The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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work was going oil, and one day, when her mother had gone to the town, I ventured to throw off my disguise, and tell her of my love. She was startled at first; but I persuaded her to listen to me, and I soon saw that I was not displeasing to her, though she scolded me gently for my disobedience to my master, and my deceit in disguising myself. But when I begged her to marry me, she told me sadly that her mother would scorn a penniless wooer, and implored me to go away at once, lest trouble should fall upon her.
'Bitter as it was to me, I was forced to go when she bade me, and I have wandered about ever since, with grief gnawing at my heart; for how can a masterless man, without money or goods, ever hope to win the lovely Lucia?'
Master Peter, who had been listening attentively, pricked up his ears at the sound of his daughter's name, and very soon found out that it was indeed with her that this young man was so deeply in love.
'Your story is strange indeed,' said he. 'But where is the father of this maiden--why do you not ask him for her hand? He might well take your part, and be glad to have you for his son-in-law.'
'Alas!' said the young man, 'her father is a wandering good-for-naught, who has forsaken wife and child, and gone off-- who knows where? The wife complains of him bitterly enough, and scolds my dear maiden when she takes her father's part.'
Father Peter was somewhat amused by this speech; but he liked the young man well, and saw that he was the very person he needed to enable him to enjoy his wealth in peace, without being separated from his dear daughter.
'If you will take my advice,' said he, 'I promise you that you shall marry this maiden whom you love so much, and that before you are many days older.'
'Comrade,' cried Friedlin indignantly, for he thought Peter did but jest with him, 'it is ill done to mock at an unhappy man; you had better find someone else who will let himself be taken in with your fine promises.' And up he sprang, and was going off hastily, when Master Peter caught him by the arm.
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