IN THOSE happy days when the fairies were alive, there reigned a king who had three daughters. They were beautiful and young, and they were good but the youngest was the most lovable and the most beloved, and her name was Merveilleuse. Her father the king, gave her more dresses and ribbons in a month than he did the others in a year. But she had such a kind little heart that she shared everything with her sisters, so that they were the best of friends.
Now the king had evil-minded neighbours who, tired of peace, waged such a terrible war against him that he feared he should be overthrown unless he took means to defend himself. So he gathered together a large army and took the field with it. The three princesses remained with their governor in a castle where every day good news of the king reached them, sometimes that he had taken a city, and sometimes that he had gained a battle. At last his success was such that he conquered his enemies, and drove them out of his states. Then he returned with speed to his castle to see his little Merveilleuse again, whom he loved so much. The three princesses had three satin dresses made for them--one green, one blue, and the third white. Their jewels matched their dresses; the green one had emeralds, the blue turquoises, the white diamonds. Thus adorned, they came into the king's presence singing verses they had composed on his victories:--
"Home from full many a hard fought field,
Where the proud foe was forced to yield,
Receive our greetings, father, king.
And when the bells their loudest ring,
And everywhere the feasts are spread,
Hear in our shouts, our songs, our glee,
Echoes of our strong loyalty."
When he saw them so beautiful and so gay he embraced them tenderly but he gave Merveilleuse more caresses than the others. A splendid feast was prepared, and the king and his three daughters sat down to it; and as it was his habit to draw meanings out of everything, he said to the eldest: "Now, tell me, why did you choose a green dress?" "Your majesty," she said, "having heard of your great deeds, I thought that green would show my joy and my hope that you would return." "That is very prettily said," said the king. "And you, my daughter," he went on, "why did you choose a blue dress?" "Your majesty," said the princess, "as a sign that I should pray without ceasing for you to the gods, and because in looking on you I seem to see the sky and the most beautiful stars." "Why," said the king, "you speak like an oracle." "And you, Merveilleuse, what reason had you for dressing in white?" "Sire," she answered, "because it becomes me better than any other colour." "What!" said the king, very much annoyed, "was that your only thought, you vain little monkey?" "I thought of pleasing you," said the princess; "and, it seems to me, that was my only duty." The king, who loved her, thought her answer made up for everything, and said he liked her wit, and that it was even clever not to have stated her meaning all at once. "Now," said he, "I have had a good supper. I don't want to go to bed so soon, so tell me the dreams you dreamt the night before I came back."
The eldest said she had dreamt that he was going to bring her a dress, the gold and the jewels on which shone brighter than the sun. The second said she had dreamt that he was bringing her a dress and a golden distaff to spin her linen with. The youngest said she had dreamt that on her second sister's wedding day he held a golden ewer in his hands, and that he said to her: "Come, Merveilleuse, come here till I give you water to wash with."
The king, very angry at this dream, frowned and made the ugliest face possible, so that every one knew he was annoyed. Going to his room he went quickly to bed, but he could not get his daughter's dream out of his head. "This insolent little wretch," said he, "would like me to become her servant. I am not surprised she chose the white satin gown without thinking of me. She considers I am not worthy of her consideration, but I shall take steps to prevent her wicked design before she can carry it into effect,"
He rose in a passion of rage, and though it was not yet day, he sent for the captain of the guards and said to him: "You heard Merveilleuse's dream: it means strange things against me, and I desire you to take her at once into the forest and kill her. When you have done this, you shall bring me her heart and her tongue, for I will not have you deceive me, and if you fail to carry out these orders I shall put you to death." The captain of the guards was very much astonished to hear so cruel an order. Yet he did not wish to contradict the king for fear of angering him still more, and of making him give the commission to some one else. So he told him he would take the princess away, and that he would kill her and bring him her heart and her tongue.
