Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
THE INVISIBLE PRINCE
HERE was a king and queen who were dotingly fond
of their only son, notwithstanding that he was equally
deformed in mind and person. The king was quite
sensible of the evil disposition of his son, but the queen,
in her excessive fondness, saw no fault whatever in her
dear Furibon, as he was named. The surest way to win
her favour was to praise Furibon for charms he did not
possess. When he came of age to have a governor, the
king made choice of a prince who had an ancient right to
the crown, but was not able to support it. This prince
had a son, named Leander, handsome, accomplished,
amiable—in every respect the opposite of Prince Furibon.
The two were frequently together, which only made the
deformed prince more repulsive.
One day, certain ambassadors having arrived from a
far country, the princes stood in a gallery to see them;
when, taking Leander for the king's son, they made their
obeisance to him, treating Furibon as a mere dwarf, at
which the latter was so offended that he drew his sword,
and would have done them a mischief had not the king
just then appeared. As it was, the affair produced a
quarrel, which ended in Leander's being sent to a
far-away castle belonging to his father.
 There, however, he was quite happy, for he was a great
lover of hunting, fishing, and walking: he understood
painting, read much, and played upon several instruments;
so that he was glad to be freed from the fantastic humours
of Furibon. One day as he was walking in the garden,
finding the heat increase, he retired into a shady grove, and
began to play upon the flute to amuse himself. As he
played, he felt something wind about his leg, and looking
down saw a great adder: he took his handkerchief, and
catching it by the head, was going to kill it. But the
adder, looking steadfastly in his face, seemed to beg his
pardon. At this instant one of the gardeners happened to
come to the place where Leander was, and spying the
snake, cried out to his master, "Hold him fast, sir; it is
but an hour since we ran after him to kill him: it is the
most mischievous creature in the world."
Leander, casting his eyes a second time upon the snake,
which was speckled with a thousand extraordinary colours,
perceived the poor creature still looked upon him with
an aspect that seemed to implore compassion, and never
tried in the least to defend itself.
"Though thou hast such a mind to kill it," said he to
the gardener, "yet, as it came to me for refuge, I forbid
thee to do it any harm; for I will keep it, and when it has
cast its beautiful skin I will let it go." He then returned
home, and carrying the snake with him, put it into a large
chamber, the key of which he kept himself, and ordered
bran, milk, and flowers to be given
 to it, for its delight
and sustenance; so that never was snake so happy.
Leander went sometimes to see it, and when it perceived
him it made haste to meet him, showing him all the little
marks of love and gratitude of which a poor snake was
capable, which did not a little surprise him, though, however,
he took no further notice of it.
In the meantime all the court ladies were extremely
troubled at his absence, and he was the subject of all their
discourse. "Alas!" cried they, "there is no pleasure
at court since Leander is gone, of whose absence the
wicked Furibon is the cause!" Furibon also had his
parasites, for his power over the queen made him feared;
they told him what the ladies said, which enraged him to
such a degree that in his passion he flew to the queen's
chamber, and vowed he would kill himself before her
face if she did not find means to destroy Leander. The
queen, who also hated Leander, because he was handsomer
than her son, replied that she had long looked upon him
as a traitor, and therefore would willingly consent to his
death. To which purpose she advised Furibon to go
a-hunting with some of his confidants, and contrive it so
that Leander should make one of the party.
"Then," said she, "you may find some way to punish
him for pleasing everybody."
Furibon understood her, and accordingly went
a-hunting; and Leander, when he heard the horns and the
hounds, mounted his horse, and rode to see who it was.
But he was surprised
 to meet the prince so unexpectedly:
he alighted immediately, and saluted him with respect;
and Furibon received him more graciously than usual,
and bade him follow him. All of a sudden he turned
his horse, and rode another way, making a sign to the
ruffians to take the first opportunity to kill him; but
before he had got quite out of sight, a lion of prodigious
size, coming out of his den, leaped upon Furibon: all his
followers fled, and only Leander remained; who, attacking
the animal sword in hand, by his valour and agility
saved the life of his most cruel enemy, who had fallen
in a swoon from fear. When he recovered, Leander
presented him his horse to remount. Now, any other
than such a wretch would have been grateful: but Furibon
did not even look upon him: nay, mounting the horse,
he rode in quest of the ruffians, to whom he repeated his
orders to kill him. They accordingly surrounded Leander,
who, setting his back to a tree, behaved with so much
bravery, that he laid them all dead at his feet. Furibon,
believing him by this time slain, rode eagerly up to the
spot. When Leander saw him, he advanced to meet him.
"Sir," said he, "if it was by your order that these
assassins came to kill me, I am sorry I made any defence."
"You are an insolent villain!" replied Furibon, "and
if ever you come into my presence again, you shall surely
Leander made no answer, but retired sad and pensive
to his own home, where he spent the
 night in pondering
what was best for him to do; for there was no likelihood
he should be able to defend himself against the power of
the king's son; therefore he at length concluded he would
travel abroad and see the world. Being ready to depart,
he recollected his snake, and, calling for some milk and
fruits, carried them to the poor creature for the last time;
but on opening the door he perceived an extraordinary
lustre in one corner of the room, and casting his eye on
the place he was surprised to see a lady, whose noble and
majestic air made him immediately conclude she was a
princess of royal birth. Her habit was of purple satin,
embroidered with pearls and diamonds; and advancing
towards him with a gracious smile—
"Young prince," said she, "you find no longer your
pet snake, but me, the Fairy Gentilla, ready to requite
your generosity. For know, that we fairies live a hundred
years in flourishing youth, without diseases, without
trouble or pain; and this term being expired, we become
snakes for eight days. During that time it is not in our
power to prevent any misfortune that may befall us;
and if we happen to be killed, we never revive again.
