The Little Colonel's Hero, Chapter 13: "The Rescue Of The Princess Winsome"

by Annie Fellows Johnston (1863-1931)

Published 1902
Illustrated by Etheldred B. Barry







King ................Rob Moore.
Queen .............Allison Walton.
Prince Hero ............Keith MacIntyre.
PRINCESS WINSOME ............Lloyd Sherman.
Knight .............. Malcolm MacIntyre.
Ogre ...............Joe Clark.
Witch ..................Kitty Walton.
Godmother ...........Elizabeth Lloyd Lewis.
Frog-eye Fearsome ............. Ranald Walton.
Titania ..................Elise Walton.
Bewitched Prince .............HERO, THE RED CROSS DOG.
Chorus of Fairies.

Flower Messengers:


SCENE I. In the Witch's Orchard. Frog-eye Fearsome drags the captive Prince and Princess to the Ogre's tower. At Ogre's command Witch brews spell to change Prince Hero into a dog.
SCENE II. In front of Witch's Orchard. King and Queen bewail their loss. The Godmother of Princess promises aid. The Knight starts in quest of the South Wind's silver flute with which to summon the Fairies to his help.


SCENE I. In the Tower Room. PRINCESS WINSOME and HERO. Godmother brings spinning-wheel on which Princess is to spin Love's golden thread that shall rescue her brother. Dove comes with letter from Knight. Flower messengers in turn report his progress. Counting the Daisy's petals the Princess learns that her true Knight has found the flute.


SCENE I. In Witch's Orchard. Knight returns from quest. Blows the flute and summons Titania and her train. They bind the Ogre and Witch in the golden thread the Princess spun. Knight demands the spell that binds the Prince and plucks the seven golden plums from the silver apple-tree. Prince becomes a prince again, and King gives the Knight the hand of the Princess and half of his Kingdom. Chorus of Fairies.



SCENE I. Witch bend's over fire in middle of orchard, brewing a charm in her caldron. Ogre stalks in, grinning frightfully, swinging his bludgeon in triumph.

Ogre. Ha, old witch, it is done at last! 
I have broken the King's stronghold! 
I have stolen away his children twain 
From the clutch of their guardsmen bold. 
I have dragged them here to my castle tower.
Prince Hero is strong and fair. 
But he and his sister shall rue my power, 
When once up yon winding stair.

Witch. Now why didst thou plot such a wicked thing? 
The children no harm have done.

Ogre. But I have a grudge 'gainst their father, the King,
A grudge that is old as the sun. 
And hark ye, old hag, I must have thy aid 
Before the new moon be risen. 
Now brew me a charm in thy caldron black, 
That shall keep them fast in their prison!

Witch. I'll brew thee no charm, thou Ogre dread! 
Knowest thou not full well 
The Princess thou hast stolen away is guarded by Fairy spell? 
Her godmother over her cradle bent.
" O Princess Winsome," she said, 
"I give thee this gift: thou shalt deftly spin, 
As thou wishest, Love's golden thread." 
So I dare not brew thee a spell 'gainst hex 
My caldron would grow acold
And never again would bubble up, 
If touched by her thread of gold.

Ogre. Then give me a charm to bind the prince. 
Thou canst do that much at least. 
I'll give thee more gold than hands can hold, 
If thou'lt change him into some beast.

Witch. I have need of gold-so on the fire 
I'll pile my fagots higher and higher, 
And in the bubbling water stir 
This hank of hair, this patch of fur, 
This feather and this flapping fin,
This claw, this bone, this dried snake skin! 
          Bubble and boil 
          And snake skin coil, 
          This charm shall all plans 
          But the Ogre's foil. 
               [As Witch stirs and sings, the Ogre, stalking to the side, calls

Ogre. Ho, Frog-eye Fearsome, let the sport begin!
Hence to the tower!  Drag the captives in!

[Frog-eye Fearsome drags Prince Hero and Princess Winsome across the stage, and into the door leading up the tower stair. They are bound by ropes. Prince tries to reach his sword. Princess shrieks.

Princess. Oh, save us, good, wise witch, 
In pity, save us, pray.
The King, our royal father,
Thy goodness will repay.           [Pulls back, wringing hand
Oh, I cannot, cannot mount the tower!
Oh, save us from the bloody Ogre's power!

