AND THE DEAR LITTLE PRINCESS 17
self speak; especially he noticed one maid who, no matter what was being said, always contrived to praise her mistress's wisdom.
' Well!' he thought, as he ate his supper, ' I'm very glad I came here. This just shows me how sensible I have been in never listening to flatterers. People of that sort praise us to our faces without shame, and hide our faults or change them into virtues. For my part I never will be taken in by them. I know my own defects, I hope.'
Poor Prince Hyacinth ! He really believed what he said, and hadn't an idea that the people who had praised his nose were laughing at him, just as the Fairy's maid was laughing at her; for the Prince had seen her laugh slyly when she could do so without the Fairy's noticing her.
However, he said nothing, and presently, when his hunger began to be appeased, the Fairy said :
' My dear Prince, might I beg you to move a little more that way, for your nose casts such a shadow that I really cannot see what I have on my plate. Ah ! thanks. Now let us speak of your father. When I went to his Court he was only a little boy, but that is forty years ago, and I have been in this desolate place ever since. Tell me what goes on nowadays; are the ladies as fond of amusement as ever ? In my time one saw them at parties, theatres, balls, and promenades every day. Dear me ! What a long nose you have ! I cannot get used to it! '
' Eeally, madam,' said the Prince, 'I wish you would leave off mentioning my nose. It cannot matter to you what it is like. I am quite satisfied with it, and have no wish to have it shorter. One must take what is given one.'
' Now you are angry with me, my poor Hyacinth,' said the Fairy, ' and I assure you that I didn't mean to vex you; on the contrary, I wished to do you a service. However, though I really cannot help your nose being a shock to me, I will try not to say