238 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE
and talk to her husband about it. She gathered up hei baskets, told Jem to follow her, and went straight to the cobbler's stall.
' Look here,' said she, ' this creatnre says he is our lost son. He has been telling me how he was stolen seven years ago, and bewitched by a fairy.'
' Indeed !' interrupted the cobbler angrily. ' Did he tell you this? Wait a minute, you rascal! Why I told him all about it myself only an hour ago, and then he goes off to humbug you. So you were bewitched, my son were you ? Wait a bit, and I'll bewitch you !'
So saying, he caught up a bundle of straps, and hit out at Jem so hard that he ran off crying.
The poor little dwarf roamed about all the rest of the day without food or drink, and at night was glad to lie down and sleep on the steps of a church. He woke next morning with the first rays of light, and began to think what he could do to earn a living. Suddenly he remembered that he was an excellent cook, and he determined to look out for a place.
As soon as it was quite daylight he set out for the palace, for he knew that the grand duke who reigned over the country was fond of good things.
When he reached the palace all the servants crowded about him, and made fun of him, and at last their shouts and laughter grew so loud that the head steward rushed out, crying, ' For goodness sake, be quiet, can't you. Don't you know his highness is still asleep ?'
Some of the servants ran off at once, and others pointed out Jem. Indeed, the steward found it hard to keep himself from laughing at the comic sight, but he ordered the servants off and led the dwarf into his own room.
When he heard him ask for a place as cook, he said: ' You make some mistake, my lad. I think you want to be the grand duke's dwarf, don't you ? '
' No, sir,' replied Jem. ' I am an experienced cook,