The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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of the stew. 'Be off,' cried Paul, snatching up the saucepan as he spoke. The dwarf tried to get hold of his collar, but Paul seized him by the beard, and tied him to a big tree so that he could not stir, and went on quietly with his cooking. The hunters came back early, longing to see how Paul had got on, and, to their surprise, dinner was quite ready for them.
'You are great useless creatures,' said he, 'who couldn't even outwit that little dwarf. When we have finished supper I will show you what I have done with him!' But when they reached the place where Paul had left the dwarf, neither he nor the tree was to be seen, for the little fellow had pulled it up by the roots and run away, dragging it after him. The four friends followed the track of the tree and found that it ended in a deep hole. 'He must have gone down here,' said Paul, 'and I will go after him. See! there is a basket that will do for me to sit in, and a cord to lower me with. But when I pull the cord again, lose no time in drawing the basket up.'
And he stepped into the basket, which was lowered by his friends.
At last it touched the ground and he jumped out and looked about him. He was in a beautiful valley, full of meadows and streams, with a splendid castle standing by. As the door was open he walked in, but a lovely maiden met him and implored him to go back, for the owner of the castle was a dragon with six heads, who had stolen her from her home and brought her down to this underground spot. But Paul refused to listen to all her entreaties, and declared that he was not afraid of the dragon, and did not care how many heads he had; and he sat down calmly to wait for him.
In a little while the dragon came in, and all the long teeth in his six heads chattered with anger at the sight of the stranger.
'I am Shepherd Paul,' said the young man, 'and I have come to fight you, and as I am in a hurry we had better begin at once.'
'Very good,' answered the dragon. 'I am sure of my supper, but let us have a mouthful of something first, just to give us an appetite.'
Whereupon he began to eat some huge boulders as if they had been cakes, and when he had quite finished, he offered Paul one. Paul was not fond of boulders, but he took a wooden knife and cut one in two,
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