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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

But when Cabriole perceived it was broad day


Avenant

was conducted into the chamber of audience, were he stood so transported with admiration, that, as he afterwards said, he had scarcely power to open his lips. At length, however, he took courage, and made his speech wonderfully well; wherein he prayed the princess not to let him be so unfortunate as to return without her. "Gentle Avenant," said she, "all the reasons you have laid before me, are very good, and I assure you, I would rather favour you than any other; but you must know, about a month since, I went to take the air by the side of a river, with my maids of honour; as I was pulling off my glove, I pulled a ring from my finger, which by accident fell into the river. This ring I valued more than my whole kingdom; whence you may judge how much I am afflicted by the loss of it. And I have made a vow never to hearken to any proposals of marriage, unless the ambassador who makes them shall also bring my ring. This is the present which you have to make me; otherwise you may talk your heart out, for months and even years shall never change my resolution." When he returned to his lodgings, he went to bed supperless; and his little dog, who was called Cabriole, made a fasting night of it too, and went and lay down by his master; who did nothing all night but sigh and lament, saying, "How can I find a ring that fell into a great river a month ago? It would be folly to attempt it. The princess enjoined me this task, merely because she knew it was impossible," he continued, greatly
afflicted; which Cabriole observing, said, "My dear master, pray do not despair of your good fortune; for you are too good to be unhappy. Therefore, when it is day, let us go to the river side." Avenant made no answer, but gave his dog two little cuffs with his hand, and being overwhelmed with grief, fell asleep.

But when Cabriole perceived it was broad day, he fell a barking so loud that he waked his master. "Rise, sir," said he, "put on your clothes, and let us go and try our fortune." Avenant took his little dog's advice; got up, and dressed himself, went down into the garden, and out of the garden he walked insensibly to the river side, with his hat over his eyes, and his arms across, thinking of nothing but taking his leave; when all on a sudden he heard a voice call, "Avenant, Avenant!" upon which he looked around him, but seeing nothing, he concluded it was an illusion, and was proceeding in his walk; but he presently heard himself called again. "Who calls me?" said he; Cabriole, who was very little and looked closely into the water, cried out, "Never believe me, if it is not a gilded carp." Immediately the carp appeared, and with an audible voice said, "Avenant, you saved my life in the poplar meadow, where I must have died without your assistance; and now I am come to requite your kindness. Here, my dear Avenant, here is the ring which the Fair One with Locks of Gold dropped into the river." Upon which he stooped and took it out of the carp's mouth; to whom he returned a thousand thanks. And now, instead of returning home, he went directly to the palace with little Cabriole, who skipped about, and wagged his tail for joy, that he had persuaded his master to walk by the side of the river. The princess being told that Avenant desired an audience: "Alas," said she, "the poor youth has come to take his leave of me! He has considered what I enjoined him as impossible, and is returning to his master." But Avenant being admitted, presented her the ring, saying, "Madam, behold I have executed your command; and now, I hope, you will receive my master for your royal consort." When she saw her ring, and that it was noways injured, she was so amazed that she could hardly believe her eyes. "Surely, courteous Avenant," said she, "you must be favoured by some fairy; for naturally this is impossible." "Madam," said he, "I am acquainted with no fairy; but I was willing to obey your command." "Well, then, seeing you have so good a will," continued she, "you must do me another piece of service, without which I will never marry. There is a certain prince who lives not far from hence, whose name is Galifron, and whom nothing would serve but that he must needs marry me. He declared his mind to me, with most terrible menaces, that if I denied him, he would enter my kingdom with fire and sword; but you shall judge whether I would accept his proposal: he is a giant, as high as a steeple; he devours men as an ape eats chestnuts; when he goes into the country, he carries cannons in his pocket, to use instead of pistols; and when he speaks aloud he deafens the ears of those that stand near him. I answered him, that I did not choose to marry, and desired him to excuse me. Nevertheless, he has not ceased to persecute me, and has put an infinite number of my subjects to the sword: therefore, before all other things you must fight him, and bring me his head."


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