Part 5 out of 9
took it off, and they each kissed him and wished him good
fortune, and then they began again their eternal dance
round the golden tree, for it is their business to guard it
till the new times come, or till the world's ending. So the
boy put the cap on his head, and hung the wallet round
his waist, and the shining shield on his shoulders, and flew
beyond the great river that lies coiled like a serpent round
the whole world. And by the banks of that river, there he
found the three Terrible Women all asleep beneath a
poplar tree, and the dead poplar leaves lay all about them.
Their golden wings were folded and their brass claws were
crossed, and two of them slept with their hideous heads
beneath their wings like birds, and the serpents in their
hair writhed out from under the feathers of gold. But the
youngest slept between her two sisters, and she lay on her
back, with her beautiful sad face turned to the sky; and
though she slept her eyes were wide open. If the boy had
seen her he would have been changed into stone by the
terror and the pity of it, she was so awful; but he had
thought of a plan for killing her without looking on her
face. As soon as he caught sight of the three from far off
he took his shining shield from his shoulders, and held it
up like a mirror, so that he saw the Dreadful Women
reflected in it, and did not see the Terrible Head itself.
Then he came nearer and nearer, till he reckoned that he
was within a sword's stroke of the youngest, and he
guessed where he should strike a back blow behind him.
Then he drew the Sword of Sharpness and struck once,
and the Terrible Head was cut from the shoulders of the
creature, and the blood leaped out and struck him like a
blow. But he thrust the Terrible Head into his wallet,
and flew away without looking behind. Then the two
Dreadful Sisters who were left wakened, and rose in the
air like great birds; and though they could not see him
because of his Cap of Darkness, they flew after him up the
wind, following by the scent through the clouds, like
hounds hunting in a wood. They came so close that he
could hear the clatter of their golden wings, and their
shrieks to each other: "HERE, HERE," "NO, THERE; THIS WAY
HE WENT," as they chased him. But the Shoes of Swiftness
flew too fast for them, and at last their cries and the rattle
of their wings died away as he crossed the great river that
runs round the world.
Now when the horrible creatures were far in the
distance, and the boy found himself on the right side of the
river, he flew straight eastward, trying to seek his own
country. But as he looked down from the air he saw a
very strange sight--a beautiful girl chained to a stake at
the high-water mark of the sea. The girl was so frightened
or so tired that she was only prevented from falling
by the iron chain about her waist, and there she hung, as
if she were dead. The boy was very sorry for her and flew
down and stood beside her. When he spoke she raised her
head and looked round, but his voice only seemed to
frighten her. Then he remembered that he was wearing
the Cap of Darkness, and that she could only hear him,
not see him. So he took it off, and there he stood before
her, the handsomest young man she had ever seen in all
her life, with short curly yellow hair, and blue eyes, and a
laughing face. And he thought her the most beautiful
girl in the world. So first with one blow of the Sword of
Sharpness he cut the iron chain that bound her, and then
he asked her what she did there, and why men treated her
so cruelly. And she told him that she was the daughter of
the King of that country, and that she was tied there to
be eaten by a monstrous beast out of the sea; for the
beast came and devoured a girl every day. Now the lot
had fallen on her; and as she was just saying this a long
fierce head of a cruel sea creature rose out of the waves
and snapped at the girl. But the beast had been too
greedy and too hurried, so he missed his aim the first time.
Before he could rise and bite again the boy had whipped
the Terrible Head out of his wallet and held it up. And
when the sea beast leaped out once more its eyes fell on
the head, and instantly it was turned into a stone. And
the stone beast is there on the sea-coast to this day.
Then the boy and the girl went to the palace of the
King, her father, where everyone was weeping for her
death, and they could hardly believe their eyes when they
saw her come back well. And the King and Queen made
much of the boy, and could not contain themselves for
delight when they found he wanted to marry their daughter.
So the two were married with the most splendid
rejoicings, and when they had passed some time at court
they went home in a ship to the boy's own country. For
he could not carry his bride through the air, so he took
the Shoes of Swiftness, and the Cap of Darkness, and the
Sword of Sharpness up to a lonely place in the hills. There
he left them, and there they were found by the man and
woman who had met him at home beside the sea, and had
helped him to start on his journey
When this had been done the boy and his bride set
forth for home, and landed at the harbor of his native
land. But whom should he meet in the very street of the
town but his own mother, flying for her life from the
wicked King, who now wished to kill her because he
found that she would never marry him! For if she had
liked the King ill before, she liked him far worse now that
he had caused her son to disappear so suddenly. She did
not know, of course, where the boy had gone, but thought
the King had slain him secretly. So now she was running
for her very life, and the wicked King was following her
with a sword in his hand. Then, behold! she ran into her
son's very arms, but he had only time to kiss her and step
in front of her, when the King struck at him with his
sword. The boy caught the blow on his shield, and cried
to the King:
"I swore to bring you the Terrible Head, and see how I
keep my oath!"
Then he drew forth the head from his wallet, and when
the King's eyes fell on it, instantly he was turned into
stone, just as he stood there with his sword lifted!
Now all the people rejoiced, because the wicked King
should rule them no longer. And they asked the boy to
be their king, but he said no, he must take his mother home
to her father's house. So the people chose for king the man
who had been kind to his mother when first she was cast
on the island in the great chest.
Presently the boy and his mother and his wife set sail
for his mother's own country, from which she had been
driven so unkindly. But on the way they stayed at the
court of a king, and it happened that he was holding
games, and giving prizes to the best runners, boxers, and
quoit-throwers. Then the boy would try his strength with
the rest, but he threw the quoit so far that it went beyond
what had ever been thrown before, and fell in the crowd,
striking a man so that he died. Now this man was no
other than the father of the boy's mother, who had fled
away from his own kingdom for fear his grandson should
find him and kill him after all. Thus he was destroyed by
his own cowardice and by chance, and thus the prophecy
was fulfilled. But the boy and his wife and his mother
went back to the kingdom that was theirs, and lived long
and happily after all their troubles.
