The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

the last thing she thanked the merchant and prepared to go home ; but when she came to the ship's side she saw that they were on the high seas, far from land, and that the ship was speeding on its way under full canvas. ' Oh!' she cried in terror, ' I am deceived, carried away and betrayed into the power of a merchant; I would rather have died ! ' But the King seized her hand and spake : ' I am no merchant, but a king of as high birth as yourself; and it was my great love for you that made me carry you off by stratagem. The first time I saw your likeness I fell to the ground in a swoon.' When the Princess of the Golden Roof heard this she was com­forted, and her heart went out to him, so that she willingly con­sented to become his wife.
Now it happened one day, while they were sailing on the high seas, that Trusty John, sitting on the fore part of the ship, fiddling away to himself, observed three ravens in the air flying towards him. He ceased playing, and listened to what they were saying, for he understood their language. The one croaked: ' Ah, ha ! so he's bringing the Princess of the Golden Eoof home.' ' Yes,' answered the second, ' but he's not got her yet.' ' Yes, he has,' spake the third, ' for she's sitting beside him on the ship.' Then number one began again and cried : ' That'll not help him ! When they reach the land a chestnut horse will dash forward to greet them : the King will wish to mount it, and if he does it will gallop away with him, and disappear into the air, and he will never see his bride again.' ' Is there no escape for him ? ' asked number two. ' Oh! yes, if someone else mounts quickly and shoots the horse dead with the pistol that is sticking in the holster, then the young King is saved. But who's to know that ? and anyone who knows it and tells him will be turned into stone from his feet to his knees.' Then spake number two : ' I know more than that: even if the horse is slain, the young King will still not keep his bride: when they enter the palace together they will find a ready-made wedding shirt in a cupboard, which looks as though it were woven of gold and silver, but is really made of nothing but sulphur and tar: when the King puts it on it will burn him to his marrow and bones.' Number three asked : ' Is there no way of esetope, then ? ' ' Oh! yes,' answered number two : ' if someone seizes the shirt with gloved hands and throws it into the fire, and lets it burn, then th9 young King is saved. But what's the good ? anyone knowing this and telling it will have half his body turned into stone, from his knees to his heart.' Then number three spake: ' I know yet
Previous Contents Next