Graciosa and Percinet
When she returned she brought with her a skein of thread, three times as big as herself; it was so fine that a breath of air would break it, and so tangled that it was impossible to see the beginning or the end of it.
The Queen sent for Graciosa, and said to her:
`Do you see this skein? Set your clumsy fingers to work upon it, for I must have it disentangled by sunset, and if you break a single thread it will be the worse for you.' So saying she left her, locking the door behind her with three keys.
The Princess stood dismayed at the sight of the terrible skein. If she did but turn it over to see where to begin, she broke a thousand threads, and not one could she disentangle. At last she threw it into the middle of the floor, crying:
`Oh, Percinet! this fatal skein will be the death of me if you will not forgive me and help me once more.'
And immediately in came Percinet as easily as if he had all the keys in his own possession.
`Here I am, Princess, as much as ever at your service,' said he, `though really you are not very kind to me.'
Then he just stroked the skein with his wand, and all the broken threads joined themselves together, and the whole skein wound itself smoothly off in the most surprising manner, and the Prince, turning to Graciosa, asked if there was nothing else that she wished him to do for her, and if the time would never come when she would wish for him for his own sake.
`Don't be vexed with me, Percinet,' she said. `I am unhappy enough without that.'
`But why should you be unhappy, my Princess?' cried he. `Only come with me and we shall be as happy as the day is long together.'
`But suppose you get tired of me?' said Graciosa.
The Prince was so grieved at this want of confidence that he left her without another word.
The wicked Queen was in such a hurry to punish Graciosa that she thought the sun would never set; and indeed it was before the appointed time that she came with her four Fairies, and as she fitted the three keys into the locks she said:
`I'll venture to say that the idle minx has not done anything at all--she prefers to sit with her hands before her to keep them white.