I was singing by the water and smoothing the feathers on the shafts of my arrows when the princess found me.

I said, “Are you surprised to find me with my eyes open? I’m not always blind, you know!”

Anyway, I don’t need eyes to know the heart that is ready to be pierced. I told the princess that I let one of my darts fly on the day she met the emperor. Now he’s dying of his wounds, and I am duty-bound to find the cure.

I give the princess a bottle of salve with which to dress the emperor’s wounds. First she must find her way to him, and then she must get into his room, and she had better hurry because he’s dying, and time is life!

The Boy with the Arrow in The Satin Surgeon, Olive Fairy Book. Cupid. Illustration by H.J. Ford.

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