280 PRINCESS MINON-MINETTE
all in vain. After a time he began to get hungry, so he decided that he had better try to find his way out of the forest, and perhaps he might have a chance of getting something to eat. He had only gone a few steps when he met Aveline, who had taken the shape of an old woman with a heavy bundle of faggots on her back. She staggered along the path and almost fell at his feet, and Souci, afraid that she might have hurt herself, picked her up and set her on her feet again before passing on his way. But he was not to be let off so easy.
'What about my bundle?' cried the old woman. 'Where is your politeness? Really, you seem to have been very nicely brought up! What have they taught you?'
' Taught me? Nothing,' replied he.
' I can well believe it!' she said. ' You don't know even how to pick up a bundle. Oh, you can come near; I am cleverer than you, and know how to pick up a bundle very well.'
The kino- blushed at her words, which he felt had a great deal of truth in them, and took up the bundle meekly.
Aveline, delighted at the success of her first experiment, hobbled along after him, chattering all the while, as old women do.
' I wish,' she said, ' that all kings had done as much once in their lives. Then they would know what a lot of trouble it takes to get wood for their fires.'
Souci felt this to be true, and was sorry for the old woman.
' Where are we going to? ' asked he.
' To the castle of the White Demon; and if you are in want of work I will find you something to do.'
' But I can't do anything,' he said, ' except cany a bundle, and I shan't earn much by that.'
' Oh, you are learning,' replied the old woman, ' and it is n't bad for a first lesson.' But the king was paying very