The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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Once upon a time there lived a queen whose heart was sore because she had no children. She was sad enough when her husband was at home with her, but when he was away she would see nobody, but sat and wept all day long.
Now it happened that a war broke out with the king of a neighbouring country, and the queen was left in the palace alone. She was so unhappy that she felt as if the walls would stifle her, so she wandered out into the garden, and threw herself down on a grassy bank, under the shade of a lime tree. She had been there for some time, when a rustle among the leaves caused her to look up, and she saw an old woman limping on her crutches towards the stream that flowed through the grounds.
When she had quenched her thirst, she came straight up to the queen, and said to her: ' Do not take it evil, noble lady, that I dare to speak to you, and do not be afraid of me, for it may be that I shall bring you good luck.'
The queen looked at her doubtfully, and answered: ' You do not seem as if you had been very lucky your­self, or to have much good fortune to spare for anyone else.'
' Under rough bark lies smooth wood and sweet kernel,' replied the old woman. ' Let me see your hand, that I may read the future.'
The queen held out her hand, and the old woman examined its lines closely. Then she said, ' Your heart is
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