The Wonderful Sheep





Once upon a time--in the days when the fairies lived--there

was a king who had three daughters, who were all

young, and clever, and beautiful; but the youngest of the

three, who was called Miranda, was the prettiest and

the most beloved.



The King, her father, gave her more dresses and jewels

in a month than he gave the others in a year; but she was

so generous that she shared everything with her sisters,

and they were all as happy and as fond of one another as

they could be.



Now, the King had some quarrelsome neighbors, who,

tired of leaving him in peace, began to make war upon

him so fiercely that he feared he would be altogether

beaten if he did not make an effort to defend himself.

So he collected a great army and set off to fight them,

leaving the Princesses with their governess in a castle

where news of the war was brought every day--sometimes

that the King had taken a town, or won a battle,

and, at last, that he had altogether overcome his enemies

and chased them out of his kingdom, and was coming

back to the castle as quickly as possible, to see his dear

little Miranda whom he loved so much.



The three Princesses put on dresses of satin, which they

had had made on purpose for this great occasion, one

green, one blue, and the third white; their jewels were

the same colors. The eldest wore emeralds, the second

turquoises, and the youngest diamonds, and thus adorned

they went to meet the King, singing verses which they

had composed about his victories.



When he saw them all so beautiful and so gay he

embraced them tenderly, but gave Miranda more kisses than

either of the others.



Presently a splendid banquet was served, and the King

and his daughters sat down to it, and as he always

thought that there was some special meaning in everything,

he said to the eldest:



"Tell me why you have chosen a green dress."



"Sire," she answered, "having heard of your victories

I thought that green would signify my joy and the hope

of your speedy return."



"That is a very good answer," said the King; "and you,

my daughter," he continued, "why did you take a blue

dress?"



"Sire," said the Princess, "to show that we constantly

hoped for your success, and that the sight of you is as

welcome to me as the sky with its most beautiful stars."



"Why," said the King, "your wise answers astonish

me, and you, Miranda. What made you dress yourself

all in white?



"Because, sire," she answered, "white suits me better

than anything else."



"What!" said the King angrily, "was that all you

thought of, vain child?"



"I thought you would be pleased with me," said the

Princess; "that was all."



The King, who loved her, was satisfied with this, and

even pretended to be pleased that she had not told him

all her reasons at first.



"And now," said he, "as I have supped well, and it is

not time yet to go to bed, tell me what you dreamed last

night."



The eldest said she had dreamed that he brought her a

dress, and the precious stones and gold embroidery on

it were brighter than the sun.



The dream of the second was that the King had brought

her a spinning wheel and a distaff, that she might spin

him some shirts.



But the youngest said: "I dreamed that my second

sister was to be married, and on her wedding-day, you,

father, held a golden ewer and said: 'Come, Miranda,

and I will hold the water that you may dip your hands

in it.'"



The King was very angry indeed when he heard this

dream, and frowned horribly; indeed, he made such an

ugly face that everyone knew how angry he was, and he

got up and went off to bed in a great hurry; but he could

not forget his daughter's dream.



"Does the proud girl wish to make me her slave?" he

said to himself. "I am not surprised at her choosing to

dress herself in white satin without a thought of me.

She does not think me worthy of her consideration! But

I will soon put an end to her pretensions!"



He rose in a fury, and although it was not yet

daylight, he sent for the Captain of his Bodyguard, and said

to him:



"You have heard the Princess Miranda's dream? I

consider that it means strange things against me, therefore

I order you to take her away into the forest and kill

her, and, that I may be sure it is done, you must bring

me her heart and her tongue. If you attempt to deceive

me you shall be put to death!"



The Captain of the Guard was very much astonished

when he heard this barbarous order, but he did not dare

to contradict the King for fear of making him still more

angry, or causing him to send someone else, so he

answered that he would fetch the Princess and do as the

King had said. When he went to her room they would

hardly let him in, it was so early, but he said that the

King had sent for Miranda, and she got up quickly and

came out; a little black girl called Patypata held up her

train, and her pet monkey and her little dog ran after

her. The monkey was called Grabugeon, and the little

dog Tintin.



The Captain of the Guard begged Miranda to come

down into the garden where the King was enjoying the

fresh air, and when they got there, he pretended to search

for him, but as he was not to be found, he said:



"No doubt his Majesty has strolled into the forest,"

and he opened the little door that led to it and they went

through.



By this time the daylight had begun to appear, and

the Princess, looking at her conductor, saw that he had

tears in his eyes and seemed too sad to speak.



