The Seven Pigeons
Thank you, my pretty birds,
Who are so kind to me.
But what avail my words?
Oh, I a bird would be!”
This wish was no sooner uttered than Pedro, much to his astonishment, saw that the lovely princess had been turned into a white swan, with a small gold crown on the top of its head.
Expanding her wings, she gradually rose high above him, attended by the pigeons, and all three flew out to sea; when suddenly Pedro observed a magnificent ship not far from the coast, whose deck was of burnished gold, and her sides of ivory fastened with golden nails. The ropes were of thread of silver, and the sails of white silk, while the masts and yards were made of the finest sandal-wood.
To the ship the three birds flew, and no sooner did they alight on the deck than Pedro observed that they were three beautiful maidens.
The princess sat on a richly ornamented chair, and the other two maidens on velvet cushions embroidered in gold at her feet.
Over them was spread a superb awning to shelter them from the rays of the sun, and the vessel glided about over the vast expanse of water, now in one direction, now in another, as if the breeze blew to suit the sails.
Pedro was so astonished at what he saw that at last he got frightened, and, being young and nimble, he soon lost sight of the ship; but at every pace he seemed to hear a voice saying, “Run not away, future king of Aragon!”
Pedro continued running till he left the beach far behind, and was now in the pine-forest; nor did he stop till he was in the densest part, when, for very fatigue, he threw himself on the ground, and then he distinctly heard a voice say, “Pedro, you are destined to be King of Aragon; but tell no one.”
Not till then had he discovered that he was no longer dressed in fisherman’s attire, but that his clothes were of the finest cloth fringed with gold lace.
Pedro, on seeing this, said, “I am enchanted. That princess is indeed a mermaid, and has cast a spell over me. I am undone, my eyes deceive me, and what I take for so much grandeur is but a deception.