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The Serpent

But she went on weeping and wailing until Night came forth to drape the canopy of the sky for the funeral of the Sun; and when they were all in bed, she took her jewels, which were in a writing-desk, and went out by the back-door, to search everywhere for the treasure she had lost.

She went out of the city, guided by the light of the moon; and on her way she met a fox, who asked her if she wished for company. "Of all things, my friend," replied Grannonia. "I should be delighted; for I am not over well acquainted with the country." So they travelled along together till they came to a wood, where the trees, at play like children, were making baby-houses for the shadows to lie in. And as they were now tired and wished to rest, they sheltered under the leaves where a fountain was playing tricks with the grass, throwing water on it by the dishful. There they stretched themselves on a mattress of tender soft grass, and paid the duty of repose which they owed to Nature for the merchandise of life.

They did not awake till the Sun, with his usual fire, gave the signal to sailors and travellers to set out on their road; and, after they awoke, they still stayed for some time listening to the songs of the birds, in which Grannonia took great delight. The fox, seeing this, said to her, "You would feel twice as much pleasure if, like me, you understood what they are saying." At these words Grannonia—for women are by nature as curious as they are talkative—begged the fox to tell her what he had heard the birds saying. So, after having let her entreat him for a long time, to raise her curiosity about what he was going to relate, he told her that the birds were talking to each other about what had lately befallen the King's son, who was as beautiful as a jay. Because he had offended a wicked ogress, she had laid him under a spell to pass seven years in the form of a serpent; and when he had nearly ended the seven years, he fell in love with the daughter of a King, and being one day in a room with the maiden, he had cast his skin on the ground, when her father and mother rushed in and burned it.

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