THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 239
and if you will kindly take me to the head cook he may find me of some use.'
' Well, as you will; but believe me, you would have an easier place as the grand ducal dwarf.'
So saying, the head steward led him to the head cook's room.
' Sir,' asked Jem, as he bowed till his nose nearly touched the floor, ' do you want an experienced cook ?'
The head cook looked him over from head to foot, and burst out laughing.
' You a cook! Do you suppose our cooking stoves are so low that you can look into any saucepan on them ? Oh, my dear little fellow, whoever sent you to me wanted to make fun of you.'
But the dwarf was not to be put off.
'What matters an extra egg or two, or a little butter or flour and spice more or less, in such a house as this?' said he. ' Name any dish you wish to have cooked, and give me the materials I ask for, and you shall see.'
He said much more, and at last persuaded the head cook to give him a trial.
They went into the kitchen — a huge place with at least twenty fireplaces, always alight. A little stream of clear water ran through the room, and live fish were kept at one end of it. Everything in the kitchen was of the best and most beautiful kind, and swarms of cooks and scullions were busy preparing dishes.
When the head cook came in with Jem everyone stood quite still.
' What has his highness ordered for luncheon ?' asked the head cook.
' Sir, his highness has graciously ordered a Danish soup and red Hamburg dumplings.'
' Good,' said the head cook. ' Have you heard, and do you feel equal to making these dishes ? Not that you will be able to make the dumplings, for they are a secret receipt.'