THE WHITE DOE
though the spiteful fairy had taken away her power of speech, she had not deprived her of her reason!
All day long the two remained together, and when Eglantine grew hungry she was led by the white doe to a part of the forest where pears and peaches grew in abundance; but, as night came on, the maid of honour was filled with the terrors of wild beasts which had beset the princess during her first night in the forest.
'Is there no hut or cave we could go into?' asked she. But the doe only shook her head; and the two sat down and wept with fright.
The fairy Tulip who, in spite of her anger, was very softhearted, was touched at their distress, and flew quickly to their help.
'I cannot take away the spell altogether,' she said, 'for the Fairy of the Fountain is stronger than I; but I can shorten the time of your punishment, and am able to make it less hard, for as soon as darkness falls you shall resume your own shape.'
To think that by-and-by she would cease to be a white doe — indeed, that she would at once cease to be one during the night — was for the present joy enough for De'sire'e, and she skipped about on the grass in the prettiest manner.
'Go straight down the path in front of you,' continued the fairy, smiling as she watched her; 'go straight down the path and you will soon reach a little hut where you will find shelter.' And with these words she vanished, leaving her hearers happier than they ever thought they could be again.
An old woman was standing at the door of the hut when Eglantine drew near, with the white doe trotting by her side.
'Good evening!' she said; 'could you give me a night's lodging for myself and my doe?'
'Certainly I can,' replied the old woman. And she led them into a room with two little white beds, so