THE STORY OF PRETTY GOLDILOCKS
ONCE upon a time there was a princess who was the
prettiest creature in the world. And because she was so
beautiful, and because her hair was like the finest gold,
and waved and rippled nearly to the ground, she was
called Pretty Goldilocks. She always wore a crown of
flowers, and her dresses were embroidered with diamonds
and pearls, and everybody who saw her fell in love with
Now one of her neighbors was a young king who was
not married. He was very rich and handsome, and when
he heard all that was said about Pretty Goldilocks, though
he had never seen her, he fell so deeply in love with her
that he could neither eat nor drink. So he resolved to
send an ambassador to ask her in marriage. He had a
splendid carriage made for his ambassador, and gave him
more than a hundred horses and a hundred servants, and
told him to be sure and bring the Princess back with him.
After he had started nothing else was talked of at Court,
and the King felt so sure that the Princess would consent
that he set his people to work at pretty dresses and splendid
furniture, that they might be ready by the time she
came. Meanwhile, the ambassador arrived at the Princess's
palace and delivered his little message, but whether
she happened to be cross that day, or whether the
compliment did not please her, is not known. She only
answered that she was very much obliged to the King, but
she had no wish to be married. The ambassador set off
sadly on his homeward way, bringing all the King's
presents back with him, for the Princess was too well
brought up to accept the pearls and diamonds when she
would not accept the King, so she had only kept twenty-
five English pins that he might not be vexed.
When the ambassador reached the city, where the
King was waiting impatiently, everybody was very much
annoyed with him for not bringing the Princess, and the
King cried like a baby, and nobody could console him.
Now there was at the Court a young man, who was more
clever and handsome than anyone else. He was called
Charming, and everyone loved him, excepting a few
envious people who were angry at his being the King's
favorite and knowing all the State secrets. He happened
to one day be with some people who were speaking of the
ambassador's return and saying that his going to the
Princess had not done much good, when Charming said
"If the King had sent me to the Princess Goldilocks I
am sure she would have come back with me."
His enemies at once went to the King and said:
"You will hardly believe, sire, what Charming has the
audacity to say--that if HE had been sent to the Princess
Goldilocks she would certainly have come back with him.
He seems to think that he is so much handsomer than you
that the Princess would have fallen in love with him and
followed him willingly." The King was very angry when
he heard this.
"Ha, ha!" said he; "does he laugh at my unhappiness,
and think himself more fascinating than I am? Go, and
let him be shut up in my great tower to die of hunger."
So the King's guards went to fetch Charming, who had
thought no more of his rash speech, and carried him off to
prison with great cruelty. The poor prisoner had only a
little straw for his bed, and but for a little stream of water
which flowed through the tower he would have died of
One day when he was in despair he said to himself:
"How can I have offended the King? I am his most
faithful subject, and have done nothing against him."
The King chanced to be passing the tower and recognized
the voice of his former favorite. He stopped to listen
in spite of Charming's enemies, who tried to persuade
him to have nothing more to do with the traitor. But the
"Be quiet, I wish to hear what he says."
And then he opened the tower door and called to
Charming, who came very sadly and kissed the King's
"What have I done, sire, to deserve this cruel treatment?"
"You mocked me and my ambassador," said the King,
"and you said that if I had sent you for the Princess
Goldilocks you would certainly have brought her back."
"It is quite true, sire," replied Charming; "I should have
drawn such a picture of you, and represented your good
qualities in such a way, that I am certain the Princess
would have found you irresistible. But I cannot see what
there is in that to make you angry."
The King could not see any cause for anger either when
the matter was presented to him in this light, and he be-
gan to frown very fiercely at the courtiers who had so
misrepresented his favorite.
So he took Charming back to the palace with him, and
after seeing that he had a very good supper he said to
"You know that I love Pretty Goldilocks as much as
ever, her refusal has not made any difference to me; but
I don't know how to make her change her mind; I really
should like to send you, to see if you can persuade her to
Charming replied that he was perfectly willing to go,
and would set out the very next day.
"But you must wait till I can get a grand escort for
you," said the King. But Charming said that he only
wanted a good horse to ride, and the King, who was
delighted at his being ready to start so promptly, gave him
letters to the Princess, and bade him good speed. It was
on a Monday morning that he set out all alone upon his
errand, thinking of nothing but how he could persuade
the Princess Goldilocks to marry the King. He had a
writing-book in his pocket, and whenever any happy
thought struck him he dismounted from his horse and sat
down under the trees to put it into the harangue which
he was preparing for the Princess, before he forgot it.
One day when he had started at the very earliest dawn,
and was riding over a great meadow, he suddenly had a
capital idea, and, springing from his horse, he sat down
under a willow tree which grew by a little river. When
he had written it down he was looking round him, pleased
to find himself in such a pretty place, when all at once he
saw a great golden carp lying gasping and exhausted upon
the grass. In leaping after little flies she had thrown
herself high upon the bank, where she had lain till she was
nearly dead. Charming had pity upon her, and, though
he couldn't help thinking that she would have been very
nice for dinner, he picked her up gently and put her back
into the water. As soon as Dame Carp felt the refreshing
coolness of the water she sank down joyfully to the
bottom of the river, then, swimming up to the bank quite
boldly, she said:
"I thank you, Charming, for the kindness you have
done me. You have saved my life; one day I will repay
you." So saying, she sank down into the water again,
leaving Charming greatly astonished at her politeness.
Another day, as he journeyed on, he saw a raven in
great distress. The poor bird was closely pursued by an
eagle, which would soon have eaten it up, had not Charming
quickly fitted an arrow to his bow and shot the eagle
dead. The raven perched upon a tree very joyfully.
"Charming," said he, "it was very generous of you to
rescue a poor raven; I am not ungrateful, some day I will
Charming thought it was very nice of the raven to say
so, and went on his way.
Before the sun rose he found himself in a thick wood
where it was too dark for him to see his path, and here
he heard an owl crying as if it were in despair.
