The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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50                       THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
Everybody knows that though the fairies live hun­dreds of years they do sometimes die, and especially as they are obliged to pass one day in every week under the form of some animal, when of course they are liable to accident. It was in this way that death once overtook the queen of the fairies, and it became necessary to call a general assembly to elect a new sovereign. After much discussion, it appeared that the choice lay between two fairies, one called Surcantine and the other Paridamie; and their claims were so equal that it was impossible with­out injustice to prefer one to the other. Under these circumstances it was unanimously decided that whichever of the two could show to the world the greatest wonder should be queen; but it was to be a special kind of won­der—no moving of mountains or any such- common fairy tricks would do. Surcantine, therefore, resolved that she would bring up a prince whom nothing could make con­stant, while Paridamie decided to display to admiring mortals a princess so charming that no one could see her without falling in love with her. They were allowed to take their own time, and meanwhile the four oldest fairies were to attend to the affairs of the kingdom.
Now, Paridamie had for a long time been very friendly with King Bardondon, who was a most accomplished prince and whose court was the model of what a court should be. His queen, Balanice, was also charming; indeed, it is rare to find a husband and wife so perfectly of one mind about everything. They had one little daughter, whom they had named Rosanella because she had a little pink rose printed upon her white throat. From her earliest infancy she had shown the most aston­ishing intelligence, and the courtiers knew her smart sayings by heart md repeated them on all occasions, In
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