"Once there was a princess who was very beautiful. She shone as bright as the stars on a moonless night. But what difference did it make that she was beautiful? None. No difference."
"Why did it make no difference?" asked Abilene.
"Because," said Pellegrina, "she was a princess who loved no one and cared nothing for love, even though there were many who loved her."
At this point in her story, Pellegrina stopped and looked right at Edward. She stared deep into his painted-on eyes, and again, Edward felt a shiver go through him.
"And so," said Pellegrina, still staring at Edward.
"What happened to the princess?" asked Abilene.
"And so," said Pellegrina, turning back to Abilene, "the king, her father, said that the princess must marry; and soon after this, a prince came from a neighboring kingdom and he saw the princess and, immediately, he loved her. He gave her a ring of pure gold. He placed it on her finger. He said these words to her: 'I love you.' But do you know what the princess did?"
Abilene shook her head.
"She swallowed the ring. She took it from her finger and swallowed it. She said, 'That is what I think of love.' And she ran from the prince. She left the castle and went deep into the woods. And so."
"And so what?" said Abilene. "What happened then?"
"And so, the princess became lost in the woods. She wandered for many day. Finally, she came to a little hut, and she knocked on the door. She said, 'Let me in; I am cold.'
"There was no answer.
She knocked again, 'Let me in; I am hungry,'
"A terrible voice answered her. The voice said, 'Enter if you must.'
"The beautiful princess entered, and she saw a witch sitting at the table counting pieces of gold.
"'Three thousand six hundred and twenty-two.' said the witch.
"'I am lost.' said the beautiful princess.
"'What of it?' said the witch. 'Three thousand six hundred and twenty-three.'
"'I am hungry,' said the princess.
"' Not my concern,' said the witch. 'Three thousand six hundred and twenty-four.'
"'But I am a beautiful princess.' said the princess.
"'Three thousand six hundred and twenty-five,' replied the witch.
"'My father,' said the princess, 'is a powerful king. You must help me or there will be consequences.'
"'Consequences?' said the witch. She looked up from her gold. She stared at the princess. 'You dare to talk to me of consequences? Very well, then, we will speak of consequences: tell me the name of the one you love.'
"'Love!' said the princess. She stamped her foot. 'Why must everyone speak of love?'
"'Whom do you love?' said the witch. 'You must tell me the name.'
"'I love no one,' said the princess proudly.
"'You disappoint me,' said the witch. She raised her hand and said one word: 'Farthfigery.'
"And the beautiful princess was changed into a warthog.
"'What have you done to me?' squealed the princess.
"'Talk to me of consequences now, will you?' said the witch, and she went back to counting her pieces of gold. 'Three thousand six hundred and twenty-six,' said the witch as the warthog princess ran from the hut and out again into the forest.
"The kings' men were in the forest, too. And what were they looking for? A beautiful princess. And so when they came upon an ugly warthog, they shot it immediately. Pow!"
"No," said Abilene.
"Yes," said Pellegrina. "The men took the warthog back to the castle and the cook slit open its belly and inside it she found a ring of pure gold. There were many hungry people in the castle that night and all of them were waiting to be fed. So the cook put the ring on her finger and finished butchering the warthog. And the ring that the beautiful princess had swallowed shone on the cook's hand as she did her work. The end."
Chapter IV, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane