Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess

Once upon a time there lived a king who was deeply in love with a princess, but she could not marry anyone, because she was under an enchantment. So the King set out to seek a fairy, and asked what he could do to win the Princess’s love. The Fairy said to him:

“You know that the Princess has a great cat which she is very fond of. Whoever is clever enough to tread on that cat’s tail is the man she is destined to marry.”

The King said to himself that this would not be very difficult, and he left the Fairy, determined to grind the cat’s tail to powder rather than not tread on it at all.

You may imagine that it was not long before he went to see the Princess, and puss, as usual, marched in before him, arching his back. The King took a long step, and quite thought he had the tail under his foot, but the cat turned round so sharply that he only trod on air. And so it went on for eight days, till the King began to think that this fatal tail must be full of quicksilver—it was never still for a moment.

At last, however, he was lucky enough to come upon puss fast asleep and with his tail conveniently spread out. So the King, without losing a moment, set his foot upon it heavily.

With one terrific yell the cat sprang up and instantly changed into a tall man, who, fixing his angry eyes upon the King, said:

“You shall marry the Princess because you have been able to break the enchantment, but I will have my revenge. You shall have a son, who will never be happy until he finds out that his nose is too long, and if you ever tell anyone what I have just said to you, you shall vanish away instantly, and no one shall ever see you or hear of you again.”

Though the King was horribly afraid of the enchanter, he could not help laughing at this threat.

“If my son has such a long nose as that,” he said to himself, “he must always see it or feel it; at least, if he is not blind or without hands.”

But, as the enchanter had vanished, he did not waste any more time in thinking, but went to seek the Princess, who very soon consented to marry him. But after all, they had not been married very long when the King died, and the Queen had nothing left to care for but her little son, who was called Hyacinth. The little Prince had large blue eyes, the prettiest eyes in the world, and a sweet little mouth, but, alas! his nose was so enormous that it covered half his face. The Queen was inconsolable when she saw this great nose, but her ladies assured her that it was not really as large as it looked; that it was a Roman nose, and you had only to open any history to see that every hero has a large nose. The Queen, who was devoted to her baby, was pleased with what they told her, and when she looked at Hyacinth again, his nose certainly did not seem to her quite so large.

The Prince was brought up with great care; and, as soon as he could speak, they told him all sorts of dreadful stories about people who had short noses. No one was allowed to come near him whose nose did not more or less resemble his own, and the courtiers, to get into favor with the Queen, took to pulling their babies’ noses several times every day to make them grow long. But, do what they would, they were nothing by comparison with the Prince’s.

When he grew sensible he learned history; and whenever any great prince or beautiful princess was spoken of, his teachers took care to tell him that they had long noses.

His room was hung with pictures, all of people with very large noses; and the Prince grew up so convinced that a long nose was a great beauty, that he would not on any account have had his own a single inch shorter!

When his twentieth birthday was passed the Queen thought it was time that he should be married, so she commanded that the portraits of several princesses should be brought for him to see, and among the others was a picture of the Dear Little Princess!

Now, she was the daughter of a great king, and would some day possess several kingdoms herself; but Prince Hyacinth had not a thought to spare for anything of that sort, he was so much struck with her beauty. The Princess, whom he thought quite charming, had, however, a little saucy nose, which, in her face, was the prettiest thing possible, but it was a cause of great embarrassment to the courtiers, who had got into such a habit of laughing at little noses that they sometimes found themselves laughing at hers before they had time to think; but this did not do at all before the Prince, who quite failed to see the joke, and actually banished two of his courtiers who had dared to mention disrespectfully the Dear Little Princess’s tiny nose!

The others, taking warning from this, learned to think twice before they spoke, and one even went so far as to tell the Prince that, though it was quite true that no man could be worth anything unless he had a long nose, still, a woman’s beauty was a different thing; and he knew a learned man who understood Greek and had read in some old manuscripts that the beautiful Cleopatra herself had a “tip-tilted” nose!

The Prince made him a splendid present as a reward for this good news, and at once sent ambassadors to ask the Dear Little Princess in marriage. The King, her father, gave his consent; and Prince Hyacinth, who, in his anxiety to see the Princess, had gone three leagues to meet her was just advancing to kiss her hand when, to the horror of all who stood by, the enchanter appeared as suddenly as a flash of lightning, and, snatching up the Dear Little Princess, whirled her away out of their sight!

