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7. THE LEAP-FROG (continued)
"I say nothing, it is true," exclaimed the King; "but I have my own opinion, notwithstanding."
Now the trial was to take place. The Flea jumped so high that nobody could see where he went to; so they all asserted he had not jumped at all; and that was dishonorable.
The Grasshopper jumped only half as high; but he leaped into the King's face, who said that was ill-mannered.
The Leap-frog stood still for a long time lost in thought; it was believed at last he would not jump at all.
"I only hope he is not unwell," said the house-dog; when, pop! he made a jump all on one side into the lap of the Princess, who was sitting on a little golden stool close by.
Hereupon the King said, "There is nothing above my daughter; therefore to bound up to her is the highest jump that can be made; but for this, one must possess understanding, and the Leap-frog has shown that he has understanding. He is brave and intellectual."
And so he won the Princess.
"It's all the same to me," said the Flea. "She may have the old Leap-frog, for all I care. I jumped the highest; but in this world merit seldom meets its reward. A fine exterior is what people look at now-a-days."
The Flea then went into foreign service, where, it is said, he was killed.
The Grasshopper sat without on a green bank, and reflected on worldly things; and he said too, "Yes, a fine exterior is everything--a fine exterior is what people care about." And then he began chirping his peculiar melancholy song, from which we have taken this history; and which may, very possibly, be all untrue, although it does stand here printed in black and white.
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