The Skipjack said nothing, but it was said of him that he thought all the more; and directly the Yard Dog had smelt at him he was ready to assert that the Skipjack was of good family, and formed from the breastbone of an undoubted goose. The old councillor, who had received three medals for holding his tongue, declared that the Skipjack possessed the gift of prophecy; one could tell by his bones whether there would be a severe winter or a mild one; and that’s more than one can always tell from the breastbone of the man who writes the almanac.
“I shall not say anything more,” said the old King. “I only go on quietly, and always think the best.”
Now they were to take their jump. The Flea sprang so high that no one could see him; and then they asserted that he had not jumped at all. That was very mean. The Grasshopper only sprang half as high, but he sprang straight into the King’s face, and the King declared that was horribly rude. The Skipjack stood a long time considering; at last people thought that he could not jump at all.
“I only hope he’s not become unwell,” said the Yard Dog, and then he smelt at him again.
“Tap!” he sprang with a little crooked jump just into the lap of the Princess, who sat on a low golden stool.