But these eight days being expired, we resume our usual
form, and recover our beauty, our power, and our riches.
Now you know how much I am obliged to your goodness,
and it is but just that I should repay my debt of gratitude:
think how I can serve you and depend on me."
The young prince, who had never conversed
 with a
fairy till now, was so surprised that it was a long time
before he could speak. But at length, making a profound
reverence, "Madam," said he, "since I have had the
honour to serve you, I know not any other happiness that
I can wish for."
"I should be sorry," replied she, "not to be of service
to you in something; consider, it is in my power to
bestow on you long life, kingdoms, riches: to give you
mines of diamonds, and houses full of gold; I can make
you an excellent orator, poet, musician, and painter; or,
if you desire it, a spirit of the air, the water, or the earth."
Here Leander interrupted her: "Permit me, madam,"
said he, "to ask you what benefit it would be to me to be
"Much," replied the fairy; "you would be invisible
when you pleased, and might in an instant traverse the
whole earth; you would be able to fly without wings, to
descend into the abyss of the earth without dying, and
walk at the bottom of the sea without being drowned;
nor doors, nor windows, though fast shut and locked,
could hinder you from entering anywhere; and whenever
you had a mind, you might resume your natural form."
"Oh, madam!" cried Leander, "then let me be a
spirit; I am going to travel, and should prefer it above
all those other advantages you have so generously offered
Gentilla thereupon stroking his face three times, "Be a
spirit," said she; and then,
em-  bracing him, she gave him
a little red cap with a plume of feathers. "When you
put on this cap, you shall be invisible; but when you
take it off, you shall again become visible."
Leander, overjoyed, put his little red cap upon his
head, and wished himself in the forest, that he might
gather some wild roses which he had observed there: his
body immediately became as light as thought; he flew
through the window like a bird; though, in flying over
the river, he was not without fear, lest he should fall into
it, and the power of the fairy not be able to save him.
But he arrived in safety at the rose-bushes, plucked three
roses, and returned immediately to his chamber; presented
his roses to the fairy, overjoyed that his first experiment
had succeeded so well. She bade him keep the roses, for
that one of them would supply him with money whenever
he wanted it; that if he put the other into his mistress's
bosom, he would know whether she was faithful or not;
and that the third would keep him always in good health.
Then, without staying to receive his thanks, she wished
him success in his travels and disappeared.
Leander, infinitely pleased, settled his affairs, mounted
the finest horse in the stable, called Gris-de-line, and
attended by some of his servants in livery, made his return
to court. Now you must know Furibon had given out,
that had it not been for his courage Leander would have
murdered him when they were a-hunting; so the king,
being importuned by the queen, gave orders that Leander
should be apprehended. But
 when he came, he showed
so much courage and resolution that Furibon ran to the
queen's chamber, and prayed her to order him to be seized.
The queen, who was extremely diligent in everything that
her son desired, went immediately to the king. Furibon,
being impatient to know what would be resolved, followed
her; but stopped at the door, and laid his ear to the
keyhole, putting his hair aside that he might the better hear
what was said. At the same time, Leander entered the
court-hall of the palace with his red cap upon his head, and
perceiving Furibon listening at the door of the king's
chamber, he took a nail and a hammer, and nailed his
ear to the door. Furibon began to roar, so that the queen,
hearing her son's voice, ran and opened the door, and,
pulling it hastily, tore her son's ear from his head. Half out
of her wits, she set him in her lap, took up his ear, kissed
it, and clapped it again upon its place; but the invisible
Leander, seizing upon a handful of twigs, with which
they corrected the king's little dogs, gave the queen
several lashes upon her hands, and her son as many on
the nose: upon which the queen cried out, "Murder!
murder!" and the king looked about, and the people
came running in; but nothing was to be seen. Some
cried that the queen was mad, and that her madness
proceeded from her grief to see that her son had
lost one ear; and the king was as ready as any to believe it,
so that when she came near him he avoided her,
which made a very ridiculous scene. Leander, then leaving the
chamber, went into the garden,
 and there, assuming his
own shape, he boldly began to pluck the queen's cherries,
apricots, strawberries, and flowers, though he knew she
set such a high value on them, that it was as much as a
man's life was worth to touch one. The gardeners, all
amazed, came and told their majesties that Prince Leander
was making havoc of all the fruits and flowers in the
"What insolence!" said the queen: then turning to
Furibon, "My pretty child, forget the pain of thy ear but
for a moment, and fetch that vile wretch hither; take our
guards, both horse and foot, seize him, and punish him as
Furibon, encouraged by his mother, and attended by a
great number of armed soldiers, entered the garden, and
saw Leander; who, taking refuge under a tree, pelted
them all with oranges. But when they came running towards
him, thinking to have seized him, he was not to be
seen; he had slipped behind Furibon, who was in a bad
condition already. But Leander played him one trick
more; for he pushed him down upon the gravel-walk,
and frightened him so that the soldiers had to take him
up, carry him away, and put him to bed.
