34 THE YELLOW DWAEF
Bellissima will live with me. With these thistles and nettles she can feed a donkey which she can ride whenever she likes; under this humble roof no weather can hurt her; she will drink the water of this brook, and eat frogs—which grow very fat about here; and then she will have me always with her, handsome, agreeable, and gay as you see me now. For if her shadow stays by her more closely than I do I shall be surprised.'
The unhappy Queen, seeing all at once what a miserable life her daughter would have with this Dwarf, could not bear the idea, and fell down insensible without saying a word
"When she revived she found to her great surprise that she was lying in her own bed at home, and, what was more, that she had on the loveliest lace nightcap that she had ever seen in her life. At first she thought that all her adventures, the terrible lions, and her promise to the Yellow Dwarf that he should marry Bellissima must have been a dream, but there was the new cap with its beautiful ribbon and lace to remind her that it was all true, which
made her so unhappy that she could neither eat, drink, nor sleep for thinking of it.
The Princess, who, in spite of her wilfulness, really loved her mother with all her heart, was much grieved when she saw her looking so sad, and often asked her what was the matter; but the Queen, who didn't want her to find out the truth, only said that she was ill, or that one of her neighbours was threatening to make war against her. Bellissima knew quite well that something was being hidden from her—and that neither of these was the real reason of the Queen's uneasiness. So she made up her mind that she would go and consult the Fairy of the Desert about it, especially as she had often heard how wise she was, and she thought that at the same time she might ask her advice as to whether it would be as well to be married, or not.
So, with great care, she made some of the proper cake to pacify the lions, and one night went up to her room very early, pretending that she was going to bed ; but, instead of that, she wrapped herself up in a long white veil, and went down a secret staircase, and set off, all by herself, to find the Witch.