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The Seven Pigeons

Do as I tell you, and if you are not afraid of his anger, you may be able to free me.”

Pedro promised to do as he was told, and the princess having retired into the palace, Pedro amused himself by walking under the lofty balconies, watching the fire-flies grow brighter as night came on.

Just about midnight the magician was seen watering the pinks, and as soon as he perceived Pedro he 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.’”

“Quite so,” put in Pedro. “And once upon a time there were seven wives who had only one husband, and they are waiting outside to see him.”

The magician, at these words, lost all control over his temper; but Pedro heeded him not, rather did he endeavour to increase his rage by repeating all about the seven wives.

“I am undone!” cried the magician; “but if you will induce the spirits of my seven wives to again seek the grave, I will give you what you want, and that is the princess.”

“Give me the princess first,” answered Pedro, “and then I will free you of your wives.”

“Take her, then,” said the magician; “here she is. And forget not what you have promised me, for I may tell you in confidence that a man with seven wives cannot play the magician.”

Pedro hurried away with the princess; and after they had been married and crowned, the princess, who was now queen, one day said to him—

“Pedro, the magician who held me captive from you was Rank, and therefore were the balconies so high. When you saw me on the beach fed by pigeons, it was that you should know my power; on the shore I was attended by winged messengers, and on the sea I sailed about at pleasure.”

“But what about the wounded pigeon?” asked Pedro.

“Recollect, Pedro, what you said to me in the garden,” answered the princess—“that you would rather slay me than do me a more grievous injury. That poor pigeon with its broken wing could no more hope to soar aloft than an injured woman to mix with her former associates.

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