Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Blue Fairy Book

Part 1 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Scanned by Charles Keller for Tina with
OmniPage Professional OCR software
donated by Caere Corporation, 1-800-535-7226.
Contact Mike Lough





Once upon a time in a certain country there lived a
king whose palace was surrounded by a spacious garden.
But, though the gardeners were many and the soil was
good, this garden yielded neither flowers nor fruits, not
even grass or shady trees.

The King was in despair about it, when a wise old man
said to him:

"Your gardeners do not understand their business: but
what can you expect of men whose fathers were cobblers
and carpenters? How should they have learned to cultivate
your garden?"

"You are quite right," cried the King.

"Therefore," continued the old man, "you should send
for a gardener whose father and grandfather have been
gardeners before him, and very soon your garden will be
full of green grass and gay flowers, and you will enjoy its
delicious fruit."

So the King sent messengers to every town, village, and
hamlet in his dominions, to look for a gardener whose
forefathers had been gardeners also, and after forty days
one was found.

"Come with us and be gardener to the King," they said
to him.

"How can I go to the King," said the gardener, "a poor
wretch like me?"

"That is of no consequence," they answered. "Here are
new clothes for you and your family."

"But I owe money to several people."

"We will pay your debts," they said.

So the gardener allowed himself to be persuaded, and
went away with the messengers, taking his wife and his
son with him; and the King, delighted to have found a
real gardener, entrusted him with the care of his garden.
The man found no difficulty in making the royal garden
produce flowers and fruit, and at the end of a year the
park was not like the same place, and the King showered
gifts upon his new servant.

The gardener, as you have heard already, had a son,
who was a very handsome young man, with most agree-
able manners, and every day he carried the best fruit of
the garden to the King, and all the prettiest flowers to his
daughter. Now this princess was wonderfully pretty and
was just sixteen years old, and the King was beginning
to think it was time that she should be married.

"My dear child," said he, "you are of an age to take a
husband, therefore I am thinking of marrying you to the
son of my prime minister.

"Father," replied the Princess, "I will never marry the
son of the minister."

"Why not?" asked the King.

"Because I love the gardener's son," answered the

On hearing this the King was at first very angry, and
then he wept and sighed, and declared that such a husband
was not worthy of his daughter; but the young
Princess was not to be turned from her resolution to
marry the gardener's son.

Then the King consulted his ministers. "This is what
you must do," they said. "To get rid of the gardener you
must send both suitors to a very distant country, and the
one who returns first shall marry your daughter."

The King followed this advice, and the minister's son
was presented with a splendid horse and a purse full of
gold pieces, while the gardener's son had only an old lame
horse and a purse full of copper money, and every one
thought he would never come back from his journey.

The day before they started the Princess met her lover
and said to him:

"Be brave, and remember always that I love you. Take
this purse full of jewels and make the best use you can of
them for love of me, and come back quickly and demand
my hand."

The two suitors left the town together, but the
minister's son went off at a gallop on his good horse, and very
soon was lost to sight behind the most distant hills. He
traveled on for some days, and presently reached a fountain
beside which an old woman all in rags sat upon a

"Good-day to you, young traveler," said she.

But the minister's son made no reply.

"Have pity upon me, traveler," she said again. "I am
dying of hunger, as you see, and three days have I been
here and no one has given me anything."

"Let me alone, old witch," cried the young man; "I can
do nothing for you," and so saying he went on his way.

That same evening the gardener's son rode up to the
fountain upon his lame gray horse.

"Good-day to you, young traveler," said the beggar-

"Good-day, good woman," answered he.

"Young traveler, have pity upon me."

Take my purse, good woman," said he, "and mount
behind me, for your legs can't be very strong."

The old woman didn't wait to be asked twice, but
mounted behind him, and in this style they reached the
chief city of a powerful kingdom. The minister's son was
lodged in a grand inn, the gardener's son and the old
woman dismounted at the inn for beggars.

The next day the gardener's son heard a great noise in
the street, and the King's heralds passed, blowing all
kinds of instruments, and crying:

The King, our master, is old and infirm. He will give
a great reward to whoever will cure him and give him
back the strength of his youth."

Then the old beggar-woman said to her benefactor:

"This is what you must do to obtain the reward which
the King promises. Go out of the town by the south gate,
and there you will find three little dogs of different colors;
the first will be white, the second black, the third red. You
must kill them and then burn them separately, and gather
up the ashes. Put the ashes of each dog into a bag of its own
color, then go before the door of the palace and cry out,
`A celebrated physician has come from Janina in Albania.
He alone can cure the King and give him back the
strength of his youth.' The King's physicians will say,
This is an impostor, and not a learned man,' and they
will make all sorts of difficulties, but you will overcome
them all at last, and will present yourself before the sick
King. You must then demand as much wood as three
mules can carry, and a great cauldron, and must shut
yourself up in a room with the Sultan, and when the
cauldron boils you must throw him into it, and there leave
him until his flesh is completely separated from his bones.
Then arrange the bones in their proper places, and throw
over them the ashes out of the three bags. The King will
come back to life, and will be just as he was when he was
twenty years old. For your reward you must demand the
bronze ring which has the power to grant you everything
you desire. Go, my son, and do not forget any of my

The young man followed the old beggar-woman's
directions. On going out of the town he found the white,
red, and black dogs, and killed and burnt them, gathering
the ashes in three bags. Then he ran to the palace and

"A celebrated physician has just come from Janina in
Albania. He alone can cure the King and give him back
the strength of his youth."

The King's physicians at first laughed at the unknown
wayfarer, but the Sultan ordered that the stranger should
be admitted. They brought the cauldron and the loads
of wood, and very soon the King was boiling away.
Toward mid-day the gardener's son arranged the bones in
their places, and he had hardly scattered the ashes over
them before the old King revived, to find himself once
more young and hearty.

"How can I reward you, my benefactor?" he cried.
"Will you take half my treasures?"

"No," said the gardener's son.

"My daughter's hand?"


"Take half my kingdom."

"No. Give me only the bronze ring which can instantly
grant me anything I wish for."

"Alas!" said the King, "I set great store by that
marvelous ring; nevertheless, you shall have it." And he gave
it to him.

The gardener's son went back to say good-by to the old
beggar-woman; then he said to the bronze ring:

"Prepare a splendid ship in which I may continue my
journey. Let the hull be of fine gold, the masts of silver,
the sails of brocade; let the crew consist of twelve young
men of noble appearance, dressed like kings. St. Nicholas
will be at the helm. As to the cargo, let it be diamonds,
rubies, emeralds, and carbuncles."

And immediately a ship appeared upon the sea which
resembled in every particular THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN BY THE
GARDENER'S SON, and, stepping on board, he continued his
journey. Presently he arrived at a great town and established
himself in a wonderful palace. After several days
he met his rival, the minister's son, who had spent all his
money and was reduced to the disagreeable employment
of a carrier of dust and rubbish. The gardener's son said
to him:

"What is your name, what is your family, and from
what country do you come?"

"I am the son of the prime minister of a great nation,
and yet see what a degrading occupation I am reduced

"Listen to me; though I don't know anything more
about you, I am willing to help you. I will give you a ship
to take you back to your own country upon one condition."

"Whatever it may be, I accept it willingly."

"Follow me to my palace."

The minister's son followed the rich stranger, whom he
had not recognized. When they reached the palace the
gardener's son made a sign to his slaves, who completely
undressed the new-comer.

"Make this ring red-hot," commanded the master, "and
mark the man with it upon his back."

The slaves obeyed him.

"Now, young man," said the rich stranger, "I am going
to give you a vessel which will take you back to your own

And, going out, he took the bronze ring and said:

"Bronze ring, obey thy master. Prepare me a ship of
which the half-rotten timbers shall be painted black, let
the sails be in rags, and the sailors infirm and sickly. One
shall have lost a leg, another an arm, the third shall be a
hunchback, another lame or club-footed or blind, and
most of them shall be ugly and covered with scars. Go,
and let my orders be executed."

The minister's son embarked in this old vessel, and
thanks to favorable winds, at length reached his own
country. In spite of the pitiable condition in which he
returned they received him joyfully.

"I am the first to come back," said he to the King;
now fulfil your promise, and give me the princess in

So they at once began to prepare for the wedding
festivities. As to the poor princess, she was sorrowful and
angry enough about it.

