BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 115
and when you have gone to bed turn this ring round upon your finger and say firmly : " I wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast again." Good-night, Beauty. Fear nothing, sleep peacefully, and before long you shall see your father once more.'
As soon as Beauty was alone she hastened to fill the boxes with all the rare and precious things she saw about her, and only when she was tired of heaping things into them did they seem to be fall.
Then she went to bed, but could hardly sleep for joy. And when at last she did begin to dream of her beloved Prince she was grieved to see him stretched upon a grassy bank sad and weary, and hardly like himself.
' What is the matter ? ' she cried.
But he looked at her reproachfully, and said: How can you ask me, cruel one '? Are you not leaving me to my death perhaps ? '
' Ah ! don't be so sorrowful,' cried Beauty ; ' I am only going to assure my father that I am safe and happy. I have promised the Beast faithfully that I will come back, and he would die of grief if I did not keep my word ! '
' What would that matter to you ? ' said the Prince. ' Surely you would not care ? '
' Indeed I should be ungrateful if I did not care for such a kind Beast,' cried Beauty indignantly. ' I would die to save him from pain. I assure you it is not his fault that he is-so ugly.'
Just then a strange sound woke her—someone was speaking not very far away; and opening her eyes she found herself in a room she had never seen before, which was certainly not nearly so splendid as those she was used to in the Beast's palace. Where could she be ? She got up and dressed hastily, and then saw that the boxes she had packed the night before were all in the room. While she was wondering by what magic the Beast had transported them and herself to this strange place she suddenly heard her father's voice, and rushed out and greeted him joyfully. Her brothers and sisters were all astonished at her appearance, as they had never expected to see her again, and there was no end to the questions they asked her. She had also much to hear about what had happened to them while she was away, and of her father's journey home. But when they heard that she had only come to be with them for a short time, and then must go back to the Beast's palace for ever, they lamented loudly. Then Beauty asked