Short Stories » Septimus

When the Fairy of the Fields was alone, she could not resist an inclination to consult her sovereign's books. All the mysteries of fairyism are therein revealed, and by them may be discovered, from day to day, what is passing all over the universe. The queen only, had the power of suspending or turning the course of events ; holding over fairies the same dominion as the fairies hold over mankind. The protectress of our hero had no sooner opened these books, than she read in them distinctly, that by the power of Grand Fairyism, the perfidious Gangan was at that moment carrying off the young prince Septimus, and was then transporting him to the inaccessible Island in which she had kept her own niece, since the hour of her birth. At this sight, she at first trembled for the life of her protege, and then for his heart and his sentiments, for she knew that this wicked fairy was more capable of corrupting than of forming the mind.

The uneasiness that this event caused her, gave way to reflection, and she was considering the means of preventing the consequences of this occurrence, when the queen came from council and rejoined her. From the sorrow which she perceived on her friend's countenance, Titania guessed what had taken place during her absence ; and speaking to her said : " You have, I see, satisfied your curiosity : and have learned that which I would have kept from your knowledge. I was unable, it is true, to refuse Gangan the power of Grand Fairyism, since, according to our laws, it is due to her long standing ; but the knowledge which I possess of her character has made me limit this power to a certain space of time ; be assured, generous fairy, that when that period has elapsed, your enemy shall be severely punished, if she shall have abused the power which she holds only from our laws and my kindness. However, to give you to day a proof of my friendship for you, and to place Gilletta's other children, in whom you are interested, out of Gangan's reach, take this phial, and rub them with the liquid it contains. It is Invisible-water ; and conceals objects from the sight of fairies alone ; its charm is such that Gangan, with all her power cannot overcome it. Go, my dear friend, remember always that your queen loves generosity, protects virtue : and ever rely on her protection and tenderness." At these words the fairy respectfully took the queens hand, kissed it, and departed.

No sooner was she hi her island than she made use of the Invisible-water. With it she rubbed the three punchinellos and the three dancing- dolls, with the exception of the tips of their noses, which she left visible in order to recognize them herself ; then, having given her orders and consulted her books, she set out for Petard's kingdom, where she learned that her presence WAS necessary.

In truth, when she arrived there, Petard's little state was in sad disorder, and the cause was this. It was now a long time past, since the house in which his majesty had resided, and in which his father-in-law, the seneschal, had lived before him, had fallen in on all sides, in spite of the repairs which it had undergone.

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