THE ENCHANTED CANARY
' My faith! ' cried Tubby; ' do you want to marry a negress, and give me grandchildren as ugly as monkeys and as stupid as owls ?'
' No, father, nothing of the sort. But there must be women somewhere in the world who are neither pink nor white, and I tell you, once for all, that I will never marry until I have found one exactly to my taste.'
Some time afterwards, it happened that the Prior of the Abbey of Saint Amand sent to the Lord of Avesnes a basket of oranges, with a beautifully-written letter saying that these golden fruit, then unknown in Flanders, came straight from a land where the sun always shone.
That evening Tubby and his son ate the golden apples at supper, and thought them delicious.
Next morning as the day dawned, Desire went down to the stable and saddled his pretty white horse. Then he went, all dressed for a journey, to the bedside of Tubby, and found him smoking his first pipe.
' Father,' he said gravely, ' I have come to bid you farewell. Last night I dreamed that I was walking in a wood, where the trees were covered with golden apples. I gathered one of them, and when I opened it there came out a lovely princess with a golden skin. That is the wife I want, and I am going to look for her.'
The Lord of Avesnes was so much astonished that he let his pipe fall to the ground ; then he became so diverted at the notion of his son marrying a yellow woman, and a woman shut up inside an orange, that he burst into fits of laughter.
Desire" waited to bid him good-bye until he was quiet again ; but as his father went on laughing and showed no signs of stopping, the young man took his hand, kissed it tenderly, opened the door, and in the twinkling of an eye was at the bottom of the staircase. He jumped lightly on his horse, and was a mile from home before Tubby had ceased laughing.
' A yellow wife ! He must be mad! fit for a strait waistcoat! ' cried the good man, when he was able to speak. ' Here ! quick ! bring him back to me.'
The servants mounted their horses and rode after the Prince; but as they did not know which road he had taken, they went all