4 DONKEY SKIN
the colour of the sky without an instant's delay, or he would cut off their heads at once. Dreadfully frightened at this threat, they all began to dye and cut and sew, and in two days they brought back the dress, which looked as if it had been cut straight out of the heavens! The poor girl was thunderstruck, and did not know what to do; so in the night she harnessed her sheep again, and went in search of her godmother.
' The king is cleverer than I thought,' said the fairy; ' but tell him you must have a dress of moonbeams,'
And the next day, when the king summoned her into his presence, the girl told him what she wanted.
'Madam, I can refuse you nothing,' said he; and he ordered the dress to be ready in twenty-four hours, or every man should be hanged.
They set to work with all their might, and by dawn next day, the dress of moonbeams was laid across her bed. The girl, though she could not help admiring its beauty, began to cry, till the fairy, who heard her, came to her help.
' Well, I could not have believed it of him !' said she; ' but ask for a dress of sunshine, and I shall be surprised indeed if he manages that!'
The goddaughter did not feel much faith in the fairy after her two previous failures ; but not knowing what else to do, she told her father what she was bid.
The king made no difficulties about it, and even gave his finest rubies and diamonds to ornament the dress, which was so dazzling, when finished, that it could not be looked at save through smoked glasses!
When the princess saw it, she pretended that the sight hurt her eyes, and retired to her room, where she found the fairy awaiting her, very much ashamed of herself.
' There is only one thing to be done now,' cried she ; ' you must demand the skin of the ass he sets such store by. It is from that donkey he obtains all his