"Three questions?" I said in dismay.
"Any three you wish," replied the rabbit queen.
I looked over the water, which was still as glass, and back at her again. "And if I ask the right ones, you'll tell me how to cross the lake?"
"If," the rabbit queen said darkly.
Dear me, this was very bad. I paced back and forth along the shore. The rabbit queen pretended not to watch while grooming her forepaws in a serene manner. Around us, as far as the eye could travel, there were only trees and mountains and the endless dead quiet of the lake. Suddenly I halted, turning back to face her.
"I have decided on my first question," I said. "Will you allow me to paint your portrait?"
The rabbit queen smiled a slow, sly smile.
And now, as she begins to speak, we must wait to hear what she will say.