Satisfied with this revenge, he returned to his servants,
who waited for him, and giving them money, sent them
back to his castle, that none might know the secret of his
red cap and roses. As yet he had not determined whither
to go; however, he mounted his fine horse Gris-de-line,
and, laying the reins upon his neck, let him take his own
road: at length he arrived in a forest,
 where he stopped
to shelter himself from the heat. He had not been above
a minute there before he heard a lamentable noise of sighing
and sobbing; and looking about him, beheld a man,
who ran, stopped, then ran again, sometimes crying, sometimes
silent, then tearing his hair, then thumping his
breast like some unfortunate madman. Yet he seemed to
be both handsome and young: his garments had been
magnificent, but he had torn them all to tatters. The
prince, moved with compassion, made towards him, and
mildly accosted him: "Sir," said he, "your condition
appears so deplorable, that I must ask the cause of your
sorrow, assuring you of every assistance in my power."
"Oh, sir," answered the young man, "nothing can
cure my grief; this day my dear mistress is to be sacrificed
to a rich old ruffian of a husband who will make her
"Does she love you then?" asked Leander.
"I flatter myself so," answered the young man.
"Where is she?" continued Leander.
"In a castle at the end of this forest," replied the lover.
"Very well," said Leander; "stay you here till I come
again, and in a little while I will bring you good news."
He then put on his little red cap, and wished himself
in the castle. He had hardly got thither before he heard
all sorts of music; he entered into a great room, where the
friends and kindred of the old man and the young lady were
assem-  bled. No one could look more amiable than she;
but the paleness of her complexion, the melancholy that
appeared in her countenance, and the tears that now and
then dropped, as it were by stealth, from her eyes, betrayed
the trouble of her mind.
Leander now became invisible, and placed himself in
a corner of the room. He soon perceived the father and
mother of the bride; and coming behind the mother's
chair, whispered in her ear, "If you marry your daughter
to that old dotard, before eight days are over you shall
certainly die." The woman, frightened to hear such a
terrible sentence pronounced upon her, and yet not know
from whence it came, gave a loud shriek, and dropped
upon the floor. Her husband asked what ailed her: she
cried that she was a dead woman if the marriage of her
daughter went forward, and therefore she would not
consent to it for all the world. Her husband laughed at
her, and called her a fool. But the invisible Leander,
accosting the man, threatened him in the same way, which
frightened him so terribly, that he also insisted on the
marriage being broken off. When the lover complained,
Leander trod hard upon his gouty toes, and rang such an
alarum in his ears, that, not being able any longer to hear
himself speak, away he limped, glad enough to go. The
real lover soon appeared, and he and his fair mistress fell
joyfully into one another's arms, the parents consenting to
their union. Leander, assuming his own shape, appeared
at the hall-door, as if he were a
 stranger drawn thither by
the report of this extraordinary wedding.
From hence he travelled on, and came to a great city,
where, upon his arrival, he understood there was a great
and solemn procession, in order to shut up a young woman,
against her will, among the vestal nuns. The prince was
touched with compassion; and thinking the best use he
could make of his cap was to redress public wrongs and
relieve the oppressed, he flew to the temple, where he saw
the young woman, crowned with flowers, clad in white,
and with her dishevelled hair flowing about her shoulders.
Two of her brothers led her by each hand, and her mother
followed her with a great crowd of men and women.
Leander, being invisible, cried out, "Stop, stop, wicked
brethren: stop, rash and inconsiderate mother; if you
proceed any further, you shall be squeezed to death like
so many frogs." They looked about, but could not
conceive from whence these terrible menaces came. The
brothers said it was only their sister's lover, who had hid
himself in some hole; at which Leander, in wrath, took a
long cudgel, and they had no reason to say the blows were
not well laid on. The multitude fled, the vestals ran
away, and Leander was left alone with the victim;
immediately he pulled off his red cap, and asked her
wherein he might serve her. She answered him, that
there was a certain gentleman whom she would be glad to
marry, but that he wanted an estate. Leander then shook
his rose so long, that he supplied them with ten millions;
 after which they married, and lived happily together.
But his last adventure was the most agreeable. Entering
into a wide forest, he heard lamentable cries.
Looking about him every way, at length he spied four
men well armed, who were carrying away by force a
young lady, thirteen or fourteen years of age; upon
which, making up to them as fast as he could, "What
harm has that girl done?" said he.
"Ha, ha! my little master," cried he who seemed to
be the ringleader of the rest, "who bade you inquire?"
"Let her alone," said Leander, "and go about your
"Oh yes, to be sure," cried they, laughing; whereupon
the prince alighting, put on his red cap, not
thinking it otherwise prudent to attack four who seemed
strong enough to fight a dozen. One of them stayed to
take care of the young lady, while the three others went
after Gris-de-line, who gave them a great deal of unwelcome
Meantime the young lady continued her cries and
complaints: "Oh my dear princess," said she,
"how happy was I in your palace!
Did you but know my sad
misfortune, you would send your Amazons to rescue poor
Leander, having listened to what she said, without
delay seized the ruffian that held her, and bound him fast
to a tree, before he had time or strength to defend
himself. He then went to the second, and taking him by
both arms, bound
 him in the same manner to another tree.
In the meantime Abricotina made the best of her good
fortune, and betook herself to her heels, not knowing
which way she went. But Leander, missing her, called
out to his horse Gris-de-line; who, by two kicks with his
hoof, rid himself of the two ruffians who had pursued him:
one of them had his head broken; and the other, three of
his ribs. And now Leander only wanted to overtake
Abricotina; for he had thought her so handsome that he
wished to see her again. He found her leaning against a
tree. When she saw Gris-de-line coming towards her,
"How lucky am I!" cried she; "this pretty little horse
will carry me to the Palace of Pleasure." Leander heard
her, though she saw him not: he rode up to her; Gris-de-line
stopped, and when Abricotina mounted him, Leander
clasped her in his arms, and placed her gently before him.
