release them. With the sharp point of one of his arrows he gently
detached their hands and feet from the wood which held them fast,
and carried them on shore, one after another, where he rubbed
their rigid limbs, and bathed them with infusions of various herbs
with such success, that, after a few days, they recovered
perfectly and were as fit to manage a boat as ever. You may be
sure that the good Fairy Genesta had something to do with this
marvellous cure, and she also put it into the Prince's head to rub
the boat itself with the same magic herbs, which cleared it
entirely, and not before it was time, for, at the rate at which it
was growing before, it would very soon have become a forest! The
gratitude of the sailors was extreme, and they willingly promised
to land the Prince upon any coast he pleased; but, when he
questioned them about the extraordinary thing that had happened to
them and to their ship, they could in no way explain it, except
that they said that, as they were passing along a thickly wooded
coast, a sudden gust of wind had reached them from the land and
enveloped them in a dense cloud of dust, after which everything in
the boat that was not metal had sprouted and blossomed, as the
Prince had seen, and that they themselves had grown gradually numb
and heavy, and had finally lost all consciousness. Prince Mannikin
was deeply interested in this curious story, and collected a
quantity of the dust from the bottom of the boat, which he
carefully preserved, thinking that its strange property might one
day stand him in good stead.

Then they joyfully left the desert island, and after a long and
prosperous voyage over calm seas they at length came in sight of
land, and resolved to go on shore, not only to take in a fresh
stock of water and provisions, but also to find out, if possible,
where they were and in what direction to proceed.

As they neared the coast they wondered if this could be another
uninhabited land, for no human beings could be distinguished, and
yet that something was stirring became evident, for in the dust-
clouds that moved near the ground small dark forms were dimly
visible. These appeared to be assembling at the exact spot where
they were preparing to run ashore, and what was their surprise to
find they were nothing more nor less than large and beautiful
spaniels, some mounted as sentries, others grouped in companies
and regiments, all eagerly watching their disembarkation. When
they found that Prince Mannikin, instead of saying, 'Shoot them,'
as they had feared, said 'Hi, good dog!' in a thoroughly friendly
and ingratiating way, they crowded round him with a great wagging
of tails and giving of paws, and very soon made him understand
that they wanted him to leave his men with the boat and follow
them. The Prince was so curious to know more about them that he
agreed willingly; so, after arranging with the sailors to wait for
him fifteen days, and then, if he had not come back, to go on
their way without him, he set out with his new friends. Their way
lay inland, and Mannikin noticed with great surprise that the
fields were well cultivated and that the carts and ploughs were
drawn by horses or oxen, just as they might have been in any other
country, and when they passed any village the cottages were trim
and pretty, and an air of prosperity was everywhere. At one of the
villages a dainty little repast was set before the Prince, and
while he was eating, a chariot was brought, drawn by two splendid
horses, which were driven with great skill by a large spaniel. In
this carriage he continued his journey very comfortably, passing
many similar equipages upon the road, and being always most
courteously saluted by the spaniels who occupied them. At last
they drove rapidly into a large town, which Prince Mannikin had no
doubt was the capital of the kingdom. News of his approach had
evidently been received, for all the inhabitants were at their
doors and windows, and all the little spaniels had climbed upon
the wall and gates to see him arrive. The Prince was delighted
with the hearty welcome they gave him, and looked round him with
the deepest interest. After passing through a few wide streets,
well paved, and adorned with avenues of fine trees, they drove
into the courtyard of a grand palace, which was full of spaniels
who were evidently soldiers. 'The King's body-guard,' thought the
Prince to himself as he returned their salutations, and then the
carriage stopped, and he was shown into the presence of the King,
who lay upon a rich Persian carpet surrounded by several little
spaniels, who were occupied in chasing away the flies lest they
should disturb his Majesty. He was the most beautiful of all
spaniels, with a look of sadness in his large eyes, which,
however, quite disappeared as he sprang up to welcome Prince
Mannikin with every demonstration of delight; after which he made
a sign to his courtiers, who came one by one to pay their respects
to the visitor. The Prince thought that he would find himself
puzzled as to how he should carry on a conversation, but as soon
as he and the King were once more left alone, a Secretary of State
was sent for, who wrote from his Majesty's dictation a most polite
speech, in which he regretted much that they were unable to
converse, except in writing, the language of dogs being difficult
to understand. As for the writing, it had remained the same as the
Prince's own.

