The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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everybody whom he met in the streets that looked likely to want a shepherd and begged them to engage him, but they all seemed to have shepherds of their own, or else not to need any. The prince was beginning to lose heart, when a man who had overheard his question turned round and said that he had better go and ask the emperor, as he was in search of some one to see after his flocks.
'Will you take care of my sheep?' said the emperor, when the young man knelt before him.
'Most willingly, your Majesty,' answered the young man, and he listened obediently while the emperor told him what he was to do.
'Outside the city walls,' went on the emperor, 'you will find a large lake, and by its banks lie the richest meadows in my kingdom. When you are leading out your flocks to pasture, they will all run straight to these meadows, and none that have gone there have ever been known to come back. Take heed, therefore, my son, not to suffer your sheep to go where they will, but drive them to any spot that you think best.'
With a low bow the prince thanked the emperor for his warning, and promised to do his best to keep the sheep safe. Then he left the palace and went to the market-place, where he bought two greyhounds, a hawk, and a set of pipes; after that he took the sheep out to pasture. The instant the animals caught sight of the lake lying before them, they trotted off as fast as their legs would go to the green meadows lying round it. The prince did not try to stop them; he only placed his hawk on the branch of a tree, laid his pipes on the grass, and bade the greyhounds sit still; then, rolling up his sleeves and trousers, he waded into the water crying as he did so: 'Dragon! dragon! if you are not a coward, come out and fight with me!' And a voice answered from the depths of the lake:
'I am waiting for you, O prince'; and the next minute the dragon reared himself out of the water, huge and horrible to see. The prince sprang upon him and they grappled with each other and fought together till the sun was high, and it was noonday. Then the dragon gasped:
'O prince, let me dip my burning head once into the lake, and I will hurl you up to the top of the sky.' But the prince answered, 'Oh, ho! my good dragon, do not crow too soon! If the emperor's daughter were only
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