THE FOUR GIFTS
was not freedom to see Denis that I should have asked for, for he was soon weary of me, nor a quick tongue, for he was afraid of it, nor beauty, for that brought me nothing but trouble, but riches which make life easy both for oneself and others. Ah ! if I only dared to beg this gift from the fairy, I should be wiser than before and know how to choose better.'
' Be satisfied,' said the voice of the old woman, who seemed to be standing unseen at Tephany's elbow. ' If you look in your right-hand pocket when you go home you will find a small box. Rub your eyes with the ointment it contains, and you will see that you yourself contain a priceless treasure.'
Tephany did not in the least understand what she meant, but ,n back to the farm as fast as she could, and began t fumble joyfully in her right-hand pocket. Sure enough, there was the little box with the precious ointment. She was in the act of rubbing her eyes with it when Barbaik Bourhis entered the room. Ever since she had been obliged to leave her work and pass her time, she did not know why, in counting cabbages, everything had gone wrong, and she could not get a labourer to stay with her because of her bad temper. When, therefore, she saw her niece standing quietly before her mirror, Barbaik broke out:
' So this is what you do when I am out in the fields ! Ah ! it is no wonder if the farm is ruined. Are you not ashamed, girl, to behave so ? '
Tephany tried to stammer some excuse, but her aunt
was half mad with rage, and a box on the ears was her
only answer. At this Tephany, hurt, bewildered and
excited, could control herself no longer, and turning
away burst into tears. But what was her surprise when
she saw that each tear-drop was a round and shining
pearl. Barbaik, who also beheld this marvel, uttered a
cry of astonishment, and threw herself on her knees to-
pick them up from the floor.