The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE GRATEFUL PRINCE              83
never noticed that a strange man was present. Then she took out a needle and thread, and began to darn her stockings. The master sat at table alone, and invited neither his new servant nor the maid to eat with him. Neither was the old grandmother anywhere to be seen. His appetite was tremendous: he soon cleared all the dishes, and ate enough to satisfy a dozen men. When at last he could eat no more he said to the girl, ' Now you can pick up the pieces, and take what is left in the iron pot for your own dinner, but give the bones to the dog.'
The prince did not at all like the idea of dining off scraps, which he helped the girl to pick up, but, after all, he found that there was plenty to eat, and that the food was very good. During the meal he stole many glances at the maiden, and would even have spoken to her, but she gave him no encouragement. Every time he opened his mouth for the purpose she looked at him sternly, as if to say,' Silence,' so he could only let his eyes speak for him. Besides, the master was stretched on a bench by the oven after his huge meal, and would have heard every­thing.
After supper that night, the old man said to the prince, ' For two clays you may rest from the fatigues of the journey, and look about the house. But the da}r after to-morrow you must come with me, and I will point out the work you have to do. The maid will show you where you are to sleep.'
The prince thought, from this, he had leave to speak, but his master turned on him with a face of thunder and exclaimed:
' You dog of a servant! If you disobey the laws of the house you will soon find yourself a head shorter! Hold your tongue, and leave me in peace.'
The girl made a sign to him to follow her, and, throw­ing open a door, nodded to him to go in. He would have lingered a moment, for he thought she looked sad, but dared not do so, for fear of the old man's anger.
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