The next morning, at daybreak, a wonderful ship with
every sail set came to anchor before the town. The King
happened at that moment to be at the palace window.

"What strange ship is this," he cried, "that has a
golden hull, silver masts, and silken sails, and who are the
young men like princes who man it? And do I not see St.
Nicholas at the helm? Go at once and invite the captain
of the ship to come to the palace."

His servants obeyed him, and very soon in came an
enchantingly handsome young prince, dressed in rich
silk, ornamented with pearls and diamonds.

"Young man," said the King, "you are welcome,
whoever you may be. Do me the favor to be my guest as long
as you remain in my capital."

"Many thanks, sire," replied the captain, "I accept
your offer."

"My daughter is about to be married," said the King;
"will you give her away?"

"I shall be charmed, sire."

Soon after came the Princess and her betrothed.

"Why, how is this?" cried the young captain; "would
you marry this charming princess to such a man as that?"

"But he is my prime minister's son!"

"What does that matter? I cannot give your daughter
away. The man she is betrothed to is one of my servants."

"Your servant?"

"Without doubt. I met him in a distant town reduced
to carrying away dust and rubbish from the houses. I
had pity on him and engaged him as one of my servants."

"It is impossible!" cried the King.

"Do you wish me to prove what I say? This young man
returned in a vessel which I fitted out for him, an unsea-
worthy ship with a black battered hull, and the sailors
were infirm and crippled."

"It is quite true," said the King.

"It is false," cried the minister's son. "I do not know
this man!"

"Sire," said the young captain, "order your daughter's
betrothed to be stripped, and see if the mark of my ring
is not branded upon his back."

The King was about to give this order, when the
minister's son, to save himself from such an indignity,
admitted that the story was true.

"And now, sire," said the young captain, "do you not
recognize me?"

"I recognize you," said the Princess; "you are the
gardener's son whom I have always loved, and it is you
I wish to marry."

"Young man, you shall be my son-in-law," cried the
King. "The marriage festivities are already begun, so you
shall marry my daughter this very day."

And so that very day the gardener's son married the
beautiful Princess.

Several months passed. The young couple were as
happy as the day was long, and the King was more and
more pleased with himself for having secured such a son-

But, presently, the captain of the golden ship found it
necessary to take a long voyage, and after embracing his
wife tenderly he embarked.

Now in the outskirts of the capital there lived an old
man, who had spent his life in studying black arts--
alchemy, astrology, magic, and enchantment. This man
found out that the gardener's son had only succeeded in
marrying the Princess by the help of the genii who obeyed
the bronze ring.

"I will have that ring," said he to himself. So he went
down to the sea-shore and caught some little red fishes.
Really, they were quite wonderfully pretty. Then he came
back, and, passing before the Princess's window, he began
to cry out:

"Who wants some pretty little red fishes?"

The Princess heard him, and sent out one of her slaves,
who said to the old peddler:

"What will you take for your fish?"

"A bronze ring."

"A bronze ring, old simpleton! And where shall I find

"Under the cushion in the Princess's room."

The slave went back to her mistress.

The old madman will take neither gold nor silver,"
said she.

"What does he want then?"

"A bronze ring that is hidden under a cushion."

Find the ring and give it to him," said the Princess.

And at last the slave found the bronze ring, which the
captain of the golden ship had accidentally left behind
and carried it to the man, who made off with it instantly.

Hardly had he reached his own house when, taking the
ring, he said, "Bronze ring, obey thy master. I desire that
the golden ship shall turn to black wood, and the crew to
hideous negroes; that St. Nicholas shall leave the helm
and that the only cargo shall be black cats."

And the genii of the bronze ring obeyed him.

Finding himself upon the sea in this miserable
condition, the young captain understood that some one must
have stolen the bronze ring from him, and he lamented
his misfortune loudly; but that did him no good.

"Alas!" he said to himself, "whoever has taken my ring
has probably taken my dear wife also. What good will it
do me to go back to my own country?" And he sailed
about from island to island, and from shore to shore,
believing that wherever he went everybody was laughing at
him, and very soon his poverty was so great that he and
his crew and the poor black cats had nothing to eat but
herbs and roots. After wandering about a long time he
reached an island inhabited by mice. The captain landed
upon the shore and began to explore the country. There
were mice everywhere, and nothing but mice. Some of
the black cats had followed him, and, not having been fed
for several days, they were fearfully hungry, and made
terrible havoc among the mice.

Then the queen of the mice held a council.

"These cats will eat every one of us," she said, "if the
captain of the ship does not shut the ferocious animals up.
Let us send a deputation to him of the bravest among us."

Several mice offered themselves for this mission and set
out to find the young captain.

"Captain," said they, "go away quickly from our island,
or we shall perish, every mouse of us."

"Willingly," replied the young captain, "upon one
condition. That is that you shall first bring me back a bronze
ring which some clever magician has stolen from me. If
you do not do this I will land all my cats upon your
island, and you shall be exterminated."

The mice withdrew in great dismay. "What is to be
done?" said the Queen. "How can we find this bronze
ring?" She held a new council, calling in mice from every
quarter of the globe, but nobody knew where the bronze
ring was. Suddenly three mice arrived from a very distant
country. One was blind, the second lame, and the
third had her ears cropped.

"Ho, ho, ho!" said the new-comers. "We come from a
far distant country."

"Do you know where the bronze ring is which the genii

"Ho, ho, ho! we know; an old sorcerer has taken
possession of it, and now he keeps it in his pocket by day and in
his mouth by night."

"Go and take it from him, and come back as soon as

So the three mice made themselves a boat and set sail
for the magician's country. When they reached the capital
they landed and ran to the palace, leaving only the
blind mouse on the shore to take care of the boat. Then
they waited till it was night. The wicked old man lay
down in bed and put the bronze ring into his mouth, and
very soon he was asleep.

"Now, what shall we do?" said the two little animals to
each other.

The mouse with the cropped ears found a lamp full of
oil and a bottle full of pepper. So she dipped her tail first
in the oil and then in the pepper, and held it to the
sorcerer's nose.

"Atisha! atisha!" sneezed the old man, but he did not
wake, and the shock made the bronze ring jump out of his
mouth. Quick as thought the lame mouse snatched up the
precious talisman and carried it off to the boat.

Imagine the despair of the magician when he awoke and
the bronze ring was nowhere to be found!

But by that time our three mice had set sail with their
prize. A favoring breeze was carrying them toward the
island where the queen of the mice was awaiting them.
Naturally they began to talk about the bronze ring.

"Which of us deserves the most credit?" they cried all
at once.

"I do," said the blind mouse, "for without my
watchfulness our boat would have drifted away to the open sea."

"No, indeed," cried the mouse with the cropped ears;
"the credit is mine. Did I not cause the ring to jump out
of the man's mouth?"

"No, it is mine," cried the lame one, "for I ran off with
the ring."

And from high words they soon came to blows, and,
alas! when the quarrel was fiercest the bronze ring fell into
the sea.

"How are we to face our queen," said the three mice
"when by our folly we have lost the talisman and condemned
our people to be utterly exterminated? We cannot
go back to our country; let us land on this desert
island and there end our miserable lives." No sooner said
than done. The boat reached the island, and the mice

The blind mouse was speedily deserted by her two
sisters, who went off to hunt flies, but as she wandered
sadly along the shore she found a dead fish, and was eating
it, when she felt something very hard. At her cries the
other two mice ran up.

"It is the bronze ring! It is the talisman!" they cried
joyfully, and, getting into their boat again, they soon
reached the mouse island. It was time they did, for the
captain was just going to land his cargo of cats, when a
deputation of mice brought him the precious bronze ring.

"Bronze ring," commanded the young man, "obey thy
master. Let my ship appear as it was before."

Immediately the genii of the ring set to work, and the
old black vessel became once more the wonderful golden
ship with sails of brocade; the handsome sailors ran to the
silver masts and the silken ropes, and very soon they set
sail for the capital.

Ah! how merrily the sailors sang as they flew over the
glassy sea!

At last the port was reached.

The captain landed and ran to the palace, where he
found the wicked old man asleep. The Princess clasped
her husband in a long embrace. The magician tried to
escape, but he was seized and bound with strong cords.

The next day the sorcerer, tied to the tail of a savage
mule loaded with nuts, was broken into as many pieces as
there were nuts upon the mule's back.[1]

[1] Traditions Populaires de l'Asie Mineure. Carnoy et
Nicolaides. Paris: Maisonneuve, 1889.


