The Crimson Fairy Book - online children's book

A Classic fairy tale collection for children by Andrew Lang

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father, had finished the business on which he had been sent and returned home. Then the king remembered how Maria had refused to receive his visit, and how she had stolen his fruit, and he determined to be revenged on her. So he sent a message by one of his pages that the merchant was to come to see him the next day, and bring with him a coat made of stone, or else he would be punished. Now the poor man had been very sad since he got home the evening before, for though his daughters had promised that nothing should happen while he was away, he had found the two elder ones married without asking his leave. And now there was this fresh misfortune, for how was he to make a coat of stone? He wrung his hands and declared that the king would be the ruin of him, when Maria suddenly entered. 'Do not grieve about the coat of stone, dear father; but take this bit of chalk, and go to the palace and say you have come to measure the king.' The old man did not see the use of this, but Maria had so often helped him before that he had confidence in her, so he put the chalk in his pocket and went to the palace.
'That is no good,' said the king, when the merchant had told him what he had come for.
'Well, I can't make the coat you want,' replied he.
'Then if you would save your head, hand over to me your daughter Maria.'
The merchant did not reply, but went sorrowfully back to his house, where Maria sat waiting for him.
'Oh, my dear child, why was I born? The king says that, instead of the coat, I must deliver you up to him.'
'Do not be unhappy, dear father, but get a doll made, exactly like me, with a string attached to its head, which I can pull for "Yes" and "No."'
So the old man went out at once to see about it.
The king remained patiently in his palace, feeling sure that this time Maria could not escape him; and he said to his pages, 'If a gentleman should come here with his daughter and ask to be allowed to speak with me, put the young lady in my room and see she does not leave it.'
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