Felicia and the Pot of Pinks
" said the Queen presently.
"I came to fetch a pitcher of water for my pinks, madam," she answered, stooping to pick up the pitcher which stood beside her; but when she showed it to the Queen she was amazed to see that it had turned to gold, all sparkling with great diamonds, and the water, of which it was full, was more fragrant than the sweetest roses. She was afraid to take it until the Queen said:
"It is yours, Felicia; go and water your pinks with it, and let it remind you that the Queen of the Woods is your friend."
The shepherdess threw herself at the Queen's feet, and thanked her humbly for her gracious words.
"Ah! madam," she cried, "if I might beg you to stay here a moment I would run and fetch my pot of pinks for you--they could not fall into better hands."
"Go, Felicia," said the Queen, stroking her cheek softly; "I will wait here until you come back."
So Felicia took up her pitcher and ran to her little room, but while she had been away Bruno had gone in and taken the pot of pinks, leaving a great cabbage in its place. When she saw the unlucky cabbage Felicia was much distressed, and did not know what to do; but at last she ran back to the fountain, and, kneeling before the Queen, said:
"Madam, Bruno has stolen my pot of pinks, so I have nothing but my silver ring; but I beg you to accept it as a proof of my gratitude."
"But if I take your ring, my pretty shepherdess," said the Queen, "you will have nothing left; and what will you do then?"
"Ah! madam," she answered simply, "if I have your friendship I shall do very well."
So the Queen took the ring and put it on her finger, and mounted her chariot, which was made of coral studded with emeralds, and drawn by six milk-white horses. And Felicia looked after her until the winding of the forest path hid her from her sight, and then she went back to the cottage, thinking over all the wonderful things that had happened.
The first thing she did when she reached her room was to throw the cabbage out of the window.