The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE WONDERFUL SHEEP
225
I noticed that one of my companions in misfortune was also very attentive to this little sprite, and I found out that he had been her lover, whom the cruel Ragotte had taken away from her long before ; since then I have cared for, and thought of, nothing but how I might regain my freedom. I have often been into the forest; that is where I have seen you, lovely Princess, sometimes driving j-our chariot, which you did with all the grace and skill in the world; sometimes riding to the chase on so spirited a horse that it seemed as if no one but yourself could have managed it, and sometimes running races on the plain with the Princesses of your Courtórunning so lightly that it was you always who won the prize. Oh ! Princess, I have loved you so long, and yet how dare I tell you of my love! what hope can there be for an unhappy sheep like myself ? '
Miranda was so surprised and confused by all that she had heard that she hardly knew what answer to give to the King of the Sheep, but she managed to make some kind of little speech, which certainly did not forbid him to hope, and said that she should not be afraid of the shadows now she knew that they would some day come to life again. ' Alas !' she continued, ' if my poor Patypata, my dear Grabugeon, and pretty little Tintin, who all died for my sake, were equally well off, I should have nothing left to wish for here !'
Prisoner though he was, the King of the Sheep had still some powers and privileges.
' Go,' said he to his Master of the Horse, ' go and seek the shadows of the little black girl, the monkey, and the dog: they will amuse our Princess.'
And an instant afterwards Miranda saw them coming towards her, and their presence gave her the greatest pleasure, though they did not come near enough for her to touch them.
The King of the Sheep was so kind and amusing, and loved Miranda so dearly, that at last she began to love him too. Such a handsome sheep, who was so polite and considerate, could hardly fail to please, especially if one knew that he was really a king, and that his strange imprisonment would soon come to an end. So the Princess's days passed very gaily while she waited for the happy time to come. The King of the Sheep, with the help of all the flock, got up balls, concerts, and hunting parties, and even the shadows joined in all the fun, and came, making believe to be their own real selves.
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