He went at once to her room, but had some difficulty in entering, for it was still very early. He told Merveilleuse that the king was asking for her, and she got up at once. A little Moorish girl called Patypata carried the train of her dress, and her monkey and the dog that always followed her ran after her. The monkey was called Grabugeon, and the dog Tintin. The captain of the guard made Merveilleuse come downstairs, telling her the king was in the garden taking the air. Thither she went, the captain pretending to look for him, and not finding him, he said: "The king has gone into the forest." So opening a little gate he led her into the forest. The daylight was beginning to appear, and when the princess looked at her conductor she saw he had tears in his eyes, and that he was so melancholy he could not speak. "What is the matter with you?" she said, with an air of charming sweetness. "You seem very sad." "Ah, madam, who would not be," he said, "at the most terrible order that ever was given? The king wishes me to kill you here, and to bring your heart and your tongue back to him. If I fail to do so, he will put me to death." The poor princess terrified, turned pale and began to cry silently, looking like a little lamb being led to the slaughter. Fixing her sweet eyes on the captain of the guards, and looking at him without any anger, she asked: "Shall you have the courage to kill me, seeing I never did you any harm, and never said anything but good of you to the king? If I had deserved my father's anger I would endure the consequence without a murmur, hut alas! I have shown him so much respect and affection that he cannot with justice complain of me." "Do not fear, fair princess," said the captain of the guards, "that I am capable of lending my hand to so cruel a deed. I would rather resign myself to the death with which I am threatened. But even if I were to stab myself you would not be any the more secure, and some means must he found whereby I may return to the king and make him believe that you are dead."
"How can we do so?" said Merveilleuse, "for he wants you to bring back my tongue and my heart, and without these he will not believe you." Pat who had heard all, hut whom neither the princess nor the captain of the guards had even noticed, so full of sadness were they, now stepped forward bravely, and flung herself at Merveilleuse's feet. "Madam," she said, "I come to offer you my life. You must kill me. I shall be only too glad to die for so kind a mistress." "Far be such a thing from me, my dear Patypata," said the princess, kissing her; "after so tender a proof of your love, your life is no less precious to me than my own." Grabugeon then came forward and said: "You are right, princess, to love so faithful a servant as Patypata. She can be more useful to you than me. I offer you my tongue and my heart with joy, desiring as I do to make my name remembered in Monkeyland." "Ah, my darling Grabugeon,' replied Merveilleuse, "I cannot endure the thought of taking your life." "It would be insupportable to me," cried Tintin, "good dog as I am, that another than myself should give his life for my mistress. I should die for you if any one ought to." Thereupon arose a great dispute between Patypata, Grabugeon, and Tintin, and they set a-quarrelling about the matter; but at last Grabugeon, more agile than the others, climbed to the top of a tree, and flinging itself down head foremost was killed at once. However sorry the princess was, she agreed, since the monkey was dead, that the captain of the guards should take out its tongue. But it was found to be so small (for the monkey was no bigger than your fists) that with great sorrow they came to the conclusion that the king would not be deceived by it.
"Alas! my dear little monkey, now you are dead," said the princess, "and yet your death has not saved me." "That honour is reserved for me," interrupted the little Moor. And so saying, she took the knife they had used for Grabugeon and plunged it into her throat. The captain of the guards would have cut out her tongue, but it was so black that he dared not hope to deceive the king by means of it. "Am I not very unhappy?" said the princess, weeping. "I lose all I love, and my fortune does not improve." "If you had been willing," said Tintin, "to accept my proposal, you would have had only me to regret, and I should have had the happiness to be the only one regretted."
Merveilleuse kissed her little dog, crying so bitterly that she was quite exhausted. Then she walked hastily away. When she looked back she no longer saw her conductor, and stood there with her little Moor, her monkey, and her dog all dead. She could not go away without burying them in a hole that she found by chance at the foot of a tree, on which she afterwards wrote these words:--
Here three faithful mortals lie:
To save my life they chose to die".
At last she thought of her own safety, and as there was none for her in this forest, so near her father's castle that the first passer-by could see and recognise her, or where the lions and wolves could eat her up like a chicken, she began to walk as fast as she could. But the forest was so wide, and the sun so burning that she was nearly dead from heat, terror, and fatigue. On all sides she looked but she saw no end to the forest. Everything frightened her, and she was in constant terror lest the king should run after her to kill her. The sad cry she uttered it is impossible to describe.
As she walked along following no certain path the bushes tore her pretty dress and wounded her white skin. At last she heard a sheep bleating. "Doubt less," she said, "there are shepherds here with their flocks. They will be able to guide me to some hamlet, where I may hide under the disguise of a peasant. Alas!" she went on, "it is not always kings and princes that are happiest. Who in all this kingdom would believe that I am a fugitive; or that my father, without cause or reason, seeks my death, which to avoid I am forced to disguise myself?"
