THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
and you have nothing more to fear, so tell me who yon are and what this horrible giant, with his lion and his serpent, have to do with you, and for pity's sake be quick about it."
"I will tell you with pleasure," she answered, "but where is the hurry? I want you to come back with me to the green castle, but I don't want to walk there, it is so far, and walking is so fatiguing."
"Let us set out at once, then," replied the prince severely, "or else really I shall have to leave yon where you are. Surely a young and active gazelle like you ought to be ashamed of not being able to walk a few steps. The further off this castle is the faster we ought to walk; but as you don't appear to enjoy that, I will promise that we will go gently, and we can talk by the way."
"It would be better still if you would carry me," said she sweetly; "but as I don't like to see people giving themselves trouble, you may carry me and make that snail carry you." So saying, she pointed languidly with one tiny foot at what the prince had taken for a block of stone, but now he saw that it was a huge snail.
"What! I ride a snail!" cried the prince. "You are laughing at me; and besides, we should not get there for a year."
"Oh! well, then, don't do it," replied the gazelle. "I am quite willing to stay here. The grass is green and the water clear. But if I were you I should take the advice that was given me and ride the snail."
So, though it did not please him at all, the prince took the gazelle in his arms and mounted upon the back of the snail, which glided along very peaceably, entirely declining to be hurried by frequent blows from the prince's heels. In vain did the gazelle represent to him that she was enjoying herself very much and that this was the easiest mode of conveyance she had ever discovered. Prince Vivien was wild with impatience and thought that the green castle would never be reached. At last they did get there, and every one who was in it ran to see the prince dismount from his singular steed.
But what was his surprise when, having at her request set the gazelle gently down upon the steps which led up to the castle, he saw her suddenly change into a charming princess and recognized in her his pretty Cousin Placida,