"But Mr. Author, why do you always write about princesses?"
"Because every little girl is a princess."
"You will make them vain if you tell them that."
"Not if they understand what I mean."
"Then what do you mean?"
"The daughter of a king."
"Very well, then every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it, except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud. I have seen little princesses behave like the children of thieves and lying beggars, and that is why they need to be told they are princesses. And that is why, when I tell a story of this kind, I like to tell it about a princess. Then I can say better what I mean, because I can then give her every beautiful thing I want her to have."
"...on she ran, unable to think for fear, and ready to run anywhere to elude the awful creature with the stilt-legs. Not daring to look behind her, she rushed straight out of the gate, and up the mountain. It was foolish indeed -- thus to run farther and father from all who could help her, as if she has been seeking a fit spot for the goblin-creature to eat her at his leisure; but that is the way fear serves us; it always take the side of the things that we are afraid of."
"The lady was seated on a low chair by the side of the fire, with hands outstretched to take her, but the princess hung back with a troubled smile.
"Why, what's the matter?" asked the grandmother. "You haven't been doing anything wrong -- I know that by your face, though it is rather miserable. What's the matter, my dear?"
And she still held out her arms.
"Dear grandmother," said Irene, "I'm not so sure I haven't done something wrong. I ought to have run up to you at once when the long-legged cat came in at the window, instead of running out on the mountain, and making myself such a fright."
"You were taken by surprise, my child, and are not so likely to do it again. It is when people do wrong things willfully that they are the more likely to do them again."
"You must not suppose that I am blaming you for that, I daresay it was out your power to help it."
"I don't know, grandmother," said the princess, beginning to cry. "I can't always do myself as I should like. And I don't always try. -- I'm very sorry anyhow."