STRANGE ADVENTURES OF LITTLE MAIA 133
the whole day singing to herself, in a language of her own, that nobody else could understand.
For some weeks the two lived together and never grew tired of each other's society, and then a terrible misfortune happened. One night, when the foster-mother lay sound asleep after a hard day's work, a big, ugly, wet frog hopped in through the open window and stood staring at Maia under her quilt of rose leaves.
' Dear me! that is quite a pretty little girl,' thought the frog to herself; ' she would make a nice wife for my son.' And picking up the walnut cradle in her mouth, she hopped with it to the edge of a stream which ran through the garden.
' Come and see what I have brought you,' called the old frog, when she reached her home in the mud.
' Croak ! croak ! croak !' uttered the son, gazing with pleasure at the sleeping child.
' Hush ; don't make such a noise or you will wake her!' whispered the motber. 'I mean her to be a wife for you, and while we are preparing for the wedding we will set her on that water-lily leaf in the middle of the brook, so that she may not be able to run away from us.'
It was on this green floating prison that Maia awoke, frightened and puzzled, with the first rays of the sun. She stood up straight on the leaf, looking about her for a way of escape, and, finding none, she sat down again and began to weep bitterly. At length her sobs were heard by the old frog, who was busy in her house at the bottom of the marsh, twisting rushes into a soft carpet for Maia's feet, and twining reeds and grapes over the doorway, to make it look pretty for the bride.
' Ah! the poor child feels lost and unhappy,' she thought pitifully, for her heart was kind. ' Well, I have just done, and then my son and I will go to fetch her. When she sees how handsome he is she will be all