“Oh, Hilda, they are not worth telling twice!” protested Pink; “I just make them for Bubble when he takes me out on Sunday. It’s all I can do for the dear lad.”
“Don’t you mind her, Miss Hildy,” said Bubble; “they’re fustrate stories, an’ she tells ’em jest like p—’rithmetic. Go ahead, Pink! Tell the one about the princess what looked in the glass all the time.”
So Pink, in her low, sweet voice, told the story of
THE VAIN PRINCESS.
Once upon a time there lived a princess who was so beautiful that it was a wonder to look at her. But she was also very vain; and her beauty was of no use or pleasure to anybody, for she sat and looked in her mirror all day long, and never thought of doing anything else.
The mirror was framed in beaten gold, but the gold was not so bright as her shining locks; and all about its rim great sapphires were set, but they were dim and gray, compared with the blue of her lovely eyes. So there she sat all day in a velvet chair, clad in a satin gown with fringes of silver and pearl; and nobody in the world was one bit the better for her or her beauty.
Now, one day the princess looked at herself so long and so earnestly that she fell fast asleep in her velvet chair, with the golden mirror in her lap. While she slept, a gust of wind blew the casement window open, and a rose that was growing on the wall outside peeped in. It was a poor little feeble white rose, which had climbed up the wall in a straggling fashion, and had no particular strength or beauty or sweetness. Every one who saw it from the outside said, “What a wretched little plant! Why is it not cut down?” and the rose trembled when it heard this, for it was as fond of life as if it were beautiful, and it still hoped for better days. Inside, no one thought about it at all; for the beautiful princess never left her chair to open the window.
Now, when the rose saw the princess it was greatly delighted, for it had often heard of her marvellous beauty. It crept nearer and nearer, and gazed at the golden wonder of her hair, her ivory skin under which the blushes came and went as she slept, and her smiling lips. “Ah!” sighed the rose, “if I had only a tinge of that lovely red, I should be finer than all the other roses.” And as it gazed, the thought came into its mind: “Why should I not steal a little of this wondrous beauty? Here it is of no use to anybody. If I had it, I would delight every one who passed by with my freshness and sweetness, and people would be the better for seeing a thing so lovely.”