The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE STORY OF HALF MAN           353
you are a judge! Who did well, and who did eviló I or my brothers? '
'Is this story true?' said the father, turning to his sons.
' It is true, my father,' answered they. ' It is even as Half man has said, and the girl belongs to him.'
Then the judge embraced Halfman and said to him : ' You have done well, my son. Take your bride, and may you both live long and happily together ! '
At the end of the year Halfman's wife had a son, and not long after she came one day hastily into the room, and found her husband weeping. ' What is the matter?' she asked.
' The matter? ' said he.
' Yes, why are you weeping ? '
' Because,' replied Halfman, ' the baby is not really ours, but belongs to an ogress.'
' Are you mad? ' cried the wife. ' What do you mean by talking like that ? '
' I promised,' said Halfman, ' when she undertook to kill my brother and to give you to me, that the first son we had should be hers.'
' And will she take him from us now ? ' said the poor woman.
' No, not quite yet,' replied Halfman; ' when he is bigger.'
' And is she to have all our children ?' asked she.
' No, only this one,' returned Halfman.
Day by day the boy grew bigger, and one day as he was playing in the street with the other children, the ogress came by. ' Go to your father,' she said, ' and repeat this speech to him: " I want my forfeit; when am I to have it?"'
' All right,' replied the child, but when he went home forgot all about it. The next day the ogress came again, and asked the boy what answer the father had given. ' I forgot all about it,' said he.
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