The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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'Well, I will do what I can,' answered the fox. 'The best place is for you both to hide in the big oven, and when the soldiers have gone by I will let you out.'
The ogre and ogress scrambled into the oven as quick as thought, and the fox banged the door on them; just as he did so the king came up.
'Do us the honour to dismount, your Majesty,' said the fox, bowing low. 'This is the palace of Count Piro!'
'Why it is more splendid than my own!' exclaimed the king, looking round on all the beautiful things that filled the hall. But why are there no servants?'
'His Excellency the Count Piro wished the princess to choose them for herself,' answered the fox, and the king nodded his approval. He then rode on, leaving the bridal pair in the castle. But when it was dark and all was still, the fox crept downstairs and lit the kitchen fire, and the ogre and his wife were burned to death. The next morning the fox said to Count Piro:
'Now that you are rich and happy, you have no more need of me; but, before I go, there is one thing I must ask of you in return: when I die, promise me that you will give me a magnificent coffin, and bury me with due honours.'
'Oh, little, little fox, don't talk of dying,' cried the princess, nearly weeping, for she had taken a great liking to the fox.
After some time the fox thought he would see if the Count Piro was really grateful to him for all he had done, and went back to the castle, where he lay down on the door-step, and pretended to be dead. The princess was just going out for a walk, and directly she saw him lying there, she burst into tears and fell on her knees beside him.
'My dear little fox, you are not dead,' she wailed; 'you poor, poor little creature, you shall have the finest coffin in the world!'
'A coffin for an animal?' said Count Piro. 'What nonsense! just take him by the leg and throw him into the ditch.'
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