The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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the likeness so that the King might not perceive it; hut it was hope­less : the King stood on tiptoe and looked over his shoulder. And when he saw the picture of the maid, so beautiful and glittering with gold and precious stones, he fell swooning to the ground. Trusty John lifted him up, carried him to bed, and thought sorrow­fully : ' The curse has come upon us; gracious heaven! what will be the end of it all ? ' Then he poured wine down his throat till he came to himself again. The first words he spoke were : ' Oh ! who is the original of the beautiful picture ? ' ' She is the Princess of the Golden Roof,' answered Trusty John. Then the King continued : ' My love for her is so great that if all the leaves on the trees had tongues they could not express it; my very life depends on my winning her. You are my most trusty John : you must stand by me.'
The faithful servant pondered long how they were to set about the matter, for it was said to be difficult even to get into the presence of the Princess. At length he hit upon a plan, and spoke to the King. ' All the things she has about her—tables, chairs, dishes, goblets, bowls, and all her household furniture—are made of gold. You have in your treasure five tons of gold ; let the goldsmiths of your kingdom manufacture them into all manner of vases and vessels, into all sorts of birds and game and wonderful beasts; that will please her. "We shall go to her with them and try our luck.' The King summoned all his goldsmiths, and they had to work hard day and night, till at length the most magnificent things were completed. "When a ship had been laden with them the faithful John disguised himself as a merchant, and the King had to do the same, so that they should be quite unrecognisable. And so they crossed the seas and journeyed till they reached the town where the Princess of the Golden Eoof dwelt.
Trusty John made the King remain behind on the ship and await his return. ' Perhaps,' he said, ' I may bring the Princess back with me, so see that everything is in order; let the gold orna­ments be arranged and the whole ship decorated.' Then he took a few of the gold things in his apron, went ashore, and proceeded straight to the palace. When he came to the courtyard he found a beautiful maiden standing at the well, drawing water with two golden pails. And as she was about to carry away the glittering water she turned round and saw the stranger, and asked him who he was. Then he replied: ' I am a merchant;' and opening his apron, he let her peep in. ' Oh! my,' she cried; ' what beautiful gold
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