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Graciosa and Percinet

But presently, when she was rested and wished to go on her way, she found that, do what she would, she could not get them back into their box. If she chased them in the meadow they fled into the wood, and if she pursued them into the wood they dodged round trees and behind sprigs of moss, and with peals of elfin laughter scampered back again into the meadow.

At last, weary and terrified, she sat down and cried.

`It is my own fault,' she said sadly. `Percinet, if you can still care for such an imprudent Princess, do come and help me once more.'

Immediately Percinet stood before her.

`Ah, Princess!' he said, `but for the wicked Queen I fear you would never think of me at all.'

`Indeed I should,' said Graciosa; `I am not so ungrateful as you think. Only wait a little and I believe I shall love you quite dearly.'

Percinet was pleased at this, and with one stroke of his wand compelled all the wilful little people to come back to their places in the box, and then rendering the Princess invisible he took her with him in his chariot to the castle.

When the Princess presented herself at the door, and said that the Queen had ordered her to place the box in her own room, the governor laughed heartily at the idea.

`No, no, my little shepherdess,' said he, `that is not the place for you. No wooden shoes have ever been over that floor yet.'

Then Graciosa begged him to give her a written message telling the Queen that he had refused to admit her. This he did, and she went back to Percinet, who was waiting for her, and they set out together for the palace. You may imagine that they did not go the shortest way, but the Princess did not find it too long, and before they parted she had promised that if the Queen was still cruel to her, and tried again to play her any spiteful trick, she would leave her and come to Percinet for ever.

When the Queen saw her returning she fell upon the Fairy, whom she had kept with her, and pulled her hair, and scratched her face, and would really have killed her if a Fairy could be killed.

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