196 THE STORY OF PRETTY GOLDILOCKS
grew by a little river. When he had written it down he was looking round him, pleased to find himself in such a pretty place, when all at once he saw a great golden carp lying gasping and exhausted upon the grass. In leaping after little flies she had thrown herself high upon the bank, where she had lain till she was nearly dead. Charming had pity upon her, and, though he couldn't help thinking that she would have been very nice for dinner, he picked her up gently and put her back into the water. As soon as Dame Carp felt the refreshing coolness of the water she sank down joyfully to the bottom of the river, then, swimming up to the bank quite boldly, she said:
' I thank you, Charming, for the kindness you have done me. You have saved my life; one day I will repay you.' So saying, she sank down into the water again, leaving Charming greatly astonished at her politeness.
Another day, as he journeyed on, he saw a raven in great distress. The poor bird was closely pursued by an eagle, which would soon have eaten it up, had not Charming quickly fitted an arrow to his bow and shot the eagle dead. The raven perched upon a tree very joyfully.
* Charming,' said he, ' it was very generous of you to rescue a poor raven; I am not ungrateful, some day I will repay you.'
Charming thought it was very nice of the raven to say so, and went on his way.
Before the sun rose he found himself in a thick wood where it was too dark for him to see his path, and here he heard an owl crying as if it were in despair.
' Hark!' said he, ' that must be an owl in great trouble, I am sure it has got into a snare ; ' and he began to hunt about, and presently found a great net which some bird-catchers had spread the night before.
' What a pity it is that men do nothing but torment and persecute poor creatures which never do them any harm !' said he, and he took out his knife and cut the cords of the net, and the owl flitted away into the darkness, but then turning, with one flicker of her wings, she came back to Charming and said :
' It does not need many words to tell you how great a service you have done me. I was caught; in a few minutes the fowlers would have been here—without your help I should have been killed. I am grateful, and one day I will repay you.'
These three adventures were the only ones of any consequence