The Prince was left quite unconsolable, and declared that nothing should induce him to go back to his kingdom until he had found her again, and refusing to allow any of his courtiers to follow him, he mounted his horse and rode sadly away, letting the animal choose his own path.

So it happened that he came presently to a great plain, across which he rode all day long without seeing a single house, and horse and rider were terribly hungry, when, as the night fell, the Prince caught sight of a light, which seemed to shine from a cavern.

He rode up to it, and saw a little old woman, who appeared to be at least a hundred years old.

She put on her spectacles to look at Prince Hyacinth, but it was quite a long time before she could fix them securely because her nose was so very short.

The Prince and the Fairy (for that was who she was) had no sooner looked at one another than they went into fits of laughter, and cried at the same moment, “Oh, what a funny nose!”

“Not so funny as your own,” said Prince Hyacinth to the Fairy; “but, madam, I beg you to leave the consideration of our noses—such as they are—and to be good enough to give me something to eat, for I am starving, and so is my poor horse.”

“With all my heart,” said the Fairy. “Though your nose is so ridiculous you are, nevertheless, the son of my best friend. I loved your father as if he had been my brother. Now he had a very handsome nose!”

“And pray what does mine lack?” said the Prince.

“Oh! it doesn’t lack anything,” replied the Fairy. “On the contrary quite, there is only too much of it. But never mind, one may be a very worthy man though his nose is too long. I was telling you that I was your father’s friend; he often came to see me in the old times, and you must know that I was very pretty in those days; at least, he used to say so. I should like to tell you of a conversation we had the last time I ever saw him.”

“Indeed,” said the Prince, “when I have supped it will give me the greatest pleasure to hear it; but consider, madam, I beg of you, that I have had nothing to eat to-day.”

“The poor boy is right,” said the Fairy; “I was forgetting. Come in, then, and I will give you some supper, and while you are eating I can tell you my story in a very few words—for I don’t like endless tales myself. Too long a tongue is worse than too long a nose, and I remember when I was young that I was so much admired for not being a great chatterer. They used to tell the Queen, my mother, that it was so. For though you see what I am now, I was the daughter of a great king. My father——”

“Your father, I dare say, got something to eat when he was hungry!” interrupted the Prince.

“Oh! certainly,” answered the Fairy, “and you also shall have supper directly. I only just wanted to tell you——”

“But I really cannot listen to anything until I have had something to eat,” cried the Prince, who was getting quite angry; but then, remembering that he had better be polite as he much needed the Fairy’s help, he added:

“I know that in the pleasure of listening to you I should quite forget my own hunger; but my horse, who cannot hear you, must really be fed!”

The Fairy was very much flattered by this compliment, and said, calling to her servants:

“You shall not wait another minute, you are so polite, and in spite of the enormous size of your nose you are really very agreeable.”

“Plague take the old lady! How she does go on about my nose!” said the Prince to himself. “One would almost think that mine had taken all the extra length that hers lacks! If I were not so hungry I would soon have done with this chatterpie who thinks she talks very little! How stupid people are not to see their own faults! That comes of being a princess: she has been spoiled by flatterers, who have made her believe that she is quite a moderate talker!”

Meanwhile the servants were putting the supper on the table, and the prince was much amused to hear the Fairy who asked them a thousand questions simply for the pleasure of hearing herself speak; especially he noticed one maid who, no matter what was being said, always contrived to praise her mistress’s wisdom.

“Well!” he thought, as he ate his supper, “I’m very glad I came here. This just shows me how sensible I have been in never listening to flatterers. People of that sort praise us to our faces without shame, and hide our faults or change them into virtues. For my part I never will be taken in by them. I know my own defects, I hope.”

Poor Prince Hyacinth! He really believed what he said, and hadn’t an idea that the people who had praised his nose were laughing at him, just as the Fairy’s maid was laughing at her; for the Prince had seen her laugh slyly when she could do so without the Fairy’s noticing her.