"Hark!" said he, "that must be an owl in great trouble,
I am sure it has gone into a snare"; and he began to hunt
about, and presently found a great net which some bird-
catchers had spread the night before.
"What a pity it is that men do nothing but torment and
persecute poor creatures which never do them any harm!"
said he, and he took out his knife and cut the cords of the
net, and the owl flitted away into the darkness, but then
turning, with one flicker of her wings, she came back to
Charming and said:
"It does not need many words to tell you how great a
service you have done me. I was caught; in a few minutes
the fowlers would have been here--without your help I
should have been killed. I am grateful, and one day I
will repay you."
These three adventures were the only ones of any
consequence that befell Charming upon his journey, and he
made all the haste he could to reach the palace of the
When he arrived he thought everything he saw delightful
and magnificent. Diamonds were as plentiful as pebbles,
and the gold and silver, the beautiful dresses, the
sweetmeats and pretty things that were everywhere quite
amazed him; he thought to himself: "If the Princess
consents to leave all this, and come with me to marry the
King, he may think himself lucky!"
Then he dressed himself carefully in rich brocade, with
scarlet and white plumes, and threw a splendid embroidered
scarf over his shoulder, and, looking as gay and as
graceful as possible, he presented himself at the door of
the palace, carrying in his arm a tiny pretty dog which he
had bought on the way. The guards saluted him respectfully,
and a messenger was sent to the Princess to announce
the arrival of Charming as ambassador of her
neighbor the King.
"Charming," said the Princess, "the name promises
well; I have no doubt that he is good looking and
"Indeed he does, madam," said all her maids of honor
in one breath. "We saw him from the window of the
garret where we were spinning flax, and we could do
nothing but look at him as long as he was in sight."
"Well to be sure," said the Princess, "that's how you
amuse yourselves, is it? Looking at strangers out of the
window! Be quick and give me my blue satin embroidered
dress, and comb out my golden hair. Let somebody
make me fresh garlands of flowers, and give me my high-
heeled shoes and my fan, and tell them to sweep my great
hall and my throne, for I want everyone to say I am really
You can imagine how all her maids scurried this way
and that to make the Princess ready, and how in their
haste they knocked their heads together and hindered
each other, till she thought they would never have done.
However, at last they led her into the gallery of mirrors
that she might assure herself that nothing was lacking in
her appearance, and then she mounted her throne of gold,
ebony, and ivory, while her ladies took their guitars and
began to sing softly. Then Charming was led in, and was
so struck with astonishment and admiration that at first
not a word could he say. But presently he took courage
and delivered his harangue, bravely ending by begging
the Princess to spare him the disappointment of going
back without her.
"Sir Charming," answered she, "all the reasons you
have given me are very good ones, and I assure you that
I should have more pleasure in obliging you than anyone
else, but you must know that a month ago as I was walking
by the river with my ladies I took off my glove, and
as I did so a ring that I was wearing slipped off my finger
and rolled into the water. As I valued it more than my
kingdom, you may imagine how vexed I was at losing it,
and I vowed to never listen to any proposal of marriage
unless the ambassador first brought me back my ring. So
now you know what is expected of you, for if you talked
for fifteen days and fifteen nights you could not make me
change my mind."
Charming was very much surprised by this answer, but
he bowed low to the Princess, and begged her to accept
the embroidered scarf and the tiny dog he had brought
with him. But she answered that she did not want any
presents, and that he was to remember what she had just
told him. When he got back to his lodging he went to bed
without eating any supper, and his little dog, who was
called Frisk, couldn't eat any either, but came and lay
down close to him. All night Charming sighed and lamented.
"How am I to find a ring that fell into the river a month
ago?" said he. "It is useless to try; the Princess must have
told me to do it on purpose, knowing it was impossible."
And then he sighed again.
Frisk heard him and said:
"My dear master, don't despair; the luck may change,
you are too good not to be happy. Let us go down to the
river as soon as it is light."
But Charming only gave him two little pats and said
nothing, and very soon he fell asleep.
At the first glimmer of dawn Frisk began to jump about,
and when he had waked Charming they went out together,
first into the garden, and then down to the river's
brink, where they wandered up and down. Charming was
thinking sadly of having to go back unsuccessful when he
heard someone calling: "Charming, Charming!" He looked
all about him and thought he must be dreaming, as he
could not see anybody. Then he walked on and the voice
called again: "Charming, Charming!"
"Who calls me?" said he. Frisk, who was very small
and could look closely into the water, cried out: "I see a
golden carp coming." And sure enough there was the
great carp, who said to Charming:
"You saved my life in the meadow by the willow tree,
and I promised that I would repay you. Take this, it is
Princess Goldilock's ring." Charming took the ring out
of Dame Carp's mouth, thanking her a thousand times,
and he and tiny Frisk went straight to the palace, where
someone told the Princess that he was asking to see her.
"Ah! poor fellow," said she, "he must have come to say
good-by, finding it impossible to do as I asked."
So in came Charming, who presented her with the ring
"Madam, I have done your bidding. Will it please you
to marry my master?" When the Princess saw her ring
brought back to her unhurt she was so astonished that she
thought she must be dreaming.
"Truly, Charming," said she, "you must be the favorite
of some fairy, or you could never have found it."
"Madam," answered he, "I was helped by nothing but
my desire to obey your wishes."
"Since you are so kind," said she, "perhaps you will do
me another service, for till it is done I will never be
married. There is a prince not far from here whose name
is Galifron, who once wanted to marry me, but when I
refused he uttered the most terrible threats against me,
and vowed that he would lay waste my country. But
what could I do? I could not marry a frightful giant as
tall as a tower, who eats up people as a monkey eats
chestnuts, and who talks so loud that anybody who has
to listen to him becomes quite deaf. Nevertheless, he
does not cease to persecute me and to kill my subjects.
So before I can listen to your proposal you must kill him
and bring me his head.
