The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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'But, my dear father, I told you I can never marry, because of the promise I gave to Eisenkopf.'
'Oh, one promises here and promises there, but no one ever thinks of keeping such promises. If Eisenkopf does not like your marrying, he will have to put up with it all the same! Besides, there stands in the stable a grey horse which is saddled night and day; and if Eisenkopf should show his face, you have only got to jump on the horse's back and ride away, and nobody on earth can catch you. When all is safe you will come back again, and we shall live as happily as two fish in the sea.'
And so it all happened. The young man found a pretty, brown-skinned girl who was willing to have him for a husband, and the whole village came to the wedding feast. The music was at its gayest, and the dance at its merriest, when Eisenkopf looked in at the window.
'Oh, ho, my brother! what is going on here? It has the air of being a wedding feast. Yet I fancied--was I mistaken?--that you had given me a promise that you never would marry.' But Peter had not waited for the end of this speech. Scarcely had he seen Eisenkopf than he darted like the wind to the stable and flung himself on the horse's back. In another moment he was away over the mountain, with Eisenkopf running fast behind him.
On they went through thick forests where the sun never shone, over rivers so wide that it took a whole day to sail across them, up hills whose sides were all of glass; on they went through seven times seven countries till Peter reined in his horse before the house of an old woman.
'Good day, mother,' said he, jumping down and opening the door.
'Good day, my son,' answered she, 'and what are you doing here, at the world's end?'
'I am flying for my life, mother, flying to the world which is beyond all worlds; for Eisenkopf is at my heels.'
'Come in and rest then, and have some food, for I have a little dog who will begin to howl when Eisenkopf is still seven miles off.'
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