32 AN IMPOSSIBLE ENCHANTMENT
conquest. On board the ship which had sailed so near was the handsomest prince in the world. He had heard of the enchanted tower, and determined to get as near it as he could. He had strong glasses on board, and whilst looking through them he saw the princess quite clearly, and fell desperately in love with her at once. He wanted to steer straight for the tower and to row off to it in a small boat, but his entire crew fell at his feet and begged him not to run such a risk. The captain,, too, urged him not to attempt it. ' You will only lead us all to certain death,' he said. ' Pray anchor nearer land, and I will then seek a kind fairy I know, who has always been most obliging to me, and who will, I am sure, try to help your Highness.'
The prince rather unwillingly listened to reason. He landed at the nearest point, and sent off the captain in all haste to beg the fairy's advice and help. Meantime he had a tent pitched on the shore, and spent all his time gazing at the tower and looking for the princess through his spy-glass.
After a few days the captain came back, bringing the fairy with him. The prince was delighted to see her, and paid her great attention. ' I have heard about this matter,' she said; ' and, to lose no time, I am going to send off a trusty pigeon to test the enchantment. If there is any weak spot he is sure to find it out and get in. I shall bid him bring a flower back as a sign of success, and if he does so I quite hope to get you in too.'
' But,' asked the prince, ' could I not send a line by the pigeon to tell the princess of my love?'
' Certainly,' replied the fairy, ' it would be a very good plan.'
So the prince wrote as follows : —
' Lovely Princess, — I adore you, and beg you to accept my heart, and to believe there is nothing I will not do to end your misfortunes. — Blondel.'
This note was tied round the pigeon's neck, and he