The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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gave birth to twins, two small sons, who throve and grew, and were a constant joy to her. One day when the Queen was at church, and the two children sat and played with their father, he gazed again full of grief on the stone statue, and sighing, wailed: ' Oh ! if I could only restore you to life, my most trusty John !' Suddenly the stone began to speak, and said : ' Yes, you can restore me to life again if you are prepared to sacrifice what you hold most dear.' And the King cried out: ' All I have in the world will I give up for your sake.' The stone continued : ' If you cut off with your own hand the heads of your two children, and smear me with their blood, I shall come back to life.' The King was aghast when he heard that he had himself to put his children to death; but when he thought of Trusty John's fidelity, and how he had even died for him, he drew his sword, and with his own hand cut the heads off his children. And when he had smeared the stone with their blood, life came back, and Trusty John stood once more safe and sound before him. He spake to the King : ' Your loyalty shall be rewarded, and taking up the heads of the children, he placed them on their bodies, smeared the wounds with their blood, and in a minute they were all right again and jumping about as if nothing had happened. Then the King was full of joy, and when he saw the Queen coming, he hid Trusty John and the two children in a big cupboard. As she entered he said to her : ' Did you pray in church ? ' ' Yes,' she answered ; ' but my thoughts dwelt constantly on Trusty John, and of what he has suffered for us.' Then he spake : ' Dear wife, we can restore him to life, but the price asked is our two little sons; we must sacrifice them.' The Queen grew white and her heart sank, but she replied : ' We owe it to him on account of his great fidelity.' Then he rejoiced that she was of the same mind as he had been, and going forward he opened the cup­board, and fetched the two children and Trusty John out, saying : ' God be praised ! Trusty John is free once more, and we have our two small sons again.' Then he related to her all that had passed, and they lived together happily ever afterwards.1
1 Grimm.
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