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The Seven Pigeons

Pedro of Aragon, I well can see.”

“What very high balconies, a hundred feet in height!” exclaimed Pedro. “Tell me, good old man, does the princess ever come there?”

“To those balconies so high, to feel the cooling breeze,” replied the gardener, “the princess comes there every evening alone.”

“Should she ask you,” continued Pedro, “who I am, tell her that I am your son come from a distant land, and I will help you to water the pinks.”

At her usual time the princess came to her favourite balcony, and seeing Pedro watering the flowers, she beckoned to him, saying—

“O waterer of the pinks, come a little nearer and speak to me.”

“Is it true that you desire to speak to me?” inquired Pedro of the princess.

“No mirror bright ever reflected the truth more correctly than the words I uttered conveyed my desire,” answered the princess.

“Here, then, you have me,” said Pedro. “Order me as your slave; but give me, for I am thirsty, a small ewer of water.”

The princess poured some water into a silver goblet, and having handed it to Pedro, he exclaimed—

“And in this mirror bright of crystal water pure, which does reflect thy form, I quench my heart’s deep thirst.”

“You see yonder palace at the end of the garden,” said the princess to Pedro. “Well, in that palace you will be lodged for the night; but should you ever tell any one what you see there, you will put yourself in danger and cause me great trouble.”

Pedro promised to keep secret whatever he might see that night, and bidding “good night” to the princess, he hastened to the palace which the princess had pointed out to him, and, having entered it, he walked through the marble passage, which seemed to be interminable. On each side of him were rows of majestic columns, surmounted by gold capitals, and now and again he thought he saw the forms of lovely young maidens flitting among the columns.

Just as he was approaching a richly carved fountain surrounded by sacred palms, a maiden of surprising beauty seemed to be addressing a Moor in most impassioned tones, as if claiming his indulgence; but when Pedro got up to them he discovered that both were the work of the statuary.

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