THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
spring of water, but scarcely had he thrown himself down upon the mossy bank when there was a great rustling in the bushes close by, and out sprang a pretty little gazelle, panting and exhausted, and fell at his feet gasping out:
"Oh! Vivien, save me!"
The prince in great astonishment leaped to his feet, and had just time to draw his sword before he found himself face to face with a large green lion which had been hotly pursuing the poor little gazelle. Prince Vivien attacked it gallantly and a fierce combat ensued, which ended before long in the prince's dealing his adversary a terrific blow which felled him to the earth. As he fell the lion whistled loudly three times with such force that the forest rang again, and the sound must have been heard for more than two leagues round, after which, having apparently nothing more to do in the world, he rolled over on his side and died. The prince, without paying any further heed to him or to his whistling, returned to the pretty gazelle, saying:
"Well! are you satisfied now? Since you can talk, pray tell me instantly what all this is about and how you happened to know my name."
"Oh, I must rest for a long time before I can talk," she replied, "and besides, I very much doubt if you will have leisure to listen, for the affair is by no means finished. In fact," she continued in the same languid tone, "you had better look behind you now."
The prince turned sharply round and to his horror saw a huge giant approaching with mighty strides, crying fiercely:
"Who has made my lion whistle, I should like to know?"
"I have," replied Prince Vivien boldly, "but I can answer for it that he will not do it again!"
At these words the giant began to howl and lament.
"Alas, my poor Tiny, my sweet little pet," he cried. "But at least I can avenge thy death."
Thereupon he rushed at the prince, brandishing an immense serpent which was coiled about his wrist. Vivien, without losing his coolness, aimed a terrific blow at it with his sword, but no sooner did he touch the snake than it changed into a giant and the giant into a snake, With such rapidity that the prince felt perfectly giddy, and this happened at least half a dozen times, until at last