Once upon a time there lived a king who was deeply in
love with a princess, but she could not marry anyone,
because she was under an enchantment. So the King set out
to seek a fairy, and asked what he could do to win the
Princess's love. The Fairy said to him:

"You know that the Princess has a great cat which she
is very fond of. Whoever is clever enough to tread on
that cat's tail is the man she is destined to marry."

The King said to himself that this would not be very
difficult, and he left the Fairy, determined to grind the
cat's tail to powder rather than not tread on it at all.

You may imagine that it was not long before he went
to see the Princess, and puss, as usual, marched in before
him, arching his back. The King took a long step, and
quite thought he had the tail under his foot, but the cat
turned round so sharply that he only trod on air. And so
it went on for eight days, till the King began to think that
this fatal tail must be full of quicksilver--it was never
still for a moment.

At last, however, he was lucky enough to come upon
puss fast asleep and with his tail conveniently spread out.
So the King, without losing a moment, set his foot upon it

With one terrific yell the cat sprang up and instantly
changed into a tall man, who, fixing his angry eyes upon
the King, said:

"You shall marry the Princess because you have been
able to break the enchantment, but I will have my
revenge. You shall have a son, who will never be happy
until he finds out that his nose is too long, and if you ever
tell anyone what I have just said to you, you shall vanish
away instantly, and no one shall ever see you or hear of
you again."

Though the King was horribly afraid of the enchanter,
he could not help laughing at this threat.

"If my son has such a long nose as that," he said to
himself, "he must always see it or feel it; at least, if he is
not blind or without hands."

But, as the enchanter had vanished, he did not waste
any more time in thinking, but went to seek the Princess,
who very soon consented to marry him. But after all,
they had not been married very long when the King died,
and the Queen had nothing left to care for but her little
son, who was called Hyacinth. The little Prince had large
blue eyes, the prettiest eyes in the world, and a sweet
little mouth, but, alas! his nose was so enormous that it
covered half his face. The Queen was inconsolable when
she saw this great nose, but her ladies assured her that it
was not really as large as it looked; that it was a Roman
nose, and you had only to open any history to see that
every hero has a large nose. The Queen, who was devoted
to her baby, was pleased with what they told her, and
when she looked at Hyacinth again, his nose certainly did
not seem to her QUITE so large.

The Prince was brought up with great care; and, as
soon as he could speak, they told him all sorts of dreadful
stories about people who had short noses. No one was
allowed to come near him whose nose did not more or less
resemble his own, and the courtiers, to get into favor with
the Queen, took to pulling their babies' noses several
times every day to make them grow long. But, do what
they would, they were nothing by comparison with the

When he grew sensible he learned history; and whenever
any great prince or beautiful princess was spoken of,
his teachers took care to tell him that they had long noses.

His room was hung with pictures, all of people with
very large noses; and the Prince grew up so convinced
that a long nose was a great beauty, that he would not on
any account have had his own a single inch shorter!

When his twentieth birthday was passed the Queen
thought it was time that he should be married, so she
commanded that the portraits of several princesses should
be brought for him to see, and among the others was a
picture of the Dear Little Princess!

Now, she was the daughter of a great king, and would
some day possess several kingdoms herself; but Prince
Hyacinth had not a thought to spare for anything of that
sort, he was so much struck with her beauty. The Princess,
whom he thought quite charming, had, however, a
little saucy nose, which, in her face, was the prettiest
thing possible, but it was a cause of great embarrassment
to the courtiers, who had got into such a habit of laughing
at little noses that they sometimes found themselves
laughing at hers before they had time to think; but this
did not do at all before the Prince, who quite failed to see
the joke, and actually banished two of his courtiers who
had dared to mention disrespectfully the Dear Little
Princess's tiny nose!

The others, taking warning from this, learned to think
twice before they spoke, and one even went so far as to
tell the Prince that, though it was quite true that no man
could be worth anything unless he had a long nose, still,
a woman's beauty was a different thing; and he knew a
learned man who understood Greek and had read in some
old manuscripts that the beautiful Cleopatra herself had
a "tip-tilted" nose!

The Prince made him a splendid present as a reward for
this good news, and at once sent ambassadors to ask the
Dear Little Princess in marriage. The King, her father,
gave his consent; and Prince Hyacinth, who, in his anxiety
to see the Princess, had gone three leagues to meet her
was just advancing to kiss her hand when, to the horror
of all who stood by, the enchanter appeared as suddenly
as a flash of lightning, and, snatching up the Dear Little
Princess, whirled her away out of their sight!

The Prince was left quite unconsolable, and declared
that nothing should induce him to go back to his kingdom
until he had found her again, and refusing to allow any of
his courtiers to follow him, he mounted his horse and rode
sadly away, letting the animal choose his own path.

So it happened that he came presently to a great plain,
across which he rode all day long without seeing a single
house, and horse and rider were terribly hungry, when, as
the night fell, the Prince caught sight of a light, which
seemed to shine from a cavern.

He rode up to it, and saw a little old woman, who
appeared to be at least a hundred years old.

She put on her spectacles to look at Prince Hyacinth,
but it was quite a long time before she could fix them
securely because her nose was so very short.

The Prince and the Fairy (for that was who she was)
had no sooner looked at one another than they went into
fits of laughter, and cried at the same moment, "Oh, what
a funny nose!"

"Not so funny as your own," said Prince Hyacinth to
the Fairy; "but, madam, I beg you to leave the consideration
of our noses--such as they are--and to be good
enough to give me something to eat, for I am starving,
and so is my poor horse."

"With all my heart," said the Fairy. "Though your nose
is so ridiculous you are, nevertheless, the son of my best
friend. I loved your father as if he had been my brother.
Now HE had a very handsome nose!"

"And pray what does mine lack?" said the Prince.

"Oh! it doesn't LACK anything," replied the Fairy. "On
the contrary quite, there is only too much of it. But
never mind, one may be a very worthy man though his
nose is too long. I was telling you that I was your father's
friend; he often came to see me in the old times, and you
must know that I was very pretty in those days; at least,
he used to say so. I should like to tell you of a conversation
we had the last time I ever saw him."

"Indeed," said the Prince, "when I have supped it will
give me the greatest pleasure to hear it; but consider,
madam, I beg of you, that I have had nothing to eat

"The poor boy is right," said the Fairy; "I was
forgetting. Come in, then, and I will give you some supper, and
while you are eating I can tell you my story in a very few
words--for I don't like endless tales myself. Too long a
tongue is worse than too long a nose, and I remember
when I was young that I was so much admired for not
being a great chatterer. They used to tell the Queen, my
mother, that it was so. For though you see what I am
now, I was the daughter of a great king. My father----"

"Your father, I dare say, got something to eat when he
was hungry!" interrupted the Prince.

"Oh! certainly," answered the Fairy, "and you also
shall have supper directly. I only just wanted to tell

"But I really cannot listen to anything until I have had
something to eat," cried the Prince, who was getting quite
angry; but then, remembering that he had better be
polite as he much needed the Fairy's help, he added:

"I know that in the pleasure of listening to you I should
quite forget my own hunger; but my horse, who cannot
hear you, must really be fed!"

The Fairy was very much flattered by this compliment,
and said, calling to her servants:

"You shall not wait another minute, you are so polite,
and in spite of the enormous size of your nose you are
really very agreeable."

"Plague take the old lady! How she does go on about
my nose!" said the Prince to himself. "One would almost
think that mine had taken all the extra length that hers
lacks! If I were not so hungry I would soon have done
with this chatterpie who thinks she talks very little! How
stupid people are not to see their own faults! That comes
of being a princess: she has been spoiled by flatterers, who
have made her believe that she is quite a moderate talker!"

Meanwhile the servants were putting the supper on the
table, and the prince was much amused to hear the Fairy
who asked them a thousand questions simply for the
pleasure of hearing herself speak; especially he noticed
one maid who, no matter what was being said, always
contrived to praise her mistress's wisdom.

"Well!" he thought, as he ate his supper, "I'm very glad
I came here. This just shows me how sensible I have been
in never listening to flatterers. People of that sort praise
us to our faces without shame, and hide our faults or
change them into virtues. For my part I never will be
taken in by them. I know my own defects, I hope."