Oh, how great was Abricotina's fear to feel herself fast
embraced, and yet see nobody! She durst not stir, and
shut her eyes for fear of seeing a spirit. But Leander
took off his little cap: "How comes it, fair Abricotina,"
said he, "that you are afraid of me, who delivered you
out of the hands of the ruffians?"
With that she opened her eyes, and knowing him
again, "Oh, sir," said she, "I am infinitely obliged to
you; but I was afraid, for I felt myself held fast, and
could see no one."
"Surely," replied Leander; "the danger you have
been in has disturbed you, and cast a mist before your
 Abricotina would not seem to doubt him, though she
was otherwise extremely sensible. And after they had
talked for some time of indifferent things, Leander
requested her to tell him her age, her country, and by
what accident she fell into the hands of the ruffians.
"Know then, sir," said she, "there was a certain very
great fairy married to a prince who wearied of her; she
therefore banished him from her presence, and established
herself and daughter in the Island of Calm Delights. The
princess, who is my mistress, being very fair, has many
lovers—among others, one named Furibon, whom she
detests: he it was whose ruffians seized me to-day when I
was wandering in search of a stray parrot. Accept, noble
prince, my best thanks for your valour, which I shall
Leander said how happy he was to have served her,
and asked if he could not obtain admission into the island.
Abricotina assured him this was impossible, and therefore
he had better forget all about it. While they were thus
conversing, they came to the bank of a large river:
Abricotina alighting with a nimble jump from the horse—
"Farewell, sir," said she to the prince, making a
profound reverence, "I wish you every happiness."
"And I," said Leander, "wish that I may now and
then have a small share in your remembrance."
So saying, he galloped away, and soon entered
the thickest part of a wood, near a river, where he
unbridled and unsaddled Gris-de-line; then, putting on his
little cap, wished himself in the Island of Calm Delights,
and his wish was immediately accomplished.
The palace was of pure gold, and stood upon pillars
of crystal and precious stones, which represented the
zodiac, and all the wonders of nature; all the arts and
sciences; the sea, with all the variety of fish therein
contained; the earth, with all the various creatures which
it produces; the chases of Diana and her nymphs; the
noble exercises of the Amazons; the amusements of a
country life; flocks of sheep with their shepherds and
dogs; the toils of agriculture, harvesting, gardening.
And among all this variety of representations there
was neither man nor boy to be seen—not so much as a
little winged Cupid: so highly had the princess been
incensed against her inconstant husband, as not to show
the least favour to his fickle sex.
"Abricotina did not deceive me," said Leander to
himself; "they have banished from hence the very idea
of men; now let us see what they have lost by it."
With that he entered into the palace, and at every step
he took, he met with objects so wonderful, that when he
had once fixed his eyes upon them, he had much ado to
take them off again. He viewed a vast number of these
apartments, some full of china, no less fine than curious;
others lined with porcelain, so delicate that the walls were
quite transparent. Coral, jasper, agates, and cornelians
adorn-  ed the rooms of state, and the presence-chamber was
one entire mirror. The throne was one single pearl,
hollowed like a shell; the princess sat, surrounded by her
maidens, none of whom could compare with herself. In
her was all the innocent sweetness of youth, joined to the
dignity of maturity; in truth, she was perfection; and so
thought the invisible Leander.
Not seeing Abricotina, she asked where she was.
Upon that, Leander, being very desirous to speak, assumed
the tone of a parrot, for there were many in the room;
and addressing himself invisibly to the princess,—
"Most charming princess," said he, "Abricotina will
return immediately. She was in great danger of being
carried away from this palace, but for a young prince who
The princess was surprised at the parrot, his answer
was so extremely pertinent:
"You are very rude, little parrot," said the princess;
and Abricotina, when she comes, shall chastise you
"I shall not be chastised," answered Leander, still
counterfeiting the parrot's voice; "moreover, she will let
you know the great desire that stranger had to be admitted
into this palace, that he might convince you of the
falsehood of those ideas which you have conceived against his
"In truth, pretty parrot," cried the princess, "it is a
pity you are not every day so diverting; I should love
"Ah! if prattling will please you, madam,"
Leander, "I will prate from morning till night."
"But," continued the princess, "how shall I be sure
my parrot is not a sorcerer?"
"He is more in love than any sorcerer can be," replied
At this moment Abricotina entered the room, and
falling at her lovely mistress's feet, gave her a full account
of what had befallen her, and described the prince in the
most glowing colours.
"I should have hated all men," added she, "had I not
seen him! Oh, madam, how charming he is! His air
and all his behaviour have something in them so noble;
and though whatever he spoke was infinitely pleasing, yet
I think I did well in not bringing him hither."
To this the princess said nothing, but she asked
Abricotina a hundred other questions concerning the
prince; whether she knew his name, his country, his
birth, from whence he came, and whither he was going;
and after this she fell into a profound thoughtfulness.
Leander observed everything, and continued to chatter
as he had begun—
"Abricotina is ungrateful, madam," said he; "that
poor stranger will die for grief if he sees you not."
"Well, parrot, let him die," answered the princess,
with a sigh; "and since thou undertakest to reason like
a person of wit, and not like a little bird, I forbid thee to
talk to me any more of this unknown person."
Leander was overjoyed to find that
Abricoti-  na's and
the parrot's discourse had made such an impression on the
princess. He looked upon her with pleasure and delight.
