The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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260                  SNOW-WHITE AND ROSE-RED
their mother of their adventure, she said what they had seen must have been the angel that guards good children.
Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother's cottage so beauti­fully clean and neat that it was a pleasure to go into it. In sum­mer Rose-red looked after the house, and every morning before her mother awoke she placed a bunch of flowers before the bed, from each treea rose In winter Snow-white lit the fire and put on the kettle, which was made of brass, but, so beautufully polished that it shone like gold. In the evening when the snowflakes fell their mother said: ' Snow-white, go and close the shutters;' and they drew round the fire, while the mother put on her spectacles and read aloud from a big book, and the .two girls listened and sat and span. Beside them on the ground lay a little lamb, and behind them perched a little white dove with its head tucked under its wings.
One evening as they sat thus cosily together someone knocked at the door as though he desired admittance. The mother said : ' Rose-red, open the door quickly; it must be some traveller seeking shelter.' Rose-red hastened to unbar the door, and thought she saw a poor man standing in the darkness outside; but it was no such thing, only a bear, who poked his thick black head through the door. Rose-red screamed aloud and sprang back in terror, the lamb began to bleat, the dove flapped its wings, and Snow-white ran and hid behind her mother's bed. But the bear began to speak, and said : ' Don't be afraid: I won't hurt you. I am half frozen, and only wish to warm myself a little.' ' My poor bear,' said the mother, ' lie down by the fire, only take care you don't burn your fur.' Then she called out: ' Snow-white and Rose-red, come out; the bear will do you no harm : he is a good, honest creature.' So they both came out of their hiding-places, and gradually the lamb and dove drew near too, and they all forgot their fear. The bear asked the children to beat the snow a little out of his fur, and they fetched a brush and scrubbed him till he was dry. Then the beast stretched himself in front of the fire, and growled quite happily and comfortably. The children soon grew quite at their ease with him, and led their helpless guest a fearful life. They tugged his fur with their hands, put their small feet on his back, and rolled him about here and there, or took a hazel wand and beat him with it; and if he growled they only laughed. The bear submitted to everything with the best pos­sible good-nature, only when they went too far he cried : ' Oh ! chil­dren, spare my life !                                                       
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