THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 103
daughter,' said the queen, ' is ten years old, you are to hand it over to her, but warn her solemnly that her whole future happiness depends on the way she guards it. About my son, I have no fears. He is the heir of the kingdom, and his father will look after him.' The lady-in-waiting promised to carry out the queen's directions, and above all to keep the affair a secret. And that same morning the queen died.
After some years the king married again, but he did not love his second wife as he had done his first, and had only married her for reasons of ambition. She hated her step-children, and the king, seeing this, kept them out of the way, under the care of Dotterine's old nurse. But if they ever strayed across the path of the queen, she would kick them out of her sight like dogs.
On Dotterine's tenth birthday her nurse handed her over the cradle, and repeated to her her mother's dying words; but the child was too young to understand the value of such a gift, and at first thought little about it.
Two more years slipped by, when one day during the king's absence the stepmother found Dotterine sitting under a lime tree. She fell as usual into a passion, and beat the child so badly that Dotterine went staggering to her own room. Her nurse was not there, but suddenly, as she stood weeping, her eyes fell upon the golden case in which lay the precious basket. She thought it might contain something to amuse her, and looked eagerly inside, but nothing was there save a handful of wool and two empty eggshells. Very much disappointed, she lifted the wool, and there lay the goose's wing. ' What old rubbish,' said the child to herself, and, turning, threw the wing out of the open window.
In a moment a beautiful lady stood beside her. ' Do not be afraid,' said the lady, stroking Dotterine's head. ' I am your godmother, and have come to pay you a visit. Your red eyes tell me that you are unhappy. I know