282 PRINCESS MINON-MINETTE
from her as to his conduct, or, airway, to have the pleasure of talking about Minon-Minette.
He found her spinning in an underground chamber, but quite ready to tell him all he wanted to know. In answer to his questions he learned that in order to win the hand of the princess it was not enough to be born a prince, for she would marry nobody who had not proved himself faithful, and had, besides, all those talents and accomplishments which help to make people happy.
For a moment Souci was very much cast down on hearing this, but then he plucked up. ' Tell me what I must do in order to win the heart of the princess, and no matter how hard it is I will do it. And show me how I can repay you for your kindness, and you shall have anything I can give 37ou. Shall I bring in your bundle of faggots every day?'
' It is enough that you should have made the offer,' replied the old woman; and she added, holding out a skein of thread, ' Take this; one day you will be thankful for it, and when it becomes useless your difficulties will be past.'
' Is it the skein of my life?' he asked.
' It is the skein of your love's ill-luck,' she said.
And he took it and went away.
Now the fairy Girouette, who had brought up Souci, had an old friend called Grimace, the protectress of Prince Fluet. Grimace often talked over the young prince's affairs with Girouette, and, when she decided that he was old enough to govern his own kingdom, consulted Girouette as to a suitable wife. Girouette, who never stopped to think or to make inquiries, drew such a delightful picture of Minon-Minette that Grimace determined to spare no pains to bring about the marriage, and accordingly Fluet was presented at court. But though the young man was pleasant and handsome, the princess thought him rather wromanish in some ways, and displayed her opinion so openly as to draw upon herself and Aveline