The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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Off ran the second Simon and clambered quickly up the pillar. He gazed around, listened on all sides, and then slid down to report to the king.
'Sire, I have obeyed your orders. Far away I saw the Island of Busan. The king is a mighty monarch, but full of pride, harsh and cruel. He sits on his throne and declares that no prince or king on earth is good enough for his lovely daughter, that he will give her to none, and that if any king asks for her hand he will declare war against him and destroy his kingdom.'
'Has the king of Busan a great army?' asked King Archidej; 'is his country far off?'
'As far as I could judge,' replied Simon, 'it would take you nearly ten years in fair weather to sail there. But if the weather were stormy we might say twelve. I saw the army being reviewed. It is not so very large--a hundred thousand men at arms and a hundred thousand knights. Besides these, he has a strong bodyguard and a good many cross-bowmen. Altogether you may say another hundred thousand, and there is a picked body of heroes who reserve themselves for great occasions requiring particular courage.'
The king sat for some time lost in thought. At last he said to the nobles and courtiers standing round: 'I am determined to marry the Princess Helena, but how shall I do it?'
The nobles, courtiers and counsellors said nothing, but tried to hide behind each other. Then the third Simon said:
'Pardon me, your Majesty, if I offer my advice. You wish to go to the Island of Busan? What can be easier? In my ship you will get there in a week instead of in ten years. But ask your council to advise you what to do when you arrive--in one word, whether you will win the princess peacefully or by war?'
But the wise men were as silent as ever.
The king frowned, and was about to say something sharp, when the Court Fool pushed his way to the front and said: 'Dear me, what are all you clever people so puzzled about? The matter is quite clear. As it seems it will not take long to reach the island why not send the seventh
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