Thus reflecting she went towards the place from which the bleating came, but what was her surprise on reaching a wide stretch of ground surrounded by trees, to see a great ram, whiter than snow, with golden horns, round his neck a garland of flowers, strings of pearls of an extraordinary size twisted about his legs, and wearing chains of diamonds. The creature was lying on orange flowers, while a pavilion of gold cloth suspended in the air prevented the sun from hurting him. A hundred sheep gaily decked were standing round, not nibbling the grass, but having coffee, sherbet, ices, lemonade, strawberries, cream, and sweetmeats. Some were playing at basset, others at lansquenet. Several had golden collars enriched with beautiful designs, some had their ears pierced or were decked out in ribbons and flowers. Merveilleuse was so astonished that she stood almost motionless. She was looking for the shepherd of so extraordinary a flock when the beautiful ram came forward by bounds and leaps. "Come, divine princess," he said, "do not fear animals so gentle, so peaceful as we are." "Here is a wonder! Talking sheep!" "Ah, madam," he answered, "your monkey and your little dog spoke very prettily; was that less astonishing?" "A fairy," answered Merveilleuse, "had given them the gift of speech, therefore the wonder had grown less astonishing to me." "Perhaps something of the same sort happened to us," answered the ram, smiling in his sheepish style. "But, princess, what brought you here?" "My misfortunes, Sir Ram," she said. "I am the most unhappy maiden in the world, and am in search of a hiding place against the anger of my father." "Come, madam," answered the sheep, "come with me. I offer you one that no one else will know of, and you will be sole mistress of it." "I cannot follow you," said Merveilleuse. "I am so tired that I am like to die."
The ram with the golden horns ordered them to bring a coach, and in a moment six goats were seen coming harnessed to a pumpkin of such an enormous size that two persons could sit inside it very comfortably. The pumpkin was dry, and it was lined with soft cushions of down and velvet, and the princess stepped in feeling great admiration for so novel a carriage. The master ram got in with her, and the goats ran as hard as they could to a cave, the entrance to which was barred by a large stone. This the gilded ram touched with his foot, and it fell aside at once. Then he told the princess to enter without fear. She thought the cavern looked terrible, and if she had been less alarmed nothing would have forced her to go in. But in such a state of terror was she that she would have even thrown herself into a well.
She did not hesitate, therefore, to follow the ram, who, walking before her, made her go down and down so far till she thought she must at least be going to the Antipodes, and she feared at times lest he should be taking her to the kingdom of the dead. At last she suddenly discovered a vast plain variegated with a thousand different flowers, the scent of which was sweeter than any she had ever felt. A great river of orange-flower water flowed all round, while streams of Spanish wine, of rossolis, of hippocras, and a thousand other sorts of liqueurs formed cascades and charming little streams. This plain was covered with strange trees. There were whole avenues of such, where partridges, better larded and better cooked than you find them at La Guerbois's, hung from the branches. There were other walks where the trees were laden with quails, young rabbits, turkeys, chickens, pheasants, and ortolans. In certain places where the air seemed darker, it rained lobsters and soups, ragouts of sweetbreads, white puddings, sausages, tarts, pasties, preserves (dry and liquid), sovereigns, crowns, pearls, and diamonds. The strangeness, but, above all, the usefulness, of this shower would have attracted a goodly company if the big ram had been of a rather more sociable temper, hut all the chronicles that tell of him assure us that he was graver in his manner than a Roman senator.
As it was the finest season of the year when Merveilleuse arrived in this beautiful spot, she saw no other palace than a great forest of orange trees, jasmine, honeysuckles, and little musk roses, the branches of which, intertwined one with the other, formed cabinets, halls, and rooms all furnished with gold and silver gauze, with great mirrors, hanging lamps, and beautiful pictures.
The master ram told the princess she was now queen of these parts, that for several years he had abundant reason for sorrow and tears, but that he only needed her to make him forget his grief. "The way you treat me, dear rain,' she answered, "has something very generous about it, and all I see here seems so extraordinary that I do not know what to think." Hardly had she ended these words when she saw before her a troop of nymphs of admirable beauty, who presented her with fruit in amber baskets; but when she wished to come near them, their bodies seemed gradually to vanish. She stretched out her hands to touch them, but feeling nothing, she knew they were but shadows. "Ah, what is this?" she cried; "with whom am I here?" She began to cry, and King Ram (for so he was called), who had left her for some moments, coming back to her and seeing her in tears, was in despair and like to die at her feet.