Mannikin thereupon wrote a suitable reply, and then begged the
King to satisfy his curiosity about all the strange things he had
seen and heard since his landing. This appeared to awaken sad
recollections in the King's mind, but he informed the Prince that
he was called King Bayard, and that a Fairy, whose kingdom was
next his own, had fallen violently in love with him, and had done
all she could to persuade him to marry her; but that he could not
do so as he himself was the devoted lover of the Queen of the
Spice Islands. Finally, the Fairy, furious at the indifference
with which her love was treated, had reduced him to the state in
which the Prince found him, leaving him unchanged in mind, but
deprived of the power of speech; and, not content with wreaking
her vengeance upon the King alone, she had condemned all his
subjects to a similar fate, saying:

'Bark, and run upon four feet, until the time comes when virtue
shall be rewarded by love and fortune.'

Which, as the poor King remarked, was very much the same thing as
if she had said, 'Remain a spaniel for ever and ever.'

Prince Mannikin was quite of the same opinion; nevertheless he
said what we should all have said in the same circumstances:

'Your Majesty must have patience.'

He was indeed deeply sorry for poor King Bayard, and said all the
consoling things he could think of, promising to aid him with all
his might if there was anything to be done. In short they became
firm friends, and the King proudly displayed to Mannikin the
portrait of the Queen of the Spice Islands, and he quite agreed
that it was worth while to go through anything for the sake of a
creature so lovely. Prince Mannikin in his turn told his own
history, and the great undertaking upon which he had set out, and
King Bayard was able to give him some valuable instructions as to
which would be the best way for him to proceed, and then they went
together to the place where the boat had been left. The sailors
were delighted to see the Prince again, though they had known that
he was safe, and when they had taken on board all the supplies
which the King had sent for them, they started once more. The King
and Prince parted with much regret, and the former insisted that
Mannikin should take with him one of his own pages, named Mousta,
who was charged to attend to him everywhere, and serve him
faithfully, which he promised to do.

The wind being favourable they were soon out of hearing of the
general howl of regret from the whole army, which had been given
by order of the King, as a great compliment, and it was not long
before the land was entirely lost to view. They met with no
further adventures worth speaking of, and presently found
themselves within two leagues of the harbour for which they were
making. The Prince, however, thought it would suit him better to
land where he was, so as to avoid the town, since he had no money
left and was very doubtful as to what he should do next. So the
sailors set him and Mousta on shore, and then went back
sorrowfully to their ship, while the Prince and his attendant
walked off in what looked to them the most promising direction.
They soon reached a lovely green meadow on the border of a wood,
which seemed to them so pleasant after their long voyage that they
sat down to rest in the shade and amused themselves by watching
the gambols and antics of a pretty tiny monkey in the trees close
by. The Prince presently became so fascinated by it that he sprang
up and tried to catch it, but it eluded his grasp and kept just
out of arm's reach, until it had made him promise to follow
wherever it led him, and then it sprang upon his shoulder and
whispered in his ear:

'We have no money, my poor Mannikin, and we are altogether badly
off, and at a loss to know what to do next.'

'Yes, indeed,' answered the Prince ruefully, 'and I have nothing
to give you, no sugar or biscuits, or anything that you like, my
pretty one.'

'Since you are so thoughtful for me, and so patient about your own
affairs,' said the little monkey, 'I will show you the way to the
Golden Rock, only you must leave Mousta to wait for you here.'

Prince Mannikin agreed willingly, and then the little monkey
sprang from his shoulder to the nearest tree, and began to run
through the wood from branch to branch, crying, 'Follow me.'

This the Prince did not find quite so easy, but the little monkey
waited for him and showed him the easiest places, until presently
the wood grew thinner and they came out into a little clear grassy
space at the foot of a mountain, in the midst of which stood a
single rock, about ten feet high. When they were quite close to it
the little monkey said:

'This stone looks pretty hard, but give it a blow with your spear
and let us see what will happen.'

So the Prince took his spear and gave the rock a vigorous dig,
which split off several pieces, and showed that, though the
surface was thinly coated with stone, inside it was one solid mass
of pure gold.

Thereupon the little monkey said, laughing at his astonishment:

'I make you a present of what you have broken off; take as much of
it as you think proper.'

The Prince thanked her gratefully, and picked up one of the
smallest of the lumps of gold; as he did so the little monkey was
suddenly transformed into a tall and gracious lady, who said to

'If you are always as kind and persevering and easily contented as
you are now you may hope to accomplish the most difficult tasks;
go on your way and have no fear that you will be troubled any more
for lack of gold, for that little piece which you modestly chose
shall never grow less, use it as much as you will. But that you
may see the danger you have escaped by your moderation, come with
me.' So saying she led him back into the wood by a different path,
and he saw that it was full of men and women; their faces were
pale and haggard, and they ran hither and thither seeking madly
upon the ground, or in the air, starting at every sound, pushing
and trampling upon one another in their frantic eagerness to find
the way to the Golden Rock.

