The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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272
THE BEAR
guests, that everyone wondered who she was, and no one could tell where she had come from.
From the moment he saw her, the prince fell desperately in love with her, and all the evening he would dance with no one else but the beautiful stranger.
When the ball was over, the princess drove away in her carriage at full speed, for she wished to get home in time to change her ball dress into the bear's skin, and the carriage into the wheel-barrow, before anyone discovered who she was.
The prince, putting spurs into his horse, rode after her, for he was determined not to let her out of his sight, lint suddenly a thick mist arose and hid her from him. When he reached his home he could talk to his mother of nothing else but the beautiful stranger with whom he had danced so often, and with whom he was so much in love. And the bear beneath the table smiled to itself, and muttered: ' I am the beautiful stranger; oh, how I have taken you in ! '
The next evening there was a second ball, and, as you may believe, the prince was determined not to miss it, for he thought he would once more see the lovely girl, and dance with her and talk to her, and make her talk to him, for at the first ball she had never opened her lips.
And, sure enough, as the music struck up the first dance, the beautiful stranger entered the room, looking even more radiant than the night before, for this time her dress was woven out of the rays of the sun. All evening the prince danced with her, but she never spoke a word.
When the ball was over he tried once more to follow her carriage, that he might know whence she came, but suddenly a great waterspout fell from the sky, and the blinding sheets of rain hid her from his sight.
When he reached his home he told his mother that he had again seen the lovely girl, and that this time she had been even more beautiful than the night before. And
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