However, he said nothing, and presently, when his hunger began to be appeased, the Fairy said:

“My dear Prince, might I beg you to move a little more that way, for your nose casts such a shadow that I really cannot see what I have on my plate. Ah! thanks. Now let us speak of your father. When I went to his Court he was only a little boy, but that is forty years ago, and I have been in this desolate place ever since. Tell me what goes on nowadays; are the ladies as fond of amusement as ever? In my time one saw them at parties, theatres, balls, and promenades every day. Dear me! what a long nose you have! I cannot get used to it!”

“Really, madam,” said the Prince, “I wish you would leave off mentioning my nose. It cannot matter to you what it is like. I am quite satisfied with it, and have no wish to have it shorter. One must take what is given one.”

“Now you are angry with me, my poor Hyacinth,” said the Fairy, “and I assure you that I didn’t mean to vex you; on the contrary, I wished to do you a service. However, though I really cannot help your nose being a shock to me, I will try not to say anything about it. I will even try to think that you have an ordinary nose. To tell the truth, it would make three reasonable ones.”

The Prince, who was no longer hungry, grew so impatient at the Fairy’s continual remarks about his nose that at last he threw himself upon his horse and rode hastily away. But wherever he came in his journeyings he thought the people were mad, for they all talked of his nose, and yet he could not bring himself to admit that it was too long, he had been so used all his life to hear it called handsome.

The old Fairy, who wished to make him happy, at last hit upon a plan. She shut the Dear Little Princess up in a palace of crystal, and put this palace down where the Prince would not fail to find it. His joy at seeing the Princess again was extreme, and he set to work with all his might to try to break her prison; but in spite of all his efforts he failed utterly. In despair he thought at least that he would try to get near enough to speak to the Dear Little Princess, who, on her part, stretched out her hand that he might kiss it; but turn which way he might, he never could raise it to his lips, for his long nose always prevented it. For the first time he realized how long it really was, and exclaimed:

“Well, it must be admitted that my nose is too long!”

In an instant the crystal prison flew into a thousand splinters, and the old Fairy, taking the Dear Little Princess by the hand, said to the Prince:

“Now, say if you are not very much obliged to me. Much good it was for me to talk to you about your nose! You would never have found out how extraordinary it was if it hadn’t hindered you from doing what you wanted to. You see how self-love keeps us from knowing our own defects of mind and body. Our reason tries in vain to show them to us; we refuse to see them till we find them in the way of our interests.”

Prince Hyacinth, whose nose was now just like anyone’s else, did not fail to profit by the lesson he had received. He married the Dear Little Princess, and they lived happily ever after.(1)

(1) Le Prince Desir et la Princesse Mignonne. Par Madame Leprince de Beaumont.

ORIANNA by Abbie Phillips Walker

girl with bow and mushrooms

Bunny White, one night when the Fairies were holding a revel, peeped out of his window to see the frolic, for Bunny and the Fairies were the best of friends because members of Bunny’s family had for ages drawn the carriage of the Queen.

But tonight Bunny saw a stranger in the midst of the Fairy group, tiny like the others, but very differently dressed, and the Fairies were all listening to what she had to say, rather than making merry, as was their custom.

“Who can she be?” thought Bunny White, and, being a very inquisitive creature, he ran out of his house and over to the carriage of the Fairy Queen to ask her about the little stranger.

“Oh, that is our dear Orianna, the Indian Fairy,” answered the Queen, “and only once in a while does she come to visit us”; and then because Bunny White was so interested the Queen told him all about Orianna.

“You see,” said the Queen, “all children are afraid of Indian dreams, so I had to have a Fairy who would make the Indians kind and loving to the ‘Pale Face,’ as the Indians call the white folk.

“Orianna lives near the Indians in a forest, and when you see a tall tree with an opening at the bottom like the door of a wigwam you may be sure that it is one of Orianna’s homes.

“Did you notice her pretty costume?”

Bunny White told the Queen he had not had a very close view of Orianna, so the Queen told him to run over to the Fairies and see the pretty dress she wore.

Orianna wore the dress of an Indian girl, tiny moccasins on her little feet and two tiny black braids, one over each shoulder, but the thing that attracted Bunny White the most was her wings.

They were not at all like those of the other Fairies. Orianna’s wings were feathers of an eagle.

Her wand, too, was different, for instead of a wand she carried a tiny silver bow and arrow, the tip of the arrow being of gold.

