The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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208
THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
Early the next morning the magician sent for him and said: ''Let's see now what you've learned. In the first place, you must build me a palace to-night, the roof of purest gold, the walls of marble, and the windows of crystal; all round you must lay out a beautiful garden, with fish-ponds and artistic waterfalls. If you do all this I will reward you richly; but if you don't you shall lose your head."
"Oh, you wicked monster!" thought Prince Milan, "you might as well have put me to death at once." Sadly he returned to his room, and with bent head sat brooding over his cruel fate till evening. When it grew dark a little bee flew by, and knocking at the window it said: "Open and let me in."
Milan opened the window quickly, and as soon as the bee had entered it changed into the beautiful Hyacinthia.
"Good-evening, Prince Milan. Why are you so sad?"
"How can I help being sad? Your father threatens me with death, and I see myself already without a head."
"And what have you made up your mind to do?"
"There's nothing to be done, and after all I suppose one can only die once."
"Now, don't be so foolish, my dear prince, but keep up your spirits, for there is no need to despair. Go to bed, and when you wake up to-morrow morning the palace will be finished. Then you must go all round it, giving a tap here and there on the walls to look as if you had just finished it."
And so it all turned out just as she had said. As soon as it was daylight Prince Milan stepped out of his room and found a palace which was quite a work of art down to tho very smallest detail. The magician himself was not a little astonished at its beauty and could hardly believe his eves.
"Well, you certainly are a splendid workman," he said to the prince. "I see }'ou are very clever with your hands. Now I must see if you are equally accomplished with your head. I have thirty daughters in my house, all beautiful princesses. To-morrow I will place the whole thirty in a row. You must walk past them three times, and the third time you must show me which is my youngest daughter Hyacinthia. If you don't guess rightly you shall lose your head."
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