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|The Princess and the Goblin||George MacDonald|
The Princess and - We Shall See Who
|Page 4 of 4||
'You've frightened my poultry,' said the old lady, smiling.
'And they've frightened me,' said the princess, smiling too. 'But what very nice poultry! Are the eggs nice?'
'Yes, very nice.' 'What a small egg-spoon you must have! Wouldn't it be better to keep hens, and get bigger eggs?'
'How should I feed them, though?'
'I see,' said the princess. 'The pigeons feed themselves. They've got wings.'
'Just so. If they couldn't fly, I couldn't eat their eggs.'
'But how do you get at the eggs? Where are their nests?'
The lady took hold of a little loop of string in the wall at the side of the door and, lifting a shutter, showed a great many pigeon-holes with nests, some with young ones and some with eggs in them. The birds came in at the other side, and she took out the eggs on this side. She closed it again quickly, lest the young ones should be frightened.
'Oh, what a nice way!' cried the princess. 'Will you give me an egg to eat? I'm rather hungry.'
'I will some day, but now you must go back, or nursie will be miserable about you. I dare say she's looking for you everywhere.'
'Except here,' answered the princess. 'Oh, how surprised she will be when I tell her about my great big grand-grand-mother!'
'Yes, that she will!' said the old lady with a curious smile. 'Mind you tell her all about it exactly.'
'That I will. Please will you take me back to her?'
'I can't go all the way, but I will take you to the top of the stair, and then you must run down quite fast into your own room.'
The little princess put her hand in the old lady's, who, looking this way and that, brought her to the top of the first stair, and thence to the bottom of the second, and did not leave her till she saw her half-way down the third. When she heard the cry of her nurse's pleasure at finding her, she turned and walked up the stairs again, very fast indeed for such a very great grandmother, and sat down to her spinning with another strange smile on her sweet old face.
About this spinning of hers I will tell you more another time.
Guess what she was spinning.
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