The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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2                             DONKEY SKIN
' Oh, do not speak to me of marrying,' sobbed the king ; ' rather let me die with you !' But the queen only smiled faintly, and turned over on her pillow and died.
For some months the king's grief was great; then gradually he began .to forget a little, and, besides, his counsellors were always -urging him,'to seek another wife. At first he refused to listen to ,them^but by-and-by he allowed himself to be persuaded tr0. think of it, only stipulating that the bride should be more beautiful and attractive than thfc late queen, according to the promise he had made'he,'"..
Overjoyed at having obtained what they wanted, the counsellors sent-envoys far and wide,to get portraits of all the most famous beauties of eyery country. The artists were very' busy and did thier. best, but, alas! nobody could even, pretend that any of the ladies could compare for a moment with the late queen.
At length, one day, when he had turned away dis­couraged from a fresh collection of pictures, the king's eyes fell on his adopted daughter, who had lived in the palace since she was a baby, and he saw that, if a woman existed on the whole earth more lovely than the queen, this was she! He at once made known what his wishes were, but the young girl, who was not at all ambitious, and had not the faintest desire to marry him, was filled with dismay, and begged for time to think about it. That night, when everyone was asleep, she started in a little car drawn by a big sheep, and went to consult her fairy godmother.
' I know what you have come to tell me,' said the fairy, when the maiden stepped out of the car; ' and if you don't wish to marry him, I will show you how to avoid it. Ask him to give you a dress that exactly matches the sky. It will be impossible for him to get one, so you will be quite safe.' The girl thanked the fairy and returned home again.
The next morning, when her father (as she had always
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