304 THE FOUR GIFTS
dance,' she said; ' it is because Azilicz of Penenru will be there.'
Now Azilicz was the loveliest girl for miles round, and she and Denis had known each other from childhood.
' Oh yes, Azilicz will be there,' answered Denis, who was quite pleased to see her jealous, ' and naturally one would go a long way to watch her dance.'
' Go then !' cried Tephany, and entering the house she slammed the door behind her.
Lonely and miserable she sat down by the fire and stared into the red embers. Then, flinging the feather from her hair, she put her head on her hands, and sobbed passionately.
' What is the use of being clever when it is beauty that men want ? That is what I ought to have asked for. But it is too late, Denis will never come back.'
' Since you wish it so much you shall have beauty,' said a voice at her side, and looking round she beheld the old woman leaning on her stick.
' Fasten this necklace round your neck, and as long as you wear it you will be the most beautiful woman in the world,' continued the fairy. With a little shriek of joy Tephany took the necklace, and snapping the clasp ran to the mirror which hung in the corner. Ah, this time she was not afraid of Azilicz or of any other girl, for surely none could be as fair and white as she. And with the sight of her face a thought came to her, and putting on hastily her best dress and her buckled shoes she hurried off to the dance.
On the way she met a beautiful carriage with a young man seated in it.
' What a lovely maiden !' he exclaimed, as Tephany approached, ' Why, there is not a girl in my own country that can be compared to her. She, and no other, shall be my bride.'
The carriage was large and barred the narrow road,