|The Fairy Book|
|by Dinah Maria Mulock|
|One of the earliest collections of fairy tales from different countries, first published in 1863. Carefully selected and rendered anew in language close to the oral tradition. Includes old English tales, such as Jack the Giant-killer and Tom Thumb, as well as German stories from Grimm, and French tales of Perrault and Madame d'Aulnoy, and many other delightful and time-honored fairy tales. Numerous black and white illustrations by Louis Rhead complement the text. Ages 6-9 |
THE HIND OF THE FOREST
BEAUTIFUL queen, whose subjects adored her, and whose
husband thought her the best woman in the world, had
but one sorrow, which was equally a sorrow both to the
king and the country—she brought him no heir to the
throne. She, at last, grew so melancholy, that she was
ordered for her health to drink the medicinal waters that
were found in a celebrated wood; and one day, sitting
beside one of these fountains, which fell into a marble and
porphyry basin, she sent all her ladies away, that she
might the better weep and lament unobserved.
"How unhappy am I," said she; "five years I have
been married, and am still childless, while the poorest
women in the land have children by the dozen. Am I to
die without ever giving the king an heir?"
While she spoke, she noticed that the water of the
fountain was slightly disturbed, and there issued thence a
large cray-fish, who thus addressed her, "Great queen, you
shall have what you desire; but first you must go to the
fairy-palace which is near here, though so surrounded by
mists and clouds as to be invisible to mortal eyes, unless
you will be conducted there by a poor cray-fish."
 Though very much surprised, the queen answered
courteously that she had no objection, except that the
animal's method of walking would not well suit her own.
The shell-fish smiled—if a shell-fish can smile—and
immediately took the shape of a pretty little old woman.
"Madam," said she, "we now need not walk crab-fashion.
Consider me as your friend, for, indeed, I am desirous of
So saying, she jumped out of the fountain, her clothes
not being the least wet, though they were made of white
and crimson velvet, nor her grey hair damp: it was tied
with green ribbons, and appeared all in order and smooth
as silk. She saluted the queen, and then conducted her
by a road which, strange to say, well as she knew every
portion of the wood, her majesty had never before seen,
to a palace of which the walls, roofs, and balconies were
built entirely of diamonds.
"Is all this a dream?" cried the delighted queen.
But no, it was a reality, for the gates straightway
opened, and six beautiful fairies appeared, who, making
her a profound reverence, presented her with six flowers
composed of jewels: a rose, a tulip, an anemone, a jasmine,
a carnation, and a heartsease.
"Madam," said they, "we could not give you a greater
mark of our favour than in permitting you to come here.
We are delighted to tell you that by and by you will have
a little daughter,
 whom you must name Désirée—the
Desired. As soon as she is born, call us, and we will
endow her with all sorts of good qualities. You have only
to take this bouquet, and name each separate flower, thinking
of us, when immediately we shall be present in your
The queen, transported with joy, embraced all the
fairies, spent the day with them, and returned, laden with
presents, to the fountain side; where the little old woman
jumped into the water, became a cray-fish again, and
In due time the Princess Désirée was born, and the
queen did as she was told in naming the flowers. Soon,
all the six fairies appeared, in different chariots; of ebony,
drawn by white pigeons—of ivory, drawn by black crows,
and so on, in great variety. They entered the royal
chamber with an air at once cheerful and majestic, embraced
the queen and the little princess, and spread out all their
presents. These were, linen, so fine that none but fairy
hands could have spun it; lace and embroidery without
end; and a cradle, the wonder of the world. It was made
of wood more precious than gold, and at each corner stood
four animated images, little cupids, who, as soon as the
baby cried, began to rock it of their own accord. Then
the six fairies kissed and dandled the princess, bestowing
on her for her portion beauty, good temper, good health,
talents, long life, and the faculty of doing thoroughly well
everything she tried to do. The queen, overcome with
gratitude, was thanking them with all her heart for their
kindness to her
 little daughter, when she saw enter her
chamber a cray-fish, so large that it could hardly pass
through the door.
"Ungrateful queen," said the crab, "have you
forgotten the fairy of the fountain? You sent for these
my sisters, and not for me, who am the one to whom
you owed most of all."
