306 THE UNLOOKED-FOR PRINCE
So the prince returned sadly into his room, but the bee was there before him.
' Why do you look so melancholy, my handsome Prince ?'
' How can I help looking melancholy when your father has ordered me to make him a pair of boots ? Does he take me for a shoemaker?'
i What do you think of doing? '
' Not of making boots, at any rate ! I am not afraid of death. One can only die once after all.'
' No, Prince, you shall not die. I will try to save you. And we will fly together or die together.'
As she spoke she spat upon the ground, and then drawing the prince after her out of the room, she locked the door behind her and threw away the key. Holding each other tight by the hand, they made their way up into the sunlight, and found themselves by the side of the same sea, while the prince's horse was still quietly feeding in the neighbouring meadow. The moment he saw his master, the horse whinnied and galloped towards him. Without losing an instant the prince sprang into the saddle, swung the princess behind him, and away they went like an arrow from a bow.
When the hour arrived which Kostiei had fixed for the prince's last trial, and there were no signs of him, the king sent to his room to ask why he delayed so long. The servants, finding the door locked, knocked loudly and received for answer, ' In one moment.' It was the spittle, which was imitating the voice of the prince.
The answer was taken back to Kostiei'. He waited ; still no prince. He sent the servants back again, and the same voice replied, ' Immediately.'
' He is making fun of me!' shrieked Kostie'i in a rage. ' Break in the door, and bring him to me !'
The servants hurried to do his bidding. The door was broken open. Nobody inside ; but just the spittle in fits of laughter! Kostiei was beside himself with rage, and