The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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billow, her long hair spread all about her; in one hand she held a mirror, and in the other a comb, and instead of feet she had a beautiful tail like a fish, with which she swam.
The King was struck dumb with astonishment at this unex­pected sight; but as soon as she came within speaking distance, she said to him, ' I know how sad you are at losing your Princess and being kept a prisoner by the Fairy of the Desert; if you like I will help you to escape from this fatal place, where you may otherwise have to drag on a weary existence for thirty years or more.'
The King of the Gold Mines hardly knew what answer to make to this proposal. Not because he did not wish very much to escape,
but he was afraid that this might be only another device by which the Fairy of the Desert was trying to deceive him. As he hesitated the Mermaid, who guessed his thoughts, said to him:
' You may trust me : I am not trying to entrap you. I am so angry with the Yellow Dwarf and the Fairy of the Desert that -I am not likely to wish to help them, especially since I constantly see your poor Princess, whose beauty and goodness make me pity her so much : and I tell you that if you will have confidence in me I will help you to escape.'
' I trust you absolutely,' cried the King, ' and I will do whatever you tell me ; but if you have seen my Princess I beg of you to tell me how she is and what is happening to her.'
' We must not waste time in talking,' said she. ' Come with
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