GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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carried them to the hollow cave, to serve her for a bed. In winter the nuts were her food, and when snow and ice came, she rolled herself like a poor animal in the leaves, and let her long hair fall round her like a mantle, for her clothes were all in rags. So one year after another passed, during which she endured the greatest want and misery.
One day in the spring, when the trees were decked in their fresh green leaves, the king of the country was hunting in the forest, and while following a deer, he saw it disappear among the thick bushes which encircled the old hollow caves. To follow the deer, he alighted from his horse, and made a way for himself through the bushes with his sword.
When he had thus cleared a path, he saw a beautiful maiden seated under a tree, and clothed from head to foot in her own golden hair. He stood still at first in silent astonishment, and then he said, "Who art thou, fair maiden, and why dost thou sit here in this lonely place?" But she could not answer him, for her lips were sealed.
Then the king spoke again, "Will you go with me to my palace ?" Then she nodded her head, and the king taking her in his arms, lifted her on his horse, and rode home with her.
As soon as they arrived at the castle, he gave her beautiful clothing and everything she wanted in abundance ; and although she could not speak, she was so beautiful and graceful that the king fell in love with her, and in a very short time they were married.
In a year after, the young queen had a little son, and while she was lying on her bed during the night, the good fairy appeared to her, and said, " Wilt thou now own the truth, that thou didst open the forbidden door? If thou wilt, I will restore to thee the power of speech; but if thou art still obstinate, and persist in denying thy sin, then I will take thy new-born babe with me."
Then the power of speech was given to the queen, to enable her to answer; but she remained obdurate, and said, "No, I did hot open the forbidden door."
I On this the good fairy took the new-born baby in her arms and disappeared with it.
In the morning when the child could not be found, a murmur arose amongst the people; they declared that the queen had de­stroyed her baby. She heard all they said, but she could not ex-