THE STORY OF CICCU 347
tell anything about his adventures, only saying grimly, ' Now it is Ciccu's turn.'
Ciccu had to wait a little before he gathered the last figs on the tree, and these were not nearly so good as the first set. However, he plucked them, so they had agreed, and set out for the king's palace. The old man was still on the road, and he came up and said to Ciccu, ' What have you got in that basket ?'
' Figs for the king,' answered he.
'Let me have a peep,' and Ciccu lifted the lid. 'Oh, do give me one, I am so fond of figs,' begged the little man.
' I am afraid if I do that the hole will show,' replied Ciccu, but as he was very good-natured he gave him one. The old man ate it greedily and kept the stalk in his hand, and then asked for another and another and another till he had eaten half the basketful. ' But there are not enough left to take to the king,' murmured Ciccu.
'Don't be anxious,' said the old man, throwing the stalks back into the basket; 'just go on and carry the basket to the castle, and it will bring you luck.'
Ciccu did not much like it; however, he went on his way, and with a trembling heart rang the castle bell. ' Here are some lovely figs for the king,' said he, ' if his majesty will graciously accept them with my humble duty.'
When the king was told that there was another man with a basket of figs he cried out, 'Oh, have him in, have him in ! I suppose it is a wager!' But Ciccu uncovered the basket, and there lay a pile of beautiful ripe figs. And the king was delighted, and emptied them himself on the silver dish, and gave live llorins to Ciccu, and offered besides to take him into his service. Cieeu accepted gratefully, but said he must first return home and give the live florins to his brothers.
When he got home Peppe spoke: '.Now we will see what we each have got from the king. I myself received from him fifty lashes.'
' And I a hundred and fifty,' added Allin.