The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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now, do tell me why your right eye always laughs and your left eye always weeps.'
As before, the father grew purple with fury, and rushed forwards with his knife. l>ut the simpleton did not stir a step ; he knew that he had really nothing to fear from his father.
'Ah, now I see who is my true son,'exclaimed the old man; ' the others are mere cowards. And as you have shown me that you are brave, I will satisfy your curiosity. My right eye laughs because I am glad to have a son like you; my left eye weeps because a precious treasure has been stolen from me. I had in my garden a vine that yielded a tun of wine every hour — someone has managed to steal it, so I weep its loss.'
The simpleton returned to his brothers and told them of their fatlier's loss, and they all made up their minds to set out at once in search of the vine. They travelled together till they came to some cross roads, and there they parted, the two elder ones taking one road, and the simpleton the other.
' Thank goodness we have got rid of that idiot,' ex­claimed the two elder. ' Now let us have some break­fast.' And they sat down by the roadside and began to eat.
They had only half finished, when a lame f^x came out of a wood and begged them to give him something to eat. But they jumped up and chased him off with their sticks, and the poor fox limped away on his three pads. As he ran he reached the spot where the youngest son was getting out the food he had brought with him, and the fox asked him for a crust of bread. The simpleton had not very much for himself, but he gladly gave half of his meal to the hungry fox.
' Where are you going, brother? ' said the fox, when he had finished his share of the bread; and the young man told him the story of his father and the wonderful vine.
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