GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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something vakiable, drew it on shore with a hook; but when he opened it, there lay a beautiful baby, who was quite awake and lively.
He carried it in to the miller and his wife, and as they had no children, they were quite delighted, and said, " Heaven had sent the little boy as a gift to them." They brought him up carefully, and he grew to manhood clever and virtuous.
It happened one day, that the king was overtaken by a thunder≠storm, while passing near the mill, and stopped to ask for shelter. Noticing the youth, he asked the miller if that tall young man was his son.
" No," he replied, " he is a foundling. Nineteen years ago a box was seen sailing on the mill stream, by one of our men, and when it was caught in the weir he drew it out of the water and found the child in it."
Then the king knew that this must be the child of fortune, and therefore the one which he had thrown into the water. He hid his vexation, however, and presently said kindly," I want to send a letter to the queen, my wife, if that young man will take it to her, I will give him two gold pieces for his trouble."
" We are at the king's service," replied the miller, and called the young man to prepare for his errand. Then the king wrote a letter to the queen, containing these wordsó
" As soon as the boy who brings this letter arrives let him be killed, and I shall expect to find him dead and buried when I come back."
The youth was soon on his way with this letter. He lost himself, however, in a large forest. But when darkness came on he saw in the distance a glimmering light, which he walked to, and found a small house. He entered, and saw an old woman sitting by the fire, quite alone. She appeared frightened when she saw him, and saidó
" Where do you come from, and what do you want ?"
" I am come from the mill," he replied, " and I am carrying a letter to the wife of the king, and as I have lost my way I should like very much to stay here during the night."
"You poor young man," she replied, "you are in a den if robbers, and when they come home they may kill you."
" They may come when they like," said the youth ; "I am not afraid, but I am so tired that I cannot go a step farther to-night." Then he stretched himself on a bench and fell fast asleep.