Princess Belle-Etoile 2
the fear that something would occur to betray the share she had had in their preservation.
But the good Fairy protected them, and after floating at sea for seven days they were picked up by a Corsair. He was so struclt by their beauty that he altered his course, and took them home to his wife, who had no children. She was transported ™th joy when he placed them in her hands. They admired together the wonderful stars, the chains of gold that could not be taken off their necks, and their long ringlets. iVIuch greater was the woman's astonishment when she combed them, for at every instant there rolled out of their hair pearls, rubies, diamonds, and emeralds. She told her husband of it, who was not less surprised than herself.
" I am very tired," said he, " of a Corsair's life, and if the locks of those little children continue to supply us with such treasures, I will give up roaming the seas." The Corsair's wife, whose name was Corsine, was enchanted at this, and loved the four infants so much the more for it. She named the Princess, Belle-Etoile, her eldest brother, Petit-Soleil, the second, Heureux, and the son of Brunette, Cheri.
As they grew older, the Corsair applied himself seriously to their education, as he felt convinced there was some great mystery attached to their birth.
The Corsair and his wife had never told the story of the four children, who passed for their own. They were exceedingly united, but Prince Cheri entertained for Princess Belle-Etoile a greater affection than the other two. The moment she expressed a wish for anything, he would attempt even impossibilities to gratify her.
One day Belle-Etoile overheard the Corsair and his wife talking. " When I fell in with them," said the Corsair, " I saw nothing that could give me any idea of their birth." "I suspect," said Corsine, "that Cheri is not their brother, he has neither star nor neck-chain." Belle-Etoile immediately ran and told this to the three Princes, who resolved to speak to the Corsair and his wife, and ask them to let them set out to discover the secret of their birth. After some remonstrance they gained their consent A beautiful vessel was prepared, and the young Princess and the three Princes set out. They determined to sail to the very spot where the .Corsair had found them, and made preparations for a grand sacrifice to the fairies, for their protection and guidance. They were about to immolate a turtle-dove, but the Princess saved its life, and let it fly. At this moment a syren issued from the water, and said, " Cease your anxiety, let your vessel go where it will; land where it stops." The vessel now sailed more quickly. Suddenly they came in sight