Drolette remained some time motionless. She passed her hand over her brow, as if to chase away a sad thought; then approaching Prince Marvellous, she said to him:—
"Prince, the title which I give you indicates your birth. You are the son of King Ferocious and the queen Aimee, concealed till now under the appearance of a modest farmer woman. The name of your father sufficiently indicates his character. Your mother having prevented him from killing his brother Indolent and his sister-in-law Nonchalante, he turned his rage against her. I was her protectress, and carried her off with her faithful Passerose in a cloud.
"And you, Princess Violette, your birth is equal to that of Prince Marvellous. Your father and mother were that same King Indolent and Queen Nonchalante who, saved once by Queen Aimee, became at last the victims of King Ferocious and their own apathy. Since that time King Ferocious has been killed by his subjects who could no longer support his cruel yoke.
"They expect you, prince, to reign over them. I have revealed to them your existence and I have promised them that you will take a wife worthy of you. You can select from the twelve princesses whom your father retained captive after having slain their parents. They are all wise and beautiful and each has a kingdom for her marriage portion."
Surprise had kept Prince Marvellous silent. At the