The queen made a hundred apologies, and the six
fairies tried vainly to pacify the other one; but she was
determined, as she said, to punish ingratitude. "However,"
added she, "I will give no worse gift to the
princess than to warn you, that if you let her see daylight
before she is fifteen years old, you will repent it." So
saying, she retired backwards, crab-fashion, resisting all
entreaties to resume her proper form and join in the
The afflicted mother took council with the six fairies
how she was to save her baby from this impending evil,
and after many conflicting opinions they advised her to
build a tower without doors or windows, and with a
subterranean entrance, which the princess might inhabit
till she had passed the fatal age. Everything is easy to
fairies; so three strokes of their wands, making eighteen
strokes in all, began and finished the edifice. It was
built of green and white marble, ornamented inside with
diamonds and emeralds, and hung with tapestry—all
fairy work—on which was pictured the lives of heroes.
Though there was only lamp-light allowed, yet the lamps
were so numerous, that they made the tower seem as
bright as day. Whether the princess
 was ever permitted
any fresh air, or taken out for a walk by starlight or
moonlight, the history does not say; but it does say one
thing, that she grew up very happy, very lovely, and very
The six fairies came frequently to see her, and were
most kind and affectionate to her; but the one she loved
best among them all was Tulip. By this fairy's advice,
the nearer she approached the age of fifteen, the more
carefully was Désirée shut up from daylight. But her
mother, who was very proud of her beauty, caused her
portrait to be painted, and sent among all the neighbouring
courts, in order that some prince might seek her in
marriage. There was one prince who was so captivated
by this likeness, that he shut himself up with it, and
talked to it, as if it had been alive, making love to it in
the most passionate manner, and then falling into a hopeless
When his father tried to discover the cause of this—"Sir,"
said Prince Warrior (he went by that name,
because, young as he was, he had already gained three
battles), "my grief is that you wish me to marry the
Black Princess, while I will only marry the Princess
Désirée. I have seen her portrait, and without her I
shall surely die. Behold her!"
The king looked at the portrait. "Well, my son,
I cannot wish for a more charming daughter-in-law; we
will retract our offers for the Black Princess, and send an
ambassador to propose for the Princess Désirée."
 The prince, kissing his father's hand, overwhelmed
him with his gratitude and joy. A courtier, Becafico by
name, young and gallant, was despatched with eighty
equipages, a hundred mounted squires, and the portrait
of the Prince Warrior, to ask the Princess Désirée in
marriage. The report of his splendours travelled before
him, till it reached the ears of the king and queen, and
of the six fairies, who were all equally delighted.
"But," said the Fairy Tulip, who was the sagest of
them, "beware, queen, of allowing Becafico to see our
child," as they tenderly called Désirée,
"and do not upon
any account suffer her to leave her tower for the kingdom
of Prince Warrior until her fifteenth birthday is past."
The ambassador arrived; his magnificent train took
twenty-three days in going through the gates of the city.
He made his harangue to the king and queen, and much
state ceremonial passed between them; then he begged
for the honour of an audience with the princess, and was
very much astonished to find it denied him—still more
so, when the king candidly told him the whole story.
The queen had strictly enjoined the ladies of honour
not to tell her daughter one word of the ambassador's
visit, or her intended marriage; yet somehow the princess
already knew it quite well. But she was wise enough to
say nothing about it; and when her mother showed her
the prince's portrait, and asked her if she should like
such a gallant young man for her husband, she replied
 humbly that she should be quite satisfied with any choice
her parents made for her. So her hand was promised,
but as she still wanted three months of fifteen, the prince
was requested to wait thus long.
He took this delay so much to heart, that he could
neither eat nor sleep; meantime Désirée was little
better—she did nothing but look at the prince's portrait, and
was exceedingly irritable with Longthorn and Gilliflower,
her two maids of honour. The other lady—the Black
Princess—was in equally sore plight, for she, too, had
fallen in love with the prince's portrait, and his rejection
of her hand offended her much.
"What," said she to the ambassador, "your master
does not find me handsome enough, or rich enough?"
"Madam," said the ambassador, "as much as a
subject dare blame a sovereign, I blame my prince; had
I the first throne in the world, I should know to whom
to offer it."
