130 PRINCE RIC IRDO.
by her magic arts, but who had forgotten, in the excitement of the moment, that an eclipse of the moon, especially if entirely unexpected, is likely to attract very general attention. Jaquehne could not bear to tell a fib, especially to a king who had been so kind to her ; besides, fibbing would not alter the facts.
"Yes, I did see it," she admitted, blushing. " Had it not been predicted ?"
"Not a word about it whispered anywhere," said his Majesty. " I looked up the almanack at once. It is the most extraordinary thing I ever saw, and I 've seen a good many."
" The astronomers must be duffers," said Prince Ricardo. " I never thought there was much in physical science of any sort; most dreary stuff. Why, they say the earth goes round the sun, whereas any fool can see it is just the other way on."'
King Prigio was struck aghast by these sentiments in the mouth of his son and heir, the hope of Pantouflia. But what was the king to say in reply ? The astronomers of Pantouflia, who conceived that they knew a great deal, had certainly been taken by surprise this time. Indeed, they have not yet satisfactorily explained this eclipse of the moon, though they have written volumes about it.
"Why, it may be the sun next!" exclaimed his Majesty. "Anything may happen. The very laws of gravitation themselves may go askew!"