10 THE QUEEN HAIRY BOOK.
"Am I not here?" interrupted Turritella. "Here is the ring you gave me. "With whom did you talk at the little window if it was not with me?"
"What!" cried the king angrily, "have I been altogether deceived and deluded? "Where is my chariot? Not another moment will I stay here."
"Oho!" said the fairy; "not so fast."
And she touched his feet, which instantly became as firmly fixed to the floor as if they had been nailed there.
"Oh! do whatever you like with me," said the king. "You may turn me to stone, but I will marry no one but Fiord elisa."
And not another word would he say, though the fairy scolded and threatened and Turritella wept and raged for twenty days and twenty nights. At last the fairy Mazilla said furiously (for she was quite tired out by his obstinacy): "Choose whether you will marry my goddaughter or do penance seven years for breaking your word to her."
And then the king cried gayly: "Pray do whatever you like with me, as long as you deliver me from this ugly scold!"
"Scold!" cried Turritella angrily. "Who are you, I should like to know, that you dare to call me a scold? A miserable king who breaks his word and goes about in a chariot drawn by croaking frogs out of a marsh!"
"Let us have no more of these insults," cried the fairy. "Fly from that window, ungrateful king, and for seven years be a blue bird."
As she spoke the king's face altered, his arms turned to wings, his feet to little crooked black claws. In a moment he had a slender body like a bird, covered with shining blue feathers, his beak was like ivory, his eyes were bright as stars, and a crown of white feathers adorned his head.
As soon as the transformation was complete the king uttered a dolorous cry and fled through the open window, pursued by the mocking laughter of Turritella and the fairy Mazilla. He flew on until he reached the thickest part of the wood, and there, perched upon a cypress tree, he bewailed his miserable fate.
"Alas! in seven years who knews what may happen to my darling Fiordelisa?" he said. "Her cruel stepmother may have married her to some one else before I am myself again, and then what go*d will life be to me?"