THE LITTLE GOOD MOUSE
The Turkey-maiden answered proudly :
' I never will marry you! you are too ugly and too much like your cruel father. Leave me in peace with my turkeys, which I like far better than all your fine gifts.'
The little mouse watched her with the greatest admiration, for she was as beautiful as the spring; and as soon as the wicked Prince was gone, she took the form of an old peasant woman and said to her:
' Good-day, my pretty one! you have a fine flock of turkeys there.'
The young Turkey-maiden turned her gentle eyes upon the old woman, and answered :
' Yet they wish me to leave them to become a miserable Queen ! what is your advice upon the matter ? '
' My child,' said the Fairy, ' a crown is a very pretty thing, but you know neither the price nor the weight of it.'
' I know so well that I have refused to wear one,' said the little maiden, ' though I don't know who was my father, or who was my mother, and I have not a friend in the world.'
' You have goodness and beauty, which are of more value than ten kingdoms,' said the wise Fairy. ' But tell me, child, how came you here, and how is it you have neither father, nor mother, nor friend ? '
' A Fairy called Cancaline is the cause of my being here,' answered she, ' for while I lived with her I got nothing but blows and harsh words, until at last I could bear it no longer, and ran away from her without knowing where I was going, and as I came through a wood the wicked Prince met me, and offered to give me charge of the poultry-yard. I accepted gladly, not knowing that I should have to see him day by day. And now he wants to marry me, but that I will never consent to.'
Upon hearing this the Fairy became convinced that the little Turkey-maiden was none other than the Princess Delicia.
' What is your name, my little one ? ' said she.
' I am called Delicia, if it please you,' she answered.
Then the Fairy threw her arms round the Princess's neck, and nearly smothered her with kisses, saying :
' Ah, Delicia ! I am a very old friend of yours, and I am truly glad to find you at last; but you might look nicer than you do in that old gown, which is only fit for a kitchen-maid. Take this pretty dress and let us see the difference it will make.'