The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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forest. In the middle of the forest, an old oak, and on the top of the oak, an acorn. This acorn is the princess. If Long will take me on his shoulders, we shall soon bring her back.' And sure enough, in less time than it takes to walk round the cottage, they had returned from the forest, and Long presented the acorn to the prince.
' Now, your excellency, throw it on the ground.'
The prince obeyed, and was enchanted to see the princess appear at his side. But when the sun peeped for the first time over the mountains, the door burst open as before, and the wizard entered with a loud laugh. Suddenly he caught sight of the princess; his face darkened, he uttered a low growl, and one of the iron circlets gave way with a crash. lie seized the young girl by the hand and bore her away with him.
All that day the prince wandered about the castle, studying the curious treasures it contained, but eveiytliing looked as if life had suddenly come to a standstill. In one place he saw a prince who had been turned into stone in the act of brandishing a sword round which his two hands were clasped. In another, the same doom had fallen upon a knight in the act of running away. In a third, a serving man was standing eternally trying to convey a piece of beef to his mouth, and all around them were others, still preserving for evermore the attitudes they were in when the wizard had commanded ' From henceforth be turned into marble.' In the castle, and round the castle, all was dismal and desolate. Trees there were, but with­out leaves; fields there were, but no grass grew on them. There was one river, but it never flowed and no fish lived in it. No flowers blossomed, and no birds sang.
Three times during the day food appeared, as if by magic> for the prince and his servants. And it was not until supper was ended that the wizard appeared, as on the previous evening, and delivered the princess into the care of the prince.
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