214 THE BILLY GOAT AND THE KING
consented ; so they dismounted and sat down in the shade by the well-side to rest.
It happened that an old goat and his wife were browsing in the neighbourhood, and, as the king and queen sat there, the nanny goat came to the well's brink and peering over saw some lovely green leaves that sprang in tender shoots out of the side of the well.
' Oh !' cried she to her husband, ' come quickly and look. Here are some leaves which make my mouth water; come and get them for me !'
Then the billy goat sauntered up and looked over, and after that he eyed his wife a little crossly.
' You expect me to get you those leaves, do you ? I suppose you don't consider how in the world I am to reach them ? You don't seem to think at all; if you did you would know that if I tried to reach those leaves I should fall into the well and be drowned !'
' Oh,' cried the nanny goat, ' why should you fall in ? Do try and get them !'
' I am not going to be so silly,' replied the billy goat.
But the nanny goat still wept and entreated.
' Look here,' said her husband, ' there are plenty of fools in the world, but I am not one of them. This silly king here, because he can't cure his wife of asking questions, is going to throw his life away. But I know how to cure you of your follies, and I'm going to.'
And with that he butted the nanny goat so severely that in two minutes she was submissively feeding somewhere else, and had made up her mind that the leaves in the well were not worth having.
Then the king, who had understood every word, laughed once more.
The queen looked at him suspiciously, but the king got up and walked across to where she sat.
' Are you still determined to find out what I was laughing at the other day ? ' he asked.