The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

the palace. The queen, who was looking out of the window, saw him approaching, and filled with pity sent a servant to ask who he was and what he wanted. 'I am a stranger here,' answered the young king, 'and very poor. I have come to beg for some work.' 'We have everybody we want,' said the queen, when the servant told her the young man's reply. 'We have a gate-keeper, and a hall porter, and servants of all sorts in the palace; the only person we have not got is a goose-boy. Tell him that he can he our goose-boy if he likes.' The youth answered that he was quite content to be goose-boy; and that was how he got his nickname of Paperarello. And in order that no one should guess that he was any better than a goose-boy should be, he rubbed his face and his rags over with mud, and made himself altogether such a disgusting object that every one crossed over to the other side of the road when he was seen coming.
'Do go and wash yourself, Paperarello!' said the queen sometimes, for he did his work so well that she took an interest in him. 'Oh, I should not feel comfortable if I was clean, your Majesty,' answered he, and went whistling after his geese.
It happened one day that, owing to some accident to the great flour mills which supplied the city, there was no bread to be had, and the king's army had to do without. When the king heard of it, he sent for the cook, and told him that by the next morning he must have all the bread that the oven, heated seven times over, could bake. 'But, your Majesty, it is not possible,' cried the poor man in despair. 'The mills have only just begun working, and the flour will not be ground till evening, and how can I heat the oven seven times in one night?' 'That is your affair,' answered the King, who, when he took anything into his head, would listen to nothing. 'If you succeed in baking the bread you shall have my daughter to wife, but if you fail your head will pay for it.'
Now Paperarello, who was passing through the hall where the king was giving his orders, heard these words, and said: 'Your Majesty, have no fears; I will bake your bread.' 'Very well,' answered the king; 'but if you fail, you will pay for it with your head!' and signed that both should leave his presence.
The cook was still trembling with the thought of what he had escaped, but to his surprise Paperarello did not seem disturbed at all, and when night came he went to sleep as usual. 'Paperarello,' cried the other servants, when they saw him quietly taking off his clothes, 'you
Previous Contents Next