THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

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

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THE MAGIC BOOK
357
ring, was put into the summer-house with enough food to last for three days, and the door was bricked up. But at the end of a week or two the king thought it time to give her a grand funeral, in spite of her bad behaviour, and he had the summer-house opened. He could hardly believe his eyes when he found that the prin­cess was not there, nor Hans either. Instead, there lay at his feet a large hole, big enough for two people to pass through.
Now what had happened was this.
When the princess and Hans had given up hope, and cast themselves down on the ground to die, they fell down into this hole, and right through the earth as well, and at last they stumbled into a castle built of pure gold, at the other side of the world, and there they lived happily. But of this, of course, the king knew nothing.
1 Will any one go down and see where the passage leads to?' he asked, turning to his guards and courtiers. 'I will reward splendidly the man who is brave enough to explore it.'
For a long time nobody answered. The hole was dark and deep, and if it had a bottom no one could see it. At length a soldier, who was a careless sort of fellow, offered himself for the service, and cautiously lowered himself into the darkness. But in a moment he, too, fell down, down, down. Was he going to fall for ever, he wondered! Oh, how thankful he was in the end to reach the castle, and to meet the princess and Hans, looking quite well and not at all as if they had been starved. They began to talk, and the soldier told them that the king was very sorry for the way he had treated his daughter, and wished day and night that he could have her back again.
Then they all took ship and sailed home, and when they came to the princess's country, Hans disguised him-himself as the sovereign of a neighbouring kingdom, and
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