Bunny ran back to the Queen and told her he thought Orianna the very prettiest of all the Fairies. “But what is it that shines so on the tip of the arrow?” she asked.

“Oh, that is the love she shoots straight into the hearts of all the Indians,” replied the Queen.

“Orianna flies up through her tree house to the tallest branch and shoots her love-tipped arrow straight into the heart of all Indians, and so you see the children need never be afraid any more of dreaming of Indians, for all Indians are good and Orianna is always on the lookout from the top of one of her homes, and that is the reason she so seldom comes to visit us.”

Just then Orianna came to bid the Queen good night, and Bunny White ran off to his home, but the next morning he was up bright and early to look for the wigwam trees.

But not one did he find, for the Fairies are very clever, and who ever did find the places where they live; but for all that we know, there are Fairies, and now that Orianna is taking care of the Indians no little boy or girl need ever be afraid of Indian dreams, because the Fairy Queen has given them a Fairy.

THE FROGS AND THE FAIRIES by Abbie Phillips Walker

frogs and fairyes race illustration

In a pond in a dell lived a big family of frogs, and one day when the sun was shining all the young bullfrogs came up out of the water and hopped on the bank. “I think it would be good fun to see what is in the dell beside this pond,” said Billy Bull, who was a young and inquisitive frog.

“What do you fellows say to a lark to-night by the light of the moon?”

“We’ll go, we’ll go, Billy Bull,” said all the other young frogs in chorus.

“Better stay home, better stay home,” croaked old Grandfather Bullfrog from his seat on a stump by the edge of the pond.

“Oh, hear old grandfather croaking!” said Billy Bull; “he never went out of this pond in all his days, and what does he know of the dell?”

“Better stay home, better stay home,” croaked Grandfather Frog.

“You can, Grandfather Frog, if you like, but we young frogs are going for a lark tonight, and when we come back we will tell you what is in the dell,” said Billy Bull.

That night when the moon was up and shining through the trees, out of the pond leaped all the young froggies.

“Better stay home, better stay home,” croaked Grandfather Frog from his seat on the stump, but the young froggies only laughed as grandfather’s warning followed them through the dell—”Better stay home, better stay home.”

It happened that the Fairies were holding a party that night, and when Billy Bull and all the other young frogs hopped and leaped into the middle of the dell they saw the bright lights of the fireflies’ lanterns.

“Looks to me like all the fireflies in the world had gathered for us to feast on,” said Billy Bull. “What luck for us.”

Away off they could still hear Grandfather Frog croaking his warning: “Better stay home, better stay home.” But it was no warning to the young froggies; they only saw the fireflies and the feast in store for them.

The froggies had never seen the Fairies before and they thought they, too, were little insects, so, without stopping to think or look closer into the midst of the Fairy revel, in leaped Billy Bull and all his cousins.

But the Fairies were as quick as the frogs, and no sooner had they leaped than up went all the fairy wands, and there stood each frog still and stiff. They were not able to move; they could only stare and listen.

“What are these creatures that dare to disturb us?” asked the Queen.

“Your Majesty, they are frogs,” said a fire-fly, “and I expect they intended to eat us.”

“Eat the lantern bearers of the fairies!” said the Queen. “They shall suffer for this.”

“Off with a toe on each front foot, and then perhaps these frogs will stay at home and not hop about at night. Where do they live?” asked the Queen.

“In the pond at the end of the dell,” said the fireflies.

“Send them home,” said the Queen, “and every time they wander far from their pond they shall lose a toe.”

Down on the foot of the froggies went the fairy wands, and where the frogs had five toes there remained only four on each of their front feet, and then with their wands on the heads of the froggies the fairies turned them around and drove them back to their pond.

“Better stayed home, better stayed home,” croaked their Grandfather Frog as the young froggies leaped sadly into the pond and buried themselves in the mud at the bottom.

And that was the way it is said frogs came to have five toes on each of their hind feet and only four toes on each front foot. If they had listened to their grandfather’s warning they would still have their other toes.

REVENGE OF THE GNOMES by Abbie Phillips Walker

gnome and rabbit sitting at table

The Fairies decided to give a party one night, and invited the Goblins, but they did not ask the Gnomes, because they did not think of them.