Poor Prince Hyacinth! He really believed what he said,
and hadn't an idea that the people who had praised his
nose were laughing at him, just as the Fairy's maid was
laughing at her; for the Prince had seen her laugh slyly
when she could do so without the Fairy's noticing her.

However, he said nothing, and presently, when his
hunger began to be appeased, the Fairy said:

"My dear Prince, might I beg you to move a little more
that way, for your nose casts such a shadow that I really
cannot see what I have on my plate. Ah! thanks. Now
let us speak of your father. When I went to his Court he
was only a little boy, but that is forty years ago, and I
have been in this desolate place ever since. Tell me what
goes on nowadays; are the ladies as fond of amusement as
ever? In my time one saw them at parties, theatres, balls,
and promenades every day. Dear me! WHAT a long nose
you have! I cannot get used to it!"

"Really, madam," said the Prince, "I wish you would
leave off mentioning my nose. It cannot matter to you
what it is like. I am quite satisfied with it, and have no
wish to have it shorter. One must take what is given one."

"Now you are angry with me, my poor Hyacinth," said
the Fairy, "and I assure you that I didn't mean to vex
you; on the contrary, I wished to do you a service. However,
though I really cannot help your nose being a shock
to me, I will try not to say anything about it. I will even
try to think that you have an ordinary nose. To tell the
truth, it would make three reasonable ones."

The Prince, who was no longer hungry, grew so impatient
at the Fairy's continual remarks about his nose that
at last he threw himself upon his horse and rode hastily
away. But wherever he came in his journeyings he thought
the people were mad, for they all talked of his nose, and
yet he could not bring himself to admit that it was too
long, he had been so used all his life to hear it called handsome.

The old Fairy, who wished to make him happy, at last
hit upon a plan. She shut the Dear Little Princess up in
a palace of crystal, and put this palace down where the
Prince would not fail to find it. His joy at seeing the
Princess again was extreme, and he set to work with all
his might to try to break her prison; but in spite of all his
efforts he failed utterly. In despair he thought at least
that he would try to get near enough to speak to the Dear
Little Princess, who, on her part, stretched out her hand
that he might kiss it; but turn which way he might, he
never could raise it to his lips, for his long nose always
prevented it. For the first time he realized how long it
really was, and exclaimed:

"Well, it must be admitted that my nose IS too long!"

In an instant the crystal prison flew into a thousand
splinters, and the old Fairy, taking the Dear Little Princess
by the hand, said to the Prince:

"Now, say if you are not very much obliged to me.
Much good it was for me to talk to you about your nose!
You would never have found out how extraordinary it
was if it hadn't hindered you from doing what you wanted
to. You see how self-love keeps us from knowing our own
defects of mind and body. Our reason tries in vain to
show them to us; we refuse to see them till we find them
in the way of our interests."

Prince Hyacinth, whose nose was now just like anyone's
else, did not fail to profit by the lesson he had
received. He married the Dear Little Princess, and they
lived happily ever after.[1]

[1] Le Prince Desir et la Princesse Mignonne. Par Madame
Leprince de Beaumont.


Once upon a time there was a poor husbandman who
had many children and little to give them in the way
either of food or clothing. They were all pretty, but the
prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, who was so
beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.

So once--it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn,
and wild weather outside, terribly dark, and raining so
heavily and blowing so hard that the walls of the cottage
shook again--they were all sitting together by the fireside,
each of them busy with something or other, when
suddenly some one rapped three times against the window-
pane. The man went out to see what could be the matter,
and when he got out there stood a great big white bear.

"Good-evening to you," said the White Bear.

"Good-evening," said the man.

"Will you give me your youngest daughter?" said the
White Bear; "if you will, you shall be as rich as you are
now poor.

Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich,
but he thought to himself: "I must first ask my daughter
about this," so he went in and told them that there was a
great white bear outside who had faithfully promised to
make them all rich if he might but have the youngest

She said no, and would not hear of it; so the man went
out again, and settled with the White Bear that he should
come again next Thursday evening, and get her answer.
Then the man persuaded her, and talked so much to her
about the wealth that they would have, and what a good
thing it would be for herself, that at last she made up her
mind to go, and washed and mended all her rags, made
herself as smart as she could, and held herself in readiness
to set out. Little enough had she to take away with her.

Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch
her. She seated herself on his back with her bundle, and
thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of
the way, the White Bear said: "Are you afraid?"

"No, that I am not," said she.

" Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no
danger," said he.

And thus she rode far, far away, until they came to a
great mountain. Then the White Bear knocked on it, and
a door opened, and they went into a castle where there
were many brilliantly lighted rooms which shone with
gold and silver, likewise a large hall in which there was a
well-spread table, and it was so magnificent that it would
be hard to make anyone understand how splendid it was.
The White Bear gave her a silver bell, and told her that
when she needed anything she had but to ring this bell,
and what she wanted would appear. So after she had
eaten, and night was drawing near, she grew sleepy after
her journey, and thought she would like to go to bed.
She rang the bell, and scarcely had she touched it before
she found herself in a chamber where a bed stood ready
made for her, which was as pretty as anyone could wish
to sleep in. It had pillows of silk, and curtains of silk
fringed with gold, and everything that was in the room
was of gold or silver, but when she had lain down and
put out the light a man came and lay down beside her,
and behold it was the White Bear, who cast off the form
of a beast during the night. She never saw him, however,
for he always came after she had put out her light, and
went away before daylight appeared.

So all went well and happily for a time, but then she
began to be very sad and sorrowful, for all day long she
had to go about alone; and she did so wish to go home to
her father and mother and brothers and sisters. Then the
White Bear asked what it was that she wanted, and she
told him that it was so dull there in the mountain, and
that she had to go about all alone, and that in her parents'
house at home there were all her brothers and sisters, and
it was because she could not go to them that she was so

"There might be a cure for that," said the White Bear,
"if you would but promise me never to talk with your
mother alone, but only when the others are there too; for
she will take hold of your hand," he said, "and will want
to lead you into a room to talk with you alone; but that
you must by no means do, or you will bring great misery
on both of us."

So one Sunday the White Bear came and said that they
could now set out to see her father and mother, and they
journeyed thither, she sitting on his back, and they went
a long, long way, and it took a long, long time; but at last
they came to a large white farmhouse, and her brothers
and sisters were running about outside it, playing, and it
was so pretty that it was a pleasure to look at it.

"Your parents dwell here now," said the White Bear;
"but do not forget what I said to you, or you will do much
harm both to yourself and me."

"No, indeed," said she, "I shall never forget;" and as
soon as she was at home the White Bear turned round and
went back again.

There were such rejoicings when she went in to her
parents that it seemed as if they would never come to an
end. Everyone thought that he could never be sufficiently
grateful to her for all she had done for them all. Now they
had everything that they wanted, and everything was as
good as it could be. They all asked her how she was getting
on where she was. All was well with her too, she said;
and she had everything that she could want. What other
answers she gave I cannot say, but I am pretty sure that
they did not learn much from her. But in the afternoon,
after they had dined at midday, all happened just as the
White Bear had said. Her mother wanted to talk with
her alone in her own chamber. But she remembered what
the White Bear had said, and would on no account go.
"What we have to say can be said at any time," she
answered. But somehow or other her mother at last
persuaded her, and she was forced to tell the whole story. So
she told how every night a man came and lay down beside
her when the lights were all put out, and how she never
saw him, because he always went away before it grew
light in the morning, and how she continually went about
in sadness, thinking how happy she would be if she could
but see him, and how all day long she had to go about
alone, and it was so dull and solitary. "Oh!" cried the
mother, in horror, "you are very likely sleeping with a
troll! But I will teach you a way to see him. You shall
have a bit of one of my candles, which you can take away
with you hidden in your breast. Look at him with that
when he is asleep, but take care not to let any tallow drop
upon him."

