THE RAINBOW BOOK
the monarch's free will. It could be surrendered ; it could not be withdrawn.
So the old King deposited it in the Treasury, leaving his people—the faithful and unfaithful alike—to fight out the matter as best they could. In so doing they fought their very best. The quarrel between the gnomes and the fairies waxed furious in their patriotic eagerness to get their own way. But while blows were exchanged and relations were otherwise strained, and the Monarchists, generally speaking, were highly annoyed, and the Republicans were even more perturbed, the latter suddenly lay low, and hatched an audacious plot. So daring was it that it made their grotesque and stunted little bodies tremble as they thought of it, and their gnarled feet shook in their shoes.
This plot involved nothing less than the theft of the Golden Key. The symbol of royalty was to be taken to the mountain top and flung far away outside the boundaries of Fairydom, and a republic proclaimed and acclaimed. A monarchy could no longer be possible.
Meanwhile the guileless fairies, recking nothing of this, and rejoicing in what they thought to be the discomfiture of their adversaries, chose the popular Crown Princess for the succession, and began with much pomp and circumstance the cere-