THE WHITE SLIPPER
would seek out her father, and together they would consult over the best means of giving help to those who needed it.
But what has all this to do with the White Slipper? my readers will ask.
Have patience, and you will see.
Next to his daughter, Balancin loved hunting, and it was his custom to spend several mornings every week chasing the boars which abounded in the mountains a few miles from the city. One day, rushing downhill as fast as he could go, he put his foot into a hole and fell, rolling into a rocky pit full of brambles. The king's wounds were not very severe, but his face and hands were cut and torn, while his feet were in a worse plight still, for, instead of proper hunting boots, he only wore sandals, to enable him to run more swiftly.
In a few days the king was as well as ever, and the signs of the scratches were almost gone; but one foot still remained very sore, where a thorn had pierced deeply and had festered. The best doctors in the kingdom treated it with all their skill; they bathed, and poulticed, and bandaged, but it was in vain. The foot only grew worse and worse, and became daily more swollen and painful.
After everyone had tried his own particular cure, and found it fail, there came news of a wonderful doctor in some distant land who had healed the most astonishing diseases. On inquiring, it was found that he never left the walls of his own city, and expected his patients to come to see him ; but, by dint of offering a large sum of money, the king persuaded the famous physician to undertake the journey to his own court.
On his arrival the doctor was led at once into the king's presence, and made a careful examination of his foot.
'Alas! your majesty,' he said, when he had finished, 'the wound is beyond the power of man to heal; but