FELICIA AND THE POT OF FINKS 151
' Ah ! madam,' she answered simply,' if I have your friendship I shall do very well.'
So the Queen took the ring and put it on her finger, and mounted her chariot, which was made of coral studded with emeralds, and drawn by six milk-white horses. And Felicia looked after her until the winding of the forest path hid her from her sight, and then she went back to the cottage, thinking over all the wonderful things that had happened.
The first thing she did when she reached her room was to throw the cabbage out of the window.
But she was very much surprised to hear an odd little voice cry out: ' Oh! I am half killed !' and could not tell where it came from, because cabbages do not generally speak.
As soon as it was light, Felicia, who was very unhappy about her pot of pinks, went out to look for it, and the first thing she found was the unfortunate cabbage. She gave it a push with her foot, saying: ' What are you doing here, and how dared you put yourself in the place of my pot of pinks ? '
' If I hadn't been carried,' replied the cabbage, ' you may be very sure that I shouldn't have thought of going there.'
It made her shiver with fright to hear the cabbage talk, but he went on :
'If you will be good enough to plant me by my comrades again, I can tell you where jour pinks are at this moment—hidden in Bruno's bed !'
Felicia was in despair when she heard this, not knowing how she was to get them back. But she replanted the cabbage very kindly in his old place, and, as she finished doing it, she saw Bruno's hen, and said, catching hold of it:
' Come here, horrid little creature ! you shall suffer for all the unkind things my brother has done to me.'
' All! shepherdess,' said the hen, ' don't kill me; I am rather a gossip, and I can tell you some surprising things that you will like to hear. Don't imagine that you are the daughter of the poor labourer who brought you up; your mother was a queen who had six girls already, and the King threatened that unless she had a son who could inherit his kingdom she should have her head cut off.
' So when the Queen had another little daughter she was quite frightened, and agreed with her sister (who was a fairy) to exchange her for the fairy's little son. Now the Queen had been shut up in a great tower by the King's orders, and when a great many days