'You see how they toil,' said the Fairy; 'but it is all of no
avail: they will end by dying of despair, as hundreds have done
before them.'

As soon as they had got back to the place where they had left
Mousta the Fairy disappeared, and the Prince and his faithful
Squire, who had greeted him with every demonstration of joy, took
the nearest way to the city. Here they stayed several days, while
the Prince provided himself with horses and attendants, and made
many enquiries about the Princess Sabella, and the way to her
kingdom, which was still so far away that he could hear but
little, and that of the vaguest description, but when he presently
reached Mount Caucasus it was quite a different matter. Here they
seemed to talk of nothing but the Princess Sabella, and strangers
from all parts of the world were travelling towards her father's

The Prince heard plenty of assurances as to her beauty and her
riches, but he also heard of the immense number of his rivals and
their power. One brought an army at his back, another had vast
treasures, a third was as handsome and accomplished as it was
possible to be; while, as to poor Mannikin, he had nothing but his
determination to succeed, his faithful spaniel, and his ridiculous
name--which last was hardly likely to help him, but as he could
not alter it he wisely determined not to think of it any more.
After journeying for two whole months they came at last to
Trelintin, the capital of the Princess Sabella's kingdom, and here
he heard dismal stories about the Ice Mountain, and how none of
those who had attempted to climb it had ever come back. He heard
also the story of King Farda-Kinbras, Sabella's father. It
appeared that he, being a rich and powerful monarch, had married a
lovely Princess named Birbantine, and they were as happy as the
day was long--so happy that as they were out sledging one day they
were foolish enough to defy fate to spoil their happiness.

'We shall see about that,' grumbled an old hag who sat by the
wayside blowing her fingers to keep them warm. The King thereupon
was very angry, and wanted to punish the woman; but the Queen
prevented him, saying:

'Alas! sire, do not let us make bad worse; no doubt this is a

'You are right there,' said the old woman, and immediately she
stood up, and as they gazed at her in horror she grew gigantic and
terrible, her staff turned to a fiery dragon with outstretched
wings, her ragged cloak to a golden mantle, and her wooden shoes
to two bundles of rockets. 'You are right there, and you will see
what will come of your fine goings on, and remember the Fairy
Gorgonzola!' So saying she mounted the dragon and flew off, the
rockets shooting in all directions and leaving long trails of

In vain did Farda-Kinbras and Birbantine beg her to return, and
endeavour by their humble apologies to pacify her; she never so
much as looked at them, and was very soon out of sight, leaving
them a prey to all kinds of dismal forebodings. Very soon after
this the Queen had a little daughter, who was the most beautiful
creature ever seen; all the Fairies of the North were invited to
her christening, and warned against the malicious Gorgonzola. She
also was invited, but she neither came to the banquet nor received
her present; but as soon as all the others were seated at table,
after bestowing their gifts upon the little Princess, she stole
into the Palace, disguised as a black cat, and hid herself under
the cradle until the nurses and the cradle-rockers had all turned
their backs, and then she sprang out, and in an instant had stolen
the little Princess's heart and made her escape, only being chased
by a few dogs and scullions on her way across the courtyard. Once
outside she mounted her chariot and flew straight away to the
North Pole, where she shut up her stolen treasure on the summit of
the Ice Mountain, and surrounded it with so many difficulties that
she felt quite easy about its remaining there as long as the
Princess lived, and then she went home, chuckling at her success.
As to the other Fairies, they went home after the banquet without
discovering that anything was amiss, and so the King and Queen
were quite happy. Sabella grew prettier day by day. She learnt
everything a Princess ought to know without the slightest trouble,
and yet something always seemed lacking to make her perfectly
charming. She had an exquisite voice, but whether her songs were
grave or gay it did not matter, she did not seem to know what they
meant; and everyone who heard her said:

'She certainly sings perfectly; but there is no tenderness, no
heart in her voice.' Poor Sabella! how could there be when her
heart was far away on the Ice Mountains? And it was just the same
with all the other things that she did. As time went on, in spite
of the admiration of the whole Court and the blind fondness of the
King and Queen, it became more and more evident that something was
fatally wrong: for those who love no one cannot long be loved; and
at last the King called a general assembly, and invited the
Fairies to attend, that they might, if possible, find out what was
the matter. After explaining their grief as well as he could, he
ended by begging them to see the Princess for themselves. 'It is
certain,' said he, 'that something is wrong--what it is I don't
know how to tell you, but in some way your work is imperfect.'

