The Yellow Dwarf
"Time will show, madam," replied the King; "but if you wish to convince me that you have some regard for me, do not, I beg of you, refuse to aid Bellissima."
"Do you know what you are asking?" said the Fairy of the Desert, frowning, and looking at him suspiciously. "Do you want me to employ my art against the Yellow Dwarf, who is my best friend, and take away from him a proud princess whom I can but look upon as my rival?"
The King sighed, but made no answer--indeed, what was there to be said to such a clear-sighted person? At last they reached a vast meadow, gay with all sorts of flowers; a deep river surrounded it, and many little brooks murmured softly under the shady trees, where it was always cool and fresh. A little way off stood a splendid palace, the walls of which were of transparent emeralds. As soon as the swans which drew the Fairy's chariot had alighted under a porch, which was paved with diamonds and had arches of rubies, they were greeted on all sides by thousands of beautiful beings, who came to meet them joyfully, singing these words:
"When Love within a heart would reign, Useless to strive against him 'tis. The proud but feel a sharper pain, And make a greater triumph his."
The Fairy of the Desert was delighted to hear them sing of her triumphs; she led the King into the most splendid room that can be imagined, and left him alone for a little while, just that he might not feel that he was a prisoner; but he felt sure that she had not really gone quite away, but was watching him from some hiding- place. So walking up to a great mirror, he said to it, "Trusty counsellor, let me see what I can do to make myself agreeable to the charming Fairy of the Desert; for I can think of nothing but how to please her."
And he at once set to work to curl his hair, and, seeing upon a table a grander coat than his own, he put it on carefully. The Fairy came back so delighted that she could not conceal her joy.
"I am quite aware of the trouble you have taken to please me," said she, "and I must tell you that you have succeeded perfectly already.