GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 323
The old emperor, who had got back long since, came to the door to meet her, and touching her shining-armour, he said, ' Did I not tell you, my child, that flies do not make honey ?'
The days passed on, and one morning the second princess implored her father to allow her to try the adventure in which her sister had made such a failure. He listened unwillingly, feeling sure it was no use, but she begged so hard that in the end he consented, and having chosen her arms, she rode away.
But though, unlike her sister, she was quite prepared for the appearance of the wolf when she reached the copper bridge, she showed no greater courage, and galloped home as fast as her horse could carry her. On the steps of the castle her father was standing, and as still trembling with fright she knelt at his feet, he said gently, 'Did I not tell you, my child, that every bird is not caught in a net?'
The three girls stayed quietly in the palace for a little while, embroidering, spinning, weaving, and tending their birds and flowers, when early one morning, the youngest princess entered the door of the emperor's private apartments. ' My father, it is my turn now. Perhaps I shall get the better of that wolf!'
' What, do you think you are braver than your sisters, vain little one? You who have hardly left your long-clothes behind you! ' but she did not mind being laughed at, and answered,
'For your sake, father, I would cut the devil himself into small bits, or even become a devil myself. I think I shall succeed, but if I fail, I shall come home without more shame than my sisters.'
Still the emperor hesitated, but the girl petted and coaxed him till at last he said,
' Well, well, if you must go. you must. It remains to