So she took the candle, and hid it in her breast, and
when evening drew near the White Bear came to fetch her
away. When they had gone some distance on their way,
the White Bear asked her if everything had not happened
just as he had foretold, and she could not but own that it
had. "Then, if you have done what your mother wished,"
said he, "you have brought great misery on both of us."
"No," she said, "I have not done anything at all." So
when she had reached home and had gone to bed it was
just the same as it had been before, and a man came and
lay down beside her, and late at night, when she could
hear that he was sleeping, she got up and kindled a light,
lit her candle, let her light shine on him, and saw him, and
he was the handsomest prince that eyes had ever beheld,
and she loved him so much that it seemed to her that she
must die if she did not kiss him that very moment. So
she did kiss him; but while she was doing it she let three
drops of hot tallow fall upon his shirt, and he awoke.
"What have you done now?" said he; "you have brought
misery on both of us. If you had but held out for the
space of one year I should have been free. I have a step-
mother who has bewitched me so that I am a white bear
by day and a man by night; but now all is at an end
between you and me, and I must leave you, and go to her.
She lives in a castle which lies east of the sun and west of
the moon, and there too is a princess with a nose which
is three ells long, and she now is the one whom I must

She wept and lamented, but all in vain, for go he must.
Then she asked him if she could not go with him. But
no, that could not be. "Can you tell me the way then,
and I will seek you--that I may surely be allowed to do!"

"Yes, you may do that," said he; "but there is no way
thither. It lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and
never would you find your way there."

When she awoke in the morning both the Prince and
the castle were gone, and she was lying on a small green
patch in the midst of a dark, thick wood. By her side lay
the self-same bundle of rags which she had brought with
her from her own home. So when she had rubbed the
sleep out of her eyes, and wept till she was weary, she
set out on her way, and thus she walked for many and
many a long day, until at last she came to a great mountain.
Outside it an aged woman was sitting, playing with
a golden apple. The girl asked her if she knew the way
to the Prince who lived with his stepmother in the castle
which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and who
was to marry a princess with a nose which was three ells
long. "How do you happen to know about him?"
inquired the old woman; "maybe you are she who ought to
have had him." "Yes, indeed, I am," she said. "So it is
you, then?" said the old woman; "I know nothing about
him but that he dwells in a castle which is east of the sun
and west of the moon. You will be a long time in getting
to it, if ever you get to it at all; but you shall have the
loan of my horse, and then you can ride on it to an old
woman who is a neighbor of mine: perhaps she can tell
you about him. When you have got there you must just
strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home
again; but you may take the golden apple with you."

So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode for a
long, long way, and at last she came to the mountain, where
an aged woman was sitting outside with a gold carding-
comb. The girl asked her if she knew the way to the
castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon;
but she said what the first old woman had said: "I know
nothing about it, but that it is east of the sun and west
of the moon, and that you will be a long time in getting
to it, if ever you get there at all; but you shall have the
loan of my horse to an old woman who lives the nearest
to me: perhaps she may know where the castle is, and
when you have got to her you may just strike the horse
beneath the left ear and bid it go home again." Then she
gave her the gold carding-comb, for it might, perhaps, be
of use to her, she said.

So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode a
wearisome long way onward again, and after a very long time
she came to a great mountain, where an aged woman was
sitting, spinning at a golden spinning-wheel. Of this
woman, too, she inquired if she knew the way to the
Prince, and where to find the castle which lay east of the
sun and west of the moon. But it was only the same
thing once again. "Maybe it was you who should have
had the Prince," said the old woman. "Yes, indeed, I
should have been the one," said the girl. But this old
crone knew the way no better than the others--it was
east of the sun and west of the moon, she knew that, "and
you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get to
it at all," she said; "but you may have the loan of my
horse, and I think you had better ride to the East Wind,
and ask him: perhaps he may know where the castle is,
and will blow you thither. But when you have got to
him you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear,
and he will come home again." And then she gave her the
golden spinning-wheel, saying: "Perhaps you may find
that you have a use for it."

The girl had to ride for a great many days, and for a
long and wearisome time, before she got there; but at last
she did arrive, and then she asked the East Wind if he
could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt east of the
sun and west of the moon. "Well," said the East Wind,
"I have heard tell of the Prince, and of his castle, but I
do not know the way to it, for I have never blown so far;
but, if you like, I will go with you to my brother the West
Wind: he may know that, for he is much stronger than I
am. You may sit on my back, and then I can carry you
there." So she seated herself on his back, and they did go
so swiftly! When they got there, the East Wind went in
and said that the girl whom he had brought was the one
who ought to have had the Prince up at the castle which
lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and that now she
was traveling about to find him again, so he had come
there with her, and would like to hear if the West Wind
knew whereabout the castle was. "No," said the West
Wind; "so far as that have I never blown; but if you like
I will go with you to the South Wind, for he is much
stronger than either of us, and he has roamed far and wide,
and perhaps he can tell you what you want to know. You
may seat yourself on my back, and then I will carry you
to him.".

So she did this, and journeyed to the South Wind,
neither was she very long on the way. When they had got
there, the West Wind asked him if he could tell her the
way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the
moon, for she was the girl who ought to marry the Prince
who lived there. "Oh, indeed!" said the South Wind, "is
that she? Well," said he, "I have wandered about a great
deal in my time, and in all kinds of places, but I have
never blown so far as that. If you like, however, I will go
with you to my brother, the North Wind; he is the oldest
and strongest of all of us, and if he does not know where
it is no one in the whole world will be able to tell you.
You may sit upon my back, and then I will carry you
there." So she seated herself on his back, and off he went
from his house in great haste, and they were not long on
the way. When they came near the North Wind's dwelling,
he was so wild and frantic that they felt cold gusts a
long while before they got there. "What do you want?"
he roared out from afar, and they froze as they heard.
Said the South Wind: "It is I, and this is she who should
have had the Prince who lives in the castle which lies east
of the sun and west of the moon. And now she wishes to
ask you if you have ever been there, and can tell her the
way, for she would gladly find him again."

"Yes," said the North Wind, "I know where it is. I
once blew an aspen leaf there, but I was so tired that for
many days afterward I was not able to blow at all. However,
if you really are anxious to go there, and are not
afraid to go with me, I will take you on my back, and try
if I can blow you there."

"Get there I must," said she; "and if there is any way
of going I will; and I have no fear, no matter how fast you

"Very well then," said the North Wind; "but you must
sleep here to-night, for if we are ever to get there we must
have the day before us."

The North Wind woke her betimes next morning, and
puffed himself up, and made himself so big and so strong
that it was frightful to see him, and away they went, high
up through the air, as if they would not stop until they
had reached the very end of the world. Down below there
was such a storm! It blew down woods and houses, and
when they were above the sea the ships were wrecked by
hundreds. And thus they tore on and on, and a long time
went by, and then yet more time passed, and still they
were above the sea, and the North Wind grew tired, and
more tired, and at last so utterly weary that he was scarcely
able to blow any longer, and he sank and sank, lower
and lower, until at last he went so low that the waves
dashed against the heels of the poor girl he was carrying.
"Art thou afraid?" said the North Wind. "I have no
fear," said she; and it was true. But they were not very,
very far from land, and there was just enough strength
left in the North Wind to enable him to throw her on to
the shore, immediately under the windows of a castle
which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but then
he was so weary and worn out that he was forced to rest
for several days before he could go to his own home again.

Next morning she sat down beneath the walls of the
castle to play with the golden apple, and the first person
she saw was the maiden with the long nose, who was to
have the Prince. "How much do you want for that gold
apple of yours, girl?" said she, opening the window. "It
can't be bought either for gold or money," answered the
girl. "If it cannot be bought either for gold or money,
what will buy it? You may say what you please," said
the Princess.

"Well, if I may go to the Prince who is here, and be
with him to-night, you shall have it," said the girl who
had come with the North Wind. "You may do that," said
the Princess, for she had made up her mind what she
would do. So the Princess got the golden apple, but when
the girl went up to the Prince's apartment that night he
was asleep, for the Princess had so contrived it. The poor
girl called to him, and shook him, and between whiles she
wept; but she could not wake him. In the morning, as
soon as day dawned, in came the Princess with the long
nose, and drove her out again. In the daytime she sat
down once more beneath the windows of the castle, and
began to card with her golden carding-comb; and then all
happened as it had happened before. The Princess asked
her what she wanted for it, and she replied that it was not
for sale, either for gold or money, but that if she could get
leave to go to the Prince, and be with him during the
night, she should have it. But when she went up to the
Prince's room he was again asleep, and, let her call him,
or shake him, or weep as she would, he still slept on, and
she could not put any life in him. When daylight came in
the morning, the Princess with the long nose came too,
and once more drove her away. When day had quite
come, the girl seated herself under the castle windows, to
spin with her golden spinning-wheel, and the Princess
with the long nose wanted to have that also. So she
opened the window, and asked what she would take for
it. The girl said what she had said on each of the former
occasions--that it was not for sale either for gold or for
money, but if she could get leave to go to the Prince who
lived there, and be with him during the night, she should
have it.

