Short Stories » Princess Rosetta - Page 9 of 9

When it was the King of the Peacocks' dinner-time, there was nothing in his saucepan, nor in his pantry ; the servants looked at one another and the king went into a violent passion. "What," said he, "so I am to have no dinner; let the spit be put to the fire, and let me have some nice roast meat this, evening." The evening being come, the princess said to Fretillon : " Go to the best kitchen in the city and fetch me a nice piece of roast meat." Fretillon did as he was told ; and thinking that the king's was the best kitchen, he very softly entered it, while the cooks' backs were turned, and managed slily to take away all that was on the spit ; it looked so delicious, that the very sight of it would have given an appetite to a sick man. He returned with his basket full to the princess, who then sent him back again to the pantry, whence he brought all the king's stewed fruit and sugar-plums.

The king, having had no dinner, was very hungry in the evening and wanted his supper early ; but as there was nothing for him, he put himself into a terrible rage, and went to bed supperless. The next day at dinner and supper- time it was just the same ; so that the king was three whole days without eating or drinking any thing, because whenever he sat down to eat, his victuals had all been taken away. His confidant, who was afraid that the king would die, hid himself in a corner of the kitchen, keeping his eyes fixed on the saucepan, which was on the fire, boiling. He was soon extremely surprised to see enter the kitchen, a little green dog, having only one ear, who went to the pot, took the meat out of it, and put it into his basket. Desirous to know where he went to, he followed him out of the town, right up to the old man's door. He then returned and revealed all to the king, telling him that it was to a poor peasant that his dinner and supper had gone every day.

The king was very much astonished, and ordered the dog to be sent for. The confidant, in order to make his court to the king, was very willing to show the archers the way. They went accordingly, and found the old man and the princess dining on the king's boiled meat. They were taken, and bound with large ropes, and Fretillon the same.

When they had arrived, and the king was informed of it, he said : " To-morrow is the last day I granted to those insulting pretenders, and they shall die with the thieves who have stolen my dinner;" he then went into his justice-hall. The old man threw himself on his knees, and said that he would tell him the whole truth. While he was speaking, the king looked at the, beautiful princess, and was moved at seeing her tears. But, when the good old man declared that she was the princess Rosetta, and had been thrown into the sea, in spite of his weakness from having been so long without food, the king rushed to embrace her, and untying the ropes with which she was bound, told her that he loved her with all his heart.

The princes, who were immediately sent for, thought that they were about to be put to death, and came very sorrowfully, hanging down their heads ; at the same time the nurse and her daughter were sent for. When they met, they all recognized each other ; Rosetta threw herself into her brothers' arms ; the nurse, her daughter and the boatman, knelt and asked for pardon. The joy was so great that they were forgiven by the king and the princess, and the good old man was handsomely rewarded : always afterwards residing in the palace.

Finally, the King of the Peacocks made every satisfaction to our king and his brother, testifying his grief that they had been so long ill-treated. The nurse restored to Rosetta her fine clothes and the bushel of golden crowns, and the wedding feast lasted a fortnight. Every body rejoiced, even little Fretillon, who ate nothing on the occasion, but partridge-wings.

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