[They are dragged into the tower, door bangs and Ogre locks it with key a yard long. Goes back to Witch, who hands him vial filled from caldron with black mixture.

Witch. Pour drop by drop upon Prince Hero's tongue.
First he will bark,   His hands and feet 
Will turn to paws, and he will seem a dog. 
Seven drops will make the change complete. 
The poison has no antidote save one, 
And he a prince again can never be, 
Unless seven silver plums he eats, 
Plucked from my golden apple-tree.

Ogre. Revenge is sweet,
And soon 'twill be complete!
Then to my den I'll haste for gold to delve.
I'll bring it at the black, bleak hour of twelve!

Witch. And I upon my broomstick now must fly 
To woodland tryst. Come, Horned Owl 
And Venomed Toad! Now play the spy!
Let no one through my orchard prowl.
                                            [Exit Witch and Ogre to dirge music.

SCENE 11. Enter King and Queen weeping. They pace up and down, wringing hands, and showing great signs of grief. Godmother enters from opposite side. King speaks.

King. Good dame, Godmother of our daughter dear, 
Perhaps thou'st heard our tale of woe. 
Our children twain are stolen away 
By Ogre Grim, mine ancient foe.

All up and down the land we've sought 
For help to break into his tower. 
And now, our searching all for nought, 
We've come to beg the Witch's power.  
            [Godmother springs forward, finger to lip  and anxiously waves  
them away from orchard.

Godmother. Nay! Nay! Your Majesty, go not
Within that orchard, now I pray!
The Witch and Ogre are in league.
They've wrought you fearful harm this day.
She brewed a draught to change the prince
Into a dog! Oh, woe is me!
I passed the tower and heard him bark
Alack! That I must tell it thee! 
          [Queen shrieks and falls back in the King's arm, then recovering falls to wailing.

Queen. My noble son a dog? A beast? 
It cannot, must not, shall not be! 
I'll brave the Ogre in his den, 
And plead upon my bended knee!

Godmother. Thou couldst not touch his heart of stone.
He'd keep thee captive in his lair.
The Princess Winsome can alone
Remove the cause of thy despair.
And I unto the tower will climb,
And ere is gone the sunset's red,
shall bid her spin a counter charm 
A skein of Love's own Golden Thread.
Take heart, O mother Queen!  Be brave!
Take heart, O gracious Kin,' I pray!
Well can she spin Love's Golden Thread,
And Love can always find a way!   [Exit Godmother

Queen. She's gone, good dame. But what if she 
Has made mistake, and thread of gold 
Is not enough to draw our son 
From out the Ogre's cruel hold? 
Canst think of nought, your Majesty? 
Of nothing else? Must we stand here 
And powerless lift no hand to speed 
The rescue of our children dear? 
          [King clasps hand to his head in thought, then starts forward.

King. I have it now! This hour I'll send 
Swift heralds through my wide domains, 
To say the knight who rescues them 
Shall wed the Princess for his pains.

Queen. Quick! Let us fly ! I hear the sound of feet, 
As if some horseman were approaching nigher. 
'Twould not be seemly should he meet 
Our royal selves so near the Witch's fire.
          [They start to run, but are met by Knight on horseback in centre of stage. He dismounts and drops to one knee.

King. 'Tis Feal the Faithful ! Rise, Sir Knight,
And tell us what thou doest here!

Knight. O Sire, I know your children's plight.
I go to ease your royal fear. 

Queen. Now if thou bringst them back to us, 
A thousand blessings on thy head.

King. Ay, half my kingdom shall be thine. 
The Princess Winsome thou shalt wed.

Queen. But tell us, how dost thou think to cope 
With the Ogre so dread and grim? 
What is the charm that bids thee hope 
Thou canst rout and vanquish him?

Knight. My faithful heart is my only charm, 
But my good broadsword is keen, 
And love for the princess nerves my arm 
With the strength of ten, I ween. 
Come weal, come woe, no knight can fail 
Who goes at Love's behest. 
Long ere one moon shall wax and wane, 
I shall be back from my quest. 
I have only to find the South Wind's flute. 
In the Land of Summer it lies. 
It can awaken the echoes mute,
With answering replies.
And it can summon the fairy folk
Who never have said me nay.
They'll come to my aid at the flute's clear call.
Love always can find a way.