They all assured him that, so far as they knew, everything had
been done for the Princess, and they had forgotten nothing that
they could bestow on so good a neighbour as the King had been to
them. After this they went to see Sabella; but they had no sooner
entered her presence than they cried out with one accord:

'Oh! horror!--she has no heart!'

On hearing this frightful announcement, the King and Queen gave a
cry of despair, and entreated the Fairies to find some remedy for
such an unheard-of misfortune. Thereupon the eldest Fairy
consulted her Book of Magic, which she always carried about with
her, hung to her girdle by a thick silver chain, and there she
found out at once that it was Gorgonzola who had stolen the
Princess's heart, and also discovered what the wicked old Fairy
had done with it.

'What shall we do? What shall we do?' cried the King and Queen in
one breath.

'You must certainly suffer much annoyance from seeing and loving
Sabella, who is nothing but a beautiful image,' replied the Fairy,
'and this must go on for a long time; but I think I see that, in
the end, she will once more regain her heart. My advice is that
you shall at once cause her portrait to be sent all over the
world, and promise her hand and all her possessions to the Prince
who is successful in reaching her heart. Her beauty alone is
sufficient to engage all the Princes of the world in the quest.'

This was accordingly done, and Prince Mannikin heard that already
five hundred Princes had perished in the snow and ice, not to
mention their squires and pages, and that more continued to arrive
daily, eager to try their fortune. After some consideration he
determined to present himself at Court; but his arrival made no
stir, as his retinue was as inconsiderable as his stature, and the
splendour of his rivals was great enough to throw even Farda-
Kinbras himself into the shade. However, he paid his respects to
the King very gracefully, and asked permission to kiss the hand of
the Princess in the usual manner; but when he said he was called
'Mannikin,' the King could hardly repress a smile, and the Princes
who stood by openly shouted with laughter.

Turning to the King, Prince Mannikin said with great dignity:

'Pray laugh if it pleases your Majesty, I am glad that it is in my
power to afford you any amusement; but I am not a plaything for
these gentlemen, and I must beg them to dismiss any ideas of that
kind from their minds at once,' and with that he turned upon the
one who had laughed the loudest and proudly challenged him to a
single combat. This Prince, who was called Fadasse, accepted the
challenge very scornfully, mocking at Mannikin, whom he felt sure
had no chance against himself; but the meeting was arranged for
the next day. When Prince Mannikin quitted the King's presence he
was conducted to the audience hall of the Princess Sabella. The

sight of so much beauty and magnificence almost took his breath
away for an instant, but, recovering himself with an effort, he

'Lovely Princess, irresistibly drawn by the beauty of your
portrait, I come from the other end of the world to offer my
services to you. My devotion knows no bounds, but my absurd name
has already involved me in a quarrel with one of your courtiers.
Tomorrow I am to fight this ugly, overgrown Prince, and I beg you
to honour the combat with your presence, and prove to the world
that there is nothing in a name, and that you deign to accept
Mannikin as your knight.'

When it came to this the Princess could not help being amused,
for, though she had no heart, she was not without humour. However,
she answered graciously that she accepted with pleasure, which
encouraged the Prince to entreat further that she would not show
any favour to his adversary.

'Alas!' said she, 'I favour none of these foolish people, who
weary me with their sentiment and their folly. I do very well as I
am, and yet from one year's end to another they talk of nothing
but delivering me from some imaginary affliction. Not a word do I
understand of all their pratings about love, and who knows what
dull things besides, which, I declare to you, I cannot even

Mannikin was quick enough to gather from this speech that to amuse
and interest the Princess would be a far surer way of gaining her
favour than to add himself to the list of those who continually
teased her about that mysterious thing called 'love' which she was
so incapable of comprehending. So he began to talk of his rivals,
and found in each of them something to make merry over, in which
diversion the Princess joined him heartily, and so well did he
succeed in his attempt to amuse her that before very long she
declared that of all the people at Court he was the one to whom
she preferred to talk.

The following day, at the time appointed for the combat, when the
King, the Queen, and the Princess had taken their places, and the
whole Court and the whole town were assembled to see the show,
Prince Fadasse rode into the lists magnificently armed and
accoutred, followed by twenty-four squires and a hundred men-at-
arms, each one leading, a splendid horse, while Prince Mannikin
entered from the other side armed only with his spear and followed
by the faithful Mousta. The contrast between the two champions was
so great that there was a shout of laughter from the whole
assembly; but when at the sounding of a trumpet the combatants
rushed upon each other, and Mannikin, eluding the blow aimed at
him, succeeded in thrusting Prince Fadasse from his horse and
pinning him to the sand with his spear, it changed to a murmur of

So soon as he had him at his mercy, however, Mannikin, turning to
the Princess, assured her that he had no desire to kill anyone who
called himself her courtier, and then he bade the furious and
humiliated Fadasse rise and thank the Princess to whom he owed his
life. Then, amid the sounding of the trumpets and the shoutings of
the people, he and Mousta retired gravely from the lists.

