The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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about to rush toward the spot from whence the sounds of woe came, when the vizier caught him by the wing with his bill and implored him not to expose himself to fresh and unknown dangers. The caliph, however, under whose stork's breast a brave heart beat, tore himself away with the loss of a few feathers and hurried down a dark passage. He saw a door which stood ajar, and through which he distinctly heard sighs mingled with sobs. He pushed open the door with his bill, but remained on the threshold, astonished at the sight which met his eyes. On the floor of the ruined chamber—which was but scantily lighted by a small barred window—sat a large screech-owl. Big tears rolled from its large round eyes, and in a hoarse voice it uttered its complaints through its crooked beak. As soon as it saw the caliph and his vizier —who had crept up meanwhile—it gave vent to a joyful cry. It gently wiped the tears from its eyes with its spotted brown wings, and to the great amazement of the two visitors addressed them in good human Arabic.
"Welcome, ye storks! You are a good sign of my de­liverance, for it was foretold me that piece of good fortune should befall me through a stork."
When the caliph had recovered from his surprise he drew up his feet into a graceful position, bent his long neck, and said: "Oh, screech-owl! from your words I am led to believe that we see in you a companion in mis­fortune. But, alas! your hope that you may attain your deliverance through us is but a vain one. You will know our helplessness when you have heard our story."
The screech-owl begged him to relate it, and the caliph accordingly told him what we already know.
When the caliph had ended the owl thanked him and said: "You hear my story, and own that I am no less unfortunate than yourselves. My father is the King of the Indies. I, his only daughter, am named Lusa. That magician Kaschnur, who enchanted you, has been the cause of my misfortunes too. He came one day to my father and demanded my hand for his son Mirza. My father—who is rather hasty—ordered him to be thrown
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