The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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184
THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
Although the wish appeared rather odd, they hastened to fulfill it, and the farmer was told the request of the king's son. The maiden showed no surprise at receiving such an order, but merely asked for some flour, salt, and water, and also that she might be left alone in a little room adjoining the oven, where the kneading-trough stood. Before beginning her work she washed herself carefully and even put on her rings; but while she Avas baking one of her rings slid into the dough. When she had finished she dirtied herself again and let lumps of the dough stick to her fingers, so that she became as ugly as before.
The loaf, which was a very little one, Avas brought to the king's son, who ate it with pleasure. But in cutting it he found the ring of the princess, and declared to his parents that he would marry the girl whom that ring fitted.
So the king made a proclamation through his whole kingdom, and ladies came from afar to lay claim to the honor. But the ring was so tiny that even those who had the smallest hands could only get it on their little fingers. In a short time all the maidens of the kingdom, including the peasant-girls, had tried on the ring, and the king was just about to announce that their efforts had been in vain, when the prince observed that he had not yet seen the shepherdess.
They sent to fetch her, and she arrived covered with rags, but with her hands cleaner than usual, so that she could easily slip on the ring. The king's son declared -that he would fulfill his promise, and when his parents mildly remarked that the girl was only a keeper of sheep, and a very ugly one too, the maiden boldly said that she was born a princess, and that if they would only give her some water and leave her alone in a room for a few minutes, she would shoAV that she could look as well as any one in fine clothes.
They did what she asked, and when she entered in a magnificent dress she looked so beautiful that all saw she must be a princess in disguise. The king's son recog­nized the charming damsel of whom he had once caught a glimpse, and flinging himself at her feet asked if she would marry him. The princess then told her story, and said that it would be necessary to send an ambassador to ner father to ask his consent and to invite him to the Wedding.
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