The RED Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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' That's true,' said the King; ' I for one shall be quite satisfied if she is. Let us go and meet her.' For they knew by the uproar that she had arrived, but they coidd not tell what all the shouting was about. The King thought he could hear the words :
' How ugly she is! How ugly she is ! ' and he fancied they must refer to some dwarf the Princess was bringing with her. It never occurred to him that they could apply to the bride herself.
The Princess Rosette's portrait was carried at the head of the procession, and after it walked the King surrounded by his courtiers. He was all impatience to see the lovely Princess, but when he caught sight of the nurse's daughter he was furiously angry, and would not advance another step. For she was really ugly enough to have frightened anybody.
' What!' he cried, ' have the two rascals who are my prisoners dared to play me such a trick as this ? Do they propose that I shall marry this hideous creature ? Let her be shut up in my great tower, with her nurse and those who brought her here ; and as for them, I will have their heads cut off.'
Meanwhile the King and the Prince, who knew that their sister must have arrived, had made themselves smart, and sat ex­pecting every minute to be summoned to greet her. So when the gaoler came with soldiers, and carried them down into a black dun­geon which swarmed with toads and bats, and where they were up to their necks in water, nobody could have been more surprised and dismayed than they were.
'This is a dismal kind of wedding,' they said ; 'what can have happened that we should be treated like this ? They must mean to kill us.'
And this idea annoyed them very much. Three days passed before they heard any news, and then the King of the Peacocks came and berated them through a hole in the wall.
' You have called yourselves King and Prince,' he cried, ' to try and make me marry your sister, but you are nothing but beggars, not worth the water you drink. I mean to make short work with you, and the sword is being sharpened that will cut off your heads !'
' King of the Peacocks,' answered the King angrily, ' you had better take care what you are about. I am as good a King as your­self, and have a splendid kingdom and robes and crowns, and plenty of good red gold to do what I like with. You are pleased to jest about having our heads cut off; perhaps you think we have stolen something from you ? '
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