King. Go, Feal the Faithful.   It is well!
Successful mayst thou be,
And all the way that thou dost ride,
Our blessings follow thee. [Curtain



SCENE. Room In Ogre's tower. Princess Winsome kneeling with arm around Dog's neck.

Princess. Art thou my brother? Can it be 
That thou hast taken such shape? 
Oh turn those sad eyes not on me!
There must be some escape. 
And yet our parents think us dead. 
No doubt they weep this very hour, 
For no one ever has escaped, 
Ere this, the Ogre's power. 
Oh cruel fate! We can but die!
Each moment seems a week. 
Is there no hope? Oh, Hero dear, 
If thou couldst only speak!
But no! Within this tower room 
We're captive, and despair
Must settle on us.  'Tis the doom 
Of all dragged up yon winding stair.

[Drops her head and weeps. Enter Godmother, who waves wand and throwing back curtain, displays a spinning-wheel.

Godmother. Rise, princess Winsome,
Dry your weeping eyes.
The way of escape
Within your own hand lies.

Waste no time in sorrow,
Spin and sing instead.
Spin for thy brother's sake,
A skein of golden thread.

Question not the future,
Mourn not the past,
But keep thy wheel a-tuming,
Spinning well and fast.

All the world helps gladly
Those who help themselves,
And the thread thou spinnest,
Shall be woven by elves.

All good things shall speed thee!
Thy knight, the Faithful Feal,
Is to thy rescue riding.
Up! To thy spinning-wheel! [Disappears behind curtain

Princess. All good things shall speed me?
Sir Knight! the Faithful Feal,
Is to my rescue riding?   [In joyful surprise
Turn, turn, my spinning-wheel!
(She sings.)



[Pauses with uplifted hand.

What's that at my casement tapping? 
Some messenger, maybe. 
Pause, good wheel, in thy turning, 
While I look out and see.

[Opens casement and leans out, as if welcoming a carrier dove,
which may be concealed in basket outside window.

Little white dove, from my faithful knight,
Dost thou bring a message to me?
Little white dove with the white, white breast,
What may that message be?
Here is his Ietter. Ah,  well-a-day! 
                                                                [Finds note, tied to wing
I'll open it now, and read. 
Little carrier dove, with fluttering heart, 
I'm a happy maiden, indeed.  
(She reads.)  "O Princess fair, in the Ogre's tower, 
In the far-off Summer-land 
I seek the South Wind's silver flute, 
To summon a fairy band. Now send me a token by the dove 
That thou hast read my note.
 Send me the little heart of gold 
From the chain about thy throat. 
And I shall bind it upon my shield, 
My talisman there to stay. 
And then all foes to me must yield, 
For Love will find the way.

Here is set the hand and seal 
Of thy own true knight, the faithful --- Feal."

[Princess takes locket from throat and winds chain around dove's neck.

Princess sings.



[Sets dove at liberty. Turning to wheel again, repeats song. 

Princess repeats. My Godmother bids me spin, 
That my heart may not be sad; 
Spin and sing for my brother's sake, 
And the spinning makes me glad.

Sing ! Spin! With hum and whir 
The wheel goes round and round. 
For my brother's sake the charm I'll break!
Prince Hero shall be found.

Spin! Sing! The golden thread 
Gleams in the sunlight's ray! 
The humming wheel my grief can heal, 
For Love will find a way.

[First messenger appears at window, dressed as a Morning-glory

Morning-glory. Fair Princess,
is morning, when the early dawn
Was flushing all the sky,
Beside the trellis where I bloomed,
A knight rode slowly by.

He stopped and plucked me from my stem,
And said, "Sweet Morning-glory,
Be thou my messenger to-day,
And carry back my story.

"Go bid the Princess in the tower
Forget all thought of sorrow.
Her true knight will return to her
With joy, on some glad morrow."                     [Disappears

Princess sings.  Spin! spin! The golden thread 
Holds no thought of sorrow.
My true knight he shall come to me
With joy on some glad morrow.

[Second flower messenger, dressed as Pansy, appears at window.

Pansy.   Gracious Princess, 
I come from Feal the Faithful.
He plucked me from my bower,
And said, speed to the Princess
And say, "Like this sweet flower
The thoughts within my bosom
Bloom ever, love, of thee.
Oh, read the pansy's message,
And give a thought to me."                            [Pansy disappears.

