174 GRACIOSA AND PERCINET
the stone was lifted high enough, she gave the Princess a push which sent her down to the bottom of the well, and then the stone was let fall again, and there she was a prisoner. Graciosa felt that now indeed she was hopelessly lost, surely not even Percinet could find her in the heart of the earth.
' This is like being buried alive,' she said with a shudder. ' Oh, Percinet! if you only knew how I am suffering for my want of trust in you ! But how could I be sure that you would not be like other men and tire of me from the moment you were sure I loved you ?'
As she spoke she suddenly saw a little door open, and the sunshine blazed into the dismal well. Graciosa did not hesitate an instant, but passed through into a charming garden. Flowers and fruit grew on every side, foimtains plashed, and birds sang in the branches overhead, and when she reached a great avenue of trees and looked up to see where it would lead her, she found herself close to the palace of crystal. Yes ! there was no mistaking it, and the Queen and Percinet were coming to meet her.
' Ah, Princess ! ' said the Queen, ' don't keep this poor Percinet in suspense any longer. You little guess the anxiety he has Buffered while you were in the power of that miserable Queen.'
The Princess kissed her gratefully, and promised to do as she wished in everything, and holding out her hand to Percinet, with a smile, she said:
' Do you remember telling me that I should not see your palace again until I had been buried ? I wonder if you guessed then that, when that happened, I should tell you that I love you with all my heart, and will marry you whenever you like ? '
Prince Percinet joyfully took the hand that was given him, and, for fear the Princess should change her mind, the wedding was held at once with the greatest splendour, and Graciosa and Percinet lived happily ever after.1
1 O'racicute el I'ercinel. Mdiuc. d'Auliioy.