PRINCE RICARDO. 139
The king, who began to guess what had happened, hurried back to the turret-room.
There were all the tradesmen with parcels under their arms.
"What means this, gentlemen?" said his Majesty, severely. " For what reason did you leave the room without my permission?"
They all knelt down, humbly imploring his compassion.
" Get up, you donkeys!" said the king, forgetting his politeness. " Get up, and tell me where you have been hiding yourselves."
The hatter came forward, and said:
" Sire, you will not believe me ; indeed, I can scarcely believe it myself!"
" Nor none of us can't," said the sword-maker. " We have been home, and brought the articles. All orders executed with punctuality and dispatch," he added, quoting his own advertisement without thinking of it.
On this the swordmaker took out and exhibited the Andrea Ferrara blade, which was exactly like the Sword of Sharpness.
The upholsterer undid his parcel, and there was a Persian rug, which no one could tell from the magical carpet.
The hatter was fumbling with the string of his parcel, when he suddenly remembered, what the king in his astonishment had not noticed, that he had a cap on himself. He pulled it off in a hurry, and the king at once saw that it was