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Rags & Tatters

Then one of the company looked up at the hole in the golden roof. There again, the little man was gazing down on them all. It was just on the tip of his tongue to cry out, "Rags-and-Tatters!" but he caught himself just in time. The princess herself looked up and saw the figure in the hole in the roof. A sudden ray of fondness lit up her heart.

"Poor man!" she said softly to herself. "What a good fellow he is, and how I sadden him with my complaints! I wish Rags & Tatters were down here with us in the midst of it all, and enjoying it too!"

And then -- did the lights, the music, the flowers and the guests, the palace and everything, disappear as before? Not at all! At the end of the banquet hall appeared two thrones of gold. On one of them sat a fair young prince, clad in velvet and jewels. His hair shone like the sun, and his eyes were of hyacinth blue, and his smile gladdened the heart of everyone. While they stood in amazement, he rose and said, "Welcome, my guests! My wife has entertained you while I have been away. You will not be less merry, I hope, now that I have come home!" And he drew the Princess Julietta forward, and placed her on the throne by his side. Then they danced and sang and were joyous, till the stars faded and daylight streamed through the windows of the hall.

For Rags-and-Tatters was not Rags-and-Tatters at all, but Prince Florio, the son of the king of Portugal! A wicked enchantress had cast a spell on the young prince because his father, the king of Portugal, had banished her from his land. The spell the enchantress had cast had reduced the Prince to a hideous appearance, clothed only by old and dirty rags, and the spell was to last until a princess loved him enough to desire his humble company even while she reveled in finery and elegance. Now Julietta had broken the spell when she longed for him in the midst of her splendor, with his rags and tatters and all.

And what of his old mother?

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