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The Legend Of Hi-You
by [?]


A month went by, and then Hi-You came to the King with news. He had compounded the magic potion. A few drops sprinkled discriminately on Frederick would restore him to his earlier shape, and the wedding could then be announced.

“Well, my man,” said His Majesty genially, “this is indeed pleasant hearing. We will sprinkle Frederick to-morrow. Really, I am very much in your debt; remind me after the ceremony to speak to the Lord Treasurer about the matter.”

“Say no more,” begged Hi-You. “All I ask is to be allowed to depart in peace. Let me have a few hours alone with His Royal Highness in the form in which I have known him so long, and then, when he is himself again, let me go. For it is not meet that I should remain here as a perpetual reminder to His Royal Highness of what he would fain forget.”

“Well, that’s very handsome of you, very handsome indeed. I see your point. Yes, it is better that you should go. But, before you go, there is just one thing. The people are under the impression that–er–an enchanter has–er–well, you remember what you yourself suggested.”

“I have thought of that,” said Hi-You, who seemed to have thought of everything. “And I venture to propose that Your Majesty should announce that a great alchemist has been compounding a potion to relieve their blindness. A few drops of this will be introduced into the water of the Public Baths, and all those bathing therein will be healed.”

“A striking notion,” said the King. “Indeed it was just about to occur to me. I will proclaim to-morrow a public holiday, and give orders that it be celebrated in the baths. Then in the evening, when they are all clean–I should say ‘cured’–we will present their Prince to them.”

So it happened even as Hi-You had said, and in the evening the Prince, a model now of manly beauty, was presented to them, and they acclaimed him with cheers. And all noticed how lovingly the Princess regarded him, and how he smiled upon her.

But the King gazed upon the Prince as one fascinated. Seven times he cleared his throat and seven times he failed to speak. And the eighth time he said, “Your face is strangely familiar to me.”

“Perchance we met in Milvania,” said the Prince pleasantly.

Now the King had never been in Milvania. Wherefore he still gazed at the Prince, and at length he said, “What has happened to that Hi-You fellow?”

“You will never hear of him again,” said the Prince pleasantly.

“Oh!” said the King. And after that they feasted.

And some say that they feasted upon roast pig, but I say not. And some say that Hi-You had planned it all from the beginning, but I say not. And some say that it was the Princess Amaril who planned it, from the day when first she saw Hi-You, and with them I agree. For indeed I am very sure that when Hi-You was a swineherd upon the hills he believed truly that the little black pig with the curly tail was a Prince. And, though events in the end were too much for him, I like to think that Hi-You remained loyal to his friend, and that in his plush-lined sty in a quiet corner of the Palace grounds Frederick passed a gentle old age, cheered from time to time by the visits of Amaril’s children.