[Illustration: THE PRINCESS BÉBÈ AND ALECK.]
"Oh yes, you will," said the gate-keeper, who had come forward to meet her. "If life is worth having, it is worth struggling for. Next year I shall send you up for your trial, whether you consent or not."
"If that is the case, I suppose I may as well consent at once," said the princess, and so yielded the point.
And when the long, long days of another year had come and gone, she left the kingdom of the mineral-workers for the third time. For the third time she struggled through the ground, lifting up her head among the blue-eyed violets and slender waving grasses.
She shook out her petals in the sunlight, and smiled as sweetly as a primrose can smile; but the spring days went by, and the summer was almost over, before any one took any notice of her.
The poor little primrose was almost ready to die of despair, when one day, looking up quite suddenly, she saw the face of an old man bending ove