« AnteriorContinuar »
marry the King of the Peacocks, we are going to seek_him for you all over the world.
We shall be very glad to find him; and in the meantime you must take care of our kingdom.
The two young princes then set forth on their journey, and at length reached the country they were in search of, and observed that all the trees were loaded with peacocks, the place being so full of them that their voices might be heard six miles off.
When they arrived at the chief town, they observed that it was full of men and women whose clothes were made of peacocks' feathers, and that peacocks' feathers were displayed everywhere as very fine things. They met the king, who was taking an airing in a beautiful little carriage made of gold and set with diamonds, drawn by twelve peacocks; and who, conjecturing that the two princes were foreigners, stopped his carriage and called them to him.
The king and the prince went up to him, and having made their obeisance, said, “Sire, we have come from afar to show you a portrait.” They then took from their portmanteau the picture_of Rosetta. When the King of the Peacocks had looked at it, I cannot imagine,” said he,
that there is in the world so beautiful a maiden." The original is a hundred times more beautiful than the picture," said the king. “Ah! you are joking,” said the King of the Peacocks. Sire,” said the prince,
here is my brother, who is a king like you: he is a king and I am a prince; our sister, whose portrait this is, is the Princess Rosetta; and we are come to ask you whether you are willing to marry her.
She is very
beautiful and very good; and we will give with her a bushel measure full of golden crowns.” “Oh!” said the king,
I will marry her with all my heart, and I will be fond of her if she is as fair as her portrait ; but if she be in the least degree less beautiful, I will put you to death.” “Well, we consent,” answered Rosetta's two brothers. “You consent ? ” said the king; ‘go then to prison, and remain there until the princess arrives.”
Meanwhile the king and his brother wrote to the princess, desiring her to hasten to them with all speed, for they had found the King of the Peacocks.
When the princess received the letter she was delighted beyond measure; she told_everybody that the King of the Peacocks was found, and wished to marry her. Bonfires were lighted, cannons fired, and sugarplums and sweatmeats were universally eaten. Then, leaving her prettiest dolls to her best friends, she placed the government in the hands of the wisest old men of the city; whom she recommended to take care of everything, spend nothing, and to collect plenty of money against the king's return. Lastly, she begged them to keep her peacock, and taking with her only her nurse and fostersister, departed with her little green dog, Fretillon. They embarked on board a boat, taking with them a bushel of golden crowns, and clothes enough to last them ten years, if they changed them twice a-day.
From time to time the nurse inquired of the captain, “Are we approaching the kingdom of the peacocks ? ” And when at length he answered “Yes," the nurse came forward, seated herself by him, and said to him, “If you wish to make your