"What is the matter?" she said in the kindest way.

"You seem very sorrowful."



"Alas! Princess," he answered, "who would not be

sorrowful who was ordered to do such a terrible thing as

I am? The King has commanded me to kill you here,

and carry your heart and your tongue to him, and if I

disobey I shall lose my life."



The poor Princess was terrified, she grew very pale and

began to cry softly.



Looking up at the Captain of the Guard with her

beautiful eyes, she said gently:



Will you really have the heart to kill me? I have

never done you any harm, and have always spoken well

of you to the King. If I had deserved my father's anger

I would suffer without a murmur, but, alas! he is unjust

to complain of me, when I have always treated him with

love and respect."



"Fear nothing, Princess," said the Captain of the

Guard. "I would far rather die myself than hurt you;

but even if I am killed you will not be safe: we must find

some way of making the King believe that you are dead."



"What can we do?" said Miranda; "unless you take

him my heart and my tongue he will never believe you."



The Princess and the Captain of the Guard were talking

so earnestly that they did not think of Patypata,

but she had overheard all they said, and now came and

threw herself at Miranda's feet.



"Madam," she said, "I offer you my life; let me be

killed, I shall be only too happy to die for such a kind

mistress."



"Why, Patypata," cried the Princess, kissing her,

"that would never do; your life is as precious to me as

my own, especially after such a proof of your affection

as you have just given me."



"You are right, Princess," said Grabugeon, coming

forward, "to love such a faithful slave as Patypata; she

is of more use to you than I am, I offer you my tongue

and my heart most willingly, especially as I wish to

make a great name for myself in Goblin Land."



"No, no, my little Grabugeon," replied Miranda, "I

cannot bear the thought of taking your life."



"Such a good little dog as I am," cried Tintin, "could

not think of letting either of you die for his mistress. If

anyone is to die for her it must be me."



And then began a great dispute between Patypata,

Grabugeon, and Tintin, and they came to high words,

until at last Grabugeon, who was quicker than the

others, ran up to the very top of the nearest tree, and

let herself fall, head first, to the ground, and there she

lay--quite dead!



The Princess was very sorry, but as Grabugeon was

really dead, she allowed the Captain of the Guard to

take her tongue; but, alas! it was such a little one--not

bigger than the Princess's thumb--that they decided

sorrowfully that it was of no use at all: the King would

not have been taken in by it for a moment!



"Alas! my little monkey," cried the Princess, "I have

lost you, and yet I am no better off than I was before."



"The honor of saving your life is to be mine,"

interrupted Patypata, and, before they could prevent her,

she had picked up a knife and cut her head off in an instant.



But when the Captain of the Guard would have taken

her tongue it turned out to be quite black, so that would

not have deceived the King either.



"Am I not unlucky?" cried the poor Princess; "I lose

everything I love, and am none the better for it."



"If you had accepted my offer," said Tintin, "you

would only have had me to regret, and I should have had

all your gratitude."



Miranda kissed her little dog, crying so bitterly, that

at last she could bear it no longer, and turned away into

the forest. When she looked back the Captain of the

Guard was gone, and she was alone, except for Patypata,

Grabugeon, and Tintin, who lay upon the ground. She

could not leave the place until she had buried them in a

pretty little mossy grave at the foot of a tree, and she

wrote their names upon the bark of the tree, and how

they had all died to save her life. And then she began

to think where she could go for safety--for this forest

was so close to her father's castle that she might be seen

and recognized by the first passer-by, and, besides that,

it was full of lions and wolves, who would have snapped

up a princess just as soon as a stray chicken. So she

began to walk as fast as she could, but the forest was so

large and the sun was so hot that she nearly died of heat

and terror and fatigue; look which way she would there

seemed to be no end to the forest, and she was so frightened

that she fancied every minute that she heard the

King running after her to kill her. You may imagine

how miserable she was, and how she cried as she went

on, not knowing which path to follow, and with the

thorny bushes scratching her dreadfully and tearing her

pretty frock to pieces.



At last she heard the bleating of a sheep, and said to

herself:



"No doubt there are shepherds here with their flocks;

they will show me the way to some village where I can

live disguised as a peasant girl. Alas! it is not always

kings and princes who are the happiest people in the

world. Who could have believed that I should ever be

obliged to run away and hide because the King, for no

reason at all, wishes to kill me?"