He said this, because he feared the bastinado, for
Ethiopians are warm haters as well as warm lovers.
The Black Princess was softened, and dismissed him, on
which he gladly took himself out of the country.
But the Ethiopian lady was too deeply offended with
Prince Warrior to pardon him so readily. She mounted
her ivory car, drawn by six ostriches which ran at the
rate of six leagues an hour, and went to the palace of her
godmother, the Fairy of the Fountain, who had been so
offended by being forgotten at the birth of Désirée.
 there, she unfolded all her annoyances. The
fairy consoled her, and promised to aid her in her
Meantime Becafico had travelled with all diligence
to the capital of Désirée's father, where with earnest
entreaties he begged that the princess might be sent back
with him to her betrothed spouse, who otherwise would
certainly die; at which tidings the princess herself was
so much moved that she fainted away. Thus her parents
discovered how deeply in love she was with Prince Warrior.
"Do not disquiet yourself, my dear child," said the
queen; "if the prince suffers, it is you who can console
him. My only fear is on account of the menaces of the
Fairy of the Fountain."
But Désirée was so eager to start, that she suggested
being sent away in a closed carriage, where the light of
day should never penetrate, and which should only be
opened at night-time to give her food. She was willing
to suffer any inconvenience for the sake of saving the life
of Prince Warrior.
The parents assented. So there was built a magnificent
equipage of green velvet outside, and lined with rose
colour and silver brocade. It was very large, but it shut
up as tight as a box, and it had a huge lock, the key of
which was entrusted to one of the highest noblemen of
the court. In this carriage Désirée was placed, after
most affecting adieus, by her father and mother; and
with her were sent her maids of honour, Longthorn and
Gilliflower, and a lady-in-waiting,
 who was the mother
of both. Now, Longthorn cared little for the princess,
but she cared very much for Prince Warrior, whose
portrait she had seen; and when the bridal train departed,
she said to her mother that she should certainly die if
this marriage were accomplished; so the mother, notwithstanding
the confidence placed in her by the queen, that
she should watch over the princess, and carefully seclude
her from daylight until she had reached the age of fifteen,
yielded to her own child's persuasions, and determined to
betray her trust.
Longthorn, who learned each evening from the
officers of the household, when they came to bring the
princess her supper, how far they were on their journey,
at last persuaded her mother, who put off the cruel act
as long as she could, that it would never do to wait any
longer. They were nearly at the capital, and the young
prince might, in his impatience, come to meet them, and
the opportunity be lost. So next day, at noon, when the
sun was at the hottest, the lady-in-waiting took out a knife,
which she had brought with her for the purpose, cut a
large hole in the side of the carriage where they were all
shut up together, and the princess, for the first time
in her life, beheld daylight. She uttered a deep sigh,
and immediately leaped out of the carriage in the form
of a white hind, which fled away like lightning, and
hid itself in the thickest recesses of a neighbouring
None of the train perceived her, or if they had, they
would not have known it was she;
be-  sides, the Fairy of
the Fountain immediately sent such a storm of thunder
and lightning that the whole cavalcade took shelter in
the nearest place they could find. The only persons
who knew what had happened were Longthorn, her
mother, and Gilliflower; but Gilliflower, overwhelmed
with grief, had sprung out of the carriage after her beloved
mistress; so the two others were left alone. Longthorn
immediately put on the garments of Désirée, and adorned
herself with her royal mantle, her crown of diamonds, her
sceptre of a single ruby, and the globe which she carried
in her left hand, composed of one enormous pearl. Thus
attired, with her mother bearing her train, the false
Désirée marched into the city—they two alone; for, by
the fairy's contrivance, the rest of the attendants had
been scattered in all directions. Longthorn doubted not
the prince would be already advancing to meet his bride,
which was indeed the case; though he was so weak that
he had to be conveyed in a litter, surrounded by courtiers
and knights, who all wore splendid armour and green
plumes, green being the favourite colour of the princess.
Seeing the two ladies, so richly dressed, coming forward
on foot and unattended, they dismounted, and respectfully
"May I inquire," said Longthorn, "who is in that
"Madam," replied a knight, "it is the Prince Warrior,
who comes to meet his betrothed, the Princess Désirée."
