THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 24?
She might have continued for long in this fashion had not the voice of a crow directly overhead attracted her attention. Looking up to see what was the matter she beheld, in the dim light, a crow holding a fat frog in his claws, which he evidently intended for his supper. The queen rose hastily from the seat, and striking the bird sharply on the claws with the fan which hung from her side, she forced him to drop the frog, which fell to the ground more dead than alive. The crow, furious at his disappointment, flew angrily away.
As soon as the frog had recovered her senses she hopped up to the queen, who was still sitting under the yew. Standing on her hind legs, and bowing low before her, she said gently:
'Beautiful lady, by what mischance do you come here? You are the only creature that I have seen do a kind deed since a fatal curiosity lured me to this place.'
'What sort of a frog can you be that knows the language of mortals?' asked the queen in her turn. 'But if you do, tell me, I pray, if I alone am a captive, for hitherto I have beheld no one but the monsters of the lake.'
'Once upon a time they were men and women like yourself,' answered the frog, 'but having power in their hands, they used it for their own pleasure. Therefore fate has sent them here for a while to bear the punishment of their misdoings.'
'But you, friend frog, you are not one of these wicked people, I am sure ?' asked the queen.
T am half a fairy,' replied the frog; 'but, although I have certain magic gifts, I am not able to do all I wish. And if the Lion Fairy were to know of my presence in her kingdom she would hasten to kill me.'
'But if you are a fairy, how was it that you were so nearly slain by the crow?' said the queen, wrinkling her forehead.
'Because the secret of my power lies in my little cap