Princess sings. Spin, spin, O golden thread!
And turn, O humming wheel. 
This pansy is his thought of me, 
My true knight, brave and leal.

[ Third flower messenger, a pink Rose.

Rose. Thy true knight battled for thee to-day, 
On a fierce and bloody field, 
But he won at last in the hot affray,
By the heart of gold on his shield.

He saw me blushing beside a wall, 
My petals pink in the sun 
With pleasure, because such a valiant knight 
The hard-fought battle had won.

And he kissed me once on my soft pink cheek,
And once in my heart of gold,
And bade me hasten to thee and speak.
Pray take the message I hold.

[Princess goes to the window, takes a pink rose from the messenger. As she walks back, kisses it and fastens it on her dress. Then turns to wheel again.

Princess sings. Spin, spin, O golden thread, 
And turn, O happy wheel.
The pink rose brought in its heart of gold, 
A kiss, his love to seal.

[Fourth messenger, a Forget-me-not

Forget-me-not. Fair Princess, Down by the brook, when the sun was low,
 A brave knight paused to slake 
His thirst in the water's silver flow, 
As he journeyed far for thy sake. 
He saw me beading above the stream, 
And he said, "Oh, happy spot! 
Ye show me the Princess Winsome's eyes  
In each blue forget-me-not." 
He bade me bring you my name to hide 
In your heart of hearts for ever, 
And say as long as its blooms are blue, 
No power true hearts can sever.

Princess sings.  Spin, spin, O golden thread. 
O wheel; my happy lot 
It is to hide within my heart 
That name, forget-me-not.

[Fifth messenger, a Poppy.

Poppy. Dear Princess Winsome,
Within the shade of a forest glade
He laid him down to sleep,
And I, the Poppy, kept faithful guard
That it might be sweet and deep.
But oft in his dreams he stirred and spoke,
And thy name was on his tongue, 
And I learned his secret ere he woke,
When the fair new day was young
And this is what he, whispering, said,
As he journeyed on in his way
"Bear her my dreams in your chalice red, 
For I dream of her night and day."

Princess sings.  Spin, spin, O golden thread 
He dreams of me night and day! 
The poppy's chalice is sweet and red.
Oh, Love will find a way!

[Sixth messenger, a Daisy.

Daisy. O Princess fair, 
Far on the edge of the Summer-land
I stood with my face to the sun,
And the brave knight counted with strong hand 
My petals, one by one. 
And he said, O Daisy, white and gold,
The princess must count them too.
By thy petals shall she be told
If my long, far quest is through. 
"Whether or not her knight has found
The South Wind's flute that he sought."
So over the hills from the Summer-land,
Your true knight's token I've brought.

[Gives Princess a large artificial daisy. She counts petals, slowly dropping them one by one.

Princess. Far on the edge of the Summer-land, 
O Daisy, white and gold,
My true love held you in his hand. 
What was the word he told?
He's found it. Found it not.
Found it. Found it not.

That magic flute of the South Wind, sweet,
w'ill he blow it, over the lea?
Will the fairy folk its call repeat,
And hasten to rescue me?

He's found it, found it not.
Found it, found it not.
Found it, found it not.
He's found it!                             [Turning to the dog.

Come, Hero! Hear me, brother mine;
Thy gladness must indeed be mute,
Buto, 'the joy! We're saved!  We're saved!
My knight has found the silver flute!I





SCENE. In front of Witch's Orchard. Knight comes riding by, blows flute softly under the tower window. Princess leans out and waves her hand. Knight dismounts, and little page takes horse, leading it off stage.

Knight. Lean out of thy window, O Princess fair, 
Rescuers now are at hand. 
Thou shalt be led down the winding stair. 
By the Queen of the Fairy band.

Listen, as low on the South Wind's flute 
I call the elves to our tryst. 
Down rainbow bubbles they softly float, 
Light-winged as stars in a mist. 

[He blows on flute and from every direction the Fairies come floating in, their gauzy wings spangled, and each one carrying a toy balloon, attached to a string. They trip back and forth',their balloons bobbing up and down like rainbow bubbles, singing.


[Queen Titania coming forward, waves her star-·tipped wand, and looks up toward Princess at the window. 

Titania. Princess Winsome, 
When thy good Godmother 
Bade thee spin Love's thread, 
It was with this promise, 
These the words she said:

All the world helps gladly 
Those who help themselves. 
The thread thou spinnest bravely. 
Shall be woven by elves.

