THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK..
"Where are you? Can't you see? Before the king's palace, of course."
"What king?" . , ,
"Why, the King of the Low Countries!" replied the man, laughing and supposing that he was mad.
Was there ever anything so strange? But as John was an honest fellow, he was troubled at the thought that the Seagull would think he had stolen her mantle and purse. And he began to wonder how he could restore them to her the soonest. Then he remembered that the mantle had some hidden charm that enabled the bearer to transport himself at will from place to place, and in order to make sure of this he wished himself in the best inn of the town. In an instant he was there.
Enchanted with this discovery, he ordered supper, and as it was too late to visit the king that night he went to bed.
The next day when he got up he saw that all the houses were wreathed with flowers and covered with flags, and all the church bells were ringing. The little soldier inquired the meaning of all this noise, and was told that the Princess Ludovine, the king's beautiful daughter, had been found and was about to make her triumphal entry. "That will just suit me," thought the kinglet. "I will stand at the door and see if she knows me."
He had scarcely time to dress himself when the golden coach of Ludovine went by. She had a crown of gold upon her head, and the king and queen sat by her side. By accident her eyes fell upon the little soldier, and she grew pale and turned away her head. ^ "Didn't she know me," the little soldier asked himself, "or was she angry because 1 missed our meetings?" And he followed the crowd till he got to the palace. When the royal party entered he told the guards that it was he who had delivered the princess, and wished to speak to the king. But the more he talked the more they believed him mad and refused to let him pass.
The little soldier was furious. He felt that he needed his pipe to calm him, and he entered a tavern and ordered a pint of beer.
"It is this miserable soldier's helmet," said he to himself. "If I had onlv money enough I could look as splendid as the lords of the court; but what is the good of thinking of that when I have only the remains of the beagull's 50 crowns?"