234 THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES
For four or five years the baby lived in the castle alone with his nurses, taking his airings on the broad terraces, which were surrounded by walls, with a moat beneath them, and only a drawbridge to connect them with the outer world.
One day, when the prince was old enough to run quite fast by himself, he looked from the terrace across the moat, and saw a little soft fluffy ball of a dog jumping and playing on the other side. Now, of course, all dogs had been kept from him for fear that the fairies' prophecy should come true, and he had never aven beheld one before. So he turned to the page who was walking behind him, and said :
' "What is that funny little thing which is running so fast over there ? '
' That is a dog, prince,' answered the page.
' Well, bring me one like it, and we will see which can run the faster.' And he watched the dog till it had disappeared round the corner.
The page was much puzzled to know what to do. He had strict orders to refuse the prince nothing; yet he remembered the prophecy, and felt that this was a serious matter. At last he thought he had better tell the king the whole story, and let him decide the question.
' Oh, get him a dog if he wants one,' said the king, ' he will only cry his heart out if he does not have it.' So a puppy was found, exactly like the other; they might have been twins, and perhaps they were.
Years went by, and the boy and the dog played together till the boy grew tall and strong. The time came at last when he sent a message to his father, saying :
' Why do you keep me shut up here, doing nothing ' I know all about the prophecy that was made at my birth, but I would far rather be killed at once than live an idle, useless life here. So give me arms, and let me go, I pray you ; me and my dog too.'