The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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In the night the man-eater got up, and followed the blood till he came to Udea's castle. He entered through
the gate which she had left open, and went on till he reached the inside of the house. But here he was stopped by the seven doors, six of wood and one of iron, and all fast locked. And he called through them 'Oh Udea, what did you see your grandfather doing?'
' I saw him spread silk under him, and silk over him, and lay himself down in a four-post bed.'
When he heard that, the man-eater broke in one door, and laughed and went away.
And the second night he came back, and asked her again what she had seen her grandfather doing, and she answered him as before, and he broke in another door, and laughed and went away, and so each night till he reached the seventh door. Then the maiden wrote a letter to her brothers, and bound it round the neck of a pigeon, and said to it, ' Oh, thou pigeon that servedst my father and my grandfather, carry this letter to my brothers, and come back at once.' And the pigeon flew away.
It flew and it flew and it flew till it found the brothers. The eldest unfastened the letter from the pigeon's neck, and read what his sister had written : ' I am in a great strait, my brothers. If you do not rescue me to-night, to-morrow I shall be no longer living, for the man-eater has broken open six doors, and only the iron door is left. So haste, haste, post haste.'
' Quick, quick! my brothers,' cried he.
' What is the matter? ' asked they.
'If we cannot reach our sister to-night, to-morrow she will be the prey of the man-eater.'
And without more words they sprang on their horses, and rode like the wind.
The gate of the castle was thrown down, and they entered the court and called loudly to their sister. But the poor girl was so ill with fear and anxiety that she
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