And now, O Princess Winsome, 
How much hast thou spun, 
As thy wheel, a-whirling, 
Turned from sun to sun?

Princess. This, O Queen Titania. 
                                                 [Holding up mammoth ball

To the humming wheel's refrain, 
I sang, and spun the measure 
Of one great golden skein. 
And winding, winding, winding,
At last I wound it all,
Until the thread all golden
Made a mammoth wonder-ball

Titania.  Here below thy casement 
Thy true knight waiting stands. 
Drop the ball thou holdest 
Into his faithful bands.

[Princess drops the ball, Knight catches it, and as Titania waves her wand, he starts along the line of Fairies. They each take hold as the Witch and Ogre come darting in, she brandishing her broomstick, he his bludgeon. They come through gate of the Orchard in the background. As the ball unwinds, the Fairies march around them, tangling them in the yards and yards of narrow yellow ribbon, singing as they go.

Fairy Chorus. We come, we come at thy call,
On rainbow bubbles we float.
We fairies, one and all,
Have answered the Wind-flute's note, 
To the aid of the gallant Knight, 
To the help of the Princess fair, 
To the rescue of the Prince, 
We come to the Ogre's lair.
We come, we come at thy call, 
The Witch and Ogre to quell, 
And now they both must bow 
To the might of the fairies' spell. 
Love's Golden Thread can bind 
The strongest Ogre's arm, 
And the spell of the blackest Witch 
Must yield to its mighty charm.
[Ogre and Witch stand bound and helpless, tangled in golden cord. They glower around with frightful grimaces. King and Queen enter unnoticed from side. Knight draws his sword, and brandishing it before Ogre, cries out fiercely.

Knight. The key! The key that opens yonder tower! 
Now give it me, or by my troth 
Your head shall from your shoulders fly! 
To stab you through I'm nothing loath!

[Ogre gives Knight the key. He rushes to the door, unlocks it, and Princess and dog burst out. Queen rushes forward and embraces her, then the King, and Knight kneels and kisses her hand. Princess turns to Titania.

Princess. Oh, happy day that sets me free 
From yon dread Ogre's prison!
Oh, happy world, since 'tis for me 
Such rescuers have 'risen. 
But see, your Majesty! the plight 
Of Hero-he the Prince, my brother! 
Wilt thou his wrong not set aright? 
Another favour grant! One other !

Titania waves wand toward Knight who springs at Witch with drawn sword.

Knight. The spell! The spell that breaks the power 
That holds Prince Hero in its thrall!
Now give it me, or in this hour
Thy head shall from its shoulders fall!

Witch. Pluck with your thumbs
Seven silver plums                        [Speaking in high, cracked voice.
From my golden apple-tree!
These the dog must eat.
The change will be complete,
And a prince once more the dog will be!

[Princess darts back into Orchard, followed by dog, who crouches behind hedge, and is seen no more. She picks plums, and stooping, gives them to him, under cover of the hedge. The real prince Hero leaps up from the place where he has been lying, waiting, and hand in hand they run back to the centre of the stage, where the Prince receives the embraces of King and Queen. Prince then turns to Knight.

Prince Hero. Hail, Feal the Faithful! 
My gratitude I cannot tell,
That thou at last hath freed me
From the Witch's fearful spell.
But wheresoe'er thou goest,
Thou faithful knight and true,
The favours of my kingdom
Shall all be showered on you.                              [Turns to Titania
Hail, starry-winged Titania!
And ye fairies, rainbow-hued!
I have not words sufficient
To tell my gratitude.
But if the loyal service
Of a mortal ye should need,
Prince Hero lives to serve you,
No matter what the deed!

[Characters now group themselves in tableau. Queen and Prince on one side, Godmother and Titania on the other. King in centre, with Princess on one hand, Knight on other. He places her hand in the Knight's, who kneels to receive it. Ogre and Witch, still making horrible faces, are slightly in back ground, bound. Fairies form an outer semicircle.

King. And now, brave Knight,  requited stand!
Here is the Princess Winsome's hand.
To-morrow thou shalt wedded be,
And half my kingdom is for thee!

Fairy Chorus. Love's golden cord has bound 
The strongest Ogre's arm, 
And the spell of the blackest Witch 
Has yielded to its charm. 
The Princess Winsome plights 
Her troth to the Knight to-day, 
So fairies, one and all, 
We need no longer stay.

