The RED Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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' Oh! if that's all,' said the King, and he sent to all the shoe­makers in his kingdom, and they very soon made the Queen ten thousand green satin slippers, but still she looked sad. So the King asked her again what was the matter, and this time she an­swered that in eating her porridge too hastily she had swallowed her wedding-ring. But it so happened that the King knew better, for he had the ring himself, and he said :
' Oh ! you are not telling me the truth, for I have your ring here in my purse.'
Then the Queen was very much ashamed, and she saw that the King was vexed with her; so she told him all that the fairies had predicted about Eosette, and begged him to think how the misfor­tunes might be prevented.
Then it was the King's turn to look sad, and at last he said :
'I see no way of saving our sons except by having Rosette's head cut off while she is still little.'
But the Queen cried that she would far rather have her own head cut off, and that he had better think of something else, for she would never consent to such a thing. So they thought and thought, but they could not tell what to do, until at last the Queen heard that in a great forest near the castle there was an old hermit, who lived in a hollow tree, and that people came from far and near to consult him; so she said :
' I had better go and ask his advice ; perhaps he will know what to do to prevent the misfortunes which the fairies foretold.'
She set out very early the next morning, mounted upon a pretty little white mule, which was shod with solid gold, and two of her ladies rode behind her on beautiful horses. When they reached the forest they dismounted, for the trees grew so thickly that the horses could not pass, and made their way on foot to the hollow tree where the hermit lived. At first when he saw them coming he was vexed, for he was not fond of ladies; but when he recognised the Queen, he said:
' You are welcome, Queen. What do you come to ask of me ? '
Then the Queen told him all the fairies had foreseen for Rosette, and asked what she should do, and the hermit answered that she must shut the Princess up in a tower and never let her come out of it again. The Queen thanked and rewarded him, and hastened back to the castle to tell the King. When he heard the news he had a great tower built as quickly as possible, and there the Prin­cess was shut up, and the King and Queen and her two brothers
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