The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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HOW THE BEGGAR BOY TURNED INTO COUNT PIRO
Once upon a time there lived a man who had only one son, a lazy, stupid boy, who would never do anything he was told. When the father was dying, he sent for his son and told him that he would soon be left alone in the world, with no possessions but the small cottage they lived in and a pear tree which grew behind it, and that, whether he liked it or not, he would have to work, or else he would starve. Then the old man died.
But the boy did not work; instead, he idled about as before, contenting himself with eating the pears off his tree, which, unlike other pear trees before or since, bore fruit the whole year round. Indeed, the pears were so much finer than any you could get even in the autumn, that one day, in the middle of the winter, they attracted the notice of a fox who was creeping by.
'Dear me; what lovely pears!' he said to the youth. 'Do give me a basket of them. It will bring you luck!'
'Ah, little fox, but if I give you a basketful, what am I to eat?' asked the boy.
'Oh, trust me, and do what I tell you,' said the fox; 'I know it will bring you luck.' So the boy got up and picked some of the ripest pears and put them into a rush basket. The fox thanked him, and, taking the basket in his mouth, trotted off to the king's palace and made his way straight to the king.
'Your Majesty, my master sends you a few of his best pears, and begs you will graciously accept them,' he said, laying the basket at the feet of the king.
'Pears! at this season?' cried the king, peering down to look at them; 'and, pray, who is your master?'
'The Count Piro,' answered the fox.
'But how does he manage to get pears in midwinter?' asked the king.
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