The golden thread is spun,
The Knight has won his bride,
And now our task is done,
We may no longer bide.
On rainbow bubbles bright,
We fairies float away.
The wrong is now set right
And Love has found the way!




As Betty finished reading, there was a babel of voices and a clapping of hands that made her face grow redder and redder. They were all trying to congratulate her at once, and she was so confused that she wished she could run away and hide. But the applause was very sweet to shy little Betty. She felt that she had done her best, and that not only her godmother was proud of her, but Keith, and Keith's beautiful mother, who bent from her queenly height to kiss Betty's flushed cheek, and whisper a word of praise that made her glow for weeks afterward, whenever she thought of it.

"'And he kissed me once on my soft pink cheek,
And once in my heart of gold,"'

hummed Keith. "Say, Betty, that's mighty pretty. How did you ever think of it?"

Before she could answer, one of the maids came out with a tray of sherbet and cake, and the boys sprang up to help serve the girls.

"I know some of my part already," said Kitty, stirring her sherbet suggestively, and repeating in a sepulchral tone

                             "'I'll stir 
This hank of hair, this patch of fur, 
This feather and this flapping fin, 
This claw, this bone, this dried snake skin.'"

"Oh, Kitty, for mercy's sake hush!" said Allison; "you make my blood run cold."

"But I must, if we've only a week to get ready in. I expect to say it day and night. It's better to do that than to take more than a week, and give up the camping party, isn't it?"

"It's going to be a howling success," prophesied Malcolm. "When mamma and auntie and Aunt Mary go into a scheme the way they are doing now, costumes and drills, and all sorts of impossible things don't count at all. We'll be ready in plenty of time."

"Especially," said the Little Colonel, with dignity, "when mothah and Papa Jack are goin' to do so much. My pa'ht is longah than anybody's."

Next morning at the depot, the post-office, and the blacksmith shop a sign was displayed which everybody stopped to read. Similar announcements nailed on various trees throughout the Valley caused many an old farmer to pull up his team and adjust his spectacles for a closer view of this novel poster.

They were all Miss Allison's work. Each one bore at the top a crayon sketch of a huge St. Bernard, with a Red Cross on its collar and shoulder-bags. Underneath was a notice to the effect that an entertainment would be given the following Friday night in the college hall, a short concert, followed by a play called "The Princess Winsome's Rescue" in which Hero, the Red Cross dog recently brought from Germany, would take a prominent part. The proceeds were to be given to the cause of the Red Cross.

That announcement alone would have drawn a large crowd, but added to that was the fact that twenty families in the Valley had each contributed a child to the fairy chorus or the group of flower messengers, and were thus personally interested in the success of the entertainment.

There was scarcely standing-room when the doors were opened Friday evening. Papa Jack felt well repaid for his part in the hurried preparations when, after the musical part of the programme, he heard the buzz of admiration that went around the room, as the curtain rose on the first scene of the play.  It was the dimly lighted witch's orchard.

Across the stage, five feet back from the footlights, ran a snaky-looking fence with high-spiked posts. It had taken him all morning to build it, even with Alec's and Walker's help. Above this peered a thicket of small trees and underbrush bearing a marvellous crop of gold and silver apples and plums. Real gold and silver fruit it looked to be in the dim light, and not the discarded ornaments of a score of old Christmas-trees. A stuffed owl kept guard on one high gate-post, and a huge black velvet cat on the other.

In the centre of the stage, showing plainly through the open double gates, the witch's caldron hung on a tripod, over a fire of fagots. Here Kitty, dressed like an old hag, leaned on her blackened broomstick, stirring the brew, and muttering to herself.

At one side of the stage could be seen the door leading into the ogre's tower, and above it a tiny casement window.

Mrs. Walton gave a nod of satisfaction over her work, when the ogre came roaring in. His costume was of her making, even to the bludgeon which he carried. "Nobody could guess that it was only an old Indian club painted red to hide the lumps of sealing-wax I had to stick on to make the regulation knots," she whispered to Keith's father, who sat next her. "And no one would ever dream that the ogre is Joe Clark. I had hard work to persuade him to take the part, but an invitation to my camping party next week proved to be effective bait. And such a time as I had to get Ranald 's costume! I was about to ask Betty to change his name, when Elise found that Mardi Gras frog at some costumer's. Those webbed feet and hideous eyes are enough to strike terror to any one's soul."

