162 THE HUSBAND OF THE BATS DAUGHTER
and talents she had a right to look for someone a little better than that.'
So she talked, as mothers will, to anyone that would listen to her. What the girl thought about the matter nobody knew or cared—it was not the fashion in the rat world.
Many were the quarrels which the old rat and his wife had upon the subject, and sometimes they bore on their faces certain marks which looked as if they had not kept to words only.
' Reach up to the stars is my motto,' cried the lady one day, when she was in a greater passion than usual. ' My daughter's beauty places her higher than anything upon earth,' she cried ; ' and I am certainly not going to accept a son-in-law who is beneath her.'
' Better offer her in marriage to the sun,' answered her husband impatiently. ' As far as I know there is nothing greater than he.'
' Well, I tvas thinking of it,' replied the wife, ' and as you are of the same mind, we will pay him a visit to-morrow.'
So the next morning, the two rats, having spent hours in making themselves smart, set out to see the sun, leading their daughter between them.
The journey took some time, but at length they came to the golden palace where the sun lived.
' Noble king,' began the mother,' behold our daughter! She is so beautiful that she is above everything in the whole world. Naturally, we wish for a son-in-law who, on his side, is greater than all. Therefore we have come to you.'
' I feel very much flattered,' replied the sun, who was so busy that he had not the least wish to marry anybody. ' You do me great honour by your proposal. Only, in one point you are mistaken, and it would be wrong of me to take advantage of your ignorance. There is something greater than I am, and that is the cloud. Look !' And as