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The Seven Pigeons

“And to-morrow evening, when you see that princess whom you saw to-day, you must kill her, and let her blood fall over this pretty bird.”

Pedro was now in great trouble, for he had promised the princess to do anything she told him to do, except killing her, and he could not break his word; so taking hold of the pigeon very gently, and bidding good-bye to the princess, he again stepped on board the ship, and so depressed was he that he had arrived at the marble quay without being aware of it.

On landing, he retraced his steps through the avenue of pillars, and found himself once more in the garden, where the old gardener was again watering the pinks.

“What very high balconies!” exclaimed Pedro. “Tell me, old gardener of the ancient times, if the princess comes here to-day.”

“The princess loves the fresh sea-breeze,” answered the old man, “and to-night she will come to the balcony, for her noble lover will be waiting for her.”

“And who is the princess’s lover?” inquired Pedro.

“If you will help me to water the pinks, I will tell you,” said the old man.

Pedro readily acquiesced, and putting down the pigeon where he thought no harm would happen to it, he commenced assisting the gardener to water the pinks.

After a silence of a few minutes the gardener said—

“There were once seven pigeons who said, ‘Seven pigeons are we, and with other seven pigeons we might all be mated; but, as it is, we must remain seven pigeons.’”

“Yes,” put in Pedro; “but I want to know who the princess’s lover is.”

The old man took no heed of the interruption, and continued—

“There were once seven pigeons who said, ‘Seven pigeons are we——’”

“Stop!” cried Pedro; “I will have no such idle talk. Tell me who this noble lover is, or I will do you an injury.”

“Sir,” cried the gardener, with a very serious countenance, “there were once seven pigeons who said, ‘Seven pigeons are we, and——’”

“Take your watering-can,” shouted Pedro in disgust; “I will not listen to your nonsense!”

“And yet there were once seven pigeons who said, ‘Seven pigeons are we;’ and now the last of them is gone, for the noble lover has been false to his trust,” exclaimed the old man, looking very cunningly at Pedro.

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