GRACIOSA AND PERCINET
' Rubbish, do you call it, Madam Grumbly? ' cried the King. ' Rubbish ! why there is enough there to buy ten kingdoms.'
' Well,' said she, ' you must know that all those casks are full of gold and jewels, and if you like to marry me it shall all be yours.'
Now the King loved money more than anything else in the world, so he cried joyfully :
' Marry you ? why with all my heart! to-morrow if you like.'
' But I make one condition,' said the Duchess ; ' I must have entire control of your daughter to do as I please with her.'
I Oh certainly, you shall have your own way; let us shake hands upon the bargain,' said the King.
So they shook hands and went up out of the cellar of treasure together, and the Duchess locked the door and gave the key to the King.
Wlien he got back to bis own palace Graciosa ran out to meet him, and asked if he had had good sport.
II have caught a dove,' answered he.
' Oh ! do give it to me,' said the Princess, ' and I will keep it and take care of it.'
' I can hardly do that,' said he, ' for, to speak more plainly, I mean that I met the Duchess Grumbly, and have promised to marry her.'
' And you call her a dove ? ' cried the Princess. ' I should have called her a screech owl.'
' Hold your tongue,' said the King, very crossly. ' I intend you to behave prettily to her. So now go and make yourself fit to be seen, as I am going to take you to visit her.'
So the Princess went very sorrowfully to her own room, and her nurse, seeing her tears, asked what was vexing her.
' Alas! who would not be vexed ? ' answered she, ' for the King intends to marry again, and has chosen for his new bride my enemy, the hideous Duchess Grumbly.'
' Oh, well! ' answered the nurse, ' you must remember that you are a Princess, and are expected to set a good example in making the best of whatever happens. You must promise me not to let the Duchess see how much you dislike her.'
At first the Princess would not promise, but the nurse showed her so many good reasons for it that in the end she agreed to be amiable to her step-mother.
Then the nurse dressed her in a robe of pale green and gold