THE ENCHANTED CANARY
The traveller having recovered, mounted his horse, and at the first streak of dawn he saw a stream dancing in front of him, and stooped down and drank his fill.
He hardly had courage to open his last orange. Then he remembered that the night before he had disobeyed the orders of the old man. Perhaps his terrible thirst was a trick of the cunning witch, and suppose, even though he opened the orange on the banks of the stream, that he did not find in it the princess that he sought ?
He took his knife and cut it open. Alas! out of it flew a little canary, just like the others, who cried :
' I am thirsty; give me something to drink.'
Great was the disappointment of Desire. However, he was determined not to let this bird fly away ; so he took up some water in the palm of his hand and held it to its beak.
Scarcely had the canary drunk when she became a beautiful girl, tall and straight as a poplar tree, with black eyes and a golden skin. Desire had never seen anyone half so lovely, and he stood gazing at her in delight.
On her side she seemed quite bewildered, but she looked about her with happy eyes, and was not at all afraid of her deliverer.
He asked her name. She answered that she was called the Prmcess Zizi; she was about sixteen years old, and for ten years of that time the witch had kept her shut up in an orange, in the shape of a canary.
'Well, then, my charming Zizi,' said the young Prince, who was longing to marry her, 'let us ride away quickly so as to escape from the wicked witch.'
But Zizi wished to know where he meant to take her.
' To my father's castle,' he said.
He mounted his horse and took her in front of him, and, holding her carefully in his arms, they began their journey.
Everything the Princess saw was new to her, and in passing through mountains, valleys, and towns, she asked a thousand questions. Desire was charmed to answer them. It is so delightful to teach those one loves !
Once she inquired what the girls in his country were like.
' They are pink and white,' he replied, ' and their eyes are blue.'