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The Little Soldier
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when the Princess had drunk it, she found that the horns had diminished by one half.
'You must really have another little sin on your conscience. Did you steal nothing from this soldier but his purse?'
'I also stole from him his cloak.'
'Give it me.'
'Here it is.'
This time Ludovine thought to herself that when once the horns had departed, she would call her attendants and take the things from the doctor by force.
She was greatly pleased with this idea, when suddenly the pretended physician wrapped himself in the cloak, flung away the wig and spectacles, and showed to the traitress the face of the Little Soldier.
She stood before him dumb with fright.
'I might,' said John, 'have left you horned to the end of your days, but I am a good fellow and I once loved you, and besides-- you are too like the devil to have any need of his horns.'
John had wished himself in the house of the Seagull. Now the Seagull was seated at the window, mending her net, and from time to time her eyes wandered to the sea as if she was expecting someone. At the noise made by the little soldier, she looked up and blushed.
'So it is you!' she said. 'How did you get here?' And then she added in a low voice, 'And have you married your Princess?'
Then John told her all his adventures, and when he had finished, he restored to her the purse and the mantle.
'What can I do with them?' said she. 'You have proved to me that happiness does not lie in the possession of treasures.'
'It lies in work and in the love of an honest woman,' replied the little soldier, who noticed for the first time what pretty eyes she had. 'Dear Seagull, will you have me for a husband?' and he held out his hand.
'Yes, I will,' answered the fisher maiden, blushing very red, 'but only on condition that we seal up the purse and the mantle in the copper vessel and throw them into the sea.'
And this they did.