The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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when you were hungry. And now I will repay my debt, as I promised.' So saying he flew out of the window, leaving the prince with some hope in his heart.
In a few minutes he returned, followed by a cloud of wood-pigeons, so dense that it seemed to fill the room. Their king showed them what they had to do, and they set to work so hard that the grain was sorted into two heaps long before the council was over. When the king came back he could not believe his eyes; but search as he might through the two heaps, he could not find any barley among the wheat, or any wheat amongst the barley. So he praised the prince for his industry and cleverness, and made him his steward at once.
This made the two soldiers more envious still, and they began to hatch another plot.
'Your Majesty,' they said to the king, one day, as he was standing on the steps of the palace, 'that fellow has been boasting again, that if he had the care of your treasures not so much as a gold pin should ever be lost. Put this vain fellow to the proof, we pray you, and throw the ring from the princess's finger into the brook, and bid him find it. We shall soon see what his talk is worth.'
And the foolish king listened to them, and ordered the prince to be brought before him.
'My son,' he said, 'I have heard that you have declared that if I made you keeper of my treasures you would never lose so much as a gold pin. Now, in order to prove the truth of your words, I am going to throw the ring from the princess's finger into the brook, and if you do not find it before I come back from council, you will have to die a horrible death.'
It was no use denying that he had said anything of the kind. The king did not believe him; in fact he paid no attention at all, and hurried off, leaving the poor boy speechless with despair in the corner. However, he soon remembered that though it was very unlikely that he should find the ring in the brook, it was impossible that he should find it by staying in the palace.
For some time the prince wandered up and down peering into the bottom of the stream, but though the water was very clear, nothing
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