The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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There lived, once upon a time, a man who was as rich
as he could be; but as no happiness in this world is ever
quite complete, he had an only son who was such a
simpleton that he could barely add two and two together.
At last his father determined to put up with his stupidity
no longer, and giving him a purse full of gold, he sent
him off to seek his fortune in foreign lands, mindful of
the adage:
How much a fool that's sent to roam Excels a fool that stays at home.
Moscione, for this was the youth's name, mounted a horse, and set out for Venice, hoping to find a ship there that would take him to Cairo. After he had ridden for some time he saw a man standing at the foot of a poplar tree, and said to him: ' What's your name, my friend; where do you come from, and what can you do?'
The man replied, ' My name is Quick-as-Thought, I come from Fleet-town, and I can run like lightning.'
'1 should like to see you,' returned Moscione.
' Just wait a minute, then,' said Quick-as-Thought, ' and I will soon show you that I am speaking the truth.'
The words were hardly out of his mouth when a young doe ran right across the field they were standing in.
Quick-as-Thought let her run on a short distance, in order to give her a start, and then pursued her so quickly
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