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    Chapter 15

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    Chapter 16
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    In which we shall see how King Loc suffered

    Seated on the granite step of the underground palace, Honey-Bee watched the blue sky through the cleft in the rock, I and saw the elder-trees turn their spreading white parasols to the light. She began to weep.

    "Honey-Bee," said King Loc as he took her hand in his, "why do you weep, and what is it you desire?" And as she had been grieving these many days, the dwarfs at her feet tried to cheer her with simple airs on the flute, the flageolet, the rebeck, and the cymbals. And other dwarfs, to amuse her, turned such somersaults one after the other that they pricked the grass with the points of their hoods with their cockades of leaves, and nothing could be more charming than to watch the capers of these tiny men with their venerable beards. Tad so kind and Dig so wise, who had loved her since the day they had found her asleep on the shore of the lake, and Pic, the elderly poet, gently took her arm and implored her to tell them the cause of her grief. Pau, a simple just soul, offered her a basket of grapes, and all of them gently pulled the edge of her skirt and said with King Loc:

    "Honey-Bee, Princess of the Dwarfs, why do you weep?"

    "Little King Loc," Honey-Bee replied, "and you, little men, my grief only increases your love, because you are good; you weep with me. Know that I weep when I think of George of Blanchelande, who should now be a cavalier, but whom I shall never see again. I love him and I wish to be his wife."

    King Loc took his hand away from the hand he had pressed.

    "Honey-Bee," he said, "why did you deceive me when you told me at the banquet that you loved no one else?"

    "Little King Loc," Honey-Bee replied, "I did not deceive you at the banquet. At that time I had no desire to marry George of Blanchelande, but to-day it is my dearest wish that he should ask to marry me. But he will never ask me, as I do not know where he now is, nor does he know where I am. And this is the reason I weep."

    At these words the musicians ceased playing; the acrobats interrupted their tumbling and stood immovable, some on their heads and some on their haunches; Tad and Dig shed silent tears on the sleeve of Honey-Bee; Pau, simple soul, dropped his basket of grapes, and all the little men gave vent to the most fearful groans.

    But King Loc, more unhappy than all under his splendid jewelled crown, silently withdrew, his mantle trailing behind him like a purple torrent.
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