THE ONE-HANDED GIRL 203
and weak during his illness that his shoulders were bowed like those of an old man.
' Have you forgotten me so soon ? ' he asked.
At the sound of his voice they gave a cry and ran towards him, and poured out questions as to what had happened, and why he looked like that. But the prince did not answer any of them.
' How is my wife ? ' he said. There was a pause.
Then the queen replied :
' She is dead.'
' Dead ! ' he repeated, stepping a little backwards. ' And my child ? '
' He is dead too.'
The young man stood silent. Then he said, ' Show me their graves.'
At these wrords the king, who had been feeling rather uncomfortable, took heart again, for had he not prepared twro beautiful tombs for his son to see, so that he might never, never guess what had been done to his wife ? All these months the king and queen had been telling each other how good and merciful they had been not to take her brother's advice and to put her to death. But now, this somehow did not seem so certain.
Then the king led the way to the courtyard just behind the palace, and through the gate into a beautiful garden where stood two splendid tombs in a green space under the trees. The prince advanced alone, and, resting his head against the stone, he burst into tears. His father and mother stood silently behind with a curious pang in their souls which they did not quite understand. Could it be that they were ashamed of themselves ?
But after a while the prince turned round, and walking past them into the palace he bade the slaves bring him mourning. For seven days no one saw him, but at the end of them he went out hunting, and helped his father