The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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principal high roads, and not offer to walk or lie down in a mea­dow or field of corn.
'Fourth. As he walks the said roads he shall take the utmost care not to trample upon the bodies of any of our loving subjects, their horses or carriages, nor take any of our subjects into his hands without their own consent.
' Fifth. If an express requires extraordinary speed the Man-Mountain shall be obliged to carry in his pocket the messenger and horse a six days' journey, and return the said messenger (if so required) safe to our imperial presence.
' Sixth. He shall be our ally against our enemies in the island of Blefuscu, and do his utmost to destroy their fleet, which is now preparing to invade us.
' Lastly. Upon his solemn oath to observe all the above articles, the said Man-Mountain shall have a daily allowance of meat and drink sufficient for the support of 1,724 of our subjects, with free access to our royal person, and other marks of our favour.—Given at our palace at Belfaborac, the twelfth day of the ninety-first moon of our reign.'
I swore to these articles with great cheerfulness, whereupon my chains were immediately unlocked, and I was at full liberty.
One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my freedom, Reldresal, the Emperor's secretary for private affairs, came to my house, attended only by one servant. He ordered his coach to wait at a distance, and desired that I would give him an hour's audience. I offered to lie down that he might the more conveniently reach my ear ; but he chose rather to let me hold him in my hand during our conversation. He began with compliments on my liberty, but he added that, save for the present state of things at Court, perhaps I might not have obtained it so soon. ' For,' he said, 'however flou­rishing we may seem to foreigners, we are in danger of an invasion from the island of Blefuscu, which is the other great empire of the universe, almost as large and as powerful as this of his Majesty. For as to what we have heard you say, that there are other king­doms in the world, inhabited by human creatures as large as your­self, our philosphers are very doubtful, and rather conjecture that you dropped from the moon, or one of the stars, because a hun­dred mortals of your size would soon destroy all the fruit and cattle of his Majesty's dominions. Besides, our histories of six thousand moons make no mention of any other regions than the two mighty empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu, which, as I was going to tell you,
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