280 THE SNOW QUEEN
The Prince was only like him in the neck; but he was young and good-looking, and the Princess looked up, blinking, from the white lily, and asked who was there. Then little Gerda wept, and told her whole history, and all that the Crows had done for her.
' You poor child !' said the Prince and Princess.
And they praised the Crows, and said that they were not angry with them at all, but the Crows were not to do it again. However, they should be rewarded.
1 Will you fly out free ? ' asked the Princess, ' or will you have fixed positions as court crows, with the right to everything that is left in the kitchen ? '
And the two Crows bowed, and begged for fixed positions, for they thought of their old age, and said, ' It is so good to have some provisions for one's old days/ as they called them.
And the Prince got up out of his bed, and let Gerda sleep in it, and he could not do more than that. She folded her little hands, and thought, ' How good men and animals are !' and then she shut her eyes and went quietly to sleep. All the dreams came flying in again, looking like angels, and they drew a little sledge, on which Kay sat nodding ; but all this was only a dream, and therefore it was gone again as soon as she awoke.
The next day she was clothed from head to foot in silk and velvet; and an offer was made her that she should stay in the castle and enjoy pleasant times ; but she only begged for a little carriage, with a horse to draw it, and a pair of little boots ; then she would drive out into the world and seek for Kay.
And she received not only boots, but a muff likewise, and was neatly dressed ; and when she was ready to depart a coach made of pure gold stopped before the door. Upon it shone like a star the coat of arms of the Prince and Princess ; coachman, footmen, and outriders—for there were outriders too—sat on horseback with gold crowns on their heads. The Prince and Princess themselves helped her into the carriage, and wished her all good fortune. The forest Crow, who was now married, accompanied her the first three miles ; he sat by Gerda's side, for he could not bear riding backwards : the other Crow stood in the