The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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The Story of the Seven Simons
Far, far away, beyond all sorts of countries, seas and rivers, there stood a splendid city where lived King Archidej, who was as good as he was rich and handsome. His great army was made up of men ready to obey his slightest wish; he owned forty times forty cities, and in each city he had ten palaces with silver doors, golden roofs, and crystal windows. His council consisted of the twelve wisest men in the country, whose long beards flowed down over their breasts, each of whom was as learned as a whole college. This council always told the king the exact truth.
Now the king had everything to make him happy, but he did not enjoy anything because he could not find a bride to his mind.
One day, as he sat in his palace looking out to sea, a great ship sailed into the harbour and several merchants came on shore. Said the king to himself: 'These people have travelled far and beheld many lands. I will ask them if they have seen any princess who is as clever and as handsome as I am.'
So he ordered the merchants to be brought before him, and when they came he said: 'You have travelled much and visited many wonders. I wish to ask you a question, and I beg you to answer truthfully.
'Have you anywhere seen or heard of the daughter of an emperor, king, or a prince, who is as clever and as handsome as I am, and who would be worthy to be my wife and the queen of my country?'
The merchants considered for some time. At last the eldest of them said: 'I have heard that across many seas, in the Island of Busan, there is a mighty king, whose daughter, the Princess Helena, is so lovely that she can certainly not be plainer than your Majesty, and so clever that the wisest greybeard cannot guess her riddles.'
'Is the island far off, and which is the way to it?'
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