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The Legend Of Hi-You
by [?]

“To His Royal Highness Prince Frederick of Milvania,” said Hi-You proudly.

“I beg your pardon,” said the King; “could I trouble you to say that again?”

“His Royal Highness Prince Frederick of Milvania.”

“Yes, that was what it sounded like last time.”

“Frederick,” murmured Hi-You in his friend’s ear, “this is His Majesty King Carraway. He lets me call him Frederick,” he added to the King.

“You don’t mean to tell me,” said His Majesty, pointing to the pig, “that this is Prince Frederick?”

“It is indeed, Sire. Such distressing incidents must often have occurred within Your Majesty’s recollection.”

“They have, yes. Dear me, dear me.”

“Humph,” remarked Frederick, feeling it was time he said something.

“His Royal Highness says that he is very proud to meet so distinguished a monarch as Your Majesty.”

“Did he say that?” asked the King, surprised.

“Undoubtedly, Your Majesty.”

“Very good of him, I’m sure.”

“Humph,” said Frederick again.

“He adds,” explained Hi-You, “that Your Majesty’s great valour is only excelled by the distinction of Your Majesty’s appearance.”

“Dear me,” said the King, “I thought he was merely repeating himself. It seems to me very clever of you to understand so exactly what he is saying.”

“Humph,” said Frederick, feeling that it was about acorn time again.

“His Royal Highness is kind enough to say that we are very old friends.”

“Yes, of course, that must make a difference. One soon picks it up, no doubt. But we must not be inhospitable to so distinguished a visitor. Certainly he must stay with us at the Palace. And you had better come along too, my man, for it may well be that without your aid some of His Royal Highness’s conversation would escape us. Prince Frederick of Milvania–dear me, dear me. This will be news for Her Royal Highness.”

So, leaving the rest of the herd to look after itself, as it was quite capable of doing, Frederick and Hi-You went to the Palace.

Now Her Royal Highness Princess Amaril was of an age to be married. Many Princes had sought her hand, but in vain, for she was as proud as she was beautiful. Indeed, her beauty was so great that those who looked upon it were blinded, as if they had gazed upon the sun at noonday–or so the Court Poet said, and he would not be likely to exaggerate. Wherefore Hi-You was filled with a great apprehension as he walked to the Palace, and Frederick, to whom the matter had been explained, was, it may be presumed, equally stirred within, although outwardly impassive. And, as they went, Hi-You murmured to his companion that it was quite all right, for that in any event she could not eat them, the which assurance Frederick, no doubt, was peculiarly glad to receive.

“Ah,” said the King, as they were shown into the Royal Library, “that’s right.” He turned to the Princess. “My dear, prepare for a surprise.”

“Yes, Father,” said Amaril dutifully.

“This,” said His Majesty dramatically, throwing out a hand, “is a Prince in disguise.”

“Which one, Father?” said Amaril.

“The small black one, of course,” said the King crossly; “the other is merely his attendant. Hi, you, what’s your name?”

The swineherd hastened to explain that His Majesty, with His Majesty’s unfailing memory for names, had graciously mentioned it.

“You don’t say anything,” said the King to his daughter.

Princess Amaril sighed.

“He is very handsome, Father,” she said, looking at Hi-You.

“Y-yes,” said the King, regarding Frederick (who was combing himself thoughtfully behind the left ear) with considerable doubt. “But the real beauty of Prince Frederick’s character does not lie upon the surface, or anyhow–er–not at the moment.”

“No, Father,” sighed Amaril, and she looked at Hi-You again.

Now the swineherd, who with instinctive good breeding had taken the straw from his mouth on entering the Palace, was a well-set-up young fellow, such as might please even a Princess.

For a little while there was silence in the Royal Library, until Frederick realized that it was his turn to speak.

“Humph!” said Frederick.

“There!” said the King in great good humour. “Now, my dear, let me tell you what that means. That means that His Royal Highness is delighted to meet so beautiful and distinguished a Princess.” He turned to Hi-You. “Isn’t that right, my man?”