762 THE BEETLE
does not deserve to know it either, otherwise it would have given me golden shoes, in the Emperor's stable, when his favourite horse stretched out its legs and was shod. If I had received golden shoes, I should have become an ornament to the stable. Now the stable has lost me, and the world has lost me. It is all over !'
But all was not over yet. There came a boat, with some young girls.
' There sails a wooden shoe,' said one of the girls.
1 There 's a little creature bound fast to it,' said another.
The boat came quite close to our Beetle's ship, and the young girls fished him out of the water. One of them drew a small pair of scissors from her pocket, and cut the woollen thread, without hurting the Beetle; and when she stepped on shore, she put him down on the grass.
* Creep, creep—fly, fly—if thou canst,' she said. ' Liberty is a splendid thing.'
And the Beetle flew up, and straight through the open window of a great building ; there he sank down, tired and exhausted, exactly on the fine, soft, long mane of the Emperor's favourite horse, who stood in the stable where he and the Beetle had their home. The Beetle clung fast to the mane, and sat there a short time to recover himself.
' Here I'm sitting on the Emperor's favourite horse— sitting like a knight I' he cried. * What is that I am saying ? Now it becomes clear to me. That's a good thought, and quite correct. The smith asked me why the golden shoes were given to the horse. Now I'm quite clear about the answer. They were given to the horse on my account.'
And now the Beetle was in a good temper again.
' One becomes clear-headed by travelling,' said he.
The sun shone very beautifully upon him.
' The world is not so bad, upon the whole,' said the Beetle ; ' but one must just know how to take it.' The world was beautiful, for the Emperor's horse had got golden shoes, because the Beetle was to be its rider.
' Now I shall go down to the other beetles and tell them how much has been done for me. I shall tell them about all the advantages I have enjoyed in my foreign travels ; and I shall say, that now I am going to stay at home until the horse has worn out his golden shoes.'