Charming was rather dismayed at this command, but
"Very well, Princess, I will fight this Galifron; I believe
that he will kill me, but at any rate I shall die in your
Then the Princess was frightened and said everything
she could think of to prevent Charming from fighting the
giant, but it was of no use, and he went out to arm himself
suitably, and then, taking little Frisk with him, he mounted
his horse and set out for Galifron's country. Everyone
he met told him what a terrible giant Galifron was, and
that nobody dared go near him; and the more he heard,
the more frightened he grew. Frisk tried to encourage
him by saying: "While you are fighting the giant, dear
master, I will go and bite his heels, and when he stoops
down to look at me you can kill him."
Charming praised his little dog's plan, but knew that
this help would not do much good.
At last he drew near the giant's castle, and saw to his
horror that every path that led to it was strewn with
bones. Before long he saw Galifron coming. His head
was higher than the tallest trees, and he sang in a terrible
"Bring out your little boys and girls,
Pray do not stay to do their curls,
For I shall eat so very many,
I shall not know if they have any."
Thereupon Charming sang out as loud as he could to
the same tune:
"Come out and meet the valiant Charming
Who finds you not at all alarming;
Although he is not very tall,
He's big enough to make you fall."
The rhymes were not very correct, but you see he had
made them up so quickly that it is a miracle that they
were not worse; especially as he was horribly frightened
all the time. When Galifron heard these words he looked
all about him, and saw Charming standing, sword in hand
this put the giant into a terrible rage, and he aimed a blow
at Charming with his huge iron club, which would
certainly have killed him if it had reached him, but at that
instant a raven perched upon the giant's head, and, pecking
with its strong beak and beating with its great wings
so confused and blinded him that all his blows fell harmlessly
upon the air, and Charming, rushing in, gave him
several strokes with his sharp sword so that he fell to the
ground. Whereupon Charming cut off his head before he
knew anything about it, and the raven from a tree close
by croaked out:
"You see I have not forgotten the good turn you did me
in killing the eagle. Today I think I have fulfilled my
promise of repaying you."
"Indeed, I owe you more gratitude than you ever owed
me," replied Charming.
And then he mounted his horse and rode off with
When he reached the city the people ran after him in
"Behold the brave Charming, who has killed the giant!"
And their shouts reached the Princess's ear, but she dared
not ask what was happening, for fear she should hear that
Charming had been killed. But very soon he arrived at
the palace with the giant's head, of which she was still
terrified, though it could no longer do her any harm.
"Princess," said Charming, "I have killed your enemy;
I hope you will now consent to marry the King my master."
"Oh dear! no," said the Princess, "not until you have
brought me some water from the Gloomy Cavern.
"Not far from here there is a deep cave, the entrance to
which is guarded by two dragons with fiery eyes, who will
not allow anyone to pass them. When you get into the
cavern you will find an immense hole, which you must go
down, and it is full of toads and snakes; at the bottom of
this hole there is another little cave, in which rises the
Fountain of Health and Beauty. It is some of this water
that I really must have: everything it touches becomes
wonderful. The beautiful things will always remain
beautiful, and the ugly things become lovely. If one is
young one never grows old, and if one is old one becomes
young. You see, Charming, I could not leave my kingdom
without taking some of it with me."
"Princess," said he, "you at least can never need this
water, but I am an unhappy ambassador, whose death
you desire. Where you send me I will go, though I know
I shall never return."
And, as the Princess Goldilocks showed no sign of
relenting, he started with his little dog for the Gloomy
Cavern. Everyone he met on the way said:
"What a pity that a handsome young man should
throw away his life so carelessly! He is going to the cavern
alone, though if he had a hundred men with him he could
not succeed. Why does the Princess ask impossibilities?"
Charming said nothing, but he was very sad. When
he was near the top of a hill he dismounted to let his horse
graze, while Frisk amused himself by chasing flies.
Charming knew he could not be far from the Gloomy
Cavern, and on looking about him he saw a black hideous
rock from which came a thick smoke, followed in a moment
by one of the dragons with fire blazing from his
mouth and eyes. His body was yellow and green, and his
claws scarlet, and his tail was so long that it lay in a
hundred coils. Frisk was so terrified at the sight of it that
he did not know where to hide. Charming, quite determined
to get the water or die, now drew his sword, and,
taking the crystal flask which Pretty Goldilocks had
given him to fill, said to Frisk:
"I feel sure that I shall never come back from this
expedition; when I am dead, go to the Princess and tell
her that her errand has cost me my life. Then find the
King my master, and relate all my adventures to him."
As he spoke he heard a voice calling: "Charming,
"Who calls me?" said he; then he saw an owl sitting in
a hollow tree, who said to him:
"You saved my life when I was caught in the net, now
I can repay you. Trust me with the flask, for I know all
the ways of the Gloomy Cavern, and can fill it from the
Fountain of Beauty." Charming was only too glad to
give her the flask, and she flitted into the cavern quite
unnoticed by the dragon, and after some time returned
with the flask, filled to the very brim with sparkling water.
Charming thanked her with all his heart, and joyfully
hastened back to the town.
He went straight to the palace and gave the flask to the
Princess, who had no further objection to make. So she
thanked Charming, and ordered that preparations should
be made for her departure, and they soon set out together.
The Princess found Charming such an agreeable companion
that she sometimes said to him: "Why didn't we stay
where we were? I could have made you king, and we
should have been so happy!"
But Charming only answered:
"I could not have done anything that would have
vexed my master so much, even for a kingdom, or to
please you, though I think you are as beautiful as the
At last they reached the King's great city, and he came
out to meet the Princess, bringing magnificent presents,
and the marriage was celebrated with great rejoicings.
But Goldilocks was so fond of Charming that she could
not be happy unless he was near her, and she was always
singing his praises.
"If it hadn't been for Charming," she said to the King,
"I should never have come here; you ought to be very
much obliged to him, for he did the most impossible things
and got me water from the Fountain of Beauty, so I can
never grow old, and shall get prettier every year."
Then Charming's enemies said to the King:
"It is a wonder that you are not jealous, the Queen
thinks there is nobody in the world like Charming. As if
anybody you had sent could not have done just as much!"
