THE BLUE BIRD,
Fiordelisa hid herself behind a marble pillar, and very soon saw Turritella make her appearance, richly dressed, but as ugly as ever, and with her came the king, more handsome and splendid even than Fiordelisa had remembered him. When Turritella had seated herself upon the throne the queen approached her.
"Who are you and how dare you come near my high-mightiness upon my golden throne?" said Turritella, frowning fiercely at her.
"They call me the little kitchen-maid," she replied, "and I come to offer some precious things for sale." And with that she searched in her old sack and drew out the emerald bracelets King Charming had given her.
"Ho! ho!" said Turritella-, those are pretty bits of glass. I suppose you would like five silver pieces for them."
"Show them to some one who understands such things, madam," answered the queen; "after that we can decide upon the price."
Turritella, who really loved King Charming as much as she could love anybody, and was always delighted to get a chance of talking to him, now showed him the bracelets, asking how much he considered them worth. As soon as he saw them he remembered those he had given to Fiordelisa, and turned very pale and sighed deeply, and fell into such sad thoughts that he quite forgot to answer her. Presently she asked him again, and then he said, with a great effort:
"I believe those bracelets are worth as much as my kingdom. I thought there was only one such pair in the world; but here, it seems, is another."
Then Turritella went back to the queen and asked her' what was the lowest price she would take for them.
"More than you would find it easy to pay, madam," answered she; "but if you will manage for me to sleep one night in the Chamber of Echoes I will give you the emeralds."
"By all means, my little kitchen-maid," said Turritella, highly delighted.
The king did not try to find out where the bracelets had come from, not because he did not want to know, but because the only way would have been to ask Turritella, and he disliked her so much that he never spoke to her if