So saying, the Fairy disappeared, leaving Prince Darling very much astonished.
For some time he behaved so well that the ring never pricked him, and that made him so contented that his subjects called him Prince Darling the Happy.
One day, however, he went out hunting, but could get no sport, which put him in a very bad temper ; it seemed to him as he rode along that his ring was pressing into his finger, but as it did not prick him he did not heed it. When he got home and went to his own room, his little dog Bibi ran to meet him, jumping round him with pleasure. ' Get away !' said the Prince, quite gruffly. ' I don't want you, you are in the way.'
The poor little dog, who didn't understand this at all, pulled at his coat to make him at least look at her, and this made Prince Darling so cross that he gave her quite a hard kick.
Instantly his ring pricked him sharply, as if it had been a pin. He was very much surprised, and sat down in a corner of his room feeling quite ashamed of himself.
' I believe the Fairy is laughing at me,' he thought. ' Surely I can have done no great wrong in just kicking a tiresome animal! What is the good of my being ruler of a great kingdom if I am not even allowed to beat my own dog ? '
' I am not making fun of you,' said a voice, answering Prince Darling's thoughts. ' You have committed three faults. First of all, you were out of temper because you could not have what you wanted, and you thought all men and animals were only made to do your pleasure; then you were really angry, which is very naughty indeed ; and lastly, you were cruel to a poor little animal who did not in the least deserve to be ill-treated.
' I know you are far above a little dog, but if it were right and allowable that great people should ill-treat all who are beneath them, I might at this moment beat you, or kill you, for a fairy is greater than a man. The advantage of possessing a great empire is not to be able to do the evil that one desires, but to do all the good that one possibly can.'
The Prince saw how naughty he had been, and promised to try and do better in future, but he did not keep his word. The fact was that he had been brought up by a foolish nurse, who had spoilt him when he was little. If he wanted anything he only had to cry and fret and stamp his feet and she would give him whatever he asked for, which had made him self-willed; also she had told him