28 The Princess and the Goblin
took the princess by the hand, led her out of the room, and opened the door opposite the stair. The princess expected to see a lot of hens and chickens, but instead of that, she saw the blue sky first, and then the roofs of the house, with a multitude of the loveliest pigeons, mostly white, but of all colours, walking about, making bows to each other, and talking a language she could not understand. She clapped her hands with delight, and up rose such a flapping of wings, that she in her turn was startled.
" You've frightened my poultry," said the old lady, smiling.
"And they've frightened me," said the princess, smiling too. " But what very nice poultry! Are the eggs nice?"
" Yes, very nice."
"What a small egg-spoon you must have! Wouldn't it be better to keep hens, and get bigger eggs?"
" How should I feed them, though?"
" I see," said the princess. "The pigeons feed themselves. They've got wings."
"Just so. If they couldn't fly, I couldn't eat their eggs."