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The Yellow Dwarf

You see it is not difficult to do if you really care for me."

The King, who had his own reasons for wishing to keep the old Fairy in a good humor, did not spare pretty speeches, and after a time he was allowed to walk by himself upon the sea-shore. The Fairy of the Desert had by her enchantments raised such a terrible storm that the boldest pilot would not venture out in it, so she was not afraid of her prisoner's being able to escape; and he found it some relief to think sadly over his terrible situation without being interrupted by his cruel captor.

Presently, after walking wildly up and down, he wrote these verses upon the sand with his stick:

"At last may I upon this shore Lighten my sorrow with soft tears. Alas! alas! I see no more My Love, who yet my sadness cheers.

"And thou, O raging, stormy Sea, Stirred by wild winds, from depth to height, Thou hold'st my loved one far from me, And I am captive to thy might.

"My heart is still more wild than thine, For Fate is cruel unto me. Why must I thus in exile pine? Why is my Princess snatched from me?

"O! lovely Nymphs, from ocean caves, Who know how sweet true love may be, Come up and calm the furious waves And set a desperate lover free!"

While he was still writing he heard a voice which attracted his attention in spite of himself. Seeing that the waves were rolling in higher than ever, he looked all round, and presently saw a lovely lady floating gently toward him upon the crest of a huge billow, her long hair spread all about her; in one hand she held a mirror, and in the other a comb, and instead of feet she had a beautiful tail like a fish, with which she swam.

The King was struck dumb with astonishment at this unexpected sight; but as soon as she came within speaking distance, she said to him, "I know how sad you are at losing your Princess and being kept a prisoner by the Fairy of the Desert; if you like I will help you to escape from this fatal place, where you may otherwise have to drag on a weary existence for thirty years or more.

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