THE Flea, the Grasshopper, and the Skipjack1 once wanted to see which of them could jump highest; and they invited the whole world, and whoever else would come, to see the grand sight. And there the three famous jumpers were met together in the room.
“Yes, I’ll give my daughter to him who jumps highest,” said the King, “for it would be mean to let these people jump for nothing.”
The Flea stepped out first. He had very pretty manners, and bowed in all directions, for he had young ladies’ blood in his veins, and was accustomed to consort only with human beings; and that was of great consequence.
Then came the Grasshopper: he was certainly much heavier, but he had a good figure, and wore the green uniform that was born with him. This person, moreover, maintained that he belonged to a very old family in the land of Egypt, and that he was highly esteemed there. He had just come from the field, he said, and had been put into a card house three stories high, and all made of picture cards with the figures turned inwards. There were doors and windows in the house, cut in the body of the Queen of Hearts.
“I sing so,” he said, “that sixteen native crickets who have chirped from their youth up, and have never yet had a card house of their own, would become thinner than they are with envy if they were to hear me.”
Both of them, the Flea and the Grasshopper, took care to announce who they were, and that they considered themselves entitled to marry a Princess.