"And so is that of a crown prince," answered Prigio ; " and mine is pledged to a lady."
" She shall be a mourning bride," cried the king savagely, " unless "—here he paused for a moment—"unless you bring me back Alphonso and Enrico, safe and well! "
The prince thought for the space of a flash of lightning.
" I accept the alternative," he said, " if your majesty will grant me my conditions."
" Name them ! " said the king.
" Let me be transported to Gluckstein, left there unguarded, and if, in three days, I do not return with my brothers safe and well, your majesty shall be spared a cruel duty. Prigic of Pantouflia will perish by his own hand."
The king, whose mind did not work very quickly, took some minutes to think over it. Then he saw that by granting the prince's conditions, he would either recover his dear sons, or, at least, get rid of Prigio, without the unpleasantness of having him executed. For, though some kings have put their eldest sons to death, and most have wished to do so, they have never been better loved by the people for their Roman virtue.
" Honour bright ? " said the king at last.
" Honour bright ! " answered the prince, and for the first time in many months, the royal father and son shook hands.
" For you, madam," said Prigio in a stately