THE WHITE DOE
a little old woman smartly dressed in white and crimson with green ribbons in her grey hair. And, wonderful to say, not a drop of water fell from her clothes.
The old woman ran lightly down a path along which the queen had been a hundred times before, but it seemed so different she could hardly belive it was the same. Instead of having to push her way through nettles and brambles, roses and jasmine hung about her head, while under her feet the ground was sweet with violets. The orange trees were so tall and thick that, even at mid-day, the sun was never too hot, and at the end of the path was a glimmer of something so dazzling that the queen had to shade her eyes, and peep at it only between her fingers.
'What can it be?' she asked, turning to her guide; who answered:
'Oh, that is the fairies' palace, and here are some of them coming to meet us.'
As she spoke the gates swung back and six fairies ap-approached, each bearing in her hand a flower made of precious stones, but so like a real one that it was only by touching you could tell the difference.
'Madam,' they said, 'we know not how to thank you for this mark of your confidence, but have the happiness to tell you that in a short time you will have a little daughter.'
The queen was so enchanted at this news that she nearly fainted with joy; but when she was able to speak, she poured out all her gratitude to the fairies for their promised gift.
'And now,' she said, 'I ought not to stay any longer, for my husband will think that I have run away, or that some evil beast has devoured me.'
In a little while it happened just as the fairies had foretold, and a baby girl was born in the palace. Of course both the king and queen were delighted, and the child