It was a play in which every one was pleased with the part given him. Allison and Rob swept up and down in their gilt crowns and ermine-trimmed robes of royal purple, feeling that as king and queen they had the most important parts of all. Keith looked every inch the charming Prince Hero he personated, and Malcolm made such a dashing knight that there was a burst of applause every time he appeared.

Betty made a dear old godmother, and Elise, with crown and star-tipped wand, filmy spangled wings, and big red bubble of a balloon, was supremely happy as Queen of the Fairies. But it was the Little Colonel who won the greatest laurels, in the tower room, making the prettiest picture of all as she bent over the great St. Bernard, bewailing their fate.

The scenery had been changed with little delay between acts. Three tall screens, hastily unfolded just in front of the spiked fence, hid the orchard from view, and a fourth screen served the double purpose of forming the side wall of the room, and hiding the ogre's tower. The narrow space between the screens and the footlights was ample for the scene that took place there, and the arrangement saved much trouble. For in the last act, the screens had only to be carried away, to leave the stage with its original setting.

Lloyd never looked so pretty before, in her life," said Mr. Sherman to his wife, as they watched the Princess Winsome tread back and forth beside the spinning-wheel, the golden cord held lightly in her white fingers. But she was even prettier in the next scene, when with the dove in her hands she stood at the window, twining the slender gold chain about its neck and singing in a high, sweet voice, clear as a crystal bell

"Flutter and fly, flutter and fly, 
Bear him my heart of gold. 
Bid him be brave, little carrier dove, 
Bid him be brave and bold."

Twice many hands called her back, and many eyes looked admiringly as she sang the song again, holding the dove to her breast and smoothing its white feathers as she repeated the words

"Tell him that I at my spinning-wheel 
Will sing while it turns and hums, 
And think all day of his love so leal 
Until with the flute he comes."

"Jack," said some one in a low tone to Mr. Sherman, as the applause died away for the third time, "Jack, when the Princess Winsome is a little older, you'd be wise to call in the ogre's help. You'll have more than one Kentucky Knight trying to carry her away if you don't."

Mr. Sherman made some laughing reply, but turned away so absorbed by a thought that his friend's words had suggested that he lost all of the flower messengers' speeches. That some knight might want to carry off his little Princess Winsome was a thought that had never occurred to him except as some remote possibility far in the future. But looking at her as she stood in her long court train, he realised that in a few more months she would be in her teens, and then --- time goes so fast! He sighed, thinking with a heavy sinking of the heart that it might be only a few years until she would be counting the daisy petals in earnest.

The curtain hitched just at the last, so that it would not go down, so with their rainbow bubbles bright the fairies ran off the stage toward various points in the audience, for the coveted admiration and praise which they knew was their due.

"Wasn't Hero fine? Didn't he do his part beautifully?" cried Lloyd, as her father, with one long step, raised himself up to a place beside her on the stage, where the children were holding an informal reception.

"Show him the money-box," cried Keith, pressing down through the crowds from the outer door whither he had gone after the entrance receipts.  "Just look, old fellow. There's dollars and dollars in there. See what you've done for the Red Cross. If it hadn't been for you, Betty never would have written the play."

"And if it hadn't been for Betty's writing the play you never would have sent me this heart of gold," said Malcolm in an aside to Lloyd, as he unfastened her locket and chain from his shield. "Am I to keep it always, fair princess?"

"No, indeed!" she answered, laughingly, holding out her hand to take it. "Papa Jack gave me that, and I wouldn't give it up to any knight undah the sun."

"That's right, little daughter," whispered her father. "I am not in such a hurry to give up my Princess Winsome as the old king was. Come, dear, help me find Betty. I want to tell her what a grand success it was."

Lloyd slipped a hand in her father's and led him toward a wing whither the shy little godmother had fled, without a glance in Malcolm's direction. But afterward, when she came out of the dressing-room, wrapped in her long party-cloak, she saw him standing by the door. "Good night!" he said, waving his plumed helmet. Then, with a mischievous smile, he sang in an undertone

"Go bid the princess in the tower
Forget all thought of sorrow. 
Her true knight will return to her 
With joy, on some glad morrow."

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