FELICIA AND THE POT OF PINKS 149
only comfort I have left. Be very sure that I will take care of you, and water you well, and never allow any cruel hand to tear you from your stems.'
As she leant over them she noticed that they were very dry. So taking her pitcher, she ran off in the clear moonlight to the fountain, which was at some distance. When she reached it she sat down upon the brink to rest, but she had hardly done so when she saw a stately lady coming towards her, surrounded by numbers of attendants. Six maids of honour carried her train, and she leaned upon the arm of another.
When they came near the fountain a canopy was spread for her, under which was placed a sofa of cloth-of-gold, and presently a dainty supper was served, upon a table covered with dishes of gold and crystal, while the wind in the trees and the falling water of the fountain murmured the softest music.
Felicia was hidden in the shade, too much astonished by all she saw to venture to move; but in a few moments the Queen said:
' I fancy I see a shepherdess near that tree; bid her come hither.'
So Felicia came forward and saluted the Queen timidly, but with so much grace that all were surprised.
' What are you doing here, my pretty child ? ' asked the Queen. ' Are you not afraid of robbers ? '
' Ah ! madam,' said Felicia,' a poor shepherdess who has nothing to lose does not fear robbers.'
' You are not very rich, then ? ' said the Queen, smiling.
' I am so poor,' answered Felicia, ' that a pot of pinKs and a silver ring are my only possessions in the world.'