"Can it be," said he to himself, "that the masterpiece of
nature, that the wonder of our age, should be confined
eternally in an island, and no mortal dare to approach
her? But," continued he, "wherefore am I concerned
that others are banished hence, since I have the happiness
to be with her, to see her, to hear and to admire her;
nay more, to love her above all the women in the
It was late, and the princess retired into a large room
of marble and porphyry, where several bubbling fountains
refreshed the air with an agreeable coolness. As soon as
she entered, the music began, a sumptuous supper was
served up, and the birds from several aviaries on each
side of the room, of which Abricotina had the chief care,
opened their little throats in the most agreeable manner.
Leander had travelled a journey long enough to give
him a good appetite, which made him draw near the table,
where the very smell of such viands was agreeable and
refreshing. The princess had a curious tabby-cat, for
which she had a great kindness. This cat one of the
maids of honour held in her arms, saying, "Madam,
Bluet is hungry!" With that a chair was presently
brought for the cat; for he was a cat of quality, and had
a necklace of pearl about his neck. He was served on a
gold plate, with a laced napkin before him; and the plate
being supplied with meat, Bluet sat with the solemn
importance of an alderman.
 "Ho, ho!" cried Leander to himself; "an idle tabby
malkin, that perhaps never caught a mouse in his life, and
I daresay is not descended from a better family than
myself, has the honour to sit at table with my mistress:
I would fain know whether he loves her so well as I do."
Saying this, he placed himself in the chair with the cat
upon his knee, for nobody saw him, because he had his
little red cap on; finding Bluet's plate well supplied with
partridge, quails, and pheasants, he made so free with
them, that whatever was set before master puss disappeared
in a trice. The whole court said no cat ever
ate with a better appetite. There were excellent ragouts,
and the prince made use of the cat's paw to taste them;
but he sometimes pulled his paw too roughly, and Bluet,
not understanding raillery, began to mew and be quite
out of patience. The princess observing it,
fricassee and that tart to poor Bluet," said she; "see how
he cries to have them."
Leander laughed to himself at the pleasantness of this
adventure; but he was very thirsty, not being accustomed
to make such large meals without drinking. By the help
of the cat's paw he got a melon, with which he somewhat
quenched his thirst; and when supper was quite over, he
went to the beaufet, and took two bottles of delicious
The princess now retired into her boudoir, ordering
Abricotina to follow her and make fast the door; but
they could not keep out Leander, who was there as soon
as they. However, the
 princess, believing herself alone
with her confidante—
"Abricotina," said she, "tell me truly, did you
exaggerate in your description of the unknown prince,
for methinks it is impossible he should be as amiable as
"Madam," replied the damsel, "if I have failed in
anything, it was in coming short of what was due to
The princess sighed, and was silent for a time; then
resuming her speech: "I am glad," said she, "thou didst
not bring him with thee."
"But, madam," answered Abricotina, who was a cunning
girl, and already penetrated her mistress's thoughts,
"suppose he had come to admire the wonders of these
beautiful mansions, what harm could he have done us?
Will you live eternally unknown in a corner of the world,
concealed from the rest of human kind? Of what use is
all your grandeur, pomp, magnificence, if nobody sees
"Hold thy peace, prattler," replied the princess, "and
do not disturb that happy repose which I have enjoyed so
Abricotina durst make no reply; and the princess,
having waited her answer for some time, asked her
whether she had anything to say. Abricotina then said
she thought it was to very little purpose her mistress
having sent her picture to the courts of several princes,
where it only served to make those who saw it miserable;
that every one would be desirous to marry her, and as she
could not marry them all, indeed none of them, it would
make them desperate.
 "Yet for all that," said the princess, "I could wish
my picture were in the hands of this same stranger."
"Oh, madam," answered Abricotina, "is not his desire
to see you violent enough already; would you augment
"Yes," cried the princess; "a certain impulse of
vanity, which I was never sensible of till now, has bred
this foolish fancy in me."
Leander heard all this discourse, and lost not a tittle of
what she said; some of her expressions gave him hope,
others absolutely destroyed it. The princess presently
asked Abricotina whether she had seen anything extraordinary
during her short travels?
"Madam," said she, "I passed through one forest
where I saw certain creatures that resembled little
children: they skip and dance upon the trees like
squirrels; they are very ugly, but have wonderful
agility and address."
"I wish I had one of them," said the princess; "but
if they are so nimble as you say they are, it is impossible
to catch one."
Leander, who passed through the same forest, knew
what Abricotina meant, and presently wished himself in
the place. He caught a dozen of little monkeys, some
bigger, some less, and all of different colours, and with
much ado put them into a large sack; then, wishing
himself at Paris, where, he had heard, a man might have
everything for money, he went and bought a little gold
chariot. He taught six green monkeys to draw it; they
were harnessed with fine traces of
flame-  coloured morocco leather. He went to another place, where he met with
two monkeys of merit; the most pleasant of which was
called Briscambril, the other Pierceforest—both very
spruce and well educated. He dressed Briscambril like a
king, and placed him in the coach; Pierceforest he made
the coachman; the others were dressed like pages; all
which he put into his sack, coach and all.
The princess not being gone to bed, heard a rumbling
of a little coach in the long gallery; at the same time,
her ladies came to tell her that the king of the dwarfs
was arrived, and the chariot immediately entered her
chamber with all the monkey train. The country
monkeys began to show a thousand tricks, which far
surpassed those of Briscambril and Pierceforest. To
say the truth, Leander conducted the whole machine.
He drew the chariot where Briscambril sat arrayed as
a king, and making him hold a box of diamonds in his
hand, he presented it with a becoming grace to the
princess. The princess's surprise may be easily imagined.
