The RED Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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It was not long before the mother wanted her own daughter to go to the stream to fetch some water.
When she got there with her pails, the first head rose up out of the water close to the bank. ' Wash me, girl!' it said.
'Wash yourself!' answered the woman's daughter.
Then the second head appeared.
' Brush me, girl! ' said the head.
' Brush yourself!' said the woman's daughter.
So down it went to the bottom, and the third head came up.
' Kiss me, girl! ' said the head.
' As if I would kiss your ugly mouth ! ' said the girl.
So again the heads talked together about what they should do for this girl who was so ill-tempered and full of her own importance, and they agreed that she should have a nose that was four ells long, and a jaw that was three ells, and a fir bush in the middle of her forehead, and every time she spoke ashes should fall from her mouth.
When she came back to the cottage door with her pails, she called to her mother who was inside, ' Open the door ! '
' Open the door yourself, my own dear child ! ' said the mother.
' I can't get near, because of my nose,' said the daughter.
When the mother came and saw her you may imagine what a state of mind she was in, and how she screamed and lamented, but neither the nose nor the jaw grew any the less for that.
Now the brother, who was in service in the King's palace, had taken a portrait of his sister, and he had carried the picture away with him, and every morning and evening he knelt down before it and prayed for his sister, so dearly did he love her.
The other stable-boys had heard him doing this, so they peeped through the key-hole into his room, and saw that he was kneeling there before a picture ; so they told everyone that every morning and evening the youth knelt down and prayed to an idol which he had ; and at last they went to the King himself, and begged that he too would peep through the key-hole, and see for himself what the youth did. At first the King would not believe this, but after a long, long time, they prevailed with him, and he crept on tip-toe to the door, peeped through, and saw the youth on his knees, with his hands clasped together before a picture which was hanging on the wall.
' Open the door!' cried the King, but the youth did not hear.
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