The Yellow Dwarf
She was laid upon a couch covered with cloth of gold, embroidered with pearls as big as nuts."
"Ah!" interrupted the King of the Gold Mines, "if Bellissima forgets me, and consents to marry him, I shall break my heart."
"You need not be afraid of that," answered the Mermaid, "the Princess thinks of no one but you, and the frightful Dwarf cannot persuade her to look at him."
"Pray go on with your story," said the King.
"What more is there to tell you?" replied the Mermaid. "Bellissima was sitting in the wood when you passed, and saw you with the Fairy of the Desert, who was so cleverly disguised that the Princess took her to be prettier than herself; you may imagine her despair, for she thought that you had fallen in love with her."
"She believes that I love her!" cried the King. "What a fatal mistake! What is to be done to undeceive her?"
"You know best," answered the Mermaid, smiling kindly at him. "When people are as much in love with one another as you two are, they don't need advice from anyone else."
As she spoke they reached the Castle of Steel, the side next the sea being the only one which the Yellow Dwarf had left unprotected by the dreadful burning walls.
"I know quite well," said the Mermaid, "that the Princess is sitting by the brook-side, just where you saw her as you passed, but as you will have many enemies to fight with before you can reach her, take this sword; armed with it you may dare any danger, and overcome the greatest difficulties, only beware of one thing--that is, never to let it fall from your hand. Farewell; now I will wait by that rock, and if you need my help in carrying off your beloved Princess I will not fail you, for the Queen, her mother, is my best friend, and it was for her sake that I went to rescue you."
So saying, she gave to the King a sword made from a single diamond, which was more brilliant than the sun. He could not find words to express his gratitude, but he begged her to believe that he fully appreciated the importance of her gift, and would never forget her help and kindness.