So saying she advanced toward the place where she

heard the bleating, but what was her surprise when, in a

lovely little glade quite surrounded by trees, she saw a

large sheep; its wool was as white as snow, and its horns

shone like gold; it had a garland of flowers round its

neck, and strings of great pearls about its legs, and a

collar of diamonds; it lay upon a bank of orange-flowers,

under a canopy of cloth of gold which protected it from

the heat of the sun. Nearly a hundred other sheep were

scattered about, not eating the grass, but some drinking

coffee, lemonade, or sherbet, others eating ices,

strawberries and cream, or sweetmeats, while others, again,

were playing games. Many of them wore golden collars

with jewels, flowers, and ribbons.



Miranda stopped short in amazement at this unexpected

sight, and was looking in all directions for the

shepherd of this surprising flock, when the beautiful

sheep came bounding toward her.



"Approach, lovely Princess," he cried; "have no fear

of such gentle and peaceable animals as we are."



"What a marvel!" cried the Princess, starting back a

little. "Here is a sheep that can talk."



"Your monkey and your dog could talk, madam," said

he; "are you more astonished at us than at them?"



"A fairy gave them the power to speak," replied

Miranda. "So I was used to them."



"Perhaps the same thing has happened to us," he said,

smiling sheepishly. "But, Princess, what can have led

you here?"



"A thousand misfortunes, Sir Sheep," she answered.



"I am the unhappiest princess in the world, and I am

seeking a shelter against my father's anger."



"Come with me, madam," said the Sheep; "I offer you

a hiding-place which you only will know of, and where

you will be mistress of everything you see."



"I really cannot follow you," said Miranda, "for I am

too tired to walk another step."



The Sheep with the golden horns ordered that his

chariot should be fetched, and a moment after appeared

six goats, harnessed to a pumpkin, which was so big that

two people could quite well sit in it, and was all lined

with cushions of velvet and down. The Princess stepped

into it, much amused at such a new kind of carriage, the

King of the Sheep took his place beside her, and the

goats ran away with them at full speed, and only stopped

when they reached a cavern, the entrance to which was

blocked by a great stone. This the King touched with

his foot, and immediately it fell down, and he invited

the Princess to enter without fear. Now, if she had not

been so alarmed by everything that had happened, nothing

could have induced her to go into this frightful cave,

but she was so afraid of what might be behind her that

she would have thrown herself even down a well at this

moment. So, without hesitation, she followed the Sheep,

who went before her, down, down, down, until she

thought they must come out at the other side of the

world--indeed, she was not sure that he wasn't leading

her into Fairyland. At last she saw before her a great

plain, quite covered with all sorts of flowers, the scent of

which seemed to her nicer than anything she had ever

smelled before; a broad river of orange-flower water

flowed round it and fountains of wine of every kind ran

in all directions and made the prettiest little cascades and

brooks. The plain was covered with the strangest trees,

there were whole avenues where partridges, ready

roasted, hung from every branch, or, if you preferred

pheasants, quails, turkeys, or rabbits, you had only to

turn to the right hand or to the left and you were sure to

find them. In places the air was darkened by showers

of lobster-patties, white puddings, sausages, tarts, and

all sorts of sweetmeats, or with pieces of gold and silver,

diamonds and pearls. This unusual kind of rain, and

the pleasantness of the whole place, would, no doubt,

have attracted numbers of people to it, if the King of the

Sheep had been of a more sociable disposition, but from

all accounts it is evident that he was as grave as a judge.



As it was quite the nicest time of the year when

Miranda arrived in this delightful land the only palace she

saw was a long row of orange trees, jasmines, honeysuckles,

and musk-roses, and their interlacing branches

made the prettiest rooms possible, which were hung with

gold and silver gauze, and had great mirrors and

candlesticks, and most beautiful pictures. The Wonderful

Sheep begged that the Princess would consider herself

queen over all that she saw, and assured her that, though

for some years he had been very sad and in great trouble,

she had it in her power to make him forget all his grief.



"You are so kind and generous, noble Sheep," said the

Princess, "that I cannot thank you enough, but I must

confess that all I see here seems to me so extraordinary

that I don't know what to think of it."



As she spoke a band of lovely fairies came up and

offered her amber baskets full of fruit, but when she held

out her hands to them they glided away, and she could

feel nothing when she tried to touch them.



"Oh!" she cried, "what can they be? Whom am I

with?" and she began to cry.



At this instant the King of the Sheep came back to

her, and was so distracted to find her in tears that he

could have torn his wool.



"What is the matter, lovely Princess?" he cried. "Has

anyone failed to treat you with due respect?"



