The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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114
STAN BOLOVAN
of joy since they appeared, but now it came to the point he did not know how he was to feed them. The cow had ceased to give milk, and it was too early for the fruit trees to ripen.
' Do you know, old woman!' said he one day to his wife, ' I must go out into the world and try to bring back food somehow, though I cannot tell where it is to come from.'
To the hungry man any road is long, and then there was always the thought that he had to satisfy a hundred greedy children as well as himself.
Stan wandered, and wandered, and wandered, till he reached to the end of the world, where that which is, is mingled with that which is not, and there he saw, a little way off, a sheepfold, with seven sheep in it. In the shadow of some trees lay the rest of the flock.
Stan crept up, hoping that he might manage to decoy some of them away quietly, and drive them home for food for his family, but he soon found this could not be. For at midnight he heard a rushing noise, and through the air flew a dragon, who drove apart a ram, a sheep, and a lamb, and three fine cattle that were lying down close by. And besides these he took the milk of seventy-seven sheep, and carried it home to his old mother, that she might bathe in it and grow young again. And this happened every night.
The shepherd bewailed himself in vain: the dragon only laughed, and Stan saw that this was not the place to get food for his family.
But though he quite understood that it was almost hopeless to fight against such a powerful monster, yet the thought of the hungry children at home clung to him like a burr, and would not be shaken off, and at last he said to the shepherd, ' What will you give me if I rid you of the dragon ? '
' One of every three rams, one of every three sheep, one of every three lambs,' answered the herd.
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