218 THE WONDERFUL SHEEP
The Princess and the Captain of the Guard were talking so earnestly that they did not think of Patypata, but she had overheard all they said, and now came and threw herself at Miranda's feet.
' Madam,' she said, ' I offer you my life; let me be killed, I shall be only too happy to die for such a kind mistress.'
' Why, Patypata,' cried the Princess, kissing her, ' that would never do ; your life is as precious to me as my own, especially after such a proof of your affection as you have just given me.'
' You are right, Princess,' said Grabugeon, coming forward, ' to love such a faithful slave as Patypata; she is of more use to you than I am, I offer you my tongue and my heart most willingly, especially as I wish to make a great name for myself in Goblin Land.'
' No, no, my little Grabugeon,' replied Miranda; ' I cannot bear the thought of taking your life.'
' Such a good little dog as I am,' cried Tintin, ' could not think of letting either of you die for his mistress. If anyone is to die for her it must be me.'
And then began a great dispute between Patypata, Grabugeon, and Tintin, and they came to high words, until at last Grabugeon, who was quicker than the others, ran up to the very top of the nearest tree, and let herself fall, head first, to the ground, and there she lay—quite dead!
The Princess was very sorry, but as Grabugeon was really dead, she allowed the Captain of the Guard to take her tongue; but, alas! it was such a little one—not bigger than the Princess's thumb, that they decided sorrowfully that it was no use at all: the King would not have been taken in by it for a moment!
' Alas ! my little monkey,' cried the Princess, ' I have lost you, and yet I am no better off than I was before.'
' The honour of saving your life is to be mine,' interrupted Patypata, and, before they could prevent her, she had picked up a knife and cut her head off in an instant.
But when the Captain of the Guard would have taken her tongue it turned out to be quite black, so that would not have deceived the King either.
■ Am I not unlucky ? ' cried the poor Princess; ' I lose everything I love, and am none the better for it.'
' If you had accepted my offer,' said Tintin, ' you would only have had me to regret, and I should have had all your gratitude.'
Miranda kissed her little dog, crying so bitterly, that at last she