"Tell him," said Longthorn, "that I am she.
 A fairy, jealous of my happiness, has driven away all my
attendants, but that I am Désirée is proved by these my
royal ornaments, and the letters of my father, borne by
my lady-of-honour here."
Immediately the courtiers kissed the hem of her robe,
and made all diligence to announce to the prince, and the
king his father, who accompanied him, that the Princess
Désirée had arrived.
"What!" cried the king; "arrived here in full
daylight?" But the prince, burning with impatience,
asked no questions, except about the lady herself—"Is she
not a miracle of beauty—according to her portrait?"
There was no reply. "You are afraid to speak, gentlemen,
lest you should praise her too much."
But the courtiers were still silent. "Sir," at last said
one of the boldest of them, "you had better go and see
the princess yourself."
The prince, much surprised, would have thrown himself
out of his litter; but he was too feeble, and his father
went instead. When the king beheld the false princess,
he involuntarily drew back; but the lady-of-honour
advancing boldly, said:
"Sire, this is the Princess Désirée—I
from the king and queen her parents, and also a casket
of priceless jewels, which they charged me to place in
The king kept a mournful silence, and regarded his
son, who now approached, leaning on one of the courtiers.
When he looked at the girl, he recoiled with disgust; for
she was so gaunt and tall that the clothes of Désirée
cov-  ered her knees, and her extreme thinness, her
red, hooked nose, her black and ill-shaped teeth, made
her as ugly as Désirée was beautiful. Prince Warrior,
who for months had thought of nothing but his lovely
bride, stood petrified. "King," said he to his father,
"I am betrayed! this is not the lady whose portrait
was sent me, and to whom I have plighted my faith;
I have been deceived, and the deception will cost me
"What do I hear?" replied Longthorn haughtily.
"Prince, who has deceived you? you will be no victim in
"Ah! my beautiful princess," exclaimed the lady-of-honour,
"it is we who are victims. What a reception
for one of your rank! what inconstancy—what falsehood!
But the king your father shall make them hear reason."
"We will make him hear reason!" cried the other
king indignantly. "He promised us a beautiful princess,
and he has sent us a skeleton, a fright. I do not wonder
he has kept it shut up for fifteen years, and now he
wishes to foist it upon us."
And without taking any more notice of Longthorn,
he and his son remounted each into his litter, and
Prince Warrior was so overcome by this unexpected
affliction, that for a long time he did not speak a word.
Then he resolved, as soon as his health allowed, to depart
secretly from the capital, and seek some solitary place
where he might pass the remainder of his sad life.
He communicated this design to no one but the
faith-  ful Becafico, who insisted upon following his fortunes
wherever he went. So, one day, the prince left a letter for
his father, assuring him, that as soon as his mind was
tranquillized he would return to the court, but imploring
that in the meantime no search might be made after him;
then he and Becafico departed together.
Meanwhile, the poor white hind fled into the wood.
She wandered about till she came to a fountain, where, as
in a mirror, she saw her own changed shape, and wept,
convulsed with grief. Then hunger began to attack her—she
bent her head, and browsed upon the green grass,
which she was surprised to find tasted very good. She
laid herself down on a bank of moss, but passed the night
in extreme terror, hearing the wild beasts roaring around
her, and often forgetting that she was a hind, trying
to save herself by climbing a tree like a human being.
Daybreak reassured her a little; she admired for the
first time the wonderful beauty of dawn; and when the
sun rose, it appeared to her such a marvellous sight that
she could not take her eyes from it. She was strangely
comforted, spite of all her misfortune, by the charm that
she found out, every minute more and more, in the new
world which now for the first time she beheld in daylight.
The Fairy Tulip, who loved Désirée, was very sorry
for her, although somewhat offended that the queen had
not taken her advice, and detained the princess safe in her
tower till she was fifteen; however, she would not leave
her a prey to the malice of the Fairy of the Fountain, so
 invisibly to conduct the faithful Gilliflower to
the place where the poor forlorn hind reposed. As soon
as Désirée saw her, she leaped the stream, and came towards
her former companion, lavishing on her a thousand caresses.
