Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/68

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ladies by asking her again and again to dance with him, and loading her with delicate and polite attentions. But she slipped out of the palace early, before the king had time to notice her absence. The next day Horse-skin was again toiling and carrying water to the palace as if nothing had happened. As she entered the palace yard the page again accosted her, and repeated what he had said the day before.

"Have I not told you, man, that all this does not concern me? What is it to me whether the king gives a ball or not? I shall go home to my old lady and spend the evening resting after my hard work."

The princess went to the second ball in her second sister's dress, which set off her beauty even more than the first had done. A number of partners were anxious to dance with her, but they had little chance, for the king mostly danced with her. He treated the princess with the profoundest respect as he gazed on her loveliness, and dared not ask her who she was. But she with her usual discretion left the ball-room at a moment when the king's attention was engaged by other guests; and next morning, as usual, Horse-skin was at her duties in the palace. The page once again came up to her and said in a beseeching tone: "Do, Horse-skin, go to the last ball, which is to take place in the palace to-night, for the king is to give the ring to-night to the fairest lady and the one he admires most? You should have seen what jealousy