The BROWN FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

A Collection of Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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ing their wooden bowls forward, hoping to have the first spoonful. Their father burst into the midst of them, bearing his basket, and crying :
' Don't spoil your appetites, children, with that stuff. Do you see this basket ? Well, I have only got to say, " Little basket, little basket, do your duty," and you will see what will happen. Now you shall say it instead of me, for a treat.'
The children, wondering and delighted, repeated the words, but nothing happened. Again and again they tried, hut the basket was only a basket, with a few scales of fish sticking to the bottom, for the innkeeper's wife had taken it to market the day before.
' What is the matter with the thing ? ' cried the father at last, snatching the basket from them, and turning it all over, grumbling and swearing while he did so, under the eyes of his astonished wife and children, who did not know whether to cry or to laugh.
' It certainly smells of fish,' he said, and then he stopped, for a sudden thought had come to him.
' Suppose it is not mine at all; supposing----- Ah,
the scoundrels !'
And without listening to his wife and children, who were frightened at his strange conduct and begged him to stay at home, he ran across to the tavern and burst open the door.
' Can I do anything for you, Father Grumbler ?' asked the innkeeper's wife in her softest voice.
' I have taken the wrong basketóby mistake, of course,' said he. ' Here is yours, will you give me back my own ?'
' why, what are you talking about ?' answered she. ' You can see for yourself that there is no basket here.'
And though Father Grumbler did look, it was quite true that none was to be seen.
' Come, take a glass to warm you this cold day,' said the woman, who was anxious to keep him in a good
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