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The Seven Pigeons

At these words Pedro looked towards the place where he had placed the pigeon, and it was no longer there.

Seized with a fit of fury, he was about to lay hands on the gardener, when, to his astonishment, he found that he was also gone.

“I am undone,” cried the unhappy Pedro; “and now I shall not see the princess again.” Saying which he fainted away, and might probably have remained there some time, but that he heard a voice saying, in a jocular manner—

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

Pedro started to his feet, and close to him was standing the princess whom he had previously seen in the balcony.

“Why do you thus tease me, princess?” said Pedro. “I want to hear no more about the seven horrid pigeons.”

“Don Pedro de Aragon,” answered the princess, “I must tell you that the old gardener to whom you spoke is a magician, and he has possessed himself of the last means I had of regaining my liberty, for I am under his power. Is it not true that you came here with the purpose of killing me?”

“I was under a vow to do so,” replied Pedro; “but I cannot kill you, although I would rather slay you, fair princess, than do you a more grievous injury.”

“Go back, then, to the unhappy lady whom you left on the sea-shore, and tell her that you have been false to your promises,” said the princess.

“How sorry I am,” exclaimed Pedro, “that I was ever destined to be King of Aragon! When I was a poor fisherman, I was far happier than I am now!”

“Pedro of Aragon, the moon will be at the full to-night, and you may then rescue me,” said the princess, “if you have the courage to meet the wicked magician in this garden at midnight, for then is his power weakest.”

“I am prepared for the worst,” replied Pedro, “and I fear not your gaoler.”

“Well, then,” continued the princess, “when the magician sees you he will again tell you about the seven pigeons; but when he has finished, you must tell him that there were once seven wives who had only one husband, and that they are waiting outside to see him.

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