"Yes," said the Princess, "I will gladly consent to that."

But in that place there were some Christian folk who
had been carried off, and they had been sitting in the
chamber which was next to that of the Prince, and had
heard how a woman had been in there who had wept and
called on him two nights running, and they told the
Prince of this. So that evening, when the Princess came
once more with her sleeping-drink, he pretended to drink,
but threw it away behind him, for he suspected that it
was a sleeping-drink. So, when the girl went into the
Prince's room this time he was awake, and she had to tell
him how she had come there. "You have come just in
time," said the Prince, "for I should have been married
to-morrow; but I will not have the long-nosed Princess,
and you alone can save me. I will say that I want to see
what my bride can do, and bid her wash the shirt which
has the three drops of tallow on it. This she will consent
to do, for she does not know that it is you who let them
fall on it; but no one can wash them out but one born of
Christian folk: it cannot be done by one of a pack of
trolls; and then I will say that no one shall ever be my bride
but the woman who can do this, and I know that you
can." There was great joy and gladness between them all
that night, but the next day, when the wedding was to
take place, the Prince said, "I must see what my bride
can do." "That you may do," said the stepmother.

"I have a fine shirt which I want to wear as my wedding
shirt, but three drops of tallow have got upon it which I
want to have washed off, and I have vowed to marry no
one but the woman who is able to do it. If she cannot do
that, she is not worth having."

Well, that was a very small matter, they thought, and
agreed to do it. The Princess with the long nose began
to wash as well as she could, but, the more she washed and
rubbed, the larger the spots grew. "Ah! you can't wash
at all," said the old troll-hag, who was her mother. "Give
it to me." But she too had not had the shirt very long in
her hands before it looked worse still, and, the more she
washed it and rubbed it, the larger and blacker grew the

So the other trolls had to come and wash, but, the more
they did, the blacker and uglier grew the shirt, until at
length it was as black as if it had been up the chimney.
"Oh," cried the Prince, "not one of you is good for
anything at all! There is a beggar-girl sitting outside the
window, and I'll be bound that she can wash better than
any of you! Come in, you girl there!" he cried. So she
came in. "Can you wash this shirt clean?" he cried. "Oh!
I don't know," she said; "but I will try." And no sooner
had she taken the shirt and dipped it in the water than
it was white as driven snow, and even whiter than that.
"I will marry you," said the Prince.

Then the old troll-hag flew into such a rage that she
burst, and the Princess with the long nose and all the
little trolls must have burst too, for they have never been
heard of since. The Prince and his bride set free all the
Christian folk who were imprisoned there, and took away
with them all the gold and silver that they could carry,
and moved far away from the castle which lay east of the
sun and west of the moon.[1]

[1] Asbjornsen and Moe.


Once upon a time there lived a queen who had been the
mother of a great many children, and of them all only one
daughter was left. But then SHE was worth at least a thousand.

Her mother, who, since the death of the King, her
father, had nothing in the world she cared for so much as
this little Princess, was so terribly afraid of losing her that
she quite spoiled her, and never tried to correct any of her
faults. The consequence was that this little person, who
was as pretty as possible, and was one day to wear a crown,
grew up so proud and so much in love with her own beauty
that she despised everyone else in the world.

The Queen, her mother, by her caresses and flatteries,
helped to make her believe that there was nothing too
good for her. She was dressed almost always in the prettiest
frocks, as a fairy, or as a queen going out to hunt, and
the ladies of the Court followed her dressed as forest

And to make her more vain than ever the Queen caused
her portrait to be taken by the cleverest painters and sent
it to several neighboring kings with whom she was very

When they saw this portrait they fell in love with the
Princess--every one of them, but upon each it had a
different effect. One fell ill, one went quite crazy, and a
few of the luckiest set off to see her as soon as possible,
but these poor princes became her slaves the moment they
set eyes on her.

Never has there been a gayer Court. Twenty delightful
kings did everything they could think of to make
themselves agreeable, and after having spent ever so
much money in giving a single entertainment thought
themselves very lucky if the Princess said "That's pretty."

All this admiration vastly pleased the Queen. Not a
day passed but she received seven or eight thousand
sonnets, and as many elegies, madrigals, and songs, which
were sent her by all the poets in the world. All the prose
and the poetry that was written just then was about
Bellissima--for that was the Princess's name--and all the
bonfires that they had were made of these verses, which
crackled and sparkled better than any other sort of wood.

Bellissima was already fifteen years old, and every one
of the Princes wished to marry her, but not one dared to
say so. How could they when they knew that any of
them might have cut off his head five or six times a day
just to please her, and she would have thought it a mere
trifle, so little did she care? You may imagine how hard-
hearted her lovers thought her; and the Queen, who
wished to see her married, did not know how to persuade
her to think of it seriously.

"Bellissima," she said, "I do wish you would not be so
proud. What makes you despise all these nice kings? I
wish you to marry one of them, and you do not try to
please me."

"I am so happy," Bellissima answered: "do leave me in
peace, madam. I don't want to care for anyone."

"But you would be very happy with any of these
Princes," said the Queen, "and I shall be very angry if you
fall in love with anyone who is not worthy of you."

But the Princess thought so much of herself that she
did not consider any one of her lovers clever or handsome
enough for her; and her mother, who was getting really
angry at her determination not to be married, began to
wish that she had not allowed her to have her own way so

At last, not knowing what else to do, she resolved to
consult a certain witch who was called "The Fairy of the
Desert." Now this was very difficult to do, as she was
guarded by some terrible lions; but happily the Queen
had heard a long time before that whoever wanted to pass
these lions safely must throw to them a cake made of
millet flour, sugar-candy, and crocodile's eggs. This cake
she prepared with her own hands, and putting it in a
little basket, she set out to seek the Fairy. But as she
was not used to walking far, she soon felt very tired and
sat down at the foot of a tree to rest, and presently fell
fast asleep. When she awoke she was dismayed to find
her basket empty. The cake was all gone! and, to make
matters worse, at that moment she heard the roaring of
the great lions, who had found out that she was near and
were coming to look for her

"What shall I do?" she cried; "I shall be eaten up," and
being too frightened to run a single step, she began to cry,
and leaned against the tree under which she had been

Just then she heard some one say: "H'm, h'm!"

She looked all round her, and then up the tree, and
there she saw a little tiny man, who was eating oranges.

"Oh! Queen," said he, "I know you very well, and I
know how much afraid you are of the lions; and you are
quite right too, for they have eaten many other people:
and what can you expect, as you have not any cake to
give them?"

"I must make up my mind to die," said the poor Queen.
"Alas! I should not care so much if only my dear daughter
were married."

"Oh! you have a daughter," cried the Yellow Dwarf
(who was so called because he WAS a dwarf and had such
a yellow face, and lived in the orange tree). "I'm really
glad to hear that, for I've been looking for a wife all over
the world. Now, if you will promise that she shall marry
me, not one of the lions, tigers, or bears shall touch you."

The Queen looked at him and was almost as much
afraid of his ugly little face as she had been of the lions
before, so that she could not speak a word.

"What! you hesitate, madam," cried the Dwarf. "You
must be very fond of being eaten up alive."

And, as he spoke, the Queen saw the lions, which were
running down a hill toward them.

Each one had two heads, eight feet, and four rows of
teeth, and their skins were as hard as turtle shells, and
were bright red.

At this dreadful sight, the poor Queen, who was
trembling like a dove when it sees a hawk, cried out as loud as
she could, "Oh! dear Mr. Dwarf, Bellissima shall marry

"Oh, indeed!" said he disdainfully. "Bellissima is pretty
enough, but I don't particularly want to marry her--you
can keep her."

"Oh! noble sir," said the Queen in great distress, ado
not refuse her. She is the most charming Princess in the

"Oh! well," he replied, "out of charity I will take her;
but be sure and don't forget that she is mine."

As he spoke a little door opened in the trunk of the
orange tree, in rushed the Queen, only just in time, and
the door shut with a bang in the faces of the lions.

