The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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" 'My pretty child, I am afraid you must really make up your mind to get up to-day. I know quite well how delightful it is to be thoroughly idle, for when my hus­band and I were king and queen we did nothing at all from morning to night, and I sincerely hope that it will not be long before those happy days will come again for us. But at present we have not reached them, nor have you, and you know from what the fairy said that perhaps worse things may happen to us if she is not obeyed. Make haste, I beg of you, and come down to breakfast, for I have put by some delicious cream for you.'
"It was really very tiresome, but as there was no help for it I went down.
"But the instant breakfast was ovei they began again their cuckoo-cry of 'What will you do?' In vain did I answer:
" 'Nothing at all, if it please you, madam.'
"The queen at last gave me a spindle and about four pounds of hemp upon a distaff and sent me out to keep the sheep, assuring me that there could not be a pleas-anter occupation and that I could take my ease as much as I pleased. I was forced to set out, very unwillingly, as you may imagine, but I had not walked far before I came to a shady bank in what seemed to me a charming place. I stretched myself cozily upon the soft grass, and with the bundle of hemp for a pillow slept as tranquilly as if there were no such things as sheep in the world, while they for their part wandered hither and thither at their own sweet will, as if there were no such thing as a shepherdess, in­vading every field and browsing upon every kind of for­bidden dainty, until the peasants, alarmed by the havoc they were making, raised a clamor, which at last reached the ears of the king and queen, who ran out, and seeing the cause of the commotion hastily collected their flock. And indeed the sooner the better, since they had to pay for all the damage they had done. As for me, I lay still and watched them run, for I was very comfortable, and there I might be still if they had not come up, all panting and breathless, and compelled me to get up and follow them; they also reproached me bitterly, but I need hardly tell you that they did not again intrust me with the flock. 'But whatever they found for me to do it was always the same thing—I spoiled and mismanaged it all, and waa
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