The Gnomes live so deep in the earth that the Fairies seldom meet them, and so they really forgot and did not in the least intend to slight them. But the Gnomes heard the Goblins talking about the party one night and they were very angry because they were not asked also.

The woods were very beautiful, and some of the trees were wearing their red and yellow leaves, for it was late in the summer. When the moon came out the green and red and yellow made a pretty picture, and the Fairies were delighted with the setting for their party.

The Fairy Queen had a new carriage made from a petal of a white lily and drawn by two butterflies. The Fairies all had new dresses of pink rose petals and they had the fireflies in all the bushes and trees where they looked like so many tiny electric lights.

Their table was spread on a big rock; the rabbits were to wait on the table because their coats were white, and squirrels were to do the cooking in a little hollow. The table cloth was spun by a spider and was so beautiful that the Queen, when she saw it, thought it was a shame to cover it with dishes, so she had the rabbits put the food on a rock behind a tree and leave the beautiful cloth so the Goblins could see it.

But when the Goblins arrived they looked at the table with dismay. “Are not they going to have anything to eat?” they asked one another, seating themselves at the table and looking with anxious eye.

Not a word did they say to the Queen about the beautiful cloth, and she found that it was quite wasted on the greedy little Goblins.

There were so many Goblins that the Fairies were obliged to spread a table on the ground for themselves, and when the rabbits appeared with the food the Goblins jumped up and helped themselves before the rabbits could serve them.

At last the Queen, seeing that it was of no use to have waiters for the Goblins, told the rabbits to put the ice cream and cake and lemonade and all the nice things on the table and let the Goblins help themselves.

The bad Goblins spoiled the beautiful cloth the spider had taken so much trouble to weave; they spilled the lemonade and they crumbled the cake and the poor Queen was in despair.

The Goblins, not getting the food quick enough to suit them, had climbed on the table, which, you remember, was spread on a rock. Now, this rock did not have any moss on it, and it happened that it was one of the doors to the home of the Gnomes.

The Gnomes are little brown men and they hide under the leaves and sticks that are so near the color of themselves that they cannot be seen, so they had been watching all that went on at the party, and, when they saw the Goblins on top of one of their rocks, part of their number hurried into the earth and opened the stone where the Goblins were.

Some of the Goblins were quick enough to escape, but most of them went into the ground, and all the cake and candy and ice cream with them.

The Queen and her Fairies jumped up and looked around. Everything was changed and the Fairies shivered as they looked.

The trees were brown and the bushes and the leaves were falling from the trees, making the ground look as though it had a brown carpet over it.

The air was frosty and the poor little Fairies looked about in amazement at the dreary scene before them. The Goblins that escaped were running around and calling on the Queen to help them rescue their brothers.

“It is all your fault,” they told her. “If you had asked the Gnomes to your party this would not have happened. Now you must help us to get our brothers out of the power of those bad Gnomes.

“What shall I do?” asked the poor Queen. She felt that her party had been a failure and thought if she had asked the Gnomes it could not have been worse.

Just then a Goblin came running toward them. He had been sent by the Gnomes. They told him to say that his brothers would all be held prisoners until the Fairies sent them all the ice cream they wanted.

The Fairies and the Goblins hurried to the kitchen in the hollow, but it was empty. The squirrels and the rabbits had hurried off when they felt the frosty air and saw everything turning brown.

“What is to be done?” asked the Goblins, “You ought to help us,” they told the Queen again. “If we had not come to your party we should not have gotten into trouble.”

The Queen could not resist replying to this remark the second time. “If your brothers and you had not climbed on the table, but kept your seats, as well-behaved Goblins should, you would not have been in need of help.

“We must go to work,” she said to her Fairies. “Fold your wings and pin up your skirts. We must make ice cream for those wicked Gnomes.”

They worked all night, and just before it was light the Goblins carried ice cream in nut shells to the rocks of the Gnomes, and by and by the captured Goblins came out and joined their comrades.

“We lost our supper,” said the Goblins to the Fairies, “and you should give us our breakfast. We are hungry. If it had not been for your party we should not have lost our supper.”

This was more than the poor tired Queen and her Fairies could bear. They took their wands from under their wings and, waving them, they flew toward the Gnomes.

Little sparks darted from the wands, and every time a spark touched a Goblin it left a little red mark, and at the same time it pricked them.

