GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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well there that he did not wish to be seen going away as if in dis­grace.
He had not travelled far when he came to the pond where he had once made a friendly acquaintance with the ducks. The old duck was on the shore; she had left her young ones to enjoy the water, and as he passed she was pluming her feathers with her beak. She recognised him immediately, and asked him what made him hang down his head so sadly.
" You would not wonder if you knew what has happened to ine," he said, and then he told her of his fate.
" Which, after all, is nothing," said the ditck. " We can advise you what to do, and help you also. The crown wis thrown into the water of this pond, and there it now lies at the bottom. I and my children can soon fetch it for you. In the meantime, spread your pocket-handkerchief on the shore in readiness."
Away she swam with her young ones as she spoke, and quickly diving down under the water, in less than five minutes appeared again on the surface carrying the crown on her wings, and the twelve young ones swam round her, each supporting it with its beak. Then they came to land, and laid the crown on the pocket-handkerchief.
You would have been surprised to see how beautiful it looked when the sun shone upon it, for it glittered with thousands of pre­cious stones. The tailor tied the crown up in his handkerchief, and carried it to the king, who was so overjoyed at seeing it again that he hung a gold chain round the tailor's neck.
When the shoemaker found that he had made a false move, he had no rest till he thought of something else to ruin the tailor. So he went to the king, and said : in My lord king, the tailor is still boasting of his great cleverness. He says that a royal castle complete in every way, both iciside and out, can be built of wax."
On this the king sent for the tailor, and commanded him to build a castle such as the shoemaker had described, and said that if he did not bring it in a few hours, or if there should want even a nail on the wall, he would be confined underground for the re­mainder of his life.
" Oh," thought the tailor, when he heard this, " it gets worse and worse; that is more than mortal man can do."
So he again took his bundle on his back, and wandered away from the town.