THE LITTLE GOOD MOUSE
Then the poor little Princess, shaking with terror, went down on her knees, crying:
' Oh, don't tar and feather me, please ! It would be so uncomfortable. Let me have two or three days to make up my mind, and then you shall do as you like with me.'
The wicked Prince would have liked very much to see her tarred and feathered, but the King ordered that she should be shut up in a dark dungeon. It was just at this moment that the Queen and the Fairy arrived in the flying chariot, and the Queen was dreadfully distressed at the turn affairs had taken, and said miserably that she was destined to be unfortunate all her days. But the Fairy bade her take courage.
' I'll pay them out yet,' said she, nodding her head with an air of great determination.
That very same night, as soon as the wicked King had gone to bed, the Fairy changed herself into the little mouse, and creeping up on to his pillow nibbled his ear, so that he squealed out quite loudly and turned over on his other side ; but that was no good, for the little mouse only set to work and gnawed away at the second ear until it hurt more than the first one.
Then the King cried ' Murder!' and ' Thieves ! ' and all his guards ran to see what was the matter, but they could find nothing and nobody, for the little mouse had run off to the Prince's room and was serving him in exactly the same way. All night long she ran from one to the other, until at last, driven quite frantic by terror and want of sleep, the King rushed out of the palace crying :
' Help ! help ! I am pursued by rats.'
The Prince when he heard this got up also, and ran after the King, and they had not gone far when they both fell into the river and were never heard of again.
Then the good Fairy ran to tell the Queen, and they went together to the black dungeon where Delicia was imprisoned. The Fairy touched each door with her wand, and it sprang open instantly, but they had to go through forty before they came to the Princess, who was sitting on the floor looking very dejected. But when the Queen rushed in, and kissed her twenty times in a minute, and laughed, and cried, and told Delicia all her history, the Princess was wild with delight. Then the Fairy showed her all the wonderful dresses and jewels she had brought for her, and said :
' Don't let us waste time; we must go and harangue the people.' So she walked first, looking very serious and dignified, and