There was, however, a servant of the king's who favoured the huntsmen, and when he heard that they were going to be put to this test he went to them and repeated everything, and said: 'The lion wants to make the king believe that you are girls.' Then the king's daughter thanked him, and said to her maidens: 'Show some strength, and step firmly on the peas.' So next morning when the king had the twelve huntsmen called before him, and they came into the ante-chamber where the peas were lying, they stepped so firmly on them, and had such a strong, sure walk, that not one of the peas either rolled or stirred.
So when they were alone the king's daughter said to her eleven girls: 'Show some constraint, and do not look round at the spinning-wheels.' And next morning when the king had his twelve huntsmen summoned, they went through the ante-chamber, and never once looked at the spinning-wheels.
As he neared the river Forth, which he had to cross on his way, an aged woman came to him crying in a loud voice, "My Lord King, if ye cross this water ye shall never return again in life."
Now the King had read a prophecy in which it was said that a King of Scotland should be slain that same year.
A power in England, second only to the King himself, and with the heart of a lion in him, he answered the King as no other man in all England would have dared answer him.
"My Lord King," he cried, "that you be my Lord King alone prevents Simon de Montfort from demanding satisfaction for such a gross insult.
"It is the king's word, and what is the king's word?
"It is the king's child, and it is not also my child?
In came the Chief Steward, trying not to show the Nome King
how frightened he was.
It was then to the sound of drums, trumpets, and vivats, that the young king
crossed the threshold of that castle in which, seventy-two years before, Henry III.
Then he made a ball, and with these things he went the next day to the king
They came to the King
and asked him to keep them all the winter, to which he agreed.
First came the royal purple streamer of Tepus, own bow-bearer to the King
, and esteemed the finest archer in all the land.
"It is good advice," said Athos, "and if the king
will do one of us the honor we shall be truly grateful to him."
Somewhat calmer, D'Artagnan made every preparation for the journey, and took the greatest care that the military household of the king
, as yet very inconsiderable in numbers, should be well officered and well disciplined in its meager and limited proportions.