THE SATIN SURGEON
Once upon a time there was a very rich and powerful king who, in spite of having been married several times, had only two daughters.
The elder was extremely plain—she squinted and was hunchbacked ; but at the same time she was very clever and amusing, so, though at heart both spiteful and untruthful, she was her father's favourite.
The younger princess, on the other hand, was both lovely and sweet-tempered, and those who knew her well could hardly say whether her charming face or pleasant manners wrere the more attractive.
The neighbouring country was governed by a young emperor, who, though not much over twenty years of age, had shown great courage in battle, and, had he wished it. might very likely have conquered the whole world. Luckily he preferred peace to war, and occupied his time with trying to rule his own kingdom well and wisely. His people were very anxious that he should marry, and as the two princesses were the only ladies to be heard of of suitable age and rank, the emperor sent envoys to their father's court to ask for the hand of one of them in marriage. But, as he was resolved only to marry a woman whom he could love and be happy with, he determined to see the lady himself before making up his mind. For this purpose he set out in disguise not long after the departure of his ambassadors, and arrived at the palace very soon after they did ; but as he had foolishly kept his plan secret, he