The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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up, plainly proved that education only softens down natural defects, but cannot entirely do away with them; for Placida, who was perfectly lovely and with a capacity and intelligence which enabled her to learn and under­stand anything that presented itself, was at the same time as lazy and indifferent as it is possible for any one to be, while Vivien, on the contrary, was only too lively, and was forever taking up some new thing and as promptly tiring of it, and flying off to something else which held his fickle fancy an equally short time.
As these two children would possibly inherit the king­dom, it was natural that their people should take a great interest in them, and it fell out that all the tranquil and peace-loving citizens desired that Placida should one day be their queen, while the rash and quarrelsome hoped great things for Vivien. Such a division of ideas seemed to promise civil wars and all kinds of troubles to the state, and even in the palace the two parties frequently came into collision. As for the children themselves, though they were too well brought up to quarrel, still, the differ­ence in all their tastes and feelings made it impossible for them to like one another, so there seemed no chance of their ever consenting to be married, which was a pity, since that was the only thing that would have satisfied both parties.
Prince Vivien was fully aware of the feeling in his favor, but being too honorable to wish to injure his pretty cousin, and perhaps too impatient and volatile to care to think seriously about anything, he suddenly took it into his head that he would go off by himself in search of adventure. Luckily this idea occurred to him when he was on horseback, for he would certainly have set out on foot rather than lose an instant. As it was, he simply turned his horse's head without another thought than that of getting out of the kingdom as soon as possible.
This abrupt departure was a great blow to the state, especially as no one had any idea what had become of the prince. Even King Gridelin, who had never cared for anything since the disappearance of Queen Santorina, was aroused by this new loss, and though he could not so much as look at the Princess Placida without shedding floods of tears, he resolved to see for himself what talents and capabilities she showed. He very soon found out that in
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