THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
that. First, however, thou must dance before ns. Should thy dancing please us, perhaps we may be able to do something; but shouldst thou dance badly we shall assuredly punish thee, so now take warning and dance
With that, he and all the other dwarfs sat down in a large ring, leaving Hok Lee to dance alone in the middle. He felt half-frightened to death, and besides was a good deal shaken by his fall from the tree and did not feel at all inclined to dance. But the dwarfs were not to be trifled with.
"Begin!" cried their leader, and "Begin!" shouted the
rest in chorus.
So in despair Hok Lee began. First he hopped on one foot and then on the other, but he was so stiff and so nervous that he made but a poor attempt, and after a time sank down on the ground and vowed he could dance no more.
The dwarfs were very angry. They crowded round Hok Lee and abused him. , "Thou to come here to be cured, indeed!" they cried. ''Thou hast brought one big cheek with thee, but thou shalt take away two." And with that they ran off and disappeared, leaving Hok Lee to find his way home as best he might.
He hobbled away, weary and depressed, and not a little anxious on account of the dwarfs' threat.
Nor were his fears unfounded, for when he rose next morning his left cheek was swelled up as big as his right, and he could hardly see out of his eyes. Hok Lee felt in despair, and his neighbors jeered at him more than ever. The doctor, too, had disappeared, so there was nothing for it but to try the dwarfs once more.
He waited a month till the first night of the full moon came round again, and then he trudged back to the forest and sat down under the tree from which he had fallen. He had not long to wait. Ere long the dwarfs came trooping out till all were assembled.
"I don't feel quite easy," said one. "I feel as if some horrid human being were near us."
When Hok Lee heard this he came forward and bent down to the ground before the dwarfs, who came crowding round and laughed heartily at his comical appearance with his two big cheeks,