The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

as I bid you. Greet your father King Kojata from me, and don't forget to remind him of his debt. The time has long passed since it was due, but now he will have to pay it. Farewell for the present. We shall meet again."
With those words the old man disappeared into the tree, and the prince returned home rather startled and told his father all that he had seen and heard.
The king grew as white as a sheet when he heard the prince's story and said: "Woe is me, my son! The time has come when we must part." And with a heavy heart he told the prince what had happened at the time of his birth.
"Don't worry or distress yourself, dear father," an­swered Prince Milan. "Things are never as bad as they look. Only give me a horse for my journey, and I wager you'll soon see me back again."
The king gave him a beautiful charger, with golden stirrups and a sword. The queen hung a little cross round his neck, and after much weeping and lamentation the prince bade them all farewell and set forth on his journey.
He rode straight on for two days, and on the third he came to a lake as smooth as glass and as clear as crystal. Not a breath of wind moved, not a leaf stirred. All was silent as the grave; only on the still bosom of the lake thirty ducks, with brilliant plumage, swam about in the water. Not far from the shore Prince Milan noticed thirty little white garments lying on the grass, and dis­mounting from his horse he crept down under the high bulrushes, took one of the garments, and hid himself with it behind the bushes which grew round the lake. The ducks swam about all over the place, dived down into the depths and rose again, and glided through the waves. At last, tired of disporting themselves, they swam to the shore, and twenty-nine of them put on their little white garments and instantly turned into so many beautiful maidens. Then they finished dressing and disappeared. Only the thirtieth little duck couldn't come to the land. It swam about close to the shore, and giving out a pierc­ing cry it stretched its neck up timidly, gazed wildly around, and then dived under again. Prince Milan's heart was so moved with pity for the poor little creature that he came out from behind the bulrushes, to see if he
Previous Contents Next