The King soon sent for him to congratulate him upon his success,
and to offer him a lodging in the Palace, which he joyfully
accepted. While the Princess expressed a wish to have Mousta
brought to her, and, when the Prince sent for him, she was so
delighted with his courtly manners and his marvellous intelligence
that she entreated Mannikin to give him to her for her own. The
Prince consented with alacrity, not only out of politeness, but
because he foresaw that to have a faithful friend always near the
Princess might some day be of great service to him. All these
events made Prince Mannikin a person of much more consequence at
the Court. Very soon after, there arrived upon the frontier the
Ambassador of a very powerful King, who sent to Farda-Kinbras the
following letter, at the same time demanding permission to enter
the capital in state to receive the answer:

'I, Brandatimor, to Farda-Kinbras send greeting. If I had before
this time seen the portrait of your beautiful daughter Sabella I
should not have permitted all these adventurers and petty Princes
to be dancing attendance and getting themselves frozen with the
absurd idea of meriting her hand. For myself I am not afraid of
any rivals, and, now I have declared my intention of marrying your
daughter, no doubt they will at once withdraw their pretensions.
My Ambassador has orders, therefore, to make arrangements for the
Princess to come and be married to me without delay--for I attach
no importance at all to the farrago of nonsense which you have
caused to be published all over the world about this Ice Mountain.
If the Princess really has no heart, be assured that I shall not
concern myself about it, since, if anybody can help her to
discover one, it is myself. My worthy father-in-law, farewell!'

The reading of this letter embarrassed and displeased Farda-
Kinbras and Birbantine immensely, while the Princess was furious
at the insolence of the demand. They all three resolved that its
contents must be kept a profound secret until they could decide
what reply should be sent, but Mousta contrived to send word of
all that had passed to Prince Mannikin. He was naturally alarmed
and indignant, and, after thinking it over a little, he begged an
audience of the Princess, and led the conversation so cunningly up
to the subject that was uppermost in her thoughts, as well as his
own, that she presently told him all about the matter and asked
his advice as to what it would be best to do. This was exactly
what he had not been able to decide for himself; however, he
replied that he should advise her to gain a little time by
promising her answer after the grand entry of the Ambassador, and
this was accordingly done.

The Ambassador did not at all like being put off after that
fashion, but he was obliged to be content, and only said very
arrogantly that so soon as his equipages arrived, as he expected
they would do very shortly, he would give all the people of the
city, and the stranger Princes with whom it was inundated, an idea
of the power and the magnificence of his master. Mannikin, in
despair, resolved that he would for once beg the assistance of the
kind Fairy Genesta. He often thought of her and always with
gratitude, but from the moment of his setting out he had
determined to seek her aid only on the greatest occasions. That
very night, when he had fallen asleep quite worn out with thinking
over all the difficulties of the situation, he dreamed that the
Fairy stood beside him, and said:

'Mannikin, you have done very well so far; continue to please me
and you shall always find good friends when you need them most. As
for this affair with the Ambassador, you can assure Sabella that
she may look forward tranquilly to his triumphal entry, since it
will all turn out well for her in the end.'

The Prince tried to throw himself at her feet to thank her, but
woke to find it was all a dream; nevertheless he took fresh
courage, and went next day to see the Princess, to whom he gave
many mysterious assurances that all would yet be well. He even
went so far as to ask her if she would not be very grateful to
anyone who would rid her of the insolent Brandatimor. To which she
replied that her gratitude would know no bounds. Then he wanted to
know what would be her best wish for the person who was lucky
enough to accomplish it. To which she said that she would wish
them to be as insensible to the folly called 'love' as she was

This was indeed a crushing speech to make to such a devoted lover
as Prince Mannikin, but he concealed the pain it caused him with
great courage.

And now the Ambassador sent to say that on the very next day he
would come in state to receive his answer, and from the earliest
dawn the inhabitants were astir, to secure the best places for the
grand sight; but the good Fairy Genesta was providing them an
amount of amusement they were far from expecting, for she so
enchanted the eyes of all the spectators that when the
Ambassador's gorgeous procession appeared, the splendid uniforms
seemed to them miserable rags that a beggar would have been
ashamed to wear, the prancing horses appeared as wretched
skeletons hardly able to drag one leg after the other, while their
trappings, which really sparkled with gold and jewels, looked like
old sheepskins that would not have been good enough for a plough
horse. The pages resembled the ugliest sweeps. The trumpets gave
no more sound than whistles made of onion-stalks, or combs wrapped
in paper; while the train of fifty carriages looked no better than
fifty donkey carts. In the last of these sat the Ambassador with
the haughty and scornful air which he considered becoming in the
representative of so powerful a monarch: for this was the crowning
point of the absurdity of the whole procession, that all who took
part in it wore the expression of vanity and self-satisfaction and
pride in their own appearance and all their surroundings which
they believed their splendour amply justified.

