THE PRINCESS MAYBLOSSOM
When he saw that she came empty-handed he got up and left her, grumbling to himself.
The next day they searched again, but with no better success.
f Alas !' said the Princess, ' if only I could find something for you to eat, I should not mind being hungry myself.'
' No, I should not mind that either,' answered Fanfaronade.
' Is it possible,' said she, ' that you would not care if I died of hunger ? Oh, Fanfaronade, you said you loved me !'
' That was when we were in quite another place and I was not hungry,' said he. ' It makes a great difference in one's ideas to be dying of hunger and thirst on a desert island.'
At this the Princess was dreadfully vexed, and she sat down under a white rose bush and began to cry bitterly.
' Happy roses,' she thought to herself,' they have only to blossom in the sunshine and be admired, and there is nobody to be unkind to them.' And the tears ran down her cheeks and splashed on to the rose-tree roots. Presently she was surprised to see the whole bush rustling and shaking, and a soft little voice from the prettiest rosebud said :
' Poor Princess ! look in the trunk of that tree, and you will find a honeycomb, but don't be foolish enough to share it with Fanfaronade.'
Mayblossom ran to the tree, and sure enough there was the honey. Without losing a moment she ran with it to Fanfaronade, crying gaily :
' See, here is a honeycomb that I have found. I might have eaten it up all by myself, but I had rather share it with you.'
But without looking at her or thanking her he snatched the honeycomb out of her hands and ate it all up—every bit, without offering her a morsel. Indeed, when she humbly asked for some he said mockingly that it was too sweet for her, and would spoil her teeth.
Mayblossom, more downcast than ever, went sadly away and sat down under an oak tree, and her tears and sighs were so piteous that the oak fanned her with his rustling leaves, and said :
' Take courage, pretty Princess, all is not lost yet. Take this pitcher of milk and drink it up, and whatever you do, don't leave a drop for Fanfaronade.'
The Princess, quite astonished, looked round, and saw a big pitcher full of milk, but before she could raise it to her lips the thought of how thirsty Fanfaronade must be, after eating at least fifteen pounds of honey, made her run back to him and say :