The RED Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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Princess Cabbage-Stalk was immensely astonished at this unjust proceeding, and sent many messages of remonstrance to King Grumpy, but he was in such a temper that no one dared to deliver them, or to send the letters which the Princess wrote to her father. However, as she did not know this, she lived in hope of soon going back to her own country, and tried to amuse herself as well as she could until the time should come. Every day she walked up and down the long gallery, until she too was attracted and fascinated by the ever-changing pictures in the windows, and recognised herself in one of the figures. ' They seem to have taken a great delight in painting me since I came to this country,' she said to herself. ' One would think that I and my crutch were put in on purpose to make that slim, charming young shepherdess in the next picture look prettier by contrast. Ah ! how nice it would bo to be as pretty as that.' And then she looked at herself in a mirror, and turned away quickly with tears in her eyes from the doleful sight. All at once she became aware that she was not alone, for behind her stood a tiny old woman in a cap, who was as ugly again as herself and quite as lame.
' Princess,' she said, ' your regrets are so piteous that I have come to offer you the choice of goodness or beauty. If you wish to be pretty you shall have your way, but you will also be vain, capricious, and frivolous. If you remain as you are now. you shall be wise and amiable and modest.'
' Alas ! madam,' cried the Princess, ' is it impossible to be at once wise and beautiful ? '
' No, child,' answered the old woman, ' only to you it is decreed that you must choose between the two. See, I have brought with me my white and yellow muff. Breathe upon the yellow side and you will become like the pretty shepherdess you so much admire, and you will have won the love of the handsome shepherd whose picture I have already seen you studying with interest. Breathe upon the white side and your looks will not alter, but you will grow better and happier day by day. Now you may choose.'
' Ah well,' said the Princess, ' I suppose one can't have every­thing, and it's certainly better to be good than pretty.'
And so she breathed upon the white side of the mull' and thanked the old fairy, who immediately disappeared. The Princess Cabbage-Stalk felt very forlorn when she was gone, and began to think that it was quite time her father sent an army to rescue her.
' If I could but get up into the turret,' she thought, ' to see if any-
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