THE FLEA AND THE PROFESSOR 1063
with it, that she said,' Him, or no one !' She became quite wild with love, and was already wild before that. ' Sweet little sensible child ! ' said her father, ' if one could first make a man of it ! '
' Leave that to me, old man ! ' said she, and it was not nicely said by a little princess, who talks to her father, but she was wild.
She set the flea on her little hand. ' Now you are a man ruling with me, but you shall do what I wish, or I shall kill you and eat the Professor.'
The Professor got a big room to live in. The walls were made of sugar-cane—he could go and lick them, but he had not a sweet tooth. He got a hammock to sleep in. It was as if he lay in a balloon such as he had always wished for, and which was his constant thought.
The flea stayed with the Princess, sat on her little hand and on her smooth neck. She had taken a hair from her head, and the Professor had to tie it to the leg of the flea, and so she kept it tied to the great piece of coral which she wore in her ear.
It was a delightful time for the Princess, also for the flea, she thought ; but the Professor was not quite at his ease ; he was a traveller, and liked to go from town to town, and to read in the newspapers about his perseverance and cleverness in teaching a flea all human actions. Day in and day out he lay in his hammock, dozed, and got good food—fresh eggs, elephants' eyes, and giraffe steak ; cannibals do not live only on human flesh, that is a delicacy. ' Child's shoulder with sharp sauce,' said the mother of the Princess, ' is the most delicate ! '
The Professor was wearied, and wished to get away from the savage country, but he must have the flea with him, it was his prodigy and bread-winner. How could he get it ? That was not so easy. He strained all his powers of thought, and then he said, ' Now I have it ! '
1 Princess-father; vouchsafe me something to do ! May I exercise the inhabitants of this country in presentations, or introductions ; that is what one calls culture in the greatest countries of the world.'
1 And what can you teach me % ' said the father of the Princess.