THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
"Wrong again," said the princess. "Now let the third speak. I see he thinks he knows all about it."
Then the young tailor stepped boldly to the front and said: "The princess has one silver and one golden hair on her head, and those are the two colors."
When the princess heard this she turned quite pale and almost fainted away with fear, for the little tailor had hit the mark, and she had firmly believed that not a soul could guess it. When she had recovered herself she said : "Don't fancy you have won me yet. There is something else you must do first. Below in the stable is a bear with whom you must spend the night, and if when I get up in the morning I find you still alive you shall marry me."
She quite expected to rid herself of the tailor in this way, for the bear had never left any one alive who had once come within reach of his claws. The tailor had no notion of being scared, but said cheerily: "Bravely dared is half-won."
When evening came on he was taken to the stable. The bear tried to get at him at once and to give him a warm welcome with his great paws. "Gently, gently," said the tailor; "I'll soon teach you to be quiet," and he coolly drew a handful of walnuts from his pocket and began cracking and eating them as though he had not a care or anxiety in the world. When the bear saw this he began to long for some nuts himself. The tailor dived into his pocket and gave him a handful, but they were pebbles, not nuts. The bear thrust them into his mouth, but try as he might he could not manage to crack them.
"Dear me," thought he, "what a stupid fool I must be —can't even crack a nut," and he said to the tailor: "I say, crack my nuts for me, will you?"
"You're a nice sort of fellow," said the tailor. "The idea of having those great jaws and not being able even to crack a walnut!" So he took the stone, quickly changed it for a nut, and crack! it split open in a moment.
''Let me try again," said the bear. "When I see the thing done it looks so easy I fancy I must be able to manage it myself."
So the tailor gave him some more pebbles, and the bear bit and gnawed away as hard as he could, but I need hardly say that he did not succeed in cracking one of them.
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