THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
other birds brought ripe fruits. In fact, I had a delicious breakfast, though I do not like to be waited upon so quickly. It is so disagreeable to be hurried. I began to think I should like very well to stay in this pleasant country, and I said so to the stately lady, but she answered with the greatest disdain:
" 'Do you think I would keep you here? You! Why, what do you suppose would be the good of you in this country, where everybody is wide-awake and busy? No, no, I have shown you all the hospitality you will get from me.'
"With these words she turned and gave a vigorous pull to the silken rope which I mentioned before, but instead of a melodious chime there arose a hideous clanging which quite terrified me, and in an instant a huge blackbird appeared, which alighted at the fairy's feet, saying in a frightful voice:
" 'What do you want of me, my sister?'
" 'I wish you to take this little princess to my cousin, the giant of the green castle, at once,' she replied, 'and beg him from me to make her work day and night upon his beautiful tapestry.'
"At these words the great bird snatched me up, regardless of my cries, and flew off at a terrific pace-----"
"Oh! you are joking, cousin," interrupted Prince Vivien; "you mean as slowly as possible. I know that horrible blackbird and the lengthiness of all his proceedings and surroundings."
"Have it your own way," replied Placida tranquilly. "I cannot bear arguing. Perhaps this was not even the same bird. At any rate, he carried me off at a prodigious speed and set me gently down in this very castle of which you are now the master. We entered by one of the windows, and when the bird had handed me over to the giant from whom you have been good enough to deliver me and given the fairy's message, it departed.
"Then the giant turned to me, saying:
" 'So you are an idler! Ah! well, we must teach you to work. You won't be the first we have cured of laziness. See how busy all my guests are.'
"I looked up as he spoke, and saw that an immense gallery ran all round the hall, in which were tapestrv frames, spindles, skeins of wool, patterns, and all neces"-