CURDIE S MISSION. 77
" Your gift does more for you than it promised. It is yet better to perceive a hidden good than a hidden eviL" " But," began Curdie.
" I am not going to answer any more questions this evening," interrupted the princess. "You have not half got to the bottom of the answers I have already given you. That paw in your hand now might almost teach you the whole science of natural history—the heavenly sort, I mean."
" I will think," said Curdie. " But oh ! please ! one word more : may I tell my father and mother all about it?"
" Certainly—though perhaps now it may be their turn to find it a little difficult to believe that things went just as you must tell them."
" They shall see that I believe it all this time," said Curdie.
" Tell them that to-morrow morning you must set out for the court—not like a great man, but just as poor as you are. They had better not speak about it. Tell them also that it will be a long time before they hear of you again, but they must not lose heart. And tell your father to lay that stone I gave him last night in a safe place—not because of the greatness of its price, although it is such an emerald as no prince has in his crown, but because it will be a news-bearer between you and him.