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Fairy Adventures from Chronicles of Pantouflia By Andrew Lang

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" Very well," said the king ; " Prince Prigio, you have your choice. There is the gallows, here is Lady Molinda. My duty is painful, but clear. A king's word cannot be broken. Molly, or the gibbet! "
The prince bowed respectfully to Lady Molinda:
" Madam, my cousin," said he, " your clemency will excuse my answer, and you will not misinterpret the apparent discourtesy of my conduct. I am compelled, most unwillingly, to slight your charms, and to select the Extreme Rigour of the Law. Executioner, lead on ! Do your duty ; for me, Prigio est pret;"— for this was his motto, and meant that he was ready.
Poor Lady Molinda could not but be hurt by the prince's preference for death over marriage to her, litt?e as she liked him.
" Is life, then, so worthless ? and is Molinda so terrible a person that you prefer those arms," and she pointed to the gibbet, "to these?"—here she held out her own, which were very white, round and pretty: for Molinda was a good-hearted girl, she could not bear to see Prigio put to
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