SYLVAIN AND JOCOSA. 57
kig the questions she put to them. When she presently bade them farewell, she told them never to tell any one else that they had seen her. "You will often see me again," added she, "and I shall be with you frequently, even when you do not see me." So saying she vanished, leaving them in a state of great wonder and excitement. ( After this she came often, and taught them numbers of things and showed them many of the marvels of her beautiful kingdom, and at last one day she said to them: "You know that I have always been kind to you. Now I think it is time you did something for me in your turn. You both remember the fountain I call my favorite? Promise me that every morning before the sun rises you will go to it and clear away every stone that impedes its course and every dead leaf or broken twig that sullies its clear waters. I shall take it as a proof of your gratitude to me if you neither forget nor delay this duty, and I promise that so long as the sun's earliest rays find my favorite spring the clearest and sweetest in all my meadows you two shall not be parted from one another.''
Sylvain and Jocosa willingly undertook this service, and indeed felt that it was but a very small thing in return for all that the fairy had given and promised to them. So for a long time the fountain was tended with the most scrupulous care and was the clearest and prettiest in all the country round. But one morning in the spring, long before the sun rose, they were hastening toward it from opposite directions, when, tempted by the beauty of the myriads of gay flowers which grew thickly on all sides, they paused each to gather some for the other.
"I will make Sylvain a garland," said Jocosa, and "How pretty Jocosa will look in this crown!" thought Sylvain.
Hither and thither they strayed, led ever further and further, for the brighest flowers seemed always just beyond them, until at last they were startled by the first bright rays of the rising sun. With one accord they turned and ran toward the fountain, reaching it at the same moment, though from opposite sides. But what was their horror to see its usually tranquil water's seething and bubbling, and even as they looked down rushed a mighty stream, which entirely ingulfed it, and Sylvain and Jocosa found themselves parted by a wide and swiftly rushing river. All this had happened with such rapidity that they had only