The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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"What she said, she did. The next morning when the prince left his room he saw before him a palace more beautiful than his fancy had ever pictured. Kostiei for his part could hardly believe his eyes, and pondered deeply how it had got there.
' Well, this time you have certainly won; but you are not going to be let off so easily. To-morrow all my twelve daughters shall stand in a row before you, and if you cannot tell me which of them is the youngest, off goes your head.'
' "What! Not recognise the youngest princess !' said the Prince to himself, as he entered his room, ' a likely story!'
' It is such a difficult matter that you will never be able to do it without my help,' replied the bee, who was buzzing about the ceiling. ' We are all so exactly alike, that even our father scarcely knows the difference between us.'
' Then what must I do?'
' This. The youngest is she who will have a ladybird on her eyelid. Be very careful. Now good-bye.'
Next morning King Kostie'i again sent for the prince. The young princesses were all drawn up in a row, dressed precisely in the same manner, and with their eyes all cast down. As the prince looked at them, he was amazed at their likeness. Twice he walked along the line, without being able to detect the sign agreed upon. The third time his heart beat fast at the sight of a tiny speck upon the ej-elid of one of the girls.
i This one is the youngest,' he said.
' How in the world did you guess? ' cried Kostiei in a fury. ' There is some jugglery about it! But you are not going to escape me so easily. In three hours you shall come here and give me another proof of your clever­ness. I shall set alight a handful of straw, and before it is burnt up you will have turned it into a pair of boots. If not, off goes your head.'
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