The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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' Is that all! ' said Jem, who had often made both dishes. ' Nothing easier. Let me have some eggs, a piece of wild boar, and such and such roots and herbs for the soup ; and as for the dumplings,' he added in a low voice to the head cook, ' I shall want four different kinds of meat, some wine, a duck's marrow, some ginger, and a herb called heal-well.'
' Why,' cried the astonished cook, ' where did you learn cooking? Yes, those are the exact materials, but we never used the herb heal-well, which, I am sure, must be an improvement.'
And now Jem was allowed to try his hand. He could not nearly reach up to the kitchen range, but by putting a wide plank on two chairs he managed very well. All the cooks stood round to look on, and could not help admiring the quick, clever way in which he set to work. At last, when all was ready, Jem ordered the two dishes to be put on the fire till he gave the word. Then he began to count: ' One, two, three,' till he got to five hundred when he cried, ' Now!' The saucepans were taken off, and he invited the head cook to taste.
The first cook took a golden spoon, washed and wiped it, and handed it to the head cook, who solemnly approached, tasted the dishes, and smacked his lips over them. ' First rate, indeed! ' he exclaimed. ' You certainly are a master of the art, little fellow, and the herb heal-well gives a particular relish.'
As he was speaking, the duke's valet came to say that his highness was ready for luncheon, and it was served at once in silver dishes. The head cook took Jem to his own room, but had hardly had time to question him before he was ordered to go at once to the grand duke. He hurried on his best clothes and followed the messenger.
The grand duke was looking much pleased. He had emptied the dishes, and was wiping his mouth as the head cook came in. ' Who cooked my luncheon to-day ?' asked he. ' I must say your dumplings are always very
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