THE GREEN KNIGHT
the other's rags and let down her hair, and went to the kitchen to ask for a place.
' Do you want a kitchen-maid ? ' she said.
' Yes, we do,' answered the cook, who was too busy to ask the new-comer many questions.
The following day, after a good night's rest, the princess set about her new duties. The other servants were speaking of their master, and saying to each other how ill he was, and that unless he could be cured within three days he would surely die.
The princess thought of the snakes, and the bird's advice, and lifting her head from the pots and pans she was scouring, she said : ' I know how to make a soup that has such a wonderful power that whoever tastes it is sure to be cured, whatever his illness may be. As the doctors cannot cure your master shall I try ?'
At first they all laughed at her.
' What! a scullion cure the knight when the best physicians in the kingdom have failed ? '
But at last, just because all the physicians had failed, they decided that it would do no harm to try ; and she ran off joyfully to fetch her basket of snakes and make them into broth. When this was ready she carried some to the knight's room and entered it boldly, pushing aside all the learned doctors who stood beside his bed. The poor knight was too ill to know her, besides, she was so ragged and dirty that he would not have been likely to do so had he been well; but when he had taken the soup he was so much better that he was able to sit up.
The next day he had some more, and then he was able to dress himself.
' That is certainly wonderful soup !' said the cook.
The third day, after he had eaten his soup, the knight was quite well again.
' Who are you ? ' he asked the girl; ' was it you who made this soup that has cured me ?'
' Yes,' answered the princess.