Such tumbling and scampering you never saw as the Goblins tried to get away, and when a Goblin that had a red spot on his face meets a Fairy he hides or runs, for he knows that she will point him out as one of the greedy Goblins who tried to make the Fairies cook their breakfast for them.

THE TELL-TALE GOBLIN by Abbie Phillips Walker

a goblin near tha lake

Once upon a time there was a Little Fairy who loved to wander by the river, and as the Fairy Queen does not like her subjects to go too near the water, the Little Fairy had to steal away. Always when they held a revel this Little Fairy would fly away from the dance and wander down by the river to watch the ripple of the water as it flowed over the pebbles and stones.

One night a Goblin, who always watched the fairies, happened to be sitting under a bush and saw the Little Fairy.

“What is she doing here all alone?” he said to himself. “She has run away from her sisters, and I am quite sure the Queen does not know where she is. I’ll watch her, and if she is up to mischief I’ll tell the Queen. Maybe she will give me a new red coat for telling her.”

Now, this little tell-tale Goblin began to watch, and pretty soon he saw a mist rise from the river; then it looked like foam, all silvery, in the moonlight.

And then suddenly as he watched, the goblin saw a handsome youth rise from the river and hold out his arms to the Little Fairy standing on the bank.

“Ah-ha!” said the Goblin. “She has a lover, has she? Well I’ll tell the Queen and I guess these midnight meetings will be stopped, and I am sure now I shall get a new coat for telling.”

The River Youth called to the Fairy just then, and the Goblin forgot the red coat to watch what happened.

“Come, my love,” called the White Youth, “take the willow path and you will be safe from the water.”

The Little Fairy flew to the willow tree beside the river and tripped lightly along a slender bough which dipped its tip into the water.

When she reached the end the White Youth was there to take her in his arms. He carried her to the middle of the river, where there was a little island, and the watching Goblin saw them sit upon the soft green grass in the moonlight, but he could not hear what they said.

“I’ll run and tell her Queen and let her catch them,” said the Goblin, and, forgetting that his red coat could be plainly seen in the moonlight, he jumped up and ran along the river bank toward the dell.

“Oh, oh!” cried the Little Fairy, with alarm, when she saw the Goblin, “whatever will become of me? There is a Goblin, and I am sure he has seen me and is going to tell the Queen. Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be banished.”

The River Youth, who really was a River God, reached for a horn of white shell which hung from his shoulder by a coral chain, and blew a shrill blast, and the Goblin fell upon his face on the ground.

“Rise!” called the River God, “and tell me where you are going?”

“Oh! Your Majesty,” said the sly little Goblin, “I was about to go to the Fairy Queen and tell her one of her fairies was being carried off, but of course I shall not do so now. I see whom she is with. I thought it was old Neptune himself and he might change her into a mermaid.”

The River God knew the bad little fellow was telling him a wrong story, but something must be done, so he pretended to believe the Goblin, and said: “Well, now you know the Fairy is safe, what can I do for you if you keep our secret?”

“Give me a silver cap,” said the Goblin, quickly.

“Very well. Come here to-morrow night at midnight hour and you shall have the cap if you have not told the Fairy Queen what you have seen,” said the River God.

The Goblin promised and off he ran to his home in the rocks, and the River God took the Fairy back to the willow tree. “Come tomorrow without your wand, my love,” he said; “we must not delay, now that the Goblin has seen us, for he cannot be trusted after he gets the silver cap.”

The next night the Goblin was by the river waiting when the Little Fairy arrived.

“Where is your wand?” he asked, for he saw at once she did not have it.

Before she could reply there was splash in the middle of the river and out of the mist and foam the River God lifted his head and called to the Fairy. At the same time he held up a little silver cap to the Goblin.

The Little Fairy went to her lover by the same path as before, but she took from his hand the little silver cap and tossed it to the Goblin before she flew into her lover’s outstretched arms.

“Now tell him where your wand is,” said the River God.

“I have left it behind me in the dell,” she said, blushing and hanging her head.

“What! are you not going back to the Queen?” asked the Goblin, in astonishment. “Are you to become a river sprite?”

“You have guessed it,” said the River God. “This night we are to be married at the bottom of the river. Farewell, you little tell-tale Goblin. I hope your silver cap fits your peaked little head.”