Moreover, Briscambril made a sign for Pierceforest to
come and dance with him. The most celebrated dancers
were not to be compared with them in activity. But the
princess, troubled that she could not guess from whence
this curious present came, dismissed the dancers sooner
than she would otherwise have done, though she was
extremely pleased with them.
Leander, satisfied with having seen the delight the
princess had taken in beholding the monkeys,
 thought of
nothing now but to get a little repose, which he greatly
wanted. He stayed some time in the great gallery;
afterwards, going down a pair of stairs, and finding a
door open, he entered into an apartment the most
delightful that ever was seen. There was in it a bed
of cloth of gold, enriched with pearls, intermixed with
rubies and emeralds; for by this time there appeared
daylight sufficient for him to view and admire the magnificence
of this sumptuous furniture. Having made fast
the door, he composed himself to sleep. Next day he
rose very early, and looking about on every side, he spied
a painter's pallet, with colours ready prepared and pencils.
Remembering what the princess had said to Abricotina
touching her own portrait, he immediately (for he could
paint as well as the most excellent masters) seated himself
before a mirror, and drew his own picture first; then, in
an oval, that of the princess. He had all her features
so strong in his imagination, that he had no occasion for
her sitting; and as his desire to please her had set him
to work, never did portrait bear a stronger resemblance.
He had painted himself upon one knee, holding the
princess's picture in one hand, and in the other a label
with this inscription—"She is better in my heart."
When the princess went into her cabinet, she was amazed
to see the portrait of a man; and she fixed her eyes upon
it with so much the more surprise, because she also saw
her own with it, and because the words which were
written upon the label afforded her ample room for
 She persuaded herself that it was Abricotina's
doing; and all she desired to know was, whether the
portrait were real or imaginary. Rising in haste, she
called Abricotina, while the invisible Leander, with his
little red cap, slipped into the cabinet, impatient to know
what passed. The princess bid Abricotina look upon the
picture, and tell her what she thought of it.
After she had viewed it, "I protest," said she, " 'tis
the picture of that generous stranger to whom I am
indebted for my life. Yes, yes, I am sure it is he; his
very features, shape, and hair."
"Thou pretendest surprise," said the princess, "but I
know it was thou thyself who put it there."
"Who! I, madam?" replied Abricotina; "I protest,
I never saw the picture before in my life. Should I be
so bold as to conceal from your knowledge a thing that
so nearly concerns you? And by what miracle could
I come by it? I never could paint, nor did any man
ever enter this place; yet here he is painted with you."
"Some spirit, then, must have brought it hither,"
cried the princess.
"How I tremble for fear, madam!" said Abricotina.
"Was it not rather some lover? And therefore, if you
will take my advice, let us burn it immediately."
" 'Twere a pity to burn it," cried the princess,
sighing; "a finer piece, methinks, cannot adorn my
cabinet." And saying these words, she cast her eyes
upon it. But Abricotina continued obstinate in her
opinion that it ought to be burnt, as a thing that could
not come there but by the power of magic.
 "And these words—'She is better in my heart,' " said
the princess; "must we burn them too?"
"No favour must be shown to anything," said
Abricotina, "not even to your own portrait."
Abricotina ran away immediately for some fire, while
the princess went to look out at the window. Leander,
unwilling to let his performance be burnt, took this
opportunity to convey it away without being perceived.
He had hardly quitted the cabinet, when the princess
turned about to look once more upon that enchanting
picture, which had so delighted her. But how was she
surprised to find it gone! She sought for it all the
room over; and Abricotina returning, was no less surprised
than her mistress; so that this last adventure put
them both in the most terrible fright.
Leander took great delight in hearing and seeing his
incomparable mistress; even though he had to eat every
day at her table with the tabby-cat, who fared never the
worse for that; but his satisfaction was far from being
complete, seeing he durst neither speak nor show himself;
and he knew it was not a common thing for ladies to
fall in love with persons invisible.
The princess had a universal taste for amusement.
One day, she was saying to her attendants that it would
give her great pleasure to know how the ladies were
dressed in all the courts of the universe. There needed
no more words to send Leander all over the world. He
wished himself in China, where he bought the
stuffs he could lay his hands on, and got patterns of
all the court fashions. From thence he flew to Siam,
where he did the same; in three days he travelled over
all the four parts of the world, and, from time to time,
brought what he bought to the Palace of Calm Delights,
and hid it all in a chamber, which he kept always locked.
When he had thus collected together all the rarities he
could meet with—for he never wanted money, his rose
always supplying him—he went and bought five or six
dozen of dolls, which he caused to be dressed at Paris,
the place in the world where most regard is paid to
fashions. They were all dressed differently, and as
magnificent as could be, and Leander placed them all
in the princess's closet. When she entered it, she was
agreeably surprised to see such a company of little mutes,
every one decked with watches, bracelets, diamond buckles
or necklaces; and the most remarkable of them held a
picture-box in its hand, which the princess opening,
found it contained Leander's portrait. She gave a loud
shriek, and looking upon Abricotina, "There have
appeared of late," said she, "so many wonders in this
place, that I know not what to think of them:—my
birds are all grown witty; I cannot so much as wish,
but presently I have my desires; twice have I now seen
the portrait of him who rescued thee from the ruffians;
and here are silks of all sorts, diamonds, embroideries,
laces, and an infinite number of other rarities. What
fairy is it that takes such care to pay me these agreeable
 Leander was overjoyed to hear and see her so much
interested about his picture, and calling to mind that
there was in a grotto which she often frequented a certain
pedestal, on which a Diana, not yet finished, was to be
erected, on this pedestal he resolved to place himself,
crowned with laurel, and holding a lyre in his hand,
on which he played like another Apollo. He most
anxiously waited the princess's retiring to the grotto,
which she did every day since her thoughts had been
taken up with this unknown person; for what Abricotina
had said, joined to the sight of the picture, had almost
destroyed her repose: her lively humour changed into a
pensive melancholy, and she grew a great lover of solitude.