"Oh! no," said Miranda; "only I am not used to living

with sprites and with sheep that talk, and everything

here frightens me. It was very kind of you to bring

me to this place, but I shall be even more grateful to you

if you will take me up into the world again."



"Do not be afraid," said the Wonderful Sheep; "I

entreat you to have patience, and listen to the story of

my misfortunes. I was once a king, and my kingdom

was the most splendid in the world. My subjects loved

me, my neighbors envied and feared me. I was respected

by everyone, and it was said that no king ever

deserved it more.



"I was very fond of hunting, and one day, while chasing

a stag, I left my attendants far behind; suddenly I

saw the animal leap into a pool of water, and I rashly

urged my horse to follow it, but before we had gone many

steps I felt an extraordinary heat, instead of the coolness

of the water; the pond dried up, a great gulf opened

before me, out of which flames of fire shot up, and I fell

helplessly to the bottom of a precipice.



"I gave myself up for lost, but presently a voice said:

'Ungrateful Prince, even this fire is hardly enough to

warm your cold heart!'



"'Who complains of my coldness in this dismal place?'

I cried.



"'An unhappy being who loves you hopelessly,'

replied the voice, and at the same moment the flames began

to flicker and cease to burn, and I saw a fairy, whom I

had known as long as I could remember, and whose ugliness

had always horrified me. She was leaning upon the

arm of a most beautiful young girl, who wore chains of

gold on her wrists and was evidently her slave.



"'Why, Ragotte,' I said, for that was the fairy's name,

'what is the meaning of all this? Is it by your orders

that I am here?'



"'And whose fault is it,' she answered, 'that you have

never understood me until now? Must a powerful fairy

like myself condescend to explain her doings to you who

are no better than an ant by comparison, though you

think yourself a great king?'



"'Call me what you like,' I said impatiently; 'but

what is it that you want--my crown, or my cities, or my

treasures?'



"'Treasures!' said the fairy, disdainfully. 'If I chose

I could make any one of my scullions richer and more

powerful than you. I do not want your treasures, but,'

she added softly, 'if you will give me your heart--if you

will marry me--I will add twenty kingdoms to the one

you have already; you shall have a hundred castles full of

gold and five hundred full of silver, and, in short,

anything you like to ask me for.'



"'Madam Ragotte,' said I, 'when one is at the bottom

of a pit where one has fully expected to be roasted alive,

it is impossible to think of asking such a charming person

as you are to marry one! I beg that you will set me

at liberty, and then I shall hope to answer you fittingly.'



"'Ah!' said she, 'if you really loved me you would not

care where you were--a cave, a wood, a fox-hole, a

desert, would please you equally well. Do not think

that you can deceive me; you fancy you are going to

escape, but I assure you that you are going to stay here

and the first thing I shall give you to do will be to keep my

sheep--they are very good company and speak quite as

well as you do.



"As she spoke she advanced, and led me to this plain

where we now stand, and showed me her flock, but I paid

little attention to it or to her.



"To tell the truth, I was so lost in admiration of her

beautiful slave that I forgot everything else, and the

cruel Ragotte, perceiving this, turned upon her so furious

and terrible a look that she fell lifeless to the ground.



"At this dreadful sight I drew my sword and rushed at

Ragotte, and should certainly have cut off her head had

she not by her magic arts chained me to the spot on

which I stood; all my efforts to move were useless, and

at last, when I threw myself down on the ground in

despair, she said to me, with a scornful smile:



"'I intend to make you feel my power. It seems that

you are a lion at present, I mean you to be a sheep.'



"So saying, she touched me with her wand, and I

became what you see. I did not lose the power of speech,

or of feeling the misery of my present state.



"'For five years,' she said, 'you shall be a sheep, and

lord of this pleasant land, while I, no longer able to see

your face, which I loved so much, shall be better able to

hate you as you deserve to be hated.'



"She disappeared as she finished speaking, and if I had

not been too unhappy to care about anything I should

have been glad that she was gone.



