The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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KING KOJATA.                               203
There was once upon a time a king called Kojata whose beard was so long that it reached below his knees. Three years had passed since his marriage, and he lived very happily with his wife, but Heaven granted him no heir, which grieved the king greatly. One day he set forth from his capital, in order to make a journey through his kingdom. He traveled for nearly a year through the different parts of his territory, and then having seen all there was to be seen, he set forth on his homeward way. As the day was very hot and sultry he commanded his servants to pitch tents in the open field and there await the cool of the evening. Suddenly a frightful thirst seize the king, and as he saw no water near, he mounted his horse and rode through the neighborhood looking for a spring. Before long he came to a well filled to the brim with water clear as crystal and on the bosom of which a golden jug was floating. King Kojata at once tried to seized the vessel, but though he endeavored to grasp it with his right hand, and then with his left, the wretched thing always eluded his efforts and refused to let itself bo caught. First with one hand, and then with two, did tl king try to seize it, but like a fish the goblet alway;, slipped through his fingers and bobbed to the ground. only to reappear at some other place and mock the king
"Plague on you!" said King Kojata. "I can quench. my thirst without you." And bending over the well he lapped up the water so greedily that he plunged his face, beard and all, right into the crystal mirror. But when he had satisfied his thirst and wished to raise himself up he couldn't lift his head, because some one held his beard fast in the water. "Who's there? Let me go!" cried King Kojata, but there was no answer. Only an awful face looked up from the bottom of the well with two great
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