The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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66 NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES
and mounted her, and the colt ran behind. He managed to keep his seat for a long time, in spite of all her efforts to throw him, but at length he grew so weary that he fell fast asleep, and when he woke he found himself sitting on a log, with the halter in his hands. He jumped up in terror, but the mare was nowhere to be seen, and he started with a beating heart in search of her. He had gone some way without a single trace to guide him, when he came to a little river. The sight of the water brought back to his mind the fish whom he had saved from death, and he hastily drew the scale from his pocket. It had hardly touched his fingers when the fish appeared in the stream beside him.
' What is it, my brother? ' asked the fish anxiously.
' The old woman's mare strayed last night, and I don't know where to look for her.'
' Oh, I can tell you that: she has changed herself into a big fish, and her foal into a little one. But strike the water with the halter and say, " Come here, O mare of the mountain witch ! " and she will come.'
The prince did as he was bid, and the mare and her foal stood before him. Then he put the halter round her neck, and rode her home, the foal always trotting behind them. The old woman was at the door to receive them, and gave the prince some food while she led the mare back to the stable.
'You should have gone among the fishes,' cried the old woman, striking the animal with a stick.
'I did go among the fishes,' replied the mare; ' but they are no friends of mine, for they betrayed me at once.'
' Well, go among the foxes this time,' said she, and returned to the house, not knowing that the prince had overheard her.
So when it began to grow dark the prince mounted the mare for the second time and rode into the meadows, and the foal trotted behind its mother. Again he
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