Riquet with the Tuftpage 5 / 7
"Bring me that pot," another, "Give me that kettle," and a third, "Put some wood upon the fire."
The ground at the same time opened, and she saw under her feet a great kitchen full of cooks, kitchen helps, and all sorts of officers necessary for a magnificent entertainment. There came out of it a company of cooks, to the number of twenty or thirty, who went to plant themselves about a very long table set up in the forest, with their larding pins in their hands and fox tails in their caps, and began to work, keeping time to a very harmonious tune.
The Princess, all astonished at this sight, asked them for whom they worked.
"For Prince Riquet with the Tuft," said the chief of them, "who is to be married to-morrow."
The Princess, more surprised than ever, and recollecting all at once that it was now that day twelvemonth on which she had promised to marry the Prince Riquet with the Tuft, was ready to sink into the ground.
What made her forget this was that when she made this promise, she was very silly; and having obtained that vast stock of sense which the prince had bestowed upon her, she had entirely forgotten the things she had done in the days of her stupidity. She continued her walk, but had not taken thirty steps before Riquet with the Tuft presented himself to her, gallant and most magnificently dressed, like a prince who was going to be married.
"You see, madam," said he, "I am exact in keeping my word, and doubt not in the least but you are come hither to perform your promise."
"I frankly confess," answered the Princess, "that I have not yet come to a decision in this matter, and I believe I never shall be able to arrive at such a one as you desire."
"You astonish me, madam," said Riquet with the Tuft.
"I can well believe it," said the Princess;" and surely if I had to do with a clown, or a man of no sense, I should find myself very much at a loss. 'A princess always keeps her word,' he would say to me, 'and you must marry me, since you promised to do so.' But as he to whom I talk is the one man in the world who is master of the greatest sense and judgment, I am sure he will hear reason. You know that when I was but a fool I could scarcely make up my mind to marry you; why will you have me, now I have so much judgment as you gave me, come to such a decision which I could not then make up my mind to agree to? If you sincerely thought to make me your wife, you have been greatly in the wrong to deprive me of my dull simplicity, and make me see things much more clearly than I did."