THE WHITE DOE
that, after staggering a few steps under her weight, he laid her down, and tied her fast to a tree with some of the ribbons off his hat. This done he went away to get help.
Meanwhile Eglantine had grown very uneasy at the long absence of her mistress, and had come out to look for her. Just as the prince passed out of sight the fluttering ribbons danced before her eyes, and she descried her beautiful princess bound to a tree. With all her might she worked at the knots, but not a single one could she undo, though all appeared so easy. She was still busy with them when a voice behind her said:
'Pardon me, fair lady, but it is my doe you are trying to steal!'
'Excuse me, good knight,' answered Eglantine, hardly glancing at him, 'but it is my doe that is tied up here! And if you wish for a proof of it, you can see if she knows me or not. Touch my heart, my little one,' she continued, dropping on her knees. And the doe lifted up its fore-foot and laid it on her side. 'Now put your arms round my neck, and sigh.' And again the doe did as she was bid.
'You are right,' said the prince; 'but it is with sorrow I give her up to you, for though I have wounded her yet I love her deeply.'
To this Eglantine answered nothing; but carefully raising up the doe, she led her slowly to the hut.
Now both the prince and Becasigue were quite unaware that the old woman had any guests besides themselves, and, following afar, were much surprised to behold Eglantine and her charge enter the cottage. They lost no time in questioning the old woman, who replied that she knew nothing about the lady and her white doe, who slept next the chamber occupied by the prince and his friend, but that they were very quiet, and paid her well. Then she went back to her kitchen.
'Do you know,' said Becasigue, when they were alone,