The Queen was so confused that at first she did not
notice another little door in the orange tree, but presently
it opened and she found herself in a field of thistles and
nettles. It was encircled by a muddy ditch, and a little
further on was a tiny thatched cottage, out of which came
the Yellow Dwarf with a very jaunty air. He wore wooden
shoes and a little yellow coat, and as he had no hair and
very long ears he looked altogether a shocking little

"I am delighted," said he to the Queen, "that, as you
are to be my mother-in-law, you should see the little
house in which your Bellissima will live with me. With
these thistles and nettles she can feed a donkey which she
can ride whenever she likes; under this humble roof no
weather can hurt her; she will drink the water of this
brook and eat frogs--which grow very fat about here; and
then she will have me always with her, handsome, agreeable,
and gay as you see me now. For if her shadow stays
by her more closely than I do I shall be surprised."

The unhappy Queen. seeing all at once what a mis-
erable life her daughter would have with this Dwarf
could not bear the idea, and fell down insensible without
saying a word.

When she revived she found to her great surprise that
she was lying in her own bed at home, and, what was
more, that she had on the loveliest lace night cap that she
had ever seen in her life. At first she thought that all her
adventures, the terrible lions, and her promise to the
Yellow Dwarf that he should marry Bellissima, must
have been a dream, but there was the new cap with its
beautiful ribbon and lace to remind her that it was all
true, which made her so unhappy that she could neither
eat, drink, nor sleep for thinking of it.

The Princess, who, in spite of her wilfulness, really loved
her mother with all her heart, was much grieved when she
saw her looking so sad, and often asked her what was the
matter; but the Queen, who didn't want her to find out
the truth, only said that she was ill, or that one of her
neighbors was threatening to make war against her.
Bellissima knew quite well that something was being
hidden from her--and that neither of these was the real
reason of the Queen's uneasiness. So she made up her
mind that she would go and consult the Fairy of the
Desert about it, especially as she had often heard how
wise she was, and she thought that at the same time she
might ask her advice as to whether it would be as well to
be married, or not.

So, with great care, she made some of the proper cake
to pacify the lions, and one night went up to her room
very early, pretending that she was going to bed; but
instead of that, she wrapped herself in a long white veil,
and went down a secret staircase, and set off all by herself
to find the Witch.

But when she got as far as the same fatal orange tree,
and saw it covered with flowers and fruit, she stopped and
began to gather some of the oranges--and then, putting
down her basket, she sat down to eat them. But when
it was time to go on again the basket had disappeared
and, though she looked everywhere, not a trace of it
could she find. The more she hunted for it, the more
frightened she got, and at last she began to cry. Then all
at once she saw before her the Yellow Dwarf.

"What's the matter with you, my pretty one?" said he.
"What are you crying about?"

"Alas!" she answered; "no wonder that I am crying,
seeing that I have lost the basket of cake that was to
help me to get safely to the cave of the Fairy of the

"And what do you want with her, pretty one?" said the
little monster, "for I am a friend of hers, and, for the
matter of that, I am quite as clever as she is."

"The Queen, my mother," replied the Princess, "has
lately fallen into such deep sadness that I fear that she
will die; and I am afraid that perhaps I am the cause of
it, for she very much wishes me to be married, and I must
tell you truly that as yet I have not found anyone I consider
worthy to be my husband. So for all these reasons
I wished to talk to the Fairy."

"Do not give yourself any further trouble, Princess,"
answered the Dwarf. "I can tell you all you want to
know better than she could. The Queen, your mother,
has promised you in marriage----"

"Has promised ME!" interrupted the Princess. "Oh! no.
I'm sure she has not. She would have told me if she had.
I am too much interested in the matter for her to promise
anything without my consent--you must be mistaken."

"Beautiful Princess," cried the Dwarf suddenly, throwing
himself on his knees before her, "I flatter myself that
you will not be displeased at her choice when I tell you
that it is to ME she has promised the happiness of marrying you."

"You!" cried Bellissima, starting back. "My mother
wishes me to marry you! How can you be so silly as to
think of such a thing?"

"Oh! it isn't that I care much to have that honor,"
cried the Dwarf angrily; "but here are the lions coming;
they'll eat you up in three mouthfuls, and there will be an
end of you and your pride."

And, indeed, at that moment the poor Princess heard
their dreadful howls coming nearer and nearer.

"What shall I do?" she cried. "Must all my happy days
come to an end like this?"

The malicious Dwarf looked at her and began to laugh
spitefully. "At least," said he, "you have the satisfaction
of dying unmarried. A lovely Princess like you must
surely prefer to die rather than be the wife of a poor little
dwarf like myself."

"Oh, don't be angry with me," cried the Princess,
clasping her hands. "I'd rather marry all the dwarfs in
the world than die in this horrible way."

"Look at me well, Princess, before you give me your
word," said he. "I don't want you to promise me in a

"Oh!" cried she, "the lions are coming. I have looked
at you enough. I am so frightened. Save me this minute,
or I shall die of terror.

Indeed, as she spoke she fell down insensible, and when
she recovered she found herself in her own little bed at
home; how she got there she could not tell, but she was
dressed in the most beautiful lace and ribbons, and on her
finger was a little ring, made of a single red hair, which
fitted so tightly that, try as she might, she could not get
it off.

When the Princess saw all these things, and remembered
what had happened, she, too, fell into the deepest
sadness, which surprised and alarmed the whole Court,
and the Queen more than anyone else. A hundred times
she asked Bellissima if anything was the matter with her;
but she always said that there was nothing

At last the chief men of the kingdom, anxious to see
their Princess married, sent to the Queen to beg her to
choose a husband for her as soon as possible. She replied
that nothing would please her better, but that her daughter
seemed so unwilling to marry, and she recommended
them to go and talk to the Princess about it themselves
so this they at once did. Now Bellissima was much less
proud since her adventure with the Yellow Dwarf, and
she could not think of a better way of getting rid of the
little monster than to marry some powerful king, therefore
she replied to their request much more favorably
than they had hoped, saying that, though she was very
happy as she was, still, to please them, she would consent
to marry the King of the Gold Mines. Now he was a very
handsome and powerful Prince, who had been in love
with the Princess for years, but had not thought that she
would ever care about him at all. You can easily imagine
how delighted he was when he heard the news, and how
angry it made all the other kings to lose for ever the hope
of marrying the Princess; but, after all, Bellissima could
not have married twenty kings--indeed, she had found
it quite difficult enough to choose one, for her vanity
made her believe that there was nobody in the world who
was worthy of her.

Preparations were begun at once for the grandest wedding
that had ever been held at the palace. The King of
the Gold Mines sent such immense sums of money that
the whole sea was covered with the ships that brought it.
Messengers were sent to all the gayest and most refined
Courts, particularly to the Court of France, to seek out
everything rare and precious to adorn the Princess,
although her beauty was so perfect that nothing she wore
could make her look prettier. At least that is what the
King of the Gold Mines thought, and he was never happy
unless he was with her.

As for the Princess, the more she saw of the King the
more she liked him; he was so generous, so handsome and
clever, that at last she was almost as much in love with
him as he was with her. How happy they were as they
wandered about in the beautiful gardens together, sometimes
listening to sweet music! And the King used to write songs
for Bellissima. This is one that she liked very much:

In the forest all is gay
When my Princess walks that way.
All the blossoms then are found
Downward fluttering to the ground,
Hoping she may tread on them.
And bright flowers on slender stem
Gaze up at her as she passes
Brushing lightly through the grasses.
Oh! my Princess, birds above
Echo back our songs of love,
As through this enchanted land
Blithe we wander, hand in hand.

They really were as happy as the day was long. All the
King's unsuccessful rivals had gone home in despair.
They said good-by to the Princess so sadly that she could
not help being sorry for them.

"Ah! madam," the King of the Gold Mines said to her
"how is this? Why do you waste your pity on these
princes, who love you so much that all their trouble would
be well repaid by a single smile from you?"

"I should be sorry," answered Bellissima, "if you had
not noticed how much I pitied these princes who were
leaving me for ever; but for you, sire, it is very different:
you have every reason to be pleased with me, but they are
going sorrowfully away, so you must not grudge them my

The King of the Gold Mines was quite overcome by the
Princess's good-natured way of taking his interference,
and, throwing himself at her feet, he kissed her hand a
thousand times and begged her to forgive him.

