The YELLOW FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE MAGIC RING
183
will bo well. But see that you do not come back without an answer of some kind.'
And so, obedient to her son's behest, the old woman hobbled off to the palace, and, without being hindered, reached the courtyard, and began to mount the flight of steps leading to the royal presence chamber. At the head of the landing rows of courtiers were collected in magnificent attire, who stared at the queer old figure, and called to her, and explained to her, with every kind of sign, that it was strictly forbidden to mount those steps. But their stern words and forbidding gestures made no impression whatever on the old woman, and she resolutely continued to climb the stairs, bent on carrying out her son's orders. Upon this some of the courtiers seized her by the arms, and held her back by sheer force, at which she set up such a yell that the King himself heard it, and stepped out on to the balcony to see what was the matter. When he beheld the old woman flinging her arms wildly about, and heard her scream that she would not leave the place till she had laid her case before the King, he ordered that she should be brought into his presence. And forthwith she was conducted into the golden presence chamber, where, leaning back amongst cushions of royal purple, the King sat, surrounded by his counsellors and courtiers. Courtesying low, the old woman stood silent before him. ' Well, my good old dame, what can I do for you? ' asked the King.
'I have come,' replied Martin's mother—'and your Majesty must not be angry with me—I have come a-wooing.'
' Is the woman out of her mind ?' said the King, with an angry frown.
But Martin's mother answered boldly : 'If the King will only listen patiently to me, and give me a straightforward answer, he will see that I am not out of my mind. You, 0 King, havo a lovely daughter to give in marriage. I have a son—a wooer—as clever a youth and as good a son-in-law as you will find in your whole kingdom. There is nothing that ho cannot do. Now tell me, 0 King, plump and plain, will you give you] daughter to my son as wife?' The King listened to tlio end of the old woman's strange request, but every moment his face grew blacker, and his features sterner; till all at once he thought to himself, l Is it worth while that I, the King, should be angyy with this poor old foo] ? ' And all tho courtiers and counsellors were amazed when they saw the hard lines round his mouth and tho frown on his brow grow
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