"The talking sheep received me as their king, and told

me that they, too, were unfortunate princes who had, in

different ways, offended the revengeful fairy, and had

been added to her flock for a certain number of years;

some more, some less. From time to time, indeed, one

regains his own proper form and goes back again to his

place in the upper world; but the other beings whom you

saw are the rivals or the enemies of Ragotte, whom she has

imprisoned for a hundred years or so; though even they

will go back at last. The young slave of whom I told

you about is one of these; I have seen her often, and it

has been a great pleasure to me. She never speaks to

me, and if I were nearer to her I know I should find her

only a shadow, which would be very annoying. However,

I noticed that one of my companions in misfortune

was also very attentive to this little sprite, and I found out

that he had been her lover, whom the cruel Ragotte had

taken away from her long before; since then I have cared

for, and thought of, nothing but how I might regain my

freedom. I have often been in the forest; that is where

I have seen you, lovely Princess, sometimes driving your

chariot, which you did with all the grace and skill in the

world; sometimes riding to the chase on so spirited a

horse that it seemed as if no one but yourself could have

managed it, and sometimes running races on the plain

with the Princesses of your Court--running so lightly

that it was you always who won the prize. Oh! Princess,

I have loved you so long, and yet how dare I tell you of

my love! what hope can there be for an unhappy sheep

like myself?"



Miranda was so surprised and confused by all that she

had heard that she hardly knew what answer to give to

the King of the Sheep, but she managed to make some

kind of little speech, which certainly did not forbid him

to hope, and said that she should not be afraid of the

shadows now she knew that they would some day come

to life again. "Alas!" she continued, "if my poor

Patypata, my dear Grabugeon, and pretty little Tintin, who

all died for my sake, were equally well off, I should have

nothing left to wish for here!"



Prisoner though he was, the King of the Sheep had

still some powers and privileges.



"Go," said he to his Master of the Horse, "go and

seek the shadows of the little black girl, the monkey, and

the dog: they will amuse our Princess."



And an instant afterward Miranda saw them coming

toward her, and their presence gave her the greatest

pleasure, though they did not come near enough for her

to touch them.



The King of the Sheep was so kind and amusing, and

loved Miranda so dearly, that at last she began to love

him too. Such a handsome sheep, who was so polite

and considerate, could hardly fail to please, especially

if one knew that he was really a king, and that his strange

imprisonment would soon come to an end. So the Princess's

days passed very gaily while she waited for the

happy time to come. The King of the Sheep, with the

help of all the flock, got up balls, concerts, and hunting

parties, and even the shadows joined in all the fun, and

came, making believe to be their own real selves.



One evening, when the couriers arrived (for the King

sent most carefully for news--and they always brought

the very best kinds), it was announced that the sister of

the Princess Miranda was going to be married to a great

Prince, and that nothing could be more splendid than all

the preparations for the wedding.



"Ah!" cried the young Princess, "how unlucky I am

to miss the sight of so many pretty things! Here am I

imprisoned under the earth, with no company but sheep

and shadows, while my sister is to be adorned like a

queen and surrounded by all who love and admire her,

and everyone but myself can go to wish her joy!"



"Why do you complain, Princess?" said the King of

the Sheep. "Did I say that you were not to go to the

wedding? Set out as soon as you please; only promise

me that you will come back, for I love you too much to

be able to live without you."



Miranda was very grateful to him, and promised

faithfully that nothing in the world should keep her from

coming back. The King caused an escort suitable to her

rank to be got ready for her, and she dressed herself

splendidly, not forgetting anything that could make her

more beautiful. Her chariot was of mother-of-pearl,

drawn by six dun-colored griffins just brought from the

other side of the world, and she was attended by a

number of guards in splendid uniforms, who were all at least

eight feet high and had come from far and near to ride

in the Princess's train.



Miranda reached her father's palace just as the

wedding ceremony began, and everyone, as soon as she came

in, was struck with surprise at her beauty and the

splendor of her jewels. She heard exclamations of

admiration on all sides; and the King her father looked at

her so attentively that she was afraid he must recognize

her; but he was so sure that she was dead that the idea

never occurred to him.



However, the fear of not getting away made her leave

before the marriage was over. She went out hastily,

leaving behind her a little coral casket set with emeralds.

On it was written in diamond letters: "Jewels for the

Bride," and when they opened it, which they did as soon

as it was found, there seemed to be no end to the pretty

things it contained. The King, who had hoped to join

the unknown Princess and find out who she was, was

dreadfully disappointed when she disappeared so

suddenly, and gave orders that if she ever came again the

doors were to be shut that she might not get away so

easily. Short as Miranda's absence had been, it had

seemed like a hundred years to the King of the Sheep.

He was waiting for her by a fountain in the thickest part

of the forest, and the ground was strewn with splendid

presents which he had prepared for her to show his joy

and gratitude at her coming back.



