The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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Jem stepped across to the barber, whom he had known in old days.
' Good morning, Urban,' said he; ' may I look at nryself in your glass for a moment?'
' With pleasure,' said the barber, laughing, and all the people in his shop fell to laughing also. ' You are a pretty youth, with your swan-like neck and white hands and small nose. No wonder you are rather vain; but iook as long as you like at yourself.'
So spoke the barber, and a titter ran round the room. Meantime Jem had stepped up to the mirror, and stood gazing sadly at his reflection. Tears came to his eyes.
' No wonder you did not know your child again, dear mother,' thought he; 'he wasn't like this when you were so proud of his looks.'
His eyes had grown quite small, like pigs' eyes, his nose was huge and hung down over his mouth and chin, his throat seemed to have disappeared altogether, and his head was fixed stiffly between his shoulders. He was no taller than he had been seven years ago, when he was not much more than twelve years old, but he made up in breadth, and his back and chest had grown into lumps like two great sacks. His legs were small and spindly, but his arms were as large as those of a well-grown man, with large brown hands, and long skinny fingers.
Then he remembered the morning when he had first seen the old woman, and her threats to him, and without saying a word he left the barber's shop.
He determined to go again to his mother, and found her still in the market-place. He begged her to listen quietly to him, and he reminded her of the day when he went away with the old woman, and of many things in his childhood, and told her how the fairy had bewitched him, and he had served her seven years. Hannah did not know what to think the story was so strange; and it seemed impossible to think her pretty boy and this hideous dwarf were the same. At last she decided to go
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