When she entered the grotto, she made a sign that nobody
should follow her, so that her young damsels dispersed
themselves into the neighbouring walks. The princess
threw herself upon a bank of green turf, sighed, wept,
and even talked, but so softly that Leander could not
hear what she said. He had put his red cap on, that
she might not see him at first; but having taken it off,
she beheld him standing on the pedestal. At first she
took him for a real statue, for he observed exactly the
attitude in which he had placed himself, without moving
so much as a finger. She beheld with a kind of pleasure
intermixed with fear, but pleasure soon dispelled her fear,
and she continued to view the pleasing figure, which so
exactly resembled life. The prince having tuned his lyre,
began to play; at which the princess, greatly surprised,
could not resist the
 fear that seized her; she grew pale,
and fell into a swoon. Leander leaped from the pedestal,
and putting on his little red cap, that he might not be
perceived, took the princess in his arms, and gave her all
the assistance that his zeal and tenderness could inspire.
At length she opened her charming eyes, and looked about
in search of him, but she could perceive nobody; yet she
felt somebody who held her hands, kissed them, and bedewed
them with his tears. It was a long time before she
durst speak, and her spirits were in a confused agitation
between fear and hope. She was afraid of the spirit, but
loved the figure of the unknown. At length she said:
"Courtly invisible, why are you not the person I desire
you should be?" At these words, Leander was going
to declare himself, but durst not do it yet; "For,"
thought he, "if I again affright the object I adore, and
make her fear me, she will not love me." This consideration
caused him to keep silence.
The princess then, believing herself alone, called
Abricotina and told her all the wonders of the animated
statue; that it had played divinely, and that the invisible
person had greatly assisted her when she lay in a swoon.
"What pity 'tis," said she, "that this person should
be so frightful, for nothing can be more amiable or
acceptable than his behaviour!"
"Who told you, madam," answered Abricotina, "that
he is frightful? If he is the youth who saved me, he is
beautiful as Cupid himself."
"If Cupid and the unknown are the same,"
re-  plied the princess, blushing, "I could be content to love Cupid;
but alas! how far am I from such a happiness! I love a
mere shadow; and this fatal picture, joined to what thou
hast told me, have inspired me with inclinations so contrary
to the precepts which I received from my mother, that I
am daily afraid of being punished for them."
"Oh! madam," said Abricotina, interrupting her,
have you not troubles enough already? Why should
you anticipate afflictions which may never come to pass?"
It is easy to imagine what pleasure Leander took in
In the meantime, the little Furibon, still enamoured
of the princess whom he had never seen, expected with
impatience the return of the four servants whom he had
sent to the Island of Calm Delights. One of them at last
came back, and after he had given the prince a particular
account of what had passed, told him that the island was
defended by Amazons, and that unless he sent a very
powerful army, it would be impossible to get into it. The
king his father was dead, and Furibon was now lord of all:
disdaining, therefore, any repulse, he raised an army of
four hundred thousand men, and put himself at the head
of them, appearing like another Tom Thumb upon a war-horse.
Now, when the Amazons perceived his mighty
host, they gave the princess notice of it, who immediately
despatched away her trusty Abricotina to the kingdom of
the fairies, to beg her mother's
instruc-  tions as to what she
should do to drive the little Furibon from her territories.
But Abricotina found the fairy in an angry humour.
"Nothing that my daughter does," said she, "escapes
my knowledge. The Prince Leander is now in her palace;
he loves her, and she has a tenderness for him. All my
cares and precepts have not been able to guard her from
the tyranny of love, and she is now under its fatal dominion.
But it is the decree of destiny, and I must submit;
therefore, Abricotina, begone! nor let me hear a word more of a
daughter whose behaviour has so much displeased me."
Abricotina returned with these ill tidings, whereat the
princess was almost distracted; and this was soon perceived
by Leander, who was near her, though she did not see him.
He beheld her grief with the greatest pain. However, he
durst not then open his lips; but recollecting that Furibon
was exceedingly covetous, he thought that, by giving him
a sum of money, he might perhaps prevail with him to
retire. Thereupon, he dressed himself like an Amazon,
and wished himself in the forest, to catch his horse. He
had no sooner called him than Gris-de-line came leaping,
prancing, and neighing for joy, for he was grown quite
weary of being so long absent from his dear master; but
when he beheld him dressed as a woman, he hardly knew
him. However, at the sound of his voice, he suffered the
prince to mount, and they soon arrived in the camp of
Furibon, where they gave notice that a lady was come to
speak with him from the Princess of Calm
Immediately the little fellow put on his royal robes, and
having placed himself upon his throne, he looked like a
great toad counterfeiting a king.