"What is the matter, fair princess?" he said. "Has any one here failed in the respect which is due to you?" "No," she answered. "I have nothing to complain of, I only confess to you that I am not used to living with ghosts and with talking sheep. Everything here terrifies me, and however much obliged I may be to you for having brought me, I should be still more so if you would take me back again to the world." "Do not be afraid," replied the ram; "only be so good as to listen to me calmly, and you shall learn my sad story:--
"I was horn to a throne. The long line of kings I had for ancestors had assured me the possession of the finest kingdom in the universe. My subjects loved me. I was feared and envied by my neighbours, and respected, not without cause. It has been said that never was a king so worthy of esteem. I was not ill-looking personally. I was very fond of hunting, and one day, having ridden far for the pleasure of pursuing a deer, and having in this way outstripped my companions somewhat, I saw it all of a sudden plunge into a pond. I spurred on my horse, as imprudently as rashly, but on going forward a little, I felt instead of the coolness of the water, an extraordinary heat. The pond dried up, and through an opening out of which came terrible flames, I fell to the bottom of a precipice which was all on fire.
"I thought I was lost, when I heard a voice saying: 'Less fire than this, ungrateful man, would never warm your heart!' 'Who is it complains of my coldness?' I called. 'An unhappy lady,' answered the voice, 'who loves you without hope.' At that moment the fire went out, and I saw a fairy whom I had known from my earliest years, whose age and ugliness had always disgusted me. She was leaning on a young slave who was exquisitely beautiful, wearing golden chains that showed clearly enough her condition. "What Wonder is this?' I said to Ragotte, for such was the name of the fairy. 'Is it happening by your orders?' 'And by whose orders should it be done then?' she answered. 'Did you not know before my feelings towards you? Must I undergo the shame of expressing them? Have my eyes that were at one time so sure of their aim lost all their power? Think how I humble myself in confessing my weakness to you, for though you may be a great king you are less than an ant before a fairy like me.'
"'I am whatever you like to call me,' I said, in an impatient manner and voice. 'But, after all, what do you want with me? Is it my crown, my towns, or my treasures?" 'Ah, you wretch I,' she replied, disdainfully; 'my scullions, if I liked, could be more powerful than you. I ask your heart. My eyes have begged for it thousands and thousands of times; you did not hear them, or rather, you did not wish to hear them. If you had been engaged to another,' she continued, 'I should have let you go on with your courtship without interference, but I have been too eager in informing myself of your doings not to have discovered the indifference that reigns in your heart. Well, now, love me,' she added, screwing up her mouth to make it prettier, and rolling her eyes. 'I shall be your little Ragotte. I shall add twenty kingdoms to the one you possess, a hundred towers full of gold, five hundred full of silver-in short, whatever you wish.'
"'Madam Ragotte,' I answered, 'it is not in the bottom of a hole where I thought I was to be roasted that I should wish to make a declaration to a lady of your merit. I beg you by all the charms which make you adorable to set me free, and then we shall plan together what I can do to please you.' 'Ah! you traitor!' she cried, 'if you loved me you would not seek the road back to your kingdom. In a grotto, in a fox's den, in the woods, in the deserts, you would be content. Do not think I am so easily deceived. You are planning how to escape, but I warn you, you must stay here, and the first thing you have to do is to keep my sheep. They are very intelligent, and speak at least as well as you.'
"And so saying she went forward to the plain where we now are, and showed me her flock. I paid no attention, for that beautiful slave who was with her seemed to my eyes a wonder. My looks betrayed me, and the cruel Ragotte seeing this, threw herself upon her, and plunged a bodkin with such force into her eye that the adorable creature fell lifeless on the spot. At this fatal sight I darted on Ragotte, and with my spear in my hand I would have sacrificed her to the memory of so dear a spirit, if by her power she had not rendered me motion less. My efforts being in vain, I fell to the ground, and I was seeking every possible means of killing myself to deliver me from the misery with which I was overpowered when, with a mocking smile, she said to me: 'I wish you to recognise my power. Now you are a lion; you will become a ram.' Then she touched me with her wand, and I saw myself metamorphosed into my present shape. I did not lose the use of speech, nor the capability of misery, because of my unhappy condition. 'You shall be five years a sheep,' she said, 'and absolute master in this beautiful spot; while far from you, and out of sight of your hand some face, I shall think of nothing but the hate I bear you.'
