THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
pair of scales and a morsel of bread from the cupboard and was just about to divide it, when Prince Vivien, who, really could wait no longer, seized the whole piece and ate it up, saving in his turn, '"Patience."
"You"mean that for a joke," said the old woman as gently as ever, "but that is really my name, and some day you will know more about me."
Then they each ate their twenty-seven peas, and tho prince was surprised to find that he wanted nothing more, and he slept as sweetly upon his bed of straw as he had ever done in his palace.
In the morning the old woman gave him milk and bread for his breakfast, which he ate contentedly, rejoicing that there was nothing to be gathered or counted or cooked, and when he had finished he begged her to tell him who she was.
"That I will, with pleasure," she replied. "But it will be a long story."
"Oh! if it's long I can't listen," cried the prince.
"But," said she, "at your age you should attend to what old people say and learn to have patience."
"But, but," said the prince in his most impatient tone, "old people should not be so long-winded ! Tell me what country I have got into, and nothing else."
"With all my heart," said she. "You are in the forest of the blackbird. It is here that he utters his oracles."
"An oracle!" cried the prince. "Oh! I must go and consult him."
Thereupon he drew a handful of gold from his pocket and offered it to the old woman, and when she would not take it, he threw it down upon the table and was off like a flash of lightning, without eveu staying to ask the way. He took the first path that presented itself and followed it at the top of his speed, often losing his way, or stumbling over some stone, or running up against a tree, and leaving behind him without regret the cottage which had been as little to his taste as the character of its possessor. After some time he saw in the distance a huge black castle which commanded a view of the whole forest. The prince felt certain that this must be the abode of the oracle, and just as the sun was setting he reached its outermost gates. The whole castle was surrounded by a deep moat, and the drawbridge and the gates, and even