252 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY
'That is the very thing,' shouted the frog, jumping high into the air; and so it was settled.
The princess Muffette was about six months old when the frog noticed that the queen had begun to grow sad again.
'Why do you have that look in your eyes?' she asked one day, when she had come in to play with the baby, who could now crawl.
The way they played their game was to let Muffette creep close to the frog, and then for the frog to bound high into the air and alight on the child's head, or back, or legs, when she always set up a shout of pleasure. There is no playfellow like a frog; but then it must be a fairy frog, or else you might hurt it, and if you did something dreadful might happen to you. Well, as I have said, our frog was struck with the queen's sad face, and lost no time in asking her what was the reason.
'I don't see what you have to complain of now; Muffette is quite well and quite happy, and even the Lion Fairy is kind to her when she sees her. What is it?'
'Oh! if her father could only see her!' broke forth the queen, clasping her hands. 'Or if I could only tell him all that has happened since we parted. But they will have brought him tidings of the broken carriage, and he will have thought me dead, or devoured by wild beasts. And though he will mourn for me long — I know that well — yet in time they will persuade him to take a wife, and she will be young and fair, and he will forget me.'
And in all this the queen guessed truly, save that nine long years were to pass before he would consent to put another in her place.
The frog answered nothing at the time, but stopped her game and hopped away among the cypress trees. Here she sat and thought and thought, and the next morning she went back to the queen and said:
'I have come, madam, to make you an offer. Shall