The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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Once there was a woman who had no children, and this made her very unhappy. So she spoke one day to the Sunball, saying: ' Dear Sunball, send me only a little girl now, and when she is twelve years old you may take her back again.'
So soon after this the Sunball sent her a little girl, whom the woman called Letiko, and watched over with great care till she was twelve years old. Soon after that, while Letiko was away one day gathering herbs, the Sunball came to her, and said: ' Letiko, when you go home, tell your mother that she must bethink herself of what she promised me.'
Then Letiko went straight home, and said to her mother: ' While I was gathering herbs a fine tall gentle­man came to me and charged me to tell you that you should remember Avhat you promised him.'
When the woman heard that she was sore afraid, and immediately shut all the doors and windows of the house, stopped up all the chinks and holes, and kept Letiko hidden away, that the Sunball should not come and take her away. But she forgot to close up the keyhole, and through it the Sunball sent a ray into the house, which took hold of the little girl and carried her away to him.
One day, the Sunball having sent her to the straw shed to fetch straw, the girl sat down on the piles of straw and bemoaned herself, saying: ' As sighs this straw under my feet so sighs my heart after my mother.'
And this caused her to be so long away that the
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