The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN           173
the world had never seen; with a saddle on him of gold and precious stones, and with such a dazzling bridle you hardly dared to look at it, lest you should lose your sight. A splendid horse, a splendid saddle, and a splendid bridle, all ready for the splendid young prince!
' Jump on the back of the brown horse,' said the old woman, and she turned round and went into the house.
The moment Petru was seated on the horse, he felt his arm three times as strong as before, and even his heart felt braver.
' Sit firmly in the saddle, my lord, for we have a long way to go and no time to waste,' said the brown horse, and Petru soon saw that they were riding as no man and horse had ever ridden before.
On the bridge stood a dragon, but not the same one as he had tried to fight with, for this dragon had twelve heads, each more hideous and shooting forth more terrible flames than the other. But, horrible though he was, he had met his match. Petru showed no fear, but rolled up his sleeves, that his arms might be free.
' Get out of the way! ' he said when he had done, but the dragon's heads only breathed forth more flames and smoke. Petru wasted no more words, but drew his sword and prepared to throw himself on the bridge.
'Stop a moment; be careful, my lord,'put in the horse, ' and be sure you do what I tell you. Dig your spurs in my body up to the rowel, draw your sword, and keep yourself ready, for we shall have to leap over both bridge and dragon. When you see that we are right above the dragon cut off his biggest head, wipe the blood off the sword, and put it back clean in the sheath before we touch earth again.'
So Petru dug in his spurs, drew his sword, cut off the head, wiped the blood, and put the sword back in the sheath before the horse's hoofs touched the ground again.
And in this fashion they passed the bridge.
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