The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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she was told, and then the cat said 'Why did you not give me half ? '
' I forgot,' answered she, ' but there are plenty of beans about, you can have as many as you like.'
' No, that won't do. I wrant half of that particular bean.'
'But how can I give it you? I tell you I have eaten it. I can roast you a hundred others.'
' No, I want half of that one.'
' Oh ! do as you like, only go away !' cried she.
So the cat ran straight to the kitchen fire, and spit on it and put it out, and when Udea came to cook the supper she had nothing to light it with. ' Why did you put the fire out? ' asked she.
' Just to show you how nicely you would be able to cook the supper. Did n't you tell me to do what I liked? '
The girl left the kitchen and climbed up on the roof of the castle and looked out. Far, far away, so far that she could hardly see it, was the glow of a fire. ' I will go and fetch a burning coal from there and light my fire,'thought she, and opened the door of the castle. When she reached the place where the fire was kindled, a hideous man-eater was crouching over it.
' Peace be with you, grandfather,' said she.
' The same to you,' replied the man-eater. ' What brings you here, Udea?'
' I came to ask for a lump of burning coal, to light my fire with.'
' Do you want a big lump or a little lump? '
' Why, what difference does it make? ' said she.
' If you have a big lump you must give me a strip of your skin from your ear to your thumb, and if you have a little lump, you must give me a strip from your ear to your little finger.'
Udea, who thought that one sounded as bad as the other, said she would take the big lump, and when the man-eater had cut the skin, she went home again.
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