"It is quite true, now I come to think of it," said the
King. "Let him be chained hand and foot, and thrown
into the tower."
So they took Charming, and as a reward for having
served the King so faithfully he was shut up in the tower,
where he only saw the jailer, who brought him a piece of
black bread and a pitcher of water every day.
However, little Frisk came to console him, and told
him all the news.
When Pretty Goldilocks heard what had happened she
threw herself at the King's feet and begged him to set
Charming free, but the more she cried, the more angry he
was, and at last she saw that it was useless to say any
more; but it made her very sad. Then the King took it
into his head that perhaps he was not handsome enough
to please the Princess Goldilocks, and he thought he
would bathe his face with the water from the Fountain
of Beauty, which was in the flask on a shelf in the Princess's
room, where she had placed it that she might see it often.
Now it happened that one of the Princess's ladies in chasing
a spider had knocked the flask off the shelf and broken
it, and every drop of the water had been spilt. Not knowing
what to do, she had hastily swept away the pieces of
crystal, and then remembered that in the King's room
she had seen a flask of exactly the same shape, also filled
with sparkling water. So, without saying a word, she
fetched it and stood it upon the Queen's shelf.
Now the water in this flask was what was used in the
kingdom for getting rid of troublesome people. Instead
of having their heads cut off in the usual way, their faces
were bathed with the water, and they instantly fell asleep
and never woke up any more. So, when the King, thinking
to improve his beauty, took the flask and sprinkled
the water upon his face, HE fell asleep, and nobody could
Little Frisk was the first to hear the news, and he ran
to tell Charming, who sent him to beg the Princess not to
forget the poor prisoner. All the palace was in confusion
on account of the King's death, but tiny Frisk made his
way through the crowd to the Princess's side, and said:
"Madam, do not forget poor Charming."
Then she remembered all he had done for her, and without
saying a word to anyone went straight to the tower,
and with her own hands took off Charming's chains.
Then, putting a golden crown upon his head, and the royal
mantle upon his shoulders, she said:
"Come, faithful Charming, I make you king, and will
take you for my husband."
Charming, once more free and happy, fell at her feet
and thanked her for her gracious words.
Everybody was delighted that he should be king, and
the wedding, which took place at once, was the prettiest
that can be imagined, and Prince Charming and Princess
Goldilocks lived happily ever after.
 Madame d'Aulnoy.
THE HISTORY OF WHITTINGTON
DICK WHITTINGTON was a very little boy when his
father and mother died; so little, indeed, that he never
knew them, nor the place where he was born. He
strolled about the country as ragged as a colt, till he met
with a wagoner who was going to London, and who gave
him leave to walk all the way by the side of his wagon
without paying anything for his passage. This pleased
little Whittington very much, as he wanted to see London
sadly, for he had heard that the streets were paved with
gold, and he was willing to get a bushel of it; but how
great was his disappointment, poor boy! when he saw
the streets covered with dirt instead of gold, and found
himself in a strange place, without a friend, without food,
and without money.
Though the wagoner was so charitable as to let him
walk up by the side of the wagon for nothing, he took
care not to know him when he came to town, and the
poor boy was, in a little time, so cold and hungry that
he wished himself in a good kitchen and by a warm fire
in the country.
In his distress he asked charity of several people, and
one of them bid him "Go to work for an idle rogue."
"That I will," said Whittington, "with all my heart; I
will work for you if you will let me."
The man, who thought this savored of wit and impertinence
(though the poor lad intended only to show his
readiness to work), gave him a blow with a stick which
broke his head so that the blood ran down. In this situation,
and fainting for want of food, he laid himself down
at the door of one Mr. Fitzwarren, a merchant, where the
cook saw him, and, being an ill-natured hussy, ordered
him to go about his business or she would scald him.
At this time Mr. Fitzwarren came from the Exchange,
and began also to scold at the poor boy, bidding him to
go to work.
Whittington answered that he should be glad to work
if anybody would employ him, and that he should be
able if he could get some victuals to eat, for he had had
nothing for three days, and he was a poor country boy,
and knew nobody, and nobody would employ him.
He then endeavored to get up, but he was so very weak
that he fell down again, which excited so much compassion
in the merchant that he ordered the servants to
take him in and give him some meat and drink, and let
him help the cook to do any dirty work that she had to
set him about. People are too apt to reproach those who
beg with being idle, but give themselves no concern to
put them in the way of getting business to do, or con-
sidering whether they are able to do it, which is not
But we return to Whittington, who could have lived
happy in this worthy family had he not been bumped
about by the cross cook, who must be always roasting
and basting, or when the spit was idle employed her
hands upon poor Whittington! At last Miss Alice, his
master's daughter, was informed of it, and then she took
compassion on the poor boy, and made the servants treat
Besides the crossness of the cook, Whittington had
another difficulty to get over before he could be happy.
He had, by order of his master, a flock-bed placed for
him in a garret, where there was a number of rats and
mice that often ran over the poor boy's nose and
disturbed him in his sleep. After some time, however,
a gentleman who came to his master's house gave
Whittington a penny for brushing his shoes. This he put
into his pocket, being determined to lay it out to the
best advantage; and the next day, seeing a woman in
the street with a cat under her arm, he ran up to know
the price of it. The woman (as the cat was a good
mouser) asked a deal of money for it, but on Whittington's
telling her he had but a penny in the world, and
that he wanted a cat sadly, she let him have it.
This cat Whittington concealed in the garret, for fear
she should be beat about by his mortal enemy the cook,
and here she soon killed or frightened away the rats and
mice, so that the poor boy could now sleep as sound as a
Soon after this the merchant, who had a ship ready
to sail, called for his servants, as his custom was, in
order that each of them might venture something to try
their luck; and whatever they sent was to pay neither
freight nor custom, for he thought justly that God
Almighty would bless him the more for his readiness to let
the poor partake of his fortune.
