THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

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

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228
THE GIRL-FISH
out one object after another in the green dimness, and by the time she had swum for a few hours all became clear.
'Here we are at last,' cried a big fish, going down into a deep valley, for the sea has its mountains and val­leys just as much as the land. 'That is the palace of the queen of the fishes, and I think you must confess that the emperor himself has nothing so fine.'
'It is beautiful indeed,' gasped the little fish, who was very tired with trying to swim as fast as the rest, and beautiful beyond words the palace was. The walls were made of pale pink coral, worn smooth by the waters, and round the windows were rows of pearls; the great doors were standing open, and the whole troop floated into a chamber of audience, where the queen, who was half a woman after all, was seated on a throne made of a green and blue shell.
'Who are you, and where do you come from?' said she to the little fish, whom the others had pushed in front. And in a low, trembling voice, the visitor told her story.
'I was once a girl too,' answered the queen, when the fish had ended; 'and my father was the king of a great country. A husband was found for me, and on my wedding-day my mother placed her crown on my head and told me that as long as I wore it I should likewise be queen. For many months I was as happy as a girl could be, especially when I had a little son to play with. But, one morning, when I was walking in my gardens, there came a giant and snatched the crown from my head. Holding me fast, he told me that he intended to give the crown to his daughter, and to enchant my husband the prince, so that he should not know the difference between us. Since then she has filled my place and been queen in my stead. As for me, I was so miserable that I threw myself into the sea, and my ladies, who loved me, declared that they would die too; but,
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