The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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sides of him, he went so far that at last he began to think his labour was all in vain; but yet could not help going forwards, till he came to some steep craggy rocks, which were bounds to his journey, and were situated in a barren country, about four leagues distant from where he set out.
When Prince Ahmed came pretty nigh to these rocks he per­ceived an arrow, which he gathered up, looked earnestly at, and was in the greatest astonishment to find it was the same he shot away. ' Certainly,' said he to himself, ' neither I nor any man living could shoot an arrow so far,' and, finding it laid flat, not sticking into the ground, he judged that it rebounded against the rock. ' There must be some mystery in this,' said he to himself again, ' and it may be advantageous to me. Perhaps fortune, to make me amends for depriving me of what I thought the greatest happiness, may have reserved a greater blessing for my comfort.'
As these rocks were full of caves and some of those caves were deep, the Prince entered into one, and, looking about, cast his eyes on an iron door, which seemed to have no lock, but he feared it was fastened. However, thrusting against it, it opened, and dis­covered an easy descent, but no steps, which he walked down with his arrow in his hand. At first he thought he was going into a dark, obscure place, but presently a quite different light succeeded that which he came out of, and, entering into a large, spacious place, at about fifty or sixty paces distant, he perceived a magnificent palace, which he had not then time enough to look at. At the same time a lady of majestic port and air advanced as far as the porch, attended by a large troop of ladies, so finely dressed and beautiful that it was difficult to distinguish which was the mistress.
As soon as Prince Ahmed perceived the lady, he made all ima­ginable haste to go and pay his respects; and the lady, on her part, seeing him coming, prevented him from addressing his discourse to her first, but said to him : ' Come nearer, Prince Ahmed, you are welcome.'
It was no small surprise to the Prince to hear himself named in a place he had never heard of, though so nigh to his father's capital, and he could not comprehend how he should be known to a lady who was a stranger to him. At last he returned the lady's compli-
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