VIVIEN AND PLACID A. 259
sary things. Before each frame about a dozen people were sitting hard at work, at which terrible sight I fainted away, and as soon as I recovered they began to ask me what I could do.
"It was in vain that I replied as before, and with the strongest desire to be taken at my word: 'Nothing at all.'
"The giant only said:
" 'Then you must learn to do something. In this world there is enough work for everybody.'
"It appeared that they were working into the tapestry all the stories the fairies liked best, and they began to try and teach me to help them, but from the first class, where they tried me to begin with, I sank lower and lower, and not even the most simple stitches could I learn.
"In vain they punished me by all the usual methods. In vain the giant showed me his large menagerie, which was entirely composed of children who would not work! Nothing did me any good, and at last I was reduced to drawing water for the dyeing of the wools, and even over that I was so slow that this morning the giant flew into a rage and changed me into a gazelle. He was just putting me into the menagerie, when I happened to catch sight of a dog and was seized with such terror that I fled away at my utmost speed and escaped through the outer court of the castle. The giant, fearing that I should be lost altogether, sent his green lion after me, with orders to bring me back, cost what it might, and I should certainly have let myself be caught, or eaten up, or anything, rather than run any further, if I had not luckily met you by the fountain. And oh!" concluded the princess, "how delightful it is once more to be able to sit still in peace. I was so tired of trying to learn things."
Prince Vivien said that for his part he had been kept a great deal too still and had not found it at all amusing, and then he recounted all his adventures with breathless rapidity. How he had taken shelter with Dame Patience, and consulted the oracle, and voyaged in the paper ship. Then they went hand in hand to release all the prisoners in the castle and all the princes and princesses who were in cages in the menagerie, for the instant the green giant was dead they had resumed their natural forms. As you may imagine, they were all very grateful, and Princess Placida entreated them never, never to do another stitch