All the servants appeared but poor Whittington, who,
having neither money nor goods, could not think of sending
anything to try his luck; but his good friend Miss
Alice, thinking his poverty kept him away, ordered him
to be called.
She then offered to lay down something for him, but
the merchant told his daughter that would not do, it
must be something of his own. Upon which poor Whittington
said he had nothing but a cat which he bought
for a penny that was given him. "Fetch thy cat, boy,"
said the merchant, "and send her." Whittington brought
poor puss and delivered her to the captain, with tears in
his eyes, for he said he should now be disturbed by the
rats and mice as much as ever. All the company laughed
at the adventure but Miss Alice, who pitied the poor
boy, and gave him something to buy another cat.
While puss was beating the billows at sea, poor
Whittington was severely beaten at home by his tyrannical
mistress the cook, who used him so cruelly, and made
such game of him for sending his cat to sea, that at last
the poor boy determined to run away from his place, and
having packed up the few things he had, he set out very
early in the morning on All-Hallows day. He traveled
as far as Holloway, and there sat down on a stone to
consider what course he should take; but while he was thus
ruminating, Bow bells, of which there were only six,
began to ring; and he thought their sounds addressed
him in this manner:
"Turn again, Whittington,
Thrice Lord Mayor of London."
"Lord Mayor of London!" said he to himself, "what
would not one endure to be Lord Mayor of London, and
ride in such a fine coach? Well, I'll go back again, and
bear all the pummelling and ill-usage of Cicely rather
than miss the opportunity of being Lord Mayor!" So
home he went, and happily got into the house and about
his business before Mrs. Cicely made her appearance.
We must now follow Miss Puss to the coast of Africa.
How perilous are voyages at sea, how uncertain the winds
and the waves, and how many accidents attend a naval
The ship that had the cat on board was long beaten at
sea, and at last, by contrary winds, driven on a part of
the coast of Barbary which was inhabited by Moors
unknown to the English. These people received our
countrymen with civility, and therefore the captain,
in order to trade with them, showed them the patterns
of the goods he had on board, and sent some of them to
the King of the country, who was so well pleased that
he sent for the captain and the factor to come to his
palace, which was about a mile from the sea. Here they
were placed, according to the custom of the country,
on rich carpets, flowered with gold and silver; and the
King and Queen being seated at the upper end of the
room, dinner was brought in, which consisted of many
dishes; but no sooner were the dishes put down but an
amazing number of rats and mice came from all quarters
and devoured all the meat in an instant.
The factor, in surprise, turned round to the nobles and
asked if these vermin were not offensive. "Oh! yes,"
said they, "very offensive; and the King would give half
his treasure to be freed of them, for they not only
destroy his dinner, as you see, but they assault him in his
chamber, and even in bed, so that he is obliged to be
watched while he is sleeping, for fear of them."
The factor jumped for joy; he remembered poor
Whittington and his cat, and told the King he had a creature
on board the ship that would despatch all these vermin
immediately. The King's heart heaved so high at the
joy which this news gave him that his turban dropped off
his head. "Bring this creature to me," said he; "vermin
are dreadful in a court, and if she will perform what you
say I will load your ship with gold and jewels in exchange
for her." The factor, who knew his business, took this
opportunity to set forth the merits of Miss Puss. He
told his Majesty that it would be inconvenient to part
with her, as, when she was gone, the rats and mice might
destroy the goods in the ship--but to oblige his Majesty
he would fetch her. "Run, run," said the Queen; "I am
impatient to see the dear creature."
Away flew the factor, while another dinner was
providing, and returned with the cat just as the rats and
mice were devouring that also. He immediately put
down Miss Puss, who killed a great number of them.
The King rejoiced greatly to see his old enemies
destroyed by so small a creature, and the Queen was highly
pleased, and desired the cat might be brought near that
she might look at her. Upon which the factor called
"Pussy, pussy, pussy!" and she came to him. He then
presented her to the Queen, who started back, and was
afraid to touch a creature who had made such havoc
among the rats and mice; however, when the factor
stroked the cat and called "Pussy, pussy!" the Queen
also touched her and cried "Putty, putty!" for she had
not learned English.
He then put her down on the Queen's lap, where she,
purring, played with her Majesty's hand, and then sang
herself to sleep.
The King, having seen the exploits of Miss Puss, and
being informed that her kittens would stock the whole
country, bargained with the captain and factor for the
whole ship's cargo, and then gave them ten times as
much for the cat as all the rest amounted to. On which,
taking leave of their Majesties and other great personages
at court, they sailed with a fair wind for England,
whither we must now attend them.
The morn had scarcely dawned when Mr. Fitzwarren
arose to count over the cash and settle the business for
that day. He had just entered the counting-house, and
seated himself at the desk, when somebody came, tap,
tap, at the door. "Who's there?" said Mr. Fitzwarren.
"A friend," answered the other. "What friend can come
at this unseasonable time?" "A real friend is never
unseasonable," answered the other. "I come to bring you
good news of your ship Unicorn." The merchant
bustled up in such a hurry that he forgot his gout;
instantly opened the door, and who should be seen waiting
but the captain and factor, with a cabinet of jewels, and
a bill of lading, for which the merchant lifted up his eyes
and thanked heaven for sending him such a prosperous
voyage. Then they told him the adventures of the cat,
and showed him the cabinet of jewels which they had
brought for Mr. Whittington. Upon which he cried out
with great earnestness, but not in the most poetical
"Go, send him in, and tell him of his fame,
And call him Mr. Whittington by name."
It is not our business to animadvert upon these lines;
we are not critics, but historians. It is sufficient for us
that they are the words of Mr. Fitzwarren; and though
it is beside our purpose, and perhaps not in our power to
prove him a good poet, we shall soon convince the reader
that he was a good man, which was a much better character;
for when some who were present told him that this
treasure was too much for such a poor boy as Whittington,
he said: "God forbid that I should deprive him of
a penny; it is his own, and he shall have it to a farthing."
