The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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92
THE TALE OF A YOUTH WHO
wished to close his eyes the bed began to move by itself, and ran all round the castle. ' Capital,' he said, * only a little quicker.' Then the bed sped on as if drawn by six horses, over thresholds and stairs, up this way and down that. All of a sudden—crish, crash ! with a bound it turned over, upside down, and lay like a mountain on the top of him. But he tossed the blankets and pillows in the air, emerged from underneath, and said: ' Now anyone who has the fancy for it may go a drive,' lay down at his fire, and slept till day­light. In the morning the King came, and when he beheld him lying on the ground he imagined the ghosts had been too much for him, and that he was dead. Then he said: ' What a pity ! and such a fine fellow as he was.' The youth heard this, got up, and said: 4 It's not come to that yet.' Then the King was astonished, but very glad, and asked how it had fared with him. ' First-rate,' he answered; ' and now I've survived the one night, I shall get through the other two also.' The landlord, when he went to him, opened his eyes wide, and said: ' "Well, I never thought to see you alive again. Have you learnt now what shuddering is '? ' ' No,' he replied, ' it's quite hopeless ; if someone could only tell me how to!'
The second night he went up again to the old castle, sat down at the fire, and began his old refrain : ' If I could only shudder !' As midnight approached, a noise and din broke out, at first gentle, but gradually increasing; then all was quiet for a minute, and at length, with a loud scream, half of a man dropped down the chimney and fell before him. ' Hi, up there !' shouted he; ' there's another half wanted down here, that's not enough ;' then the din commenced once more, there was a shrieking and a yelling, and then the other half fell down. ' Wait a bit,' he said; ' I'll stir up the fire for you.' "When he had done this and again looked round, the two pieces had united, and a horrible-looking man sat on his seat. ' Come,' said the youth, ' I didn't bargain for that, the seat is mine.' The man tried to shove him away, but the youth wouldn't allow it for a moment, and, pushing him off by force, sat down in his place again. Then more men dropped down, one after the other, who, fetching nine skeleton legs and two skulls, put them up and played ninepins with them. The youth thought he would like to play too, and said : ' Look here ; do you mind my joining the game?' 'No, not if you have money.' 'I've money enough,' he replied, 'but your balls aren't very round.' Then he took the skulls, placed them on his lathe, and turned them till they were round. ' Now they'll roll along better,' said he, 'and houp-la ! now
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