The YELLOW FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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him. The next morning when he awoke he remembered the promise, and wanted to see if it had come true. But when he lifted up his pillow, there sparkled the gold piece, and the next morning he found another, and so on every time he got up. He collected a heap of gold, but at last he thought to himself, 'What good is all my gold to me if I stay at home ? I will travel and look a bit about me in the world.' So he took leave of his parents, slung his hunting knapsack and his gun round him, and journeyed into the world.
It happened that one day he went through a thick wood, and when he came to the end of it there lay in the plain before him a large castle. At one of the windows in it stood an old woman with a most beautiful maiden by her side, looking out. But the old woman was a witch, and she said to the girl, ' There comes one out of the wood who has a wonderful treasure in his body which we must manage to possess ourselves of, darling daughter; we have more right to it than he. He has a bird's heart in him, and so every morning there lies a gold piece imder his pillow.'
She told her how they could get hold of it, and how she was to coax it from him, and at last threatened her angrily, saying, ' And if you do not obey me, you shall repent it! '
When the Hunter came nearer he saw the maiden, and said to himself, ' I have travelled so far now that I will rest, and turn into this beautiful castle ; money I have in plenty.' But the real reason was that he had caught sight of the lovely face.
He went into the house, and was kindly received and hospitably i nurtained. It was not long before he was so much in love with the witch-maiden that he thought of nothing else, and only looked in her eyes, and whatever she wanted, that he gladly did. Then the old witch said, ' Now we must have the bird-heart; he will not feel when it is gone.' She prepared a drink, and when it was ready she poured it in a goblet and gave it to the maiden, who had to hand it to the hunter.
'Brink to me now, my dearest,' she said. Then he took the goblet, and when he had swallowed the drink the bird-heart came out of his mouth. The maiden had to get hold <>f it secretly and then swallow it herself, for the old witch wanted to have it. Thenceforward he found no more gold under his pillow, and it lay under the maiden's; but he was so much in love and so much be­witched that ho thought of nothing except spending all his time with the maiden.
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