194 THE STORY OF PRETTY GOLDILOCKS
was called Charming, and everyone loved him, excepting a few envious people who were angry at his being the King's favourite and knowing all the State secrets. He happened one day to be with some people who were speaking of the ambassador's return and saying that his going to the Princess had not done much good, when Charming said rashly:
' If the King had sent me to the Princess Goldilocks I am sure she would have come back with me.'
His enemies at once went to the King and said:
' You will hardly believe, sire, what Charming has the audacity to say—that if he had been sent to the Princess Goldilocks she would certainly have come back with him. He seems to think that he is so much handsomer than you that the Princess would have fallen in love with him and followed him willingly.' The King was very angry when he heard this.
' Ha, ha!' said he; ' does he laugh at my unhappiness, and think himself more fascinating than I am ? Go, and let him be shut up in my great tower to die of hunger.'
So the King's guards went to fetch Charming, who had thought no more of his rash speech, and carried him off to prison with great cruelty. The poor prisoner had only a little straw for his bed, and but for a little stream of water which flowed through the tower he would have died of thirst.
One day when he was in despair he said to himself*
' How can I have offended the King ? I am his most faithful subject, and have done nothing against him.'
The King chanced to be passing the tower and recognised the voice of his former favourite. He stopped to listen in spite of Charming's enemies, who tried to persuade him to have nothing more to do with the traitor. But the King said:
' Be quiet, I wish to hear what he says.'
And then he opened the tower door and called to Charming, who came very sadly and kissed the King's hand, saying:
' What have I done, sire, to deserve this cruel treatment ?'
' You mocked me and my ambassador/ said the King, ' and you said that if I had sent you for the Princess Goldilocks you would certainly ha~e brought her back.'
' It is quite true, sire,' replied Charming; ' I should have drawn such a picture of you, and represented your good qualities in such a way, that I am certain the Princess would have found you irresistible. But I cannot see what there is in that to make you angry.'