The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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320
TEE GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE
A BOY
Once upon a time there lived an emperor who was a great conqueror, and reigned over more countries than anyone in the world. And whenever he subdued a fresh kingdom, he only granted peace on condition that the king should deliver him one of his sons for ten years' service.
Now on the borders of his kingdom lay a country whose emperor was as brave as his neighbour, and as long as he was young he was the victor in every war. But as years passed away, his head grew weary of making plans of campaign, and his people wanted to stay at home and till their fields, and at last he too felt that he must do homage to the other emperor.
One thing, however, held him back from this step which day by day he saw more clearly was the only one possible. His new over-lord would demand the service of one of his sons. And the old emperor had no son; only three daughters.
Look on which side he would, nothing but ruin seemed to lie before him, and he became so gloomy, that his daughters were frightened, and did everything they could think of to cheer him up, but all to no purpose.
At length one day when they were at dinner, the eldest of the three summoned up all her courage and said to her father:
'What secret grief is troubling you? Are your subjects discontented? or have we given you cause for
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