After that we had a few minutes of silence, while I sorted out the pebbles, and amused myself with watching Bruno's plan of gardening. It was quite a new plan to me: he always measured each bed before he weeded it, as if he was afraid the weeding would make it shrink; and once, when it came out longer than he wished, he set to work to thump the mouse with his little fist, crying out "There now! It's all gone wrong again! Why don't oo keep oor tail straight when I tell oo!"
"I'll tell you what I'll do," Bruno said in a half-whisper, as we worked. "Oo like Fairies, don't oo?"
"Yes," I said: "of course I do, or I shouldn't have come here. I should have gone to some place where there are no Fairies."
Bruno laughed contemptuously. "Why, oo might as well say oo'd go to some place where there wasn't any air----supposing oo didn't like air!"
This was a rather difficult idea to grasp. I tried a change of subject. "You're nearly the first Fairy I ever saw. Have you ever seen any people besides me?"
"Plenty!" said Bruno. "We see'em when we walk in the road."
"But they ca'n't see you. How is it they never tread on you?"
"Ca'n't tread on us," said Bruno, looking amused at my ignorance. "Why, suppose oo're walking, here---- so----" (making little marks on the ground) "and suppose there's a Fairy----that's me----walking here. Very well then, oo put one foot here, and one foot here, so oo doosn't tread on the Fairy."
This was all very well as an explanation, but it didn't convince me. "Why shouldn't I put one foot on the Fairy?" I asked.
"I don't know why," the little fellow said in a thoughtful tone. "But I know oo wouldn't. Nobody never walked on the top of a Fairy. Now I'll tell oo what I'll do, as oo're so fond of Fairies. I'll get oo an invitation to the Fairy-King's dinner-party. I know one of the head-waiters."
I couldn't help laughing at this idea. "Do the waiters invite the guests?" I asked.
"Oh, not to sit down!" Bruno said. "But to wait at table. Oo'd like that, wouldn't oo? To hand about plates, and so on."
"Well, but that's not so nice as sitting at the table, is it?"
"Of course it isn't," Bruno said, in a tone as if he rather pitied my ignorance; "but if oo're not even Sir Anything, oo ca'n't expect to be allowed to sit at the table, oo know."
I said, as meekly as I could, that I didn't expect it, but it was the only way of going to a dinner-party that I really enjoyed. And Bruno tossed his head, and said, in a rather offended tone that I might do as I pleased----there were many he knew that would give their ears to go.
"Have you ever been yourself, Bruno?"
"They invited me once, last week," Bruno said, very gravely. "It was to wash up the soup-plates----no, the cheese-plates I mean that was grand enough. And I waited at table. And I didn't hardly make only one mistake."
"What was it?" I said. "You needn't mind telling me."
"Only bringing scissors to cut the beef with," Bruno said carelessly. "But the grandest thing of all was, I fetched the King a glass of cider!"
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