THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 599
the eggs, and you might agitate me," and I might do them a mischief.' *h
' You must know it,' he continued. ' She has arrived here—the daughter of our host in Egypt—she has dared to undertake the journey here—and she 's gone ! '
' She who came from the race of the fairies ? Oh, tell me all about it ! You know I can't bear to be kept long in suspense when I'm hatching eggs.'
' You see, mother, she believed in what the doctor said, and you told me true. She believed that the moss flowers would bring healing to her sick father, and she has flown here in swan's plumage, in company with the other Swan Princesses, who come to the North every year to renew their youth. She has come here, and she is gone !'
1 You are much too long-winded ! ' exclaimed the Stork-mamma, ' and the eggs might catch cold. I can't bear being kept in such suspense ! '
' I have kept watch,' said the Stork-papa ; ' and to-night, when I went into the reeds—there where the marsh ground will bear me—three swans came. Something in their flight seemed to say to me, " Look out ! That's not altogether swan ; it's only swan's feathers ! " Yes, mother, you have a feeling of intuition just as I have ; you can tell whether a thing is right or wrong.'
' Yes, certainly,' she replied ; ; but tell me about the Princess. I'm sick of hearing of the swan's feathers.'
1 Well, you know that in the middle of the moss there is something like a lake,' continued Stork-papa. ! You can see one corner of it if you raise yourself a little. There, by the reeds and the green mud, lay a great elder stump, and on this the three swans sat, flapping their wings and looking about them. One of them threw off her plumage, and I immediately recognized her as our own Princess from Egypt! There she sat, with no covering but her long black hair. I heard her tell the others to pay good heed to the swan's plumage, while she dived down into the water to pluck the flowers which she fancied she saw growing there. The others nodded, and picked up the empty feather dress and took care of it. "I wonder what they will do with it ? " thought I; and perhaps she asked herself the same question. If so, she got an answer, for the