The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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354
THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
when he entered the lower regions of the castle, for in the kitchen the most tempting and delicious food was spread out, the cellars were full of the most costly wine, and the store-room crammed with pots of every sort of jam you can imagine. A cheerful fire was burning in the kitchen, before which a roast was being basted by unseen hands, and all kinds of vegetables and other dainty dishes were being prepared in like manner. Before the fiddler had time to think he was ushered into a little room by in­visible hands, and there a table was spread for him with all the delicious food he had seen eooking in the kitchen.
The youth first seized his fiddle and played a beautiful air on it which echoed through the silent halls, and then he fell to and began to eat a hearty meal. Before long, however, the door opened and a tiny man stepped into the room, not more than three feet high, clothed in a dressing-gown and with a small wrinkled face, and a gray beard which reached down to the silver buckles of his shoes. And the little man sat down beside the fiddler and shared his meal. When they got to the game course the fiddler handed the dwarf a knife and fork, and begged him to help himself first and then to pass the dish on. The little creature nodded, but helped himself so clumsily that he dropped the piece of meat he had carved on to the floor.
The good-natured fiddler bent down to pick it up, but in the twinkling of an eye the little man had jumped on to his back, and beat him till he was black and blue all over his head and body. At last, when the fiddler was nearly dead, the little wretch left off, and shoved the poor fellow out of the iron gate which he had entered in such good spirits a few hours before. The fresh air revived him a little, and in a short time he was able to stagger with aching limbs back to the inn where his companions were staying. It was night when he reached the place and the other two musicians were fast asleep. The next morning they were much astonished at finding the fiddler in bed beside them and overwhelmed him with questions, but their friend hid his back and face and answered them very shortly, saying: "Go there yourselves and see what's to be seen! It is a ticklish matter, that I can assure you."
The second musician, who was a trumpeter, now "made his way to the castle, and everything happened to him
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