The laughter and howls of derision from the whole crowd rose ever
louder and louder as the extraordinary cortege advanced, and at
last reached the ears of the King as he waited in the audience
hall, and before the procession reached the palace he had been
informed of its nature, and, supposing that it must be intended as
an insult, he ordered the gates to be closed. You may imagine the
fury of the Ambassador when, after all his pomp and pride, the
King absolutely and unaccountably refused to receive him. He raved
wildly both against King and people, and the cortege retired in
great confusion, jeered at and pelted with stones and mud by the
enraged crowd. It is needless to say that he left the country as
fast as horses could carry him, but not before he had declared
war, with the most terrible menaces, threatening to devastate the
country with fire and sword.

Some days after this disastrous embassy King Bayard sent couriers
to Prince Mannikin with a most friendly letter, offering his
services in any difficulty, and enquiring with the deepest
interest how he fared.

Mannikin at once replied, relating all that had happened since
they parted, not forgetting to mention the event which had just
involved Farda-Kinbras and Brandatimor in this deadly quarrel, and
he ended by entreating his faithful friend to despatch a few
thousands of his veteran spaniels to his assistance.

Neither the King, the Queen, nor the Princess could in the least
understand the amazing conduct of Brandatimor's Ambassador;
nevertheless the preparations for the war went forward briskly and
all the Princes who had not gone on towards the Ice Mountain
offered their services, at the same time demanding all the best
appointments in the King's army. Mannikin was one of the first to
volunteer, but he only asked to go as aide-de-camp to the
Commander-in chief, who was a gallant soldier and celebrated for
his victories. As soon as the army could be got together it was
marched to the frontier, where it met the opposing force headed by
Brandatimor himself, who was full of fury, determined to avenge
the insult to his Ambassador and to possess himself of the
Princess Sabella. All the army of Farda-Kinbras could do, being so
heavily outnumbered, was to act upon the defensive, and before
long Mannikin won the esteem of the officers for his ability, and
of the soldiers for his courage, and care for their welfare, and
in all the skirmishes which he conducted he had the good fortune
to vanquish the enemy.

At last Brandatimor engaged the whole army in a terrific conflict,
and though the troops of Farda-Kinbras fought with desperate
courage, their general was killed, and they were defeated and
forced to retreat with immense loss. Mannikin did wonders, and
half-a-dozen times turned the retreating forces and beat back the
enemy; and he afterwards collected troops enough to keep them in
check until, the severe winter setting in, put an end to
hostilities for a while.

He then returned to the Court, where consternation reigned. The
King was in despair at the death of his trusty general, and ended
by imploring Mannikin to take the command of the army, and his
counsel was followed in all the affairs of the Court. He followed
up his former plan of amusing the Princess, and on no account
reminding her of that tedious thing called 'love,' so that she was
always glad to see him, and the winter slipped by gaily for both
of them.

The Prince was all the while secretly making plans for the next
campaign; he received private intelligence of the arrival of a
strong reinforcement of Spaniels, to whom he sent orders to post
themselves along the frontier without attracting attention, and as
soon as he possibly could he held a consultation with their
Commander, who was an old and experienced warrior. Following his
advice, he decided to have a pitched battle as soon as the enemy
advanced, and this Brandatimor lost not a moment in doing, as he
was perfectly persuaded that he was now going to make an end of
the war and utterly vanquish Farda-Kinbras. But no sooner had he
given the order to charge than the Spaniels, who had mingled with
his troops unperceived, leaped each upon the horse nearest to him,
and not only threw the whole squadron into confusion by the terror
they caused, but, springing at the throats of the riders, unhorsed
many of them by the suddenness of their attack; then turning the
horses to the rear, they spread consternation everywhere, and made
it easy for Prince Mannikin to gain a complete victory. He met
Brandatimor in single combat, and succeeded in taking him
prisoner; but he did not live to reach the Court, to which
Mannikin had sent him: his pride killed him at the thought of
appearing before Sabella under these altered circumstances. In the
meantime Prince Fadasse and all the others who had remained behind
were setting out with all speed for the conquest of the Ice
Mountain, being afraid that Prince Mannikin might prove as
successful in that as he seemed to be in everything else, and when
Mannikin returned he heard of it with great annoyance. True he had
been serving the Princess, but she only admired and praised him
for his gallant deeds, and seemed no whit nearer bestowing on him
the love he so ardently desired, and all the comfort Mousta could
give him on the subject was that at least she loved no one else,
and with that he had to content himself. But he determined that,
come what might, he would delay no longer, but attempt the great
undertaking for which he had come so far. When he went to take
leave of the King and Queen they entreated him not to go, as they
had just heard that Prince Fadasse, and all who accompanied him,
had perished in the snow; but he persisted in his resolve. As for
Sabella, she gave him her hand to kiss with precisely the same
gracious indifference as she had given it to him the first time
they met. It happened that this farewell took place before the
whole Court, and so great a favourite had Prince Mannikin become
that they were all indignant at the coldness with which the
Princess treated him.