He then ordered Mr. Whittington in, who was at this
time cleaning the kitchen and would have excused himself
from going into the counting-house, saying the room
was swept and his shoes were dirty and full of hob-nails.
The merchant, however, made him come in, and ordered
a chair to be set for him. Upon which, thinking they
intended to make sport of him, as had been too often the
case in the kitchen, he besought his master not to mock
a poor simple fellow, who intended them no harm, but
let him go about his business. The merchant, taking
him by the hand, said: "Indeed, Mr. Whittington, I am
in earnest with you, and sent for you to congratulate
you on your great success. Your cat has procured you
more money than I am worth in the world, and may you
long enjoy it and be happy!"
At length, being shown the treasure, and convinced
by them that all of it belonged to him, he fell upon his
knees and thanked the Almighty for his providential care
of such a poor and miserable creature. He then laid all
the treasure at his master's feet, who refused to take any
part of it, but told him he heartily rejoiced at his
prosperity, and hoped the wealth he had acquired would be a
comfort to him, and would make him happy. He then
applied to his mistress, and to his good friend Miss Alice,
who refused to take any part of the money, but told him
she heartily rejoiced at his good success, and wished him
all imaginable felicity. He then gratified the captain,
factor, and the ship's crew for the care they had taken of
his cargo. He likewise distributed presents to all the
servants in the house, not forgetting even his old enemy
the cook, though she little deserved it.
After this Mr. Fitzwarren advised Mr. Whittington to
send for the necessary people and dress himself like a
gentleman, and made him the offer of his house to live
in till he could provide himself with a better.
Now it came to pass when Mr. Whittington's face was
washed, his hair curled, and he dressed in a rich suit of
clothes, that he turned out a genteel young fellow; and,
as wealth contributes much to give a man confidence, he
in a little time dropped that sheepish behavior which was
principally occasioned by a depression of spirits, and soon
grew a sprightly and good companion, insomuch that
Miss Alice, who had formerly pitied him, now fell in love
When her father perceived they had this good liking
for each other he proposed a match between them, to
which both parties cheerfully consented, and the Lord
Mayor, Court of Aldermen, Sheriffs, the Company of
Stationers, the Royal Academy of Arts, and a number
of eminent merchants attended the ceremony, and were
elegantly treated at an entertainment made for that purpose.
History further relates that they lived very happy, had
several children, and died at a good old age. Mr.
Whittington served as Sheriff of London and was three times
Lord Mayor. In the last year of his mayoralty he
entertained King Henry V and his Queen, after his
conquest of France, upon which occasion the King, in
consideration of Whittington's merit, said: "Never had
prince such a subject"; which being told to Whittington
at the table, he replied: "Never had subject such a king."
His Majesty, out of respect to his good character,
conferred the honor of knighthood on him soon after.
Sir Richard many years before his death constantly fed
a great number of poor citizens, built a church and a college
to it, with a yearly allowance for poor scholars, and near
it erected a hospital.
He also built Newgate for criminals, and gave liberally
to St. Bartholomew's Hospital and other public charities.
THE WONDERFUL SHEEP
ONCE upon a time--in the days when the fairies lived--
there was a king who had three daughters, who were all
young, and clever, and beautiful; but the youngest of the
three, who was called Miranda, was the prettiest and
the most beloved.
The King, her father, gave her more dresses and jewels
in a month than he gave the others in a year; but she was
so generous that she shared everything with her sisters,
and they were all as happy and as fond of one another as
they could be.
Now, the King had some quarrelsome neighbors, who,
tired of leaving him in peace, began to make war upon
him so fiercely that he feared he would be altogether
beaten if he did not make an effort to defend himself.
So he collected a great army and set off to fight them,
leaving the Princesses with their governess in a castle
where news of the war was brought every day--sometimes
that the King had taken a town, or won a battle,
and, at last, that he had altogether overcome his enemies
and chased them out of his kingdom, and was coming
back to the castle as quickly as possible, to see his dear
little Miranda whom he loved so much.
The three Princesses put on dresses of satin, which they
had had made on purpose for this great occasion, one
green, one blue, and the third white; their jewels were
the same colors. The eldest wore emeralds, the second
turquoises, and the youngest diamonds, and thus adorned
they went to meet the King, singing verses which they
had composed about his victories.
When he saw them all so beautiful and so gay he
embraced them tenderly, but gave Miranda more kisses than
either of the others.
Presently a splendid banquet was served, and the King
and his daughters sat down to it, and as he always
thought that there was some special meaning in everything,
he said to the eldest:
"Tell me why you have chosen a green dress."
"Sire," she answered, "having heard of your victories
I thought that green would signify my joy and the hope
of your speedy return."
"That is a very good answer," said the King; "and you,
my daughter," he continued, "why did you take a blue
"Sire," said the Princess, "to show that we constantly
hoped for your success, and that the sight of you is as
welcome to me as the sky with its most beautiful stars."
"Why," said the King, "your wise answers astonish
me, and you, Miranda. What made you dress yourself
all in white?
"Because, sire," she answered, "white suits me better
than anything else."
"What!" said the King angrily, "was that all you
thought of, vain child?"
"I thought you would be pleased with me," said the
Princess; "that was all."
The King, who loved her, was satisfied with this, and
even pretended to be pleased that she had not told him
all her reasons at first.
"And now," said he, "as I have supped well, and it is
not time yet to go to bed, tell me what you dreamed last
The eldest said she had dreamed that he brought her a
dress, and the precious stones and gold embroidery on
it were brighter than the sun.
The dream of the second was that the King had brought
her a spinning wheel and a distaff, that she might spin
him some shirts.
But the youngest said: "I dreamed that my second
sister was to be married, and on her wedding-day, you,
father, held a golden ewer and said: `Come, Miranda,
and I will hold the water that you may dip your hands
The King was very angry indeed when he heard this
dream, and frowned horribly; indeed, he made such an
ugly face that everyone knew how angry he was, and he
got up and went off to bed in a great hurry; but he could
not forget his daughter's dream.