The Goblin watched the Fairy and her lover as they slowly sank from sight, and then he ran off as fast as he could to the dell to tell the Queen what he had seen. “I’ll get a red coat, too,” he said. “I did not promise not to tell to-night.”

The tell-tale Goblin was so bent on telling the Queen what he knew that he quite forgot his new silver cap until he reached the dell where the fairies were dancing; then throwing away his old cap, he clapped the silver cap on his head so hard he cried out with pain.

For a second he saw stars, and the cold silver felt very different from his soft, warm peaked cap which he had tossed aside.

The little fairies, seeing the Goblin hopping about in the moonlight, called to the Queen: “Oh, look, dear Queen. Drive away the Goblin; he acts quite mad and may mean mischief.”

The Queen, knowing that Goblins, when they were quite sane, were not friendly to her fairies, held up her wand and cast a ray of light straight into the Goblin’s eye. “Leave our dell,” she said, “or something will happen to you that you will not like.”

“Oh, wait, wait and hear what I have to tell!” called the Goblin. “I know a secret you must hear.”

“Oh, don’t listen to him, dear Queen!” said all the little fairies. “It is wrong to tell secrets. Go away, we will not listen.”

But the Goblin would not go; he wanted to win a red coat, and he was sure the Queen would give it to him for the secret he could tell.

“If you will give me a new red coat I will tell you something about one of your fairies you would like to know,” said the Goblin.

“Oh, what a funny head he has!” said a fairy as the Goblin lifted off the silver cap, because it was so uncomfortable.

All the fairies began to laugh, and on his head he clapped the cap again to hide his queer peaked head, and again the cap made him see stars until he jumped with pain.

“Oh, he is quite mad, you may be sure!” said the Queen.

“I am not mad. Listen and I will tell you the secret, and you will know then I am very clever to have discovered it,” said the Goblin. “But first I must know if you will give me the red coat. I shall not tell you if you do not.”

The tell-tale Goblin did not think for a minute the Queen of the fairies would refuse to pay to hear a secret, and when the Queen told him he was a bad, mad fellow and to be off, he was quite surprised.

“You will be sorry,” he said as he hopped away, and then he thought he would tell it, anyway, for what was the use of knowing a secret if you did not surprise others by showing how much you know.

Back he ran, but the fairies and their Queen put their fingers in their ears and ran away, so they could not hear. The telltale Goblin, however, was bound to tell, and he ran until he was near enough to shout: “She has married a River God and she left her wand in the dell; they gave me this silver cap not to tell.”

When the Queen and the fairies heard this they stopped and the Goblin thought they wished to hear more, so he went to them and said he would help them hunt for the wand, if they would come to the dell.

The Queen put her finger on her lips to warn the fairies not to speak, and back they went to the dell, following the Goblin, who was hopping and jumping along before them.

“Here it is,” he said, stooping to pick up a little gold wand.

“Hold!” cried the Queen; “do not touch it. I will pick it up, and now that you have told us the secret you shall have your reward.”

The Goblin hopped with delight, for he was sure the Queen would touch him with the wand and he would have a new red coat at once.

“You shall wear the silver cap the rest of your life,” she said, and before the Goblin could jump away the Queen tapped him on the head, and in place of the tell-tale Goblin there stood a silver thistle, all prickly and shining among the leaves and bushes.

“Your sister has left us, and we must forget her,” said the Queen as the fairies followed her home. “Let her be forgotten by you all; her wand shall be saved for a more worthy sister.”

The Little Fairy never regretted marrying her River God, for she lived happy ever after, and sometimes when they come up from the river bottom to sit in the moonlight she will say to the River God: “What do you suppose became of the Goblin? Do you think he ever told the Queen?”

“Of course he did,” replied the River God. “He ran as fast as he could to the Queen, but the silver cap was so uncomfortable for him to wear that I am sure he has discarded it long before this. So he gained nothing for playing the spy.”

“Perhaps his conscience pricked him and he is sorry,” said the Little Fairy.

The Little Fairy was right. The Goblin was sorry when it was too late, and the silver thistle swayed in the breeze. It tried to tell the breeze it was sorry for telling tales, but even the breeze did not wish to listen to a prickly thistle, so there it had to bloom unloved and alone the rest of its life.