330 THE JUMPER
into a card-house three stories high, and all made of picture cards with the figures turned inwards. There were doors and windows in the house, cut in the body of the Queen of Hearts.
' I sing so,' he said, ' that sixteen native crickets who have chirped from their youth up, and have never yet had a card-house of their own, have become even thinner than they were with envy at hearing me.'
Both of them, the Flea and the Grasshopper, took care to announce who they were, and that they considered themselves entitled to marry a Princess.
The Frog said nothing, but it was said of him that he thought all the more ; and directly the Yard Dog had smelt at him he was ready to assert that the Frog was of good family. The old councillor, who had received three medals for holding his tongue, declared that he knew that the Frog possessed the gift of prophecy : one could tell by his backbone whether there would be a severe winter or a mild one; and that's more than one can always tell from the backbone of the man who writes the almanac.
' I shall not say anything more/ said the old King. ' I only go on quietly, and think my own thoughts/
Now they were to take their jump. The Flea sprang so high that no one could see him ; and then they asserted that he had not jumped at all. That was very mean. The grasshopper only sprang half as high, but he sprang straight into the King's face, and the King declared that was horribly rude. The Frog stood a long time considering ; at last people thought that he could not jump at all.
* I only hope he 's not become unwell/ said the Yard Bog, and then he smelt at him again.
' Tap !' He sprang with a little crooked jump just into the lap of the Princess, who sat on a low golden stool.
Then the King said, ' The highest leap was taken by him who jumped up to my daughter; for therein lies the point; but it requires head to achieve that, and the Frog has shown that he has a head.'
And so he had the Princess.
* I jumped highest, after all/ said the Flea. ' But it's