"Does the proud girl wish to make me her slave?" he
said to himself. "I am not surprised at her choosing to
dress herself in white satin without a thought of me.
She does not think me worthy of her consideration! But
I will soon put an end to her pretensions!"
He rose in a fury, and although it was not yet
daylight, he sent for the Captain of his Bodyguard, and said
"You have heard the Princess Miranda's dream? I
consider that it means strange things against me, therefore
I order you to take her away into the forest and kill
her, and, that I may be sure it is done, you must bring
me her heart and her tongue. If you attempt to deceive
me you shall be put to death!"
The Captain of the Guard was very much astonished
when he heard this barbarous order, but he did not dare
to contradict the King for fear of making him still more
angry, or causing him to send someone else, so he
answered that he would fetch the Princess and do as the
King had said. When he went to her room they would
hardly let him in, it was so early, but he said that the
King had sent for Miranda, and she got up quickly and
came out; a little black girl called Patypata held up her
train, and her pet monkey and her little dog ran after
her. The monkey was called Grabugeon, and the little
The Captain of the Guard begged Miranda to come
down into the garden where the King was enjoying the
fresh air, and when they got there, he pretended to search
for him, but as he was not to be found, he said:
"No doubt his Majesty has strolled into the forest,"
and he opened the little door that led to it and they went
By this time the daylight had begun to appear, and
the Princess, looking at her conductor, saw that he had
tears in his eyes and seemed too sad to speak.
"What is the matter?" she said in the kindest way.
"You seem very sorrowful."
"Alas! Princess," he answered, "who would not be
sorrowful who was ordered to do such a terrible thing as
I am? The King has commanded me to kill you here,
and carry your heart and your tongue to him, and if I
disobey I shall lose my life."
The poor Princess was terrified, she grew very pale and
began to cry softly.
Looking up at the Captain of the Guard with her
beautiful eyes, she said gently:
Will you really have the heart to kill me? I have
never done you any harm, and have always spoken well
of you to the King. If I had deserved my father's anger
I would suffer without a murmur, but, alas! he is unjust
to complain of me, when I have always treated him with
love and respect."
"Fear nothing, Princess," said the Captain of the
Guard. "I would far rather die myself than hurt you;
but even if I am killed you will not be safe: we must find
some way of making the King believe that you are dead."
"What can we do?" said Miranda; "unless you take
him my heart and my tongue he will never believe you."
The Princess and the Captain of the Guard were talking
so earnestly that they did not think of Patypata,
but she had overheard all they said, and now came and
threw herself at Miranda's feet
"Madam," she said, "I offer you my life; let me be
killed, I shall be only too happy to die for such a kind
"Why, Patypata," cried the Princess, kissing her,
"that would never do; your life is as precious to me as
my own, especially after such a proof of your affection
as you have just given me."
"You are right, Princess," said Grabugeon, coming
forward, "to love such a faithful slave as Patypata; she
is of more use to you than I am, I offer you my tongue
and my heart most willingly, especially as I wish to
make a great name for myself in Goblin Land."
"No, no, my little Grabugeon," replied Miranda, "I
cannot bear the thought of taking your life."
"Such a good little dog as I am," cried Tintin, acould
not think of letting either of you die for his mistress. If
anyone is to die for her it must be me."
And then began a great dispute between Patypata,
Grabugeon, and Tintin, and they came to high words,
until at last Grabugeon, who was quicker than the
others, ran up to the very top of the nearest tree, and
let herself fall, head first, to the ground, and there she
The Princess was very sorry, but as Grabugeon was
really dead, she allowed the Captain of the Guard to
take her tongue; but, alas! it was such a little one--not
bigger than the Princess's thumb--that they decided
sorrowfully that it was of no use at all: the King would
not have been taken in by it for a moment!
"Alas! my little monkey," cried the Princess, "I have
lost you, and yet I am no better off than I was before."
"The honor of saving your life is to be mine,"
interrupted Patypata, and, before they could prevent her,
she had picked up a knife and cut her head off in an instant.
But when the Captain of the Guard would have taken
her tongue it turned out to be quite black, so that would
not have deceived the King either.
"Am I not unlucky?" cried the poor Princess; "I lose
everything I love, and am none the better for it."
"If you had accepted my offer," said Tintin, "you
would only have had me to regret, and I should have had
all your gratitude."
Miranda kissed her little dog, crying so bitterly, that
at last she could bear it no longer, and turned away into
the forest. When she looked back the Captain of the
Guard was gone, and she was alone, except for Patypata,
Grabugeon, and Tintin, who lay upon the ground. She
could not leave the place until she had buried them in a
pretty little mossy grave at the foot of a tree, and she
wrote their names upon the bark of the tree, and how
they had all died to save her life. And then she began
to think where she could go for safety--for this forest
was so close to her father's castle that she might be seen
and recognized by the first passer-by, and, besides that,
it was full of lions and wolves, who would have snapped
up a princess just as soon as a stray chicken. So she
began to walk as fast as she could, but the forest was so
large and the sun was so hot that she nearly died of heat
and terror and fatigue; look which way she would there
seemed to be no end to the forest, and she was so frightened
that she fancied every minute that she heard the
King running after her to kill her. You may imagine
how miserable she was, and how she cried as she went
on, not knowing which path to follow, and with the
thorny bushes scratching her dreadfully and tearing her
pretty frock to pieces.
At last she heard the bleating of a sheep, and said to
"No doubt there are shepherds here with their flocks;
they will show me the way to some village where I can
live disguised as a peasant girl. Alas! it is not always
kings and princes who are the happiest people in the
world. Who could have believed that I should ever be
obliged to run away and hide because the King, for no
reason at all, wishes to kill me?"
So saying she advanced toward the place where she
heard the bleating, but what was her surprise when, in a
lovely little glade quite surrounded by trees, she saw a
large sheep; its wool was as white as snow, and its horns
shone like gold; it had a garland of flowers round its
neck, and strings of great pearls about its legs, and a
collar of diamonds; it lay upon a bank of orange-flowers,
under