VIVIEN AND PLACIDA. 257
so snccessful in provoking even the most patient people that one day I ran away from the farm, for I was really afraid the queen would be obliged to beat me. When I came to the little river in which the king used to fish I found the boat tied to a tree, and stepping in I unfastened it and floated gently down with the current. The gliding of the boat was so soothing that I did not trouble myself in the least when the queen caught sight of me and ran along the bank, crying:
" 'My boat! my boat! Husband, come and catch the little princess who is running away with my boat!'
"The current soon carried me out of hearing of her cries, and I dreamed to the song of the ripples and the whispering of the trees until the boat suddenly stopped, and I found it was stuck fast beside a fresh green meadow and that the sun was rising. In the distance I saw some little houses which seemed to be built in a most singular fashion, but as I was by this time very hungry I set out toward them, but before I had walked many steps I saw that the air was full of shining objects which seemed to be fixed, and yet I could not see what they hung from.
"I went nearer and saw a silken cord hanging down to the ground, and pulled it just because it was so close to my hand. Instantly the whole meadow resounded to the melodious chiming of a peal of silver bells, and they eounded so pretty that I sat down to listen and to watch them as they swung shining in the sunbeams. Before they ceased to sound came a great flight of birds, and each one perching upon a bell added its charming song to the concert. As they ended, I looked up and saw a tall and stately dame advancing toward me, surrounded and followed by a vast flock of every kind of bird.
" 'Who are you, little girl,' said she, 'who dares to come where I allow no mortal to live, lest my birds should be disturbed? Still, if you are clever at anything,' she added, 'I might be able to put up with your presence.'
" 'Madam,' I answered, rising, 'you may be very sure that I shall not do anything to alarm your birds. I only beg you, for pity's sake, to give me something to eat'
" 'I will do that,' she replied, 'before I send you where you deserve to go.'
''And thereupon she dispatched six jays, who were her pages, to fetch me all sorts of biscuits, while some of the