At first Gilliflower was very much astonished to be so
taken notice of by a deer of the forest; but looking at it
attentively, she saw two great tears rolling down from the
soft human-like eyes, and some instinct told her that it
was her dear princess. She took the fore-feet of the
hind, and kissed them as respectfully as if they had been
her mistress's hands. She spoke to her, and though the
hind could not reply, yet it was clear she understood, for
the tears flowed faster than ever, and she showed, by as
much intelligence as a dumb beast could possibly evince,
that she responded to the love of the faithful girl. When
Gilliflower promised that she would never quit her, by
a hundred little signs the poor hind tried to express how
happy she was.
They passed the day together, Désirée leading her
companion to a place where she had seen plenty of wild
fruits; so that Gilliflower, who was dying of hunger,
became strengthened and refreshed. But when night
came, the girl's terrors returned.
"Dear hind," said she, "where shall we sleep? If
we stay here the wild beasts will devour us; is there no
little hut where we can hide?"
The poor hind shook her pretty head, and the tears
again began to flow, almost as if she were a human being.
Her tears melted the heart of
 the Fairy Tulip, who had
watched her invisibly all the time, and now made herself
known—appearing suddenly in a shady alley of the wood.
Gilliflower and the white hind threw themselves at her feet—the
latter licking her hands, and caressing her as prettily
as a deer could—the former imploring her to take pity on
the princess, and restore her to her natural shape.
"I cannot do that," said the fairy; "her enemy has
too much power; but I can shorten her term of punishment,
and soften it a little, by granting that during every
night she becomes a woman, though as soon as day breaks
she must again wander about as a hind of the forest."
It was a great comfort to be a woman every night;
and the hind showed her joy by innumerable leaps and
bounds, which delighted the good Tulip.
"Follow this by-path," said she, "and you will find
a hut that will serve you as a quiet home. Farewell."
She disappeared, and Gilliflower, with the hind trotting
after her, went on and on, till she came to a little hut,
before which sat an old woman, making a basket of
"My good woman," said she, "have you a room to
let, for me and my pet here?"
"Yes, truly," replied the old woman; and took them
into a room where were two little beds, hung with white
dimity, with fine white sheets, and everything as neat and
comfortable as possible. As soon as it grew dark, the
princess recovered her own shape, and kissed and embraced
 a thousand times her dear Gilliflower, who, on her part,
was full of delight and thankfulness. Then they had their
supper, and went to sleep in their two little beds.
When morning broke, Gilliflower was awakened by a
scratching, and there she saw the hind, just as much a hind
as before, waiting to be let out. The faithful attendant
opened the door, and the deer sprang out quickly, and
disappeared in the forest.
Now, by an extraordinary chance, it happened that
Prince Warrior, wandering about, indifferent to where he
went, lost himself in this very forest, where he had come
with his companion Becafico. The latter, seeking for
fruits to satisfy their hunger, reached the same cottage-door
where the old woman lived, and being received
kindly, asked her for some food for his master. She put
some bread into a basket, and was going to give it to him,
when her charity made her offer the wanderers shelter for
"It is a poor cottage," said she; "but I have still one
empty room, which will at least save you from being eaten
up by wolves and lions."
So the prince was persuaded; and the old woman,
who appeared ignorant of his rank, admitted him and
Becafico cautiously, so as not to disturb the lady and the
hind, who occupied the next room. Thus the two lovers
were so near, that they might almost have heard one
another speak, yet did not know it.
The prince rarely slept much; his sorrow was still too
great; and when the first rays of the
 sun shone through
his window, he arose, and went out into the forest. There
he wandered a long time without finding any sure track:
at last he came upon a sort of bower, overhung with trees,
and carpeted with moss, out of which started a beautiful
white hind, who immediately fled away.
Now the prince had formerly been a great hunter,
until his passion for the chase was swallowed up by his
love for Désirée; but the old fancy returned when he saw
the white hind. He could not help following her, and
sending after her arrows, not a few, from the bow which
he always carried, causing her almost to die of fear;
although, by the care of the Fairy Tulip, she was not
wounded. All through the day he pursued her; until,
towards twilight, she escaped from him towards the
cottage, where Gilliflower was watching in the utmost
anxiety. The faithful girl received tenderly into her arms
the poor hind, breathless, exhausted; and eagerly awaited
the moment when her mistress should become a woman
again, and tell her what had happened. When darkness
came on, the deer vanished, and it was the Princess Désirée
who lay on Gilliflower's bosom.
