104 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
ran to the shop of his friend the barber on the opposite side of the way. But as he ran he stumbled and fell heavily. Curdie hastened to help him up, and found he had bruised his forehead badly. He swore grievously at the stone for tripping him up, declaring it was the third time he had fallen over it within the last month; and saying what was the king about that he allowed such a stone to stick up for ever on the main street of his royal residence of Gwyntystorm ! What was a king for if he would not take care of his people's heads ! And he stroked his. forehead tenderly.
" Was it your head or your feet that ought to bear the blame of your fall ? " asked Curdie.
" Why, you booby of a miner ! my feet, of course," answered the baker.
"Nay, then," said Curdie, "the king can't be to blame."
Oh, I see !" said the baker. "You're laying a trap for me. Of course, if you come to that, it was my head that ought to have looked after my feet. But it is the king's part to look after us all, and have his streets smooth."
"Well, I don't see," said Curdie, "why the king should take care of the baker, when the baker's head wont take care of the baker's feet."
"Who are you to make game of the king's baker?" cried the man in a rarje.