THE LI TTLE SOLDIER. 171
But Ludovine repeated, "Won't you tell me?" in such a tender voice he did not know how to resist her.
"After all," he said to himself, "what does it matter telling her the secret, as long as I don't give her the cloak?"
And he told her the virtue of the red mantle.
"Oh, dear, how tired I am!" sighed Ludovine. "l)on't you think we had better take a nap? And then we can talk over our plans."
She stretched herself on the grass and the kinglet did the same. He laid his head on his left arm, round which . the scarf was tied, and was soon fast asleep.
Ludovine was watching him out of one eye, and no sooner did she hear him snore than she unfastened the mantle, drev/ it gently from under him and wrapped it round her, took the purse from his pocket, and put it in hers and said: "I wish I was back in my own room." In another moment she was there.
Who felt foolish but John when he awoke, twenty-four hours after, and found himself without purse, without mantle, and without princess? He tore his hair, he beat his breast, he trampled on the bouquet and tore the scarf of the traitress to atoms.
Besides this, he was very hungry, and he had nothing to eat.
He thought of all the wonderful things his grandmother had told him when he was a child, but none of them helped him now. He was in despair, when suddenly he looked up and saw that the tree under which he had been sleeping was a superb plum, covered with fruit as yellow as gold.
"Here goes for the plums," he said to himself. "All is fair in war."
He climbed the tree and began to eat steadily. But he had hardly swallowed two plums when, to his horror, he felt as if something was growing on his forehead. He put up his hand and found that he had two horns! He leaped down from the tree and rushed to a stream that flowed close by. Alas! there was no escape: two charming little