THE RAINBOW BOOK
young soldier, Prince Olivin; and so believed every one else in the whole kingdom. Every one else, with one exception—Princess Christobel, her sister, older by one year. She had her own ideas on the subject evidently, for she kept a surly silence when her sister's praises were sung. People said it was her jealousy, because she was plain-looking, and sulky in expression and character; and some did say she was secretly in love with Prince Olivin herself.
Outside the castle this night the silent landscape had been decorated, by order of King Frost, in snow and crystal. Inside the castle the great halls had been decorated, by order of King Jorum, in holly and mistletoe. In the antechamber to the ball-room stood the giant Christmas-tree, hung with so many gifts of exquisite needlework from the ladies of the Court for the King, and so many, too, for Princess Veronica, that there was hardly room for any other presents for any one else, so they had to be stacked up in separate heaps on the floor.
There was one present on the tree, which was handsomer and costlier than all the rest—it was a pair of woollen boots so cunningly and dexterously wrought with precious jewels that they were the most beautiful ever seen or heard of. They were the handiwork of Countess Spinx, and of all the handsome ladies who were assembled in the ball-