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The Legend Of Hi-You
by [?]

“Perfectly correct, Your Majesty.”

“You see, my dear,” said the King complacently, “one soon picks it up. Now in a few days–“

“Humph!” said Frederick again.

“What did that one mean, Father?” asked Amaril.

“That meant–er–that meant–well, it’s a little hard to put it colloquially, but roughly it means”–he made a gesture with his hand–“that we have–er–been having very charming weather lately.” He frowned vigorously at the swineherd.

“Exactly, Your Majesty,” said Hi-You.

“Charming weather for the time of year.”

“For the time of year, of course,” said the King hastily. “One naturally assumes that. Well, my dear,” he went on to his daughter, “I’m sure you will be glad to know that Prince Frederick has consented to stay with us for a little. You will give orders that suitable apartments are to be prepared.”

“Yes, Father. What are suitable apartments?”

The King pulled at his beard and regarded Frederick doubtfully.

“Perhaps it would be better,” the Princess went on, looking at Hi-You, “if this gentleman–“

“Of course, my dear, of course. Naturally His Royal Highness would wish to retain his suite.”

“Humph!” said Frederick, meaning, I imagine, that things were looking up.


Of all the Princes who from time to time had visited the Court none endeared himself so rapidly to the people as did Frederick of Milvania. His complete lack of vanity, his thoughtfulness, the intense reserve which so obviously indicated a strong character, his power of listening placidly to even the most tedious of local dignitaries, all these were virtues of which previous royal visitors had given no sign. Moreover on set occasions Prince Frederick could make a very pretty speech. True, this was read for him, owing to a slight affection of the throat from which, as the Chancellor pointed out, His Royal Highness was temporarily suffering, but it would be couched in the most perfect taste and seasoned at suitable functions (such, for instance, as the opening of the first Public Baths) with a pleasantly restrained humour. Nor was there any doubt that the words were indeed the Prince’s own, as dictated to Hi-You and by him put on paper for the Chancellor. But Hi-You himself never left the Palace.

“My dear,” said the King to his daughter one day, “have you ever thought of marriage?”

“Often, Father,” said Amaril.

“I understand from the Chancellor that the people are expecting an announcement on the subject shortly.”

“We haven’t got anything to announce, have we?”

“It’s a pity that you were so hasty with your other suitors,” said the King thoughtfully. “There is hardly a Prince left who is in any way eligible.”

“Except Prince Frederick,” said Amaril gently.

The King looked at her suspiciously and then looked away again, pulling at his beard.

“Of course,” went on Amaril, “I don’t know what your loving subjects would say about it.”

“My loving subjects,” said the King grimly, “have been properly brought up. They believe–they have my authority for believing–that they are suffering from a disability of the eyesight laid upon them by a wicked enchanter, under which they see Princes as–er–pigs. That, if you remember, was this fellow Hi-You’s suggestion. And a very sensible one.”

“But do you want Frederick as a son-in-law?”

“Well, that’s the question. In his present shape he is perhaps not quite–not quite–well, how shall I put it?”

“Not quite,” suggested Amaril.

“Exactly. At the same time I think that there could be no harm in the announcement of a betrothal. The marriage, of course, would not be announced until–“

“Until the enchanter had removed his spell from the eyes of the people?”

“Quite so. You have no objection to that, my dear?”

“I am His Majesty’s subject,” said Amaril dutifully.

“That’s a good girl.” He patted the top of her head and dismissed her.

So the betrothal of His Royal Highness Frederick of Milvania to the Princess Amaril was announced, to the great joy of the people. And in the depths of the Palace Hi-You the swineherd was hard at work compounding a potion which, he assured the King, would restore Frederick to his own princely form. And sometimes the Princess Amaril would help him at his work.