"Alas!" cried she, weeping. "I have more to fear
than the Fairy of the Fountain, and the wild beasts of the
forest. I have been pursued all day by a young hunter,
whom I had scarcely seen, before he obliged me to fly;
and sent so many arrows after me that I marvel I was not
killed, or at least wounded."
 "My princess, you must never quit this room again,"
"I must; for the same enchantment which makes me
a hind forces me to do as hinds do. I feel myself every
morning irresistibly compelled to run into the wood, to
leap and bound, and eat grass, and behave myself exactly
like a wild creature of the forest. Oh, how weary I am!"
Her soft eyes closed, and she fell asleep until the
dawn of day, when again she was driven out in the shape
of a poor four-footed creature, to fulfil her sad destiny.
The prince on his part came home also very much
wearied and vexed. "Becafico," he said, "I have spent
the day in chasing the most beautiful hind I ever saw.
She has slipped from me time after time with the most
wondrous adroitness; yet my arrows were so true that I
marvel how she escaped. At dawn to-morrow I must be
after her once more."
So he did not fail to go, at earliest dawn, to her
hiding-place; but the hind took care not to revisit her
favourite haunt. He sought her everywhere, and could
see nothing; then being very tired and hot, he gathered
some luscious apples which he saw hanging upon a tree
over his head. As soon as he ate them he fell fast
Meantime the hind, roaming stealthily about, came to
the place where he lay—came quite suddenly, or else she
would have taken to flight; but now seeing her enemy
sound asleep, she paused a minute to look at him; and in
fea-  tures, wasted with grief, but still so loveable and
beautiful, she recognised the face which had long been
engraven on her heart. The poor hind! she crouched
down at a little distance, and watched him, her eyes beaming
with joy. Then she sighed: at length, become bolder,
she approached nearer, and softly touched him with her
Awaking, what was the prince's surprise to see beside
him, tame and familiar, the pretty creature whom he had
hunted all yesterday; but when he put out his hand to
seize her, she fled away like lightning. He followed with
all the speed he could, and thus, she flying and he pursuing,
they passed the whole day. Towards evening her
strength failed; and when the hunter came up to her it
was a poor half-dying deer that he found lying on the
grass. She thought her death was certain—still, from his
hands, it did not seem so terrible as from any one else;
but instead of killing her he caressed her.
"Beautiful hind," said he, "do not be afraid. I only
wish to take you home with me, and have you with me
always." He cut branches of trees, wove them ingeniously
into a sort of couch, which he strewed with roses and
moss; then took the creature in his arms, laid her gently
down upon them, and sat beside her, feeding her from
time to time with the softest grass he could find. She ate
contentedly from his hand, and he almost fancied she
understood all the sweet things he said to her, and so time
passed till it grew dusk.
 "My pretty hind," said he, "I will go in search of a
stream where you can drink, and then we will take our
way home together." But while he was absent she stole
away, and had only time to reach the cottage when the
transformation happened, and it was not a hind but a
weeping princess who threw herself on the bed beside the
"I have seen him!" she cried. "My Prince Warrior
is himself in this forest: he was the hunter who has
pursued me these two days, and has taken me at last.
But he did not slay me: he saved and caressed me. Ah,
he is gentler and sweeter even than the image in my heart."
Here she began again to weep; but Gilliflower consoled
her, and they went to sleep, wondering much how
this adventure would end.
The prince, returning from the stream, missed his
beautiful white hind, and came back to Becafico full of
grief, mingled with a certain anger at the ingratitude of
the creature to whom he had been so kind. But at break
of day he rose, determined again to pursue her. She,
however, in order to avoid him, took a quite different
route. Still, the forest was not so large but that at last
he saw her, leaping and bounding among the bushes.
Seized by an irresistible impulse, he shot an arrow after
her; it struck her, she felt a violent pain dart through
one of her slender limbs, and fell helpless on the grass.
