The YELLOW FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

barn, and pointing to two full sacks, said : ' Take whichever of these you choose.'
Martin examined the contents of the sacks, and seeing that one was full of silver and the other of sand, he said to himself:
' There must be some trick about this ; I had better take the sand.' And throwing the sack over his shoulders he started out into the world, in search of fresh work. On and on he walked, and at last he reached a great gloomy wood. In the middle of the wood he came upon a meadow, where a fire was burning, and in the midst of the fire, surrounded by flames, was a lovely damsel, more beautiful than anything that Martin had ever seen, and when she saw him she called to him :
' Martin, if you would win happiness, save my life. Extinguish the flames with the sand that you earned in payment of your faithful service.'
' Truly,' thought Martin to himself, ' it would be more sensible to save a fellow-being's life with this sand than to drag it about on one's back, seeing what a weight it is.' And forthwith he lowered the sack from his shoulders and emptied its contents on the flames, and instantly the fire was extinguished; but at the same moment lo ! and behold the lovely damsel turned into a Serpent, and, darting upon him, coiled itself round his neck, and whispered lovingly in his ear:
' Do not be afraid of me, Martin ; I love you, and will go with you through the world. But first you must follow me boldly into my Father's Kingdom, underneath the earth; and when we get there, remember this—he will offer you gold and silver, and dazzling gems, but do not touch them. Ask him, instead, for the ring which he wears on his little finger, for in that ring lies a magic power ; you have only to throw it from one hand to the other, and at once twelve yoiuig men will appear, who will do your bidding, no matter how difficult, in a single night.'
So they started on their way, and after much wandering they reached a spot where a great rock rose straight up in the middle of the road. Instantly the Serpent uncoiled itself from his neck, and, as it touched the damp earth, it resumed the shape of the lovely damsel. Pointing to the rock, she showed him an opening just big enough for a man to wriggle through. Passing into it, they entered a long underground passage, which led out on to a wide field, above which spread a blue sky. In the middle of the field stood a magnificent castle, built out of porphyry, with a roof
Previous Contents Next