"She disappeared, and if anything could have consoled me for my misfortunes it would have been her absence. The talking sheep here owned me for their king. They told me they were unhappy creatures who in one way or an other had given offence to the revengeful fairy, and that she had turned them into a flock, though the punishment of some would not last so long as others. And in fact," he added, "from time to time they regain their former shape and leave the flock. As to the others, they are rivals or enemies of Ragotte whom she has killed, and who will remain lifeless for a century or less, and who after wards will return into the world. The young slave whom I have told you about is one of these. I have seen her several times, and always with pleasure, though she would not speak to me, and when I wanted to go near her I was grieved to find that she was but a shadow. But having noticed that one of my sheep was constantly by the side of this little phantom, I divined he was her lover, and that Ragotte, jealous of his love, had taken him away from her. For this reason I kept apart from the shadowy slave, and for three years I have felt no longing for anything but for my liberty. That is what takes me sometimes into the forest. There I saw you, fair princess," he continued, "sometimes in a chariot, which you drove with more skill than the sun when he drives his, sometimes at the chase, on a horse that seemed untameable by any other than you, or again when running lightly with the princesses of your court you gained the prize like another Atalanta. Ah I princess, if every time 'hen my heart was making its secret vows to you, I had dared to speak to you, what should I not have said? But how would you have received the declaration of a miserable ram like me?"
Merveilleuse was so troubled by all she had heard up to that moment that she hardly knew what to answer. She expressed herself, however, in so pleasant a way as to leave him some hope, and told him she now feared the shadows less since they would live again one day. "Alas! ' she continued, "if my poor Patypata, my dear Grabugeon, and pretty Tintin, who died to save me, could have had such a fate, I should no longer be lonely here."
In spite of King Ram's misfortunes, he had none the less great privileges. "Go," said he to his chief equerry, a fine-looking sheep, "go and fetch the little Moor, the monkey, and the dog; their shades will entertain our princess." The next moment Merveilleuse saw them, and though they did not come near enough for her to touch them, their presence was an infinite comfort to her.
King Ram had much intelligence and great delicacy, and could converse in the most charming way. He loved Merveilleuse so passionately that she came also to look on him with favour and afterwards to love him. And who could help loving a pretty sheep, so gentle, so affectionate, especially when he is known to be a king, and that his metamorphosis will not last for ever? So the princess's days passed quietly away, waiting for a happier time to come. The tam, ever attentive, had no other thought but of her, and arranged banquets and concerts and hunts for her, his flocks helping him, and even the shadows taking part.
One evening when his couriers returned, for he sent regularly for news, and received always the freshest, they told him Merveilleuse's eldest sister was about to be married to a great prince, and that nothing so magnificent as the preparations for the wedding had ever been seen. "Ah!" cried the young princess, "ho unfortunate I am not to see so many fine things. Here I am underground with shadows and sheep, while my sister appears apparelled like a queen. Every one will come to pay respects to her. I alone shall have no part in her joy." "Why do you complain, madam?" said the king of the sheep to her. "Have I said you might not go to the wedding? Set off as soon as you please, but promise me to return. If you will not, you will see me die at your feet, for the affection I feel for you is too strong for me to lose you and yet live."
Merveilleuse, much touched, promised the. ram that nothing in the world would hinder her return. He gave her an equipage befitting her birth, and she dressed herself superbly, forgetting nothing that could add to her beauty. She drove away in a mother of pearl coach drawn by six dun-coloured hippogriffs, just come from the Antipodes, and accompanied by a large number of officers richly clad and very handsome, who had been sent for from a distance to form the guard of honour.
She arrived at her father's palace just when the marriage ceremony was taking place. As soon as she entered, every one who saw her was struck by the brilliancy of her beauty and her jewels. Nothing was heard round her but acclamations and praises. The king looked at her with an attention and a plea sure which made her fear lest she should be recognised, but he was so firmly convinced of her death that he had not the least suspicion who she was. But the fear of being stopped prevented her from staying till the end of the ceremony. She left abruptly, leaving a little coral box, ornamented with emeralds, on which was written in diamonds Jewels for the Bride. They opened it at once, and what was there not inside? The king, who had hoped to meet her again and who was most eager to make her acquaintance, was in despair at not seeing her, and he gave an absolute order that if ever she came back, all the doors should be shut after her, and she should be detained.