Finally the King said to him:

'Prince, you have constantly refilled all the gifts which, in my
gratitude for your invaluable services, I have offered to you, but
I wish the Princess to present you with her cloak of marten's fur,
and that I hope you will not reject!' Now this was a splendid fur
mantle which the Princess was very fond of wearing, not so much
because she felt cold, as that its richness set off to perfection
the delicate tints of her complexion and the brilliant gold of her
hair. However, she took it off, and with graceful politeness
begged Prince Mannikin to accept it, which you may be sure he was
charmed to do, and, taking only this and a little bundle of all
kinds of wood, and accompanied only by two spaniels out of the
fifty who had stayed with him when the war was ended, he set
forth, receiving many tokens of love and favour from the people in
every town he passed through. At the last little village he left
his horse behind him, to begin his toilful march through the snow,
which extended, blank and terrible, in every direction as far as
the eye could see. Here he had appointed to meet the other forty-
eight spaniels, who received him joyfully, and assured him that,
happen what might, they would follow and serve him faithfully. And
so they started, full of heart and hope. At first there was a
slight track, difficult, but not impossible to follow; but this
was soon lost, and the Pole Star was their only guide. When the
time came to call a halt, the Prince, who had after much
consideration decided on his plan of action, caused a few twigs
from the faggot he had brought with him to be planted in the snow,
and then he sprinkled over them a pinch of the magic powder he had
collected from the enchanted boat. To his great joy they instantly
began to sprout and grow, and in a marvellously short time the
camp was surrounded by a perfect grove of trees of all sorts,
which blossomed and bore ripe fruit, so that all their wants were
easily supplied, and they were able to make huge fires to warm
themselves. The Prince then sent out several spaniels to
reconnoitre, and they had the good luck to discover a horse laden
with provisions stuck fast in the snow. They at once fetched their
comrades, and brought the spoil triumphantly into the camp, and,
as it consisted principally of biscuits, not a spaniel among them
went supperless to sleep. In this way they journeyed by day and
encamped safely at night, always remembering to take on a few
branches to provide them with food and shelter. They passed by the
way armies of those who had set out upon the perilous enterprise,
who stood frozen stiffly, without sense or motion; but Prince
Mannikin strictly forbade that any attempt should be made to thaw
them. So they went on and on for more than three months, and day
by day the Ice Mountain, which they had seen for a long time, grew
clearer, until at last they stood close to it, and shuddered at
its height and steepness. But by patience and perseverance they
crept up foot by foot, aided by their fires of magic wood, without
which they must have perished in the intense cold, until presently
they stood at the gates of the magnificent Ice Palace which
crowned the mountain, where, in deadly silence and icy sleep, lay
the heart of Sabella. Now the difficulty became immense, for if
they maintained enough heat to keep themselves alive they were in
danger every moment of melting the blocks of solid ice of which
the palace was entirely built, and bringing the whole structure
down upon their heads; but cautiously and quickly they traversed
courtyards and halls, until they found themselves at the foot of a
vast throne, where, upon a cushion of snow, lay an enormous and
brilliantly sparkling diamond, which contained the heart of the
lovely Princess Sabella. Upon the lowest step of the throne was
inscribed in icy letters, 'Whosoever thou art who by courage and
virtue canst win the heart of Sabella enjoy peacefully the good
fortune which thou hast richly deserved.'

