THE BLUE BIRD.
While she spoke the queen and Turritella were looking at her in the greatest surprise, perfectly dazzled by her beauty and the splendor of her jewels, and the queen said:
"If one may ask, madam, where did you get all these diamonds? Perhaps you mean to tell me that you have discovered a mine of them in the tower!"
"1 certainly did find them here," answered the princess.
"And pray," said the queen, her wrath increasing every moment, "for whose admiration are you decked out like this, since I have often seen you not half as fine on the most important occasions at court?"
"For my own," answered Fiordelisa. "You must admit that I have had plenty of time on my hands, so you cannot be surprised at my spending some of it in making myself smart."
"That's all very fine," said the queen suspiciously. "I think I will look about and see for myself."
So she and Turritella began to search every corner of the little room, and when they came to the straw mattress out fell such a quantity of pearls, diamonds, rubies, opals, emeralds, and sapphires that they were amazed and could not tell what to think. But the queen resolved to hide somewhere a packet of false letters to prove that the princess had been conspiring with the king's enemies, and she chose the chimney as a good place. Fortunately for Fioidelisa this was exactly where the blue bird had perched himself, to keep an eye upon her proceedings and try to avert danger from his beloved princess, and now he cried: t
"Beware, Fiordelisa! Your false enemy is plotting against you."
This strange voice so frightened the queen that she took the letters and went away hastily with Turritella, and they held a council to try and devise some means of finding out what fairy or enchanter was favoring the princess. At last they sent one of the queen's maids to wait upon Fiorcfelisa, and told her to pretend to be quite stupid and to see and hear nothing, while she was really to watch the princess day and night and keep the queen informed of all her doings.
Poor Fiordelisa, who guessed she was sent as a spy, was in despair, and cried bitterly that she dared not see her dear blue bird for fear that some evil might happen to him if he were discovered