THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

A Collection of Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE SHIFTY LAD
21
' This is the man whom the child has twice chosen,' said the chamberlain, signing to the Shifty Lad to kneel before the king. ' It was all quite fair ; we tried it twice over.' In this way the Shifty Lad won the king's daughter, and they were married the next day.
A few days later the bride and bridegroom were taking a walk together, and the path led down to the river, and over the river was a bridge.
' And what bridge may this be ? ' asked the Shifty Lad ; and the princess told him that this was the bridge of Dublin.
' Is it indeed ? ' cried he. ' Well, now, many is the time that my mother has said, when I played her a trick, that my end would be that I should hang on the bridge of Dublin.'
' Oh, if you want to fulfil her prophecies,' laughed the princess, ' you have only to let me tie my handkerchief round your ankle, and I will hold you as you hang over the wall of the bridge.'
' That would be fine fun,' said he ; ' but you are not strong enough to hold me up.'
' Oh yes, I am,' said the princess ; ' just try.' So at last he let her bind the handkerchief round his ankle and hang him over the wall, and they both laughed and jested at the strength of the princess.
' Now pull me up again,' called he ; but as he spoke a great cry arose that the palace was burning. The princess turned round with a start, and let go her hand­kerchief, and the Shifty Lad fell, and struck his head on a stone, and died in an instant.
So his mother's prophecy had come true, after all.
West Highland Tales.
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