THE Fairy Bérylune’s Palace stood at the top of a very high mountain, on the way to the moon. It was so near that, on summer nights, when the sky was clear, you could plainly see the moon's mountains and valleys, lakes and seas from the terrace of the palace. Here the Fairy studied the stars and read their secrets, for it was long since the Earth had had anything to teach her.
"This old planet no longer interests me!" she used to say to her friends, the giants of the mountain. "The men upon it still live with their eyes shut! Poor things, I pity them! I go down among them now and then, but it is out of charity, to try and save the little children from the fatal misfortune that awaits them in the darkness."
This explains why she had come and knocked at the door of Daddy Tyl's cottage on Christmas Eve.
And now to return to our travellers. They had hardly reached the high-road, when the Fairy remembered that they could not walk like that through the village, which was still lit up because of the feast. But her store of knowledge was so great that all her wishes were fulfilled at once. She pressed lightly on Tyltyl's head and willed that they should all be carried by magic to her palace. Then and there, a cloud of fireflies surrounded our companions and wafted them gently towards the sky. They were at the Fairy's palace before they had recovered from their surprise.
"Follow me," she said and led them through chambers and passages all in gold and silver.
They stopped in a large room surrounded with mirrors on every side and containing an enormous wardrobe with light creeping through its chinks. The Fairy Bérylune took a diamond key from her pocket and opened the wardrobe. One cry of amazement burst from every throat. Precious stuffs were seen piled one on the top of the other: mantles covered with gems, dresses of every sort and every country, pearl coronets, emerald necklaces, ruby bracelets...
Never had the Children beheld such riches! As for the Things, their state was rather one of utter bewilderment; and this was only natural, when you think that they were seeing the world for the first time and that it showed itself to them in such a queer way.
The Fairy helped them make their choice. Fire, Sugar and the Cat displayed a certain decision of taste. Fire, who only cared for red, at once chose a splendid Mephistopheles dress, with gold spangles. He put nothing on his head, for his bread was always very hot. Sugar could not stand anything except white and pale blue: bright colours jarred on his sweet, nature. The long blue and white dress which he selected and the pointed hat, like a candle extinguisher, which he wore on his head made him look perfectly ridiculous; but he was too silly to notice it and kept spinning before the glass like a top and admiring himself in blissful ignorance.
The Cat, who was always a lady and who was used to her dusky garments, reflected that black always looks well, in any circumstance, particularly now, when they were travelling without luggage. She therefore put on a suit of black tights, with jet embroidery, hung a long velvet cloak from her shoulders and perched a large cavalier hat, with a long feather, on her neat little head. She next asked for a pair of soft kid boots, in memory of Puss-in-Boots, her distinguished ancestor, and put a pair of gloves on her fore-paws, to protect them from the dust of the roads.