634 THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
* That's a mistake,' said the Stork ; ' you must have dreamed that! '
' No, no !' she persisted. And she reminded him of the Viking's castle, and of the wild moss, and of the journey hither.
Then Stork-papa winked with his eyes, and said,
* That's an old story, which I heard from the time of my great-great-grandmother. There certainly was here in Egypt a Princess of that kind from the Danish land, but she vanished on the evening of her wedding-day, many hundred years ago, and never came back ! You may read about it yourself yonder on the monument in the garden ; there you'll find swans and storks sculptured, and at the top you yourself are cut in white marble I '
And thus it was. Helga saw it, and understood it, and sank on her knees.
The sun burst forth in glory ; and as, in time of yore, the frog-shape had vanished in its beams, and the beautiful form had stood displayed, so now in the light a beauteous form, clearer, purer than air—a beam of brightness—flew up into heaven !
The body crumbled to dust, and a faded lotus flower lay on the spot where Helga had stood.
1 Well, that's a new ending to the story,' said Stork-papa. ' I had certainly not expected it. But I like it very well.'
' But what will the young ones say to it ? ' said Stork-mamma.
1 Yes, certainly, that's the important point,' replied he.
A prize, or rather two prizes, had been announced— a big one and a little one—for the greatest swiftness, not in a single race, but for swiftness throughout an entire year.
' I got the first prize !' said the Hare ; ' there must be justice when relations and good friends are among the prize committee ; but that the Snail should have