At last the happy day came. Everything was ready
for Bellissima's wedding. The trumpets sounded, all the
streets of the town were hung with flags and strewn with
flowers, and the people ran in crowds to the great square
before the palace. The Queen was so overjoyed that she
had hardly been able to sleep at all, and she got up before
it was light to give the necessary orders and to choose the
jewels that the Princess was to wear. These were nothing
less than diamonds, even to her shoes, which were covered
with them, and her dress of silver brocade was embroidered
with a dozen of the sun's rays. You may imagine
how much these had cost; but then nothing could have
been more brilliant, except the beauty of the Princess!
Upon her head she wore a splendid crown, her lovely hair
waved nearly to her feet, and her stately figure could
easily be distinguished among all the ladies who attended

The King of the Gold Mines was not less noble and
splendid; it was easy to see by his face how happy he was,
and everyone who went near him returned loaded with
presents, for all round the great banqueting hall had been
arranged a thousand barrels full of gold, and numberless
bags made of velvet embroidered with pearls and filled
with money, each one containing at least a hundred
thousand gold pieces, which were given away to everyone
who liked to hold out his hand, which numbers of people
hastened to do, you may be sure--indeed, some found
this by far the most amusing part of the wedding festivities.

The Queen and the Princess were just ready to set out
with the King when they saw, advancing toward them
from the end of the long gallery, two great basilisks,
dragging after them a very badly made box; behind them
came a tall old woman, whose ugliness was even more
surprising than her extreme old age. She wore a ruff of
black taffeta, a red velvet hood, and a farthingale all in
rags, and she leaned heavily upon a crutch. This strange
old woman, without saying a single word, hobbled three
times round the gallery, followed by the basilisks, then
stopping in the middle, and brandishing her crutch
threateningly, she cried:

"Ho, ho, Queen! Ho, ho, Princess! Do you think you
are going to break with impunity the promise that you
made to my friend the Yellow Dwarf? I am the Fairy of
the Desert; without the Yellow Dwarf and his orange tree
my great lions would soon have eaten you up, I can tell
you, and in Fairyland we do not suffer ourselves to be
insulted like this. Make up your minds at once what you
will do, for I vow that you shall marry the Yellow Dwarf.
If you don't, may I burn my crutch!"

"Ah! Princess," said the Queen, weeping, "what is this
that I hear? What have you promised?"

"Ah! my mother," replied Bellissima sadly, "what did
YOU promise, yourself?"

The King of the Gold Mines, indignant at being kept
from his happiness by this wicked old woman, went up to
her, and threatening her with his sword, said:

"Get away out of my country at once, and for ever,
miserable creature, lest I take your life, and so rid myself
of your malice."

He had hardly spoken these words when the lid of the
box fell back on the floor with a terrible noise, and to their
horror out sprang the Yellow Dwarf, mounted upon a
great Spanish cat. "Rash youth!" he cried, rushing between
the Fairy of the Desert and the King. "Dare to
lay a finger upon this illustrious Fairy! Your quarrel is
with me only. I am your enemy and your rival. That
faithless Princess who would have married you is promised
to me. See if she has not upon her finger a ring made of
one of my hairs. Just try to take it off, and you will soon
find out that I am more powerful than you are!"

"Wretched little monster!" said the King; "do you dare
to call yourself the Princess's lover, and to lay claim to
such a treasure? Do you know that you are a dwarf--
that you are so ugly that one cannot bear to look at you
--and that I should have killed you myself long before
this if you had been worthy of such a glorious death?"

The Yellow Dwarf, deeply enraged at these words, set
spurs to his cat, which yelled horribly, and leaped hither
and thither--terrifying everybody except the brave King,
who pursued the Dwarf closely, till he, drawing a great
knife with which he was armed, challenged the King to
meet him in single combat, and rushed down into the
courtyard of the palace with a terrible clatter. The King,
quite provoked, followed him hastily, but they had hardly
taken their places facing one another, and the whole
Court had only just had time to rush out upon the
balconies to watch what was going on, when suddenly the
sun became as red as blood, and it was so dark that they
could scarcely see at all. The thunder crashed, and the
lightning seemed as if it must burn up everything; the two
basilisks appeared, one on each side of the bad Dwarf, like
giants, mountains high, and fire flew from their mouths
and ears, until they looked like flaming furnaces. None
of these things could terrify the noble young King, and
the boldness of his looks and actions reassured those who
were looking on, and perhaps even embarrassed the Yellow
Dwarf himself; but even HIS courage gave way when he
saw what was happening to his beloved Princess. For the
Fairy of the Desert, looking more terrible than before,
mounted upon a winged griffin, and with long snakes
coiled round her neck, had given her such a blow with the
lance she carried that Bellissima fell into the Queen's
arms bleeding and senseless. Her fond mother, feeling as
much hurt by the blow as the Princess herself, uttered
such piercing cries and lamentations that the King, hearing
them, entirely lost his courage and presence of mind.
Giving up the combat, he flew toward the Princess, to
rescue or to die with her; but the Yellow Dwarf was too
quick for him. Leaping with his Spanish cat upon the
balcony, he snatched Bellissima from the Queen's arms,
and before any of the ladies of the Court could stop him
he had sprung upon the roof of the palace and disappeared
with his prize.

The King, motionless with horror, looked on despairingly
at this dreadful occurrence, which he was quite
powerless to prevent, and to make matters worse his
sight failed him, everything became dark, and he felt himself
carried along through the air by a strong hand.

This new misfortune was the work of the wicked Fairy
of the Desert, who had come with the Yellow Dwarf to
help him carry off the Princess, and had fallen in love
with the handsome young King of the Gold Mines directly
she saw him. She thought that if she carried him off to
some frightful cavern and chained him to a rock, then the
fear of death would make him forget Bellissima and become
her slave. So, as soon as they reached the place, she
gave him back his sight, but without releasing him from
his chains, and by her magic power she appeared before
him as a young and beautiful fairy, and pretended to have
come there quite by chance.

"What do I see? she cried. "Is it YOU, dear Prince?
What misfortune has brought you to this dismal place?"

The King, who was quite deceived by her altered
appearance, replied:

"Alas! beautiful Fairy, the fairy who brought me here
first took away my sight, but by her voice I recognized
her as the Fairy of the Desert, though what she should
have carried me off for I cannot tell you."

"Ah!" cried the pretended Fairy, "if you have fallen
into HER hands, you won't get away until you have married
her. She has carried off more than one Prince like this,
and she will certainly have anything she takes a fancy to."
While she was thus pretending to be sorry for the King,
he suddenly noticed her feet, which were like those of a
griffin, and knew in a moment that this must be the Fairy
of the Desert, for her feet were the one thing she could
not change, however pretty she might make her face.

Without seeming to have noticed anything, he said, in
a confidential way:

"Not that I have any dislike to the Fairy of the Desert,
but I really cannot endure the way in which she protects
the Yellow Dwarf and keeps me chained here like a
criminal. It is true that I love a charming princess, but
if the Fairy should set me free my gratitude would oblige
me to love her only."

"Do you really mean what you say, Prince?" said the
Fairy, quite deceived.

"Surely," replied the Prince; "how could I deceive you?
You see it is so much more flattering to my vanity to be
loved by a fairy than by a simple princess. But, even if
I am dying of love for her, I shall pretend to hate her until
I am set free."

The Fairy of the Desert, quite taken in by these words,
resolved at once to transport the Prince to a pleasanter
place. So, making him mount her chariot, to which she
had harnessed swans instead of the bats which generally
drew it, away she flew with him. But imagine the distress
of the Prince when, from the giddy height at which they
were rushing through the air, he saw his beloved Princess
in a castle built of polished steel, the walls of which
reflected the sun's rays so hotly that no one could approach
it without being burnt to a cinder! Bellissima was sitting
in a little thicket by a brook, leaning her head upon her
hand and weeping bitterly, but just as they passed she
looked up and saw the King and the Fairy of the Desert.
Now, the Fairy was so clever that she could not only seem
beautiful to the King, but even the poor Princess thought
her the most lovely being she had ever seen.

"What!" she cried; "was I not unhappy enough in this
lonely castle to which that frightful Yellow Dwarf
brought me? Must I also be made to know that the King
of the Gold Mines ceased to love me as soon as he lost
sight of me? But who can my rival be, whose fatal beauty
is greater than mine?"

While she was saying this, the King, who really loved
her as much as ever, was feeling terribly sad at being so
rapidly torn away from his beloved Princess, but he knew
too well how powerful the Fairy was to have any hope of
escaping from her except by great patience and cunning.

The Fairy of the Desert had also seen Bellissima, and
she tried to read in the King's eyes the effect that this
unexpected sight had had upon him.

"No one can tell you what you wish to know better than

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest