The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE LITTLE SOLDIER.
159
THE LITTLE SOLDIER.
Once npon a time there was a little soldier who had just come back from the war. He was a brave little fellow, but he had lost neither arms nor legs in battle. Still, the fighting was ended and the army disbanded, so he had to return to the village where he was born.
Now, the soldier's name was really John, but for some reason or other his friends always called him the kinglet; no one ever knew why, but so it was.
As he had no father or mother to welcome him home he did not hurry himself, but went quietly along, his knapsack on his back and his sword by his side, when suddenly one evening he was seized with a wish to light his pipe-He felt for his match-box to strike a light, but to his great disgust he found he had lost it.
He had only gone about a stone's-throw after making this discovery when he noticed alight shining through the trees. He went toward it and perceived before him an old castle with the door standing open.
The little soldier entered the court-yard, and peeping through a window saw a large fire blazing at the end of a low hall. He put his pipe in his pocket and knocked gently, saying politely:
"Would you give me a light?"
But he got no answer.
After waiting for a moment John knocked again, this time more loudly. There was still no reply.
He raised the latch and entered; the hall was empty.
The little soldier made straight for the fireplace, seized the tongs, and was stooping down to look for a nice red-hot coal with which to light his pipe, when click! some-
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