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    Chapter 13

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    Chapter 14
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    In which King Loc declares himself

    The dwarfs celebrated the crowning of their first princess by joyous revels. Harmless and innocent games succeeded each other in the huge amphitheatre; and the little men, with cockades of fern or two oak leaves fastened coquettishly to their hoods, bounded gaily across the subterranean streets. The rejoicings lasted thirty days. During the universal excitement Pic looked like a mortal inspired; Tad the kind-hearted was intoxicated by the universal joy; Dig the tender gave expression to his delight in tears; Rug, in his ecstasy, again demanded that Honey-Bee should be put in a cage, but this time so that the dwarfs need not be afraid to lose so charming a princess; Bob, mounted on his raven, filled the air with such cries of rapture that the sable bird, infected by the gaiety, gave vent to innumerable playful little croaks.

    Only King Loc was sad.

    On the thirtieth day, having given the princess and the dwarf people a festival of unparalleled magnificence, he mounted his throne, and so stood that his kind face just reached her car.

    "My Princess Honcy-Bee," he said, "I am about to make a request which you are at liberty either to accept or to refuse. Honey-Bee of Clarides, Princess of the Dwarfs, will you be my wife?"

    As he spoke, King Loc, grave and tender, had something of the gentle beauty of a majestic poodle.

    "Little King Loc," Honey-Bee replied, as she pulled his beard, "I am willing to become your wife for fun, but never your wife for good. The moment you asked me to marry you I was reminded of Francoeur, who when I was on earth used to amuse me by telling me the most ridiculous stories."

    At these words King Loc turned his head away, but not so soon but that Honey-Bee saw the tears in his eyes. Then Honey-Bee was grieved because she had pained him.

    "Little King Loc," she said to him, "I love you for the little King Loc you are; and if you make me laugh as Francoeur did, there is nothing in that to vex you, for Francoeur sang well and he would have been very handsome if it had not been for his grey hair and his red nose."

    "Honey-Bee of Clarides, Princess of the Dwarfs," the king replied, "I love you in the hope that some day you will love me. And yet without that hope I should love you just the same. The only return I ask for my friendship is that you will always be honest with me."

    "Little King Loc, I promise."

    "Well then, tell me truly, Honey-Bee, do you love some one else enough to marry him?"

    "Little King Loc, I love no one enough for that."

    Whereupon King Loc smiled, and seizing his golden cup he proposed, with a resounding voice, the health of the Princess of the Dwarfs. An immense uproar rose from the depths of the earth, for the banquet table reached from one end to the other of the Empire of the Dwarfs.
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