The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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could bear it no longer, and turned away into the forest. When she looked back the Captain of the Guard was gone, and she was alone, except for Patypata, Grabugeon, and Tintin, who lay upon the ground. She could not leave ih.3 place until she had buried them in a pretty little mossy grave at the foot of a tree, and she wrote their names upon the bark of the tree, and how they had all died to save her life. And then she began to think where she could go for safety—for this forest was so close to her father's castle that she might be seen and recognised by the first passer-by, and, beside that, it was full of lions and wolves, who would have snapped up a princess just as soon as a stray chicken. So she began to walk as fast as she could, but the forest was so large and the sun was so hot that she nearly died of heat and terror and fatigue ; look which way she would there seemed to be no end to the forest, and she was so frightened that she fancied every minute that she heard the King running after her to kill her. You may imagine how miser­able she was, and how she cried as she went on, not knov/ing which path to follow, and with the thorny bushes scratching her dreadfully and tearing her pretty frock to pieces.
At last she heard the bleating of a sheep, and said to herself:
' No doubt there are shepherds here with their flocks; they will show me the way to some village where I can live disguised as a peasant girl. Alas ! it is not always kings and princes who are the happiest people in the world. Who could have believed that I should ever be obliged to run away and hide because the King, for no reason at all, wishes to kill me ?'
So saying she advanced towards the place where she heard the bleating, but what was her surprise when, in a lovely little glade quite surrounded by trees, she saw a large sheep; its wool was as white as snow, and its horns shone like gold; it had a garland of flowers round its neck, and strings of great pearls about its legs, and a collar of diamonds; it lay upon a bank of orange-flowers, under a canopy of cloth of gold which protected it from the heat of the sun. Nearly a hundred other sheep were scattered about, not eating the grass, but some drinking coffee, lemonade, or sherbet, others eating ices, strawberries and cream, or sweetmeats, while others, again, were playing games. Many of them wore golden collars with jewels, flowers, and ribbons.
Miranda stopped short in amazement at this unexpected sight, and was looking in all directions for the fhepherd of this surprising flock, when the beautiful sheep came bounding towards her.
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