It was exactly the question that the bachelor had wanted to ask. The smaller girl made no actual comment on the story, but she had long ago recommenced a murmured repetition of her favourite line. The children's momentarily-aroused interest began at once to flicker; all stories seemed dreadfully alike, no matter who told them. There was a wave of reaction in favour of the story; the word horrible in connection with goodness was a novelty that commended itself. It seemed to introduce a ring of truth that was absent from the aunt's tales of infant life.
There was a medal for obedience, another medal for punctuality, and a third for good behaviour. They were large metal medals and they clicked against one another as she walked. No other child in the town where she lived had as many as three medals, so everybody knew that she must be an extra good child.
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It was a beautiful park, and no children were ever allowed in it, so it was a great honour for Bertha to be allowed to go there. The aunt permitted herself a smile, which might almost have been described as a grin. For that reason the Prince never kept a sheep in his park or a clock in his palace. The storyteller paused to let a full idea of the park's treasures sink into the children's imaginations; then he resumed:.
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She had promised her aunts, with tears in her eyes, that she would not pick any of the kind Prince's flowers, and she had meant to keep her promise, so of course it made her feel silly to find that there were no flowers to pick. There was a murmur of approval at the excellence of the Prince's decision; so many people would have decided the other way. There were ponds with gold and blue and green fish in them, and trees with beautiful parrots that said clever things at a moment's notice, and humming birds that hummed all the popular tunes of the day.
Bertha walked up and down and enjoyed herself immensely, and thought to herself: 'If I were not so extraordinarily good I should not have been allowed to come into this beautiful park and enjoy all that there is to be seen in it,' and her three medals clinked against one another as she walked and helped to remind her how very good she really was.
Just then an enormous wolf came prowling into the park to see if it could catch a fat little pig for its supper. The first thing that it saw in the park was Bertha; her pinafore was so spotlessly white and clean that it could be seen from a great distance. Bertha saw the wolf and saw that it was stealing towards her, and she began to wish that she had never been allowed to come into the park.
She ran as hard as she could, and the wolf came after her with huge leaps and bounds. She managed to reach a shrubbery of myrtle bushes and she hid herself in one of the thickest of the bushes. The wolf came sniffing among the branches, its black tongue lolling out of its mouth and its pale grey eyes glaring with rage. Bertha was terribly frightened, and thought to herself: 'If I had not been so extraordinarily good I should have been safe in the town at this moment. Bertha was trembling very much at having the wolf prowling and sniffing so near her, and as she trembled the medal for obedience clinked against the medals for good conduct and punctuality.
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