THE RAINBOW BOOK
sprite, were far from pleased to have a mortal on their throne—that the gnomes were plotting, with the fairies this time, to depose him, for the key had come back to their land, and was never likely to be stolen again. They had all put their heads together how to make Cedric part with it of his own free will, according to law, and they knew they had to accomplish their end by their wits, as no other means held good. It was their desire now to elect their ruler by putting the matter to the country to vote, and thus please both parties. The gnomes, who had had time to consider it, were dumbfounded at their stupidity in having thrown the key into Mortal-land, and they regretted it when it was too late.
A fair lady, wearing a tiny crown, stepped forward and curtsied low before her monarch It was the Crown Princess. Cedric wanted to detain her; but it wasn't etiquette, and she smiled to herself as she swept past with her maids of honour. She was followed by her dark friend, who kissed Cedric's hand. Her face was more beautiful than any he had ever beheld. In obedience to his wish that she should speak to him, the little Queen of Gossamerland smiled and said—
" Sire, I have often heard of mortals, but never saw one before. It is said that some of them never dream of coming to our country, that others often