THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

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

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270 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN
'Time is long without my sister and Ardan my brother. So I have vowed to seek them wherever they may be.'
And his father answered:
'Better it had been if you had first asked my consent and that of your mother; but as you have vowed so must you do.' Then he bade his wife make a cake, but instead she made two, and offered Ruais his choice, as she had done to Ardan. Like Ardan, Ruais chose the large, un­blessed cake, and set forth on his way, doing always, though he knew it not, that which Ardan had done; so, needless is it to tell what befell him till he too stood, a pillar of stone, on the hill behind the cottage, so that all men might see the fate that awaited those who broke their faith.
Another year and a day passed by, when Covan the Brown-haired, youngest son of Gorla of the Flocks, one morning spake to his parents, saying:
'It is more than three years since my sister left us. My brothers have also gone, no one knows whither, and of us four none remains but I. Now, therefore, I long to seek them, and I pray you and my mother to place no hindrance in my way.'
And his father answered:
'Go, then, and take our blessing with you.'
So the wife of Gorla of the Flocks baked two cakes, one large, and one small; and Covan took the small one, and started on his quest. In the wood he felt hungry, for he had walked far, and he sat down to eat. Suddenly a voice behind him cried:
'A bit for me! a bit for me!' And looking round he beheld the black raven of the wilderness.
'Yes, you shall have a bit,' said Covan the Brown-haired; and breaking off a piece he stretched it upwards to the raven, who ate it greedily. Then Covan arose and went forward, till he saw the light from the cottage stream­ing before him, and glad was he, for night was at hand.
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