Though Merveilleuse's absence had been a short one, it had seemed more than a century to the ram. He waited for her by the side of a stream in the thickest part of the forest, where he had spread out vast treasures as an offering to her in gratitude for her home-coming. As soon as he saw her, he ran to meet her, leaping and bounding like a real ram, caressing her tenderly over and over again, lying down at her feet, kissing her hands, telling her all his anxieties and his impatience, his passion lending him an eloquence which charmed the princess.
After some time the king was arranging the marriage of his second daughter. Merveilleuse learnt this, and begged the ram to let her go, as she had done be fore and see a fête in which she was so much interested. At this proposal he felt a pang which he could not subdue, a secret warning of evil to come. But as misfortunes cannot always be avoided, and as his love for the princess was more to him than his own comfort, he had not the heart to refuse her. "You wish to leave me, madam," he said. "Well, for this the consequence of my misfortune, my unhappy fate is more to blame than are you. I consent to what you ask, and I shall never make a greater sacrifice."
She assured him she would not stay longer than she had done before; that any delay that kept her from him would be a pain to her, and she begged him not to be anxious. Travelling in the same fashion as on her former visit, she arrived just as the ceremony was beginning, and in spite of the close attention being paid to it, a cry of joy and admiration arose at her entrance, which drew the eyes of all the princes on her. They could not help looking at her, and seeing her rare beauty, they were ready to believe that she was more than mortal.
The king was delighted at seeing her again, and never took his eves off her except when he was giving the order to shut all the doors to detain her. When the ceremony was all but over the princess got up in haste, wishing to steal away amidst the crowd, and she was very much astonished and distressed at finding the doors closed. The king greeted her with such great respect and humility as reassured her, begging her not to deprive them so soon of the pleasure of seeing her and of entertaining her at the great feast which he was giving to the princes and princesses. Leading her into a magnificent room where all the court was assembled, lie himself brought a golden basin and a ewer full of water to wash her beautiful hands. At that she could contain herself no longer, but fell at his feet and embraced his knees, saying: "Now has my dream come to pass. You have brought me water to wash with on my sister's wedding day, and no harm has happened to you in consequence."
The king recognised her with less difficulty, inasmuch as more than once she had reminded him of Merveilleuse. "Ah, my dear daughter," he said, embracing her and weeping. "Can you forget my cruelty? I desired your death because I thought your dream meant the loss of my crown. And so it does," he added. "Here are your two sisters married; they each have one, and mine will be for you." So saying he rose and placed it on the princess's head, and cried: "Long live Queen Merveilleuse!" All the court shouted too, and the young queen's two sisters came and fell on her neck, caressing her over and over again. Merveilleuse did not know what she was doing for gladness. She cried and laughed at the same time, embracing some one here, speaking to another there, and thanking the king. Amidst all this she did not forget the captain of the guards, to whom she owed so much. She asked after him eagerly, but they told her he was dead, a loss she felt most keenly.
When she sat at table, the king begged her to tell him all that had happened since the day when he had given the cruel orders concerning her, and without a moment's hesitation she began her tale, with perfect grace, everybody lending an eager attention.
But while in the company of the king and her sisters she was forgetting how the time passed. Her lover, the ram, saw the hour of her return go by, and he became so anxious that he could not restrain himself. "She does not wish to come back any more," he cried; "my unfortunate tam's face does not please her. Ah, too unhappy lover that I am! What will become of me without Merveilleuse? Ragotte, you cruel fairy, what a revenge you have taken for my coldness towards you!"
A long time he mourned thus, and seeing night coming on, and no sign of the princess, he ran to the town. When he reached the kings palace, he asked for Merveilleuse, but as every one already knew her story, and did not wish her to return with the ram, they sternly refused to let him see her. The cries and laments he uttered would have moved any but the guards at the palace gate. At last, overcome by his sorrow, he threw himself on the ground and died.
The king and Merveilleuse in the meanwhile were not aware of the sad tragedy that had just taken place. He proposed to his daughter to ride in a coach, so that all the town might see her by the light of the thousand torches in the windows and in the great squares. But what a sight did she see on her way out of the palace-her dear ram stretched on the pavement, all the life gone out of him! Throwing herself out of the coach, she ran to him, weeping and groaning for she knew her delay had caused the death of the royal ram. In her despair, she was like to die herself.
This was taken as a striking example, therefore, that people of the highest rank are subject, like others, to fortune's blows, and that often the worst luck comes to them just when they think all their wishes are about to be fulfilled.