The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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lady, whose blue eyes shone like stars. They were taller than mortal men, and the young man had a staff in his hand with golden wings on it, and two golden serpents twisted round it, and he had wings on his cap and on his shoes. He spoke to the boy, and asked him why he was so unhappy; and the boy told him how he had sworn to bring the Terrible Head, and knew not how to begin to set about the adventure.
Then the beautiful lady also spoke, and said that' it was a foolish oath and a hasty, but it might be kept if a brave man had sworn it.' Then the boy answered that he was not afraid, if only he knew the way.
Then the lady said that to kill the dreadful woman with the golden wings and the brass claws, and to cut off her head, he needed three things: first, a Cap of Darkness, which would make him invisible when he wore it; next, a Sword of Sharpness, which would cleave iron at one blow; and last, the Shoes of Swiftness, with which he might fly in the air.
The boy answered that he knew not where such things were to be procured, and that, wanting them, he could only try and fail. Then the young man, taking off his cwn shoes, said:' First, you shall use these shoes till you have taken the Terrible Head, and then you must give them back to me. And with these shoes you will fly as fleet as a bird, or a thought, over the land or over the waves of the sea, wherever the shoes know the way. But there are ways which they do not know, roads beyond the borders of the world. And these roads have you to travel. Now first you must go to the Three Grey Sisters, who live far off in the north, and are so very old that they have only one eye and one tooth among the three. You must creep up close to them, and as one of them passes the eye to the other you must seize it, and refuse to give it up till they have told you the way to the Three Fairies of the Garden, and they will give you the Cap of Darkness and the Sword of Sharpness, and show you how to wing beyond this world to the land of the Terrible Head.'
Then the beautiful lady said: ' Go forth at once, and do not return to say good-bye to your mother, for these things must be done quickly, and the Shoes of Swiftness themselves will carry you to the land of the Three Grey Sisters—for they know the measure of that way.'
So the boy thanked her, and he fastened on the Shoes of Swift­ness, and turned to say good-bye to the young man and the lady. But, behold! they had vanished, he knew not how or where ! Then
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