Leander harangued him, and told him that the princess,
preferring a quiet and peaceable life to the fatigues of war,
had sent to offer his majesty as much money as he pleased
to demand, provided he would suffer her to continue in
peace; but if he refused her proposal, she would omit no
means that might serve for her defence. Furibon replied
that he took pity on her, and would grant her the honour
of his protection; but that he demanded a hundred
thousand thousand millions of pounds, and without which
he would not return to his kingdom. Leander answered
that such a vast sum would be too long a-counting, and
therefore, if he would say how many rooms full he desired
to have, the princess was generous and rich enough to
satisfy him. Furibon was astonished to hear that, instead
of entreating, she would rather offer more; and it came
into his wicked mind to take all the money he could get,
and then seize the Amazon and kill her, that she might
never return to her mistress. He told Leander, therefore,
that he would have thirty chambers of gold, all full to the
ceiling. Leander, being conducted into the chambers,
took his rose and shook it, till every room was filled with
all sorts of coin. Furibon was in an ecstasy, and the
more gold he saw the greater was his desire to get hold of
the Amazon; so that when all the rooms were full, he
commanded his guards
 to seize her, alleging she had
brought him counterfeit money. Immediately Leander
put on his little red cap and disappeared. The guards,
believing that the lady had escaped, ran out and left Furibon
alone; when Leander, availing himself of the opportunity,
took the tyrant by the hair, and twisted his head off with
the same ease he would a pullet's; nor did the little wretch of
a king see the hand that killed him.
Leander having got his enemy's head, wished himself in the
Palace of Calm Delights, where he found the princess walking,
and with grief considering the message which her mother had
sent her, and on the means to repel Furibon. Suddenly she
beheld a head hanging in the air, with nobody
to hold it. This prodigy astonished her so, that she could
not tell what to think of it; but her amazement was increased
when she saw the head laid at her feet, and heard a voice
utter these words:
"Charming princess, cease your fear
Of Furibon; whose head see here."
Abricotina, knowing Leander's voice, cried; "I protest,
madam, the invisible person who speaks is the very
stranger that rescued me."
The princess seemed astonished, but yet pleased.
"Oh," said she, "if it be true that the invisible and
the stranger are the same person, I confess I shall be glad
to make him my acknowledgments."
Leander, still invisible, replied, "I will yet do more to
and so saying he returned to Furibon's
army, where the report of the
 king's death was already
spread throughout the camp. As soon as Leander
appeared there in his usual habit, everybody knew him;
all the officers and soldiers surrounded him, uttering the
loudest acclamations of joy. In short, they acknowledged
him for their king, and that the crown of right belonged
to him, for which he thanked them, and, as the first
mark of his royal bounty, divided the thirty rooms of
gold among the soldiers. This done, he returned to his
princess, ordering the army to march back into his
The princess was gone to bed. Leander, therefore,
retired into his own apartment, for he was very
sleepy—so sleepy that he forgot to bolt his door; and so it
happened that the princess, rising early to taste the
morning air, chanced to enter into this very chamber,
and was greatly astonished to find a young prince asleep
upon the bed. She took a full view of him, and was
convinced that he was the person whose picture she had
in her diamond box. "It is impossible," said she, "that
this should be a spirit; for can spirits sleep? Is this a
body composed of air and fire, without substance, as
Abricotina told me?" She softly touched his hair, and
heard him breathe, and looked at him as if she could have
looked for ever. While she was thus occupied, her
mother, the fairy, entered with such a dreadful noise
that Leander started out of his sleep. But how deeply
was he afflicted, to behold his beloved princess in the
most deplorable condition! Her mother dragged her
by the hair, and loaded
 her with a thousand bitter
reproaches. In what grief and consternation were the two
young lovers, who saw themselves now upon the point
of being separated for ever! The princess durst not
open her lips, but cast her eyes upon Leander, as if to
beg his assistance. He judged rightly, that he ought
not to deal rudely with a power superior to his own,
and therefore he sought, by his eloquence and submission,
to move the incensed fairy. He ran to her, threw
himself at her feet, and besought her to have pity upon a
young prince, who would never change in his affection
for her daughter. The princess, encouraged, also embraced
her mother's knees, and declared that without
Leander she should never be happy.
"Happy!" cried the fairy, "you know not the
miseries of love, nor the treacheries of which lovers are
capable. They bewitch us only to poison our lives; I
have known it by experience; and why will you suffer
"Is there no exception, madam?" replied Leander,
and his countenance showed him to be one.
But neither tears nor entreaties could move the
implacable fairy; and it is very probable that she would
never have pardoned them, had not the lovely Gentilla
appeared at that instant in the chamber, more brilliant
than the sun. Embracing the old fairy,—
"Dear sister," said she, "I am persuaded you cannot
have forgotten the good office I did you when, after
your unhappy marriage, you
be-  sought a readmittance
into Fairyland; since then I never desired any favour
at your hands, but now the time is come. Pardon, then,
this lovely princess; consent to her nuptials with this
young prince. I will engage he shall be ever constant
to her; the thread of their days shall be spun of gold
and silk; they shall live to complete your happiness;
and I will never forget the obligation you lay upon me."
"Charming Gentilla," cried the fairy, "I consent to
whatever you desire. Come, my dear children, and
receive my love." So saying, she embraced them both.
Abricotina, just then entering, cast her eyes upon
Leander: she knew him again, and saw he was perfectly
happy, at which she, too, was quite satisfied.
"Prince," condescendingly said the fairy-mother, "I
will remove the Island of Calm Delights into your own
kingdom, live with you myself, and do you great services."
Whether or not Prince Leander appreciated this offer,
he bowed low and assured his mother-in-law that no favour
could be equal to the one he had that day received from
her hands. This short compliment pleased the fairy
exceedingly, for she belonged to those ancient days when
people used to stand a whole day upon one leg complimenting
one another. The nuptials were performed
in a most splendid manner, and the young prince and
princess lived together happily for many years, beloved
by all around them.