As soon as she was in sight he rushed to meet her,

leaping and bounding like a real sheep. He caressed her

tenderly, throwing himself at her feet and kissing her

hands, and told her how uneasy he had been in her

absence, and how impatient for her return, with an

eloquence which charmed her.



After some time came the news that the King's second

daughter was going to be married. When Miranda heard

it she begged the King of the Sheep to allow her to go and

see the wedding as before. This request made him feel

very sad, as if some misfortune must surely come of it,

but his love for the Princess being stronger than anything

else he did not like to refuse her.



"You wish to leave me, Princess," said he; "it is my

unhappy fate--you are not to blame. I consent to your

going, but, believe me, I can give you no stronger proof

of my love than by so doing."



The Princess assured him that she would only stay a

very short time, as she had done before, and begged him

not to be uneasy, as she would be quite as much grieved

if anything detained her as he could possibly be.



So, with the same escort, she set out, and reached the

palace as the marriage ceremony began. Everybody was

delighted to see her; she was so pretty that they thought

she must be some fairy princess, and the Princes who were

there could not take their eyes off her.



The King was more glad than anyone else that she had

come again, and gave orders that the doors should all be

shut and bolted that very minute. When the wedding

was all but over the Princess got up quickly, hoping to

slip away unnoticed among the crowd, but, to her great

dismay, she found every door fastened.



She felt more at ease when the King came up to her, and

with the greatest respect begged her not to run away so

soon, but at least to honor him by staying for the splendid

feast which was prepared for the Princes and Princesses.

He led her into a magnificent hall, where all the Court was

assembled, and himself taking up the golden bowl full of

water, he offered it to her that she might dip her pretty

fingers into it.



At this the Princess could no longer contain herself;

throwing herself at the King's feet, she cried out:



"My dream has come true after all--you have offered

me water to wash my hands on my sister's wedding day,

and it has not vexed you to do it."



The King recognized her at once--indeed, he had

already thought several times how much like his poor little

Miranda she was.



"Oh! my dear daughter," he cried, kissing her, "can you

ever forget my cruelty? I ordered you to be put to death

because I thought your dream portended the loss of my

crown. And so it did," he added, "for now your sisters

are both married and have kingdoms of their own--and

mine shall be for you." So saying he put his crown on the

Princess's head and cried:



"Long live Queen Miranda!"



All the Court cried: "Long live Queen Miranda!" after him,

and the young Queen's two sisters came running up, and

threw their arms round her neck, and kissed her a thousand

times, and then there was such a laughing and crying,

talking and kissing, all at once, and Miranda thanked her

father, and began to ask after everyone--particularly the

Captain of the Guard, to whom she owed so much; but, to

her great sorrow, she heard that he was dead. Presently

they sat down to the banquet, and the King asked Miranda

to tell them all that had happened to her since the

terrible morning when he had sent the Captain of the

Guard to fetch her. This she did with so much spirit

that all the guests listened with breathless interest.

But while she was thus enjoying herself with the King

and her sisters, the King of the Sheep was waiting

impatiently for the time of her return, and when it

came and went, and no Princess appeared, his anxiety

became so great that he could bear it no longer.



"She is not coming back any more," he cried. "My

miserable sheep's face displeases her, and without

Miranda what is left to me, wretched creature that I am!

Oh! cruel Ragotte; my punishment is complete."



For a long time he bewailed his sad fate like this, and

then, seeing that it was growing dark, and that still there

was no sign of the Princess, he set out as fast as he could

in the direction of the town. When he reached the palace

he asked for Miranda, but by this time everyone had

heard the story of her adventures, and did not want her

to go back again to the King of the Sheep, so they refused

sternly to let him see her. In vain he begged and prayed

them to let him in; though his entreaties might have

melted hearts of stone they did not move the guards of

the palace, and at last, quite broken-hearted, he fell dead

at their feet.



In the meantime the King, who had not the least idea

of the sad thing that was happening outside the gate of his

palace, proposed to Miranda that she should be driven in

her chariot all round the town, which was to be illuminated

with thousands and thousands of torches, placed in

windows and balconies, and in all the grand squares.

But what a sight met her eyes at the very entrance of the

palace! There lay her dear, kind sheep, silent and motionless,

upon the pavement!



She threw herself out of the chariot and ran to him,

crying bitterly, for she realized that her broken promise

had cost him his life, and for a long, long time she was so

unhappy that they thought she would have died too.



So you see that even a princess is not always happy--especially

if she forgets to keep her word; and the greatest

misfortunes often happen to people just as they think they

have obtained their heart's desires!





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