The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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386                          PRUNELLA
she called out; ' Door, bang upon her, and keep her a prisoner.'
But the door answered ; ' I won't, for she has oiled my hinges, so that they move quite easily, whereas you left them all rough and rusty.'
And so Prunella escaped, and, with the casket under her arm, reached the house of her mistress, who, as you may believe, was as angry as she was surprised to see the girl standing before her, looking more beautiful than ever. Her eyes flashed, as in furious tones she asked her, ' Did you meet Bensiabel?'
But Prunella looked down, and said nothing.
' We shall see,' said the witch, ' who will win in the end. Listen, there are three cocks in the hen-house; one is yellow, one black, and the third is white. If one of them crows during the night you must tell me which one it is. Woe to you if you make a mistake. I will gobble you up in one mouthful.'
Now Bensiabel was in the room next to the one where Prunella slept. At midnight she awoke hearing a cock crow.
'Which one was that?' shouted the witch.
Then, trembling, Prunella knocked on the wall and whispered: 'Bensiabel, Bensiabel, tell me, which cock crowed ? '
' Will you give me a kiss if I tell you?' he whispered back through the wall.
But she answered ' No.'
Then he whispered back to her; ' Nevertheless, I will tell you. It was the yellow cock that crowed.'
The witch, who had noticed the delay in Prunella's answer, approached her door calling angrily : ' Answer at once, or I will kill you.'
So Prunella answered: 'It was the yellow cock that crowed.'
And the witch stamped her foot and gnashed her teeth.
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