Short Stories » Princess Rosetta - Page 2 of 9

The king having heard this, caused a large tower to be erected and when it was finished, confined his daughter therein ; but that she might not be lonely, he, the queen and the two young princes visited her every day. The eldest was called the Prince Royal and the youngest Prince Orlando. They both loved their sister passionately ; for she was the fairest and the sweetest tempered girl that was ever seen: her slightest glance was worth more than a hundred crowns. When she was fifteen years old, the prince Royal said to the king : " Surely father, my sister is old enough to be married; shall we not soon celebrate her wedding?" Prince Orlando put the same question to the queen; but their majesties amused them, without replying directly on the subject of the marriage.

At last the king and queen were taken very ill, and died, nearly about the same day. Every body was very sorrowful, and went into mourning ; the bells were also tolled throughout the kingdom. Rosetta was inconsolable at the death of her kind mamma.

When the king and queejpi were buried, the noblemen of the kingdom placed the Prince Ify/al on a golden throne, set with diamonds ; put a handsome crown on his head ; dressed him in violet- coloured velvet clothes, spangled with suns and moons; and then all the court cried three times : " Long live the king." Nothing was thought of but rejoicing.

The king and the prince said to one another : " Now that we are the masters, we may surely liberate our sister from the tower where she has been so long, and so melancholy." To reach the tower they had only to cross the garden, in a corner of which it was built, very high indeed ; for the deceased king and queen had intended her to reside there all her life. Rosetta was embroidering a fine gown on a frame which stood before her ; but, when she saw her brothers, she rose, and, taking the king's hand, said : " Good morrow, Sire ; now that you are king, and I am your little servant, I entreat you to remove me from this tower, where I am very, very solitary." She then began to cry. The king embraced her, and told her to dry her tears : for he had come to take her to a fine castle. The prince, who had his pockets full of sweet-meats, gave them to Rosetta and said to her : " Come, let us quit this ugly tower ; the king will soon find a husband for you ; so do not afflict yourself." When Rosetta saw the nice garden, full of flowers, fruits and fountains, she was so surprised that she could not say a word ; for she had, till then, never seen anything of the kind. She looked all round, walked a little way, stopped, and then gathered fruit from the trees, and flowers from the parterre. Her little dog, Fretillon, who was green like a parrot, had only one ear, and who danced to admiration, ran before her, barking " boii', wow, wow," with a thousand leaps and capers.

Fretillon very much amused the company ; but all at once he ran into a little wood. The princess followed him, and never was any one more surprised than she was, at seeing in this wood a large peacock, which, with its tail spread out, appeared to her so beautiful that she could not take her eyes off it. The king and the prince who soon came up with her, asked her at what she was so much amazed. She showed them the peacock, and asked them what it was. They told her that it was a bird, of a kind that was sometimes eaten. " What !" said she, " do they ever kill and eat so beautiful a bird ? I declare to you that I will marry no one but the King of the Peacocks ; I shall then be queen, and I will take care that no peacocks are eaten." It would be impossible to express the king's astonishment. "But, sister," said he to her, "where shall we find the King of the Peacocks?" "Wherever you please, Sire," said she ; "but I will marry no one but him."

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