THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

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

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208
THE WHITE DOE
De*siree, I shall die of misery, thankful to be alive no longer.'
These words much displeased the king, who felt that, in breaking off the marriage already arranged, he would almost certainly be bringing on his subjects a long and bloody war; so, without answering, he turned away, hoping that a few days might bring his son to reason. But the prince's condition grew rapidly so much worse that the king, in despair, promised to send an embassy at once to Desiree's father.
This news cured the young man in an instant of all his ills; and he began to plan out every detail of dress and of horses and carriages which were necessary to make the train of the envoy, whose name was Becasigue, as splendid as possible. He longed to form part of the embassy himself, if only in the disguise of a page; but this the king would not allow, and so the prince had to content himself with searching the kingdom for every­thing that was rare and beautiful to send to the princess. Indeed, he arrived, just as the embassy was starting, with his portrait, which had been painted in secret by the court painter.
The king and queen wished for nothing better than that their daughter should marry into such a great and powerful family, and received the ambassador with every sign of welcome. They even wished him to see the prin­cess Desiree, but this was prevented by the fairy Tulip, who feared some ill might come of it.
'And be sure you tell him,' added she, 'that the marriage cannot be celebrated till she is fifteen years old, or else some terrible misfortune will happen to the child.'
So when Becasigue, surrounded by his train, made a formal request that the princess De'sire'e might be given in marriage to his master's son, the king replied that he was much honoured, and would gladly give his consent; but that no one could even see the princess till her
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