272 At the Back of the North Wind
moon. And what that may mean I hope her royal parents will live to see. Ho, ho! Hu, hu!"
But out stepped another fairy, for they had been wise enough to keep two in reserve, because every fairy knew the trick of one.
" Until," said the seventh fairy, "a prince comes who shall kiss her without knowing it."
The wicked fairy made a horrid noise like an angry cat, and hobbled away. She could not pretend that she had not finished her speech this time, for she had laughed Ho, ho! and Hu, hu!
" I don't know what that means," said the poor king to the seventh fairy.
" Don't be afraid. The meaning will come with the thing itself," said she.
The assembly broke up, miserable enough—the queen, at least, prepared for a good many sleepless nights, and the lady at the head of the nursery department anything but comfortable in the prospect before her, for of course the queen could not do it all. As for the king, he made up his mind, with what courage he could summon, to meet the demands of the case, but wondered whether he could with any propriety require the First Lord of the Treasury to take a share in the burden laid upon him.
I will not attempt to describe what they had to go through for some time. But at last the household settled into a regular system—a very irregular one in some respects. For at certain seasons the palace rang all night with bursts of laughter from little Daylight, whose heart the old fairy's curse could not reach; she