THE GREEN KNIGHT
There lived once a king and queen who had an only daughter, a charming and beautiful girl, dearer to them than anything else in the world. When the princess was twelve years old the queen fell sick, and nothing that could be done for her was of any use. All the doctors in the kingdom did their best to cure her, but in spite of their efforts she grew worse and worse. As she was about to die, she sent for the king and said to him:
' Promise me that whatever our daughter asks, you will do, no matter whether you wish to or not.'
The king at first hesitated, but as she added :
' Unless you promise this I cannot die in peace,' he at length did as she desired, and gave the promise, after which she became quite happy and died.
It happened that near the king's palace lived a noble lady, whose little girl was of about the same age as the princess, and the two children were always together. After the queen's death the princess begged that this lady should come to live with her in the palace. The king was not quite pleased with this arrangement, for he distrusted the lady; but the princess wished so much for it that he did not like to refuse.
' I am lonely, father,' she said, ' and all the beautiful presents you give me cannot make up to me for the loss of my mother. If this lady comes to live here I shall almost feel as if the queen had come back to me.'
So a magnificent suite of rooms was prepared and set aside for the new-comers and the little princess was wild