THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

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

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found another stain of wet mud, and she questioned everyone most carefully ; but none could say how the mud came there. The third night the princess determined to lie awake herself and watch ; and, for fear that she might fall asleep, she cut her finger with a penknife and rubbed salt into the cut, that the pain of it might keep her from sleeping. So she lay awake, and at midnight she saw a snake come wriggling along the ground with some mud from the river in its mouth ; and when it came near the bed, it reared up its head and dropped its muddy head on the bedclothes. She was very frightened, but tried to control her fear, and called out:
' Who are you, and what do you here ?'
And the snake answered:
' I am the prince, your husband, and I am come to visit you.'
Then the princess began to weep; and the snake continued:
' Alas ! did I not say that if I told you my secret you would repent it ? and have you not repented ? '
' Oh, indeed!' cried the poor princess, ' I have repented it, and shall repent it all my life! Is there nothing I can do ? '
And the snake answered:
' Yes, there is one thing, if you dared to do it.'
' Only tell me,' said the princess, ' and I will do any­thing !'
' Then,' replied the snake, ' on a certain night you must put a large bowl of milk and sugar in each of the four corners of this room. All the snakes in the river will come out to drink the milk, and the one that leads the way will be the queen of the snakes. You must stand in her way at the door, and say: " Oh, Queen of Snakes, Queen of Snakes, give me back my husband! " and perhaps she will do it. But if you are frightened, and do not stop her, you will never see me again.' And he glided away.
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