The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE GOLDEN MERMAID.
329
night for trying to steal his magic bird, but that as he had already more than enough to feed and support, he was going to have this last captive hanged next morning.
"He must have been a most daring thief," said the king, "to try and steal the magic bird, for depend upon it the creature must have been well guarded. I would really like to see this bold rascal." "By all means," said the emperor; and he himself led his guest down to the dungeon where the unfortunate prince was kept prisoner. When the emperor stepped out of the cell with the king the latter turned to him and said: "Most mighty emperor, I have been much disappointed. I had thought to find a powerful robber, and instead of that I have seen the most
miserable creature I can imagine. Hanging is far too good for him. If I had to sentence him I should make him perform some very difficult task, under pain of death. If he did it, so much the better for you; and if he didn't, matters would be just as they are now and he could still be hanged." "Your counsel," said the emperor, "is excellent, and, as it happens, I've got the very thing for him to do. My nearest neighbor, who is also a mighty emperor, possesses a golden horse which he guards most carefully. The prisoner shall be told to steal this horse and bring it to me."
The prince was then let out of his dungeon and told his life would be spared if he succeeded in bringing the golden horse to the emperor. He did not feel very elated
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