Prince Mannikin bounded forward, and had just strength left to
grasp the precious diamond which contained all he coveted in the
world before he fell insensible upon the snowy cushion. But his
good spaniels lost no time in rushing to the rescue, and between
them they bore him hastily from the hall, and not a moment too
soon, for all around them they heard the clang of the falling
blocks of ice as the Fairy Palace slowly collapsed under the
unwonted heat. Not until they reached the foot of the mountain did
they pause to restore the Prince to consciousness, and then his
joy to find himself the possessor of Sabella's heart knew no

With all speed they began to retrace their steps, but this time
the happy Prince could not bear the sight of his defeated and
disappointed rivals, whose frozen forms lined his triumphant way.
He gave orders to his spaniels to spare no pains to restore them
to life, and so successful were they that day by day his train
increased, so that by the time he got back to the little village
where he had left his horse he was escorted by five hundred
sovereign Princes, and knights and squires without number, and he
was so courteous and unassuming that they all followed him
willingly, anxious to do him honour. But then he was so happy and
blissful himself that he found it easy to be at peace with all the
world. It was not long before he met the faithful Mousta, who was
coming at the top of his speed hoping to meet the Prince, that he
might tell him of the sudden and wonderful change that had come
over the Princess, who had become gentle and thoughtful and had
talked to him of nothing but Prince Mannikin, of the hardships she
feared he might be suffering, and of her anxiety for him, and all
this with a hundred fonder expressions which put the finishing
stroke to the Prince's delight. Then came a courier bearing the
congratulations of the King and Queen, who had just heard of his
successful return, and there was even a graceful compliment from
Sabella herself. The Prince sent Mousta back to her, and he was
welcomed with joy, for was he not her lover's present?

At last the travellers reached the capital, and were received with
regal magnificence. Farda-Kinbras and Birbantine embraced Prince
Mannikin, declaring that they regarded him as their heir and the
future husband of the Princess, to which he replied that they did
him too much honour. And then he was admitted into the presence of
the Princess, who for the first time in her life blushed as he
kissed her hand, and could not find a word to say. But the Prince,
throwing himself on his knees beside her, held out the splendid
diamond, saying:

'Madam, this treasure is yours, since none of the dangers and
difficulties I have gone through have been sufficient to make me
deserve it.'

'Ah! Prince,' said she, 'if I take it, it is only that I may give
it back to you, since truly it belongs to you already.'

At this moment in came the King and Queen, and interrupted them by
asking all the questions imaginable, and not infrequently the same
over and over again. It seems that there is always one thing that
is sure to be said about an event by everybody, and Prince
Mannikin found that the question which he was asked by more than a
thousand people on this particular occasion was:

'And didn't you find it very cold?'

The King had come to request Prince Mannikin and the Princess to
follow him to the Council Chamber, which they did, not knowing
that he meant to present the Prince to all the nobles assembled
there as his son-in-law and successor. But when Mannikin perceived
his intention, he begged permission to speak first, and told his
whole story, even to the fact that he believed himself to be a
peasant's son. Scarcely had he finished speaking when the sky grew
black, the thunder growled, and the lightning flashed, and in the
blaze of light the good Fairy Genesta suddenly appeared. Turning
to Prince Mannikin, she said:

'I am satisfied with you, since you have shown not only courage
but a good heart.' Then she addressed King Farda-Kinbras, and
informed him of the real history of the Prince, and how she had
determined to give him the education she knew would be best for a
man who was to command others. 'You have already found the
advantage of having a faithful friend,' she added to the Prince
'and now you will have the pleasure of seeing King Bayard and his
subjects regain their natural forms as a reward for his kindness
to you.'

Just then arrived a chariot drawn by eagles, which proved to
contain the foolish King and Queen, who embraced their long-lost
son with great joy, and were greatly struck with the fact that
they did indeed find him covered with fur! While they were
caressing Sabella and wringing her hands (which is a favourite
form of endearment with foolish people) chariots were seen
approaching from all points of the compass, containing numbers of

'Sire,' said Genesta to Farda-Kinbras, 'I have taken the liberty
of appointing your Court as a meeting-place for all the Fairies
who could spare the time to come; and I hope you can arrange to
hold the great ball, which we have once in a hundred years, on
this occasion.'

The King having suitably acknowledged the honour done him, was
next reconciled to Gorgonzola, and they two presently opened the
ball together. The Fairy Marsontine restored their natural forms
to King Bayard and all his subjects, and he appeared once more as
handsome a king as you could wish to see. One of the Fairies
immediately despatched her chariot for the Queen of the Spice
Islands, and their wedding took place at the same time as that of
Prince Mannikin and the lovely and gracious Sabella. They lived
happily ever afterwards, and their vast kingdoms were presently
divided between their children.

The Prince, out of grateful remembrance of the Princess Sabella's
first gift to him bestowed the right of bearing her name upon the
most beautiful of the martens, and that is why they are called
sables to this day.

Next: The Enchanted Ring

Previous: The Three Little Pigs

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