The Seven Enchanted Princes
"We have a big sister now!" they cried. "A big sister to take care of us!"
Honoria knew that if she said anything about leaving the dwarfs they would be heartbroken. She knew, too, that her grandmother would give her a terrible beating for staying away from home so long. The easiest thing seemed to be to remain in the forest and keep house for the seven dwarfs.
Weeks and months went by and Honoria led a happy life in the forest. The dwarfs brought home plenty of delicious food and they also brought her the prettiest dresses she had ever seen. They were green like the moss and the leaves of the forest and brown like the rich earth about the house. There was a little hat with red berries upon it which Honoria thought the most charming hat in the world. She tried it on and ran to the brook to look at her reflection, for there was not a single mirror in the house.
One day the king passed by with his gay hunting party. That day Honoria had on her prettiest moss-green dress and the king thought her the loveliest maiden he had ever seen. He stopped to chat with her.
"Do you live here in the forest all alone?" he asked.
"No, I keep house for my seven brothers," was Honoria's answer.
"What a lovely little housekeeper!" cried the king. "Marry me and come to live in the royal palace!"
"I must ask my brothers first," responded Honoria. "I will tell you to-morrow what they say."
That night when the seven dwarfs came home Honoria told them about her visit from the king.
"How can we spare our big sister?" cried one of the dwarfs.
"Who will keep house for us when she goes away?" cried another.
"Who will make the beds so nicely?" asked another.
"Who will sweep our floors?"
"Who will wash our dishes?"
"Who will sew on our buttons?"
"I have known that our big sister would marry sometime," said the seventh dwarf who had not spoken, but who had been thinking quietly. "Why shouldn't she marry the king?"
"We must let her marry the king! We must not be selfish!" cried all the dwarfs together.