When the prince came up to her, he was overcome with
remorse for his cruelty. He took a handful of herbs and
bound up her wound, made her a bed
 of branches and
moss, laid her head upon his knees, and wept over her.
"My lovely hind," said he, "why did I wound you
so cruelly? You will hate me, when I wish you to love
me." So he tended and cherished her all day, and,
towards nightfall, he knotted a ribbon round her neck,
with the intention of gently leading her home. But she
struggled with him; and the struggle was so sore that
Gilliflower, coming out in search of her dear mistress,
heard the rustling, and saw her hind in the hunter's
power. She rushed to rescue her, to the prince's great
"Whatever consideration I owe you, madam," said
he, "you must know that you are committing a robbery;
this hind is mine."
"No, sir, she is mine," returned Gilliflower respectfully.
"She knows she is, and will prove it if you will
only give her a little liberty. My pretty pet, come and
embrace me." The hind crept into her arms. "Now
kiss me on my right cheek." She obeyed. "Now touch
my heart." She laid her foot against Gilliflower's bosom.
"I allow she is yours," said the prince discontentedly.
"Take her, and go your ways."
But he followed them at a distance, and was very
much surprised to see them enter the cottage. He asked
the old woman who the damsel was, but she said she
did not know, except that the lady and the hind lived
there together in solitude, and paid her well. But when
Becafico, who had eyes as sharp as needles, coming to
meet his master, by chance caught sight of Gilliflower, he
recognised her at once.
 "Here is some great mystery," said he, "for that is
the lady who was the favourite of the Princess Désirée."
"Do not utter that name, which only recalls my grief,"
said the prince sadly; but Becafico, determined to gratify
his curiosity, made all sorts of inquiries, and discovered
that Gilliflower was lodged in the next room.
"I should like to see her again," thought he; "and
since only a thin partition divides us, I will bore a hole
He did so, and beheld a wonderful sight. There sat
the fairest princess in all the world, attired in a robe of
silver brocade, her hair falling in long curls, and her eyes
sparkling through tears. Gilliflower knelt before her,
binding up her beautiful arm, from which the blood was
"Do not heed it," sighed the princess; "better let
me die, for death itself would be sweeter than the life I
lead. Alas! how hard it is to be a hind all day; to see
my betrothed, to feel his tenderness and goodness, yet be
unable to speak to him, or to tell him the fatal destiny
which divides me from him."
When Becafico heard this, words cannot describe his
astonishment and delight. He ran towards the prince,
who sat moodily at the window. "Sir," cried he, "only
look through this hole, and you will see the original of
the portrait which so fascinated you."
The prince looked, and recognised at once his beloved
princess. He would have died with joy,
 had he not
believed himself deceived by some enchantment. He
knocked at the door, Gilliflower opened it; he entered,
and threw himself at the feet of Désirée. What
followed—of explanations, vows, tears, and embraces—was never
very clearly related, not even by Gilliflower and Becafico,
who were present, but who considerately drew aside, and
spent the time in conversing with one another. So passed
the night; and anxiously they awaited for the dawn, to see
whether the beautiful princess would again become a hind
of the forest. But the day broke, grew clearer, brightened
into sunrise, and the princess, with the prince sitting
beside her, remained a beautiful maiden still. Then came
a knock at the door, and there entered the little old
woman, who had been such a kind hostess for all this
"The period of enchantment is ended, my children,"
said she. "Go home, and be happy." And then they
knew her as no longer the little old woman, but the
Fairy Tulip, who had thus faithfully watched her charge.
So the bride and bridegroom returned to their capital,
where the marriage was solemnized with all splendour,
and, at Désirée's request, Longthorn and her mother, who
had been imprisoned by the old king's order, were set
free, with no further punishment than banishment to
their own country, where they were to remain for life.
As for the faithful Gilliflower, she stayed at court, with
her beloved mistress, and became the wife of the equally
faithful Becafico, who had served
 Prince Warrior as
devotedly as she the Princess Désirée. The two were
laden with wealth and honours, and shared the happiness
of the other two lovers, which was as great as any mortal
could desire. After their death the story of the White
Hind of the Forest was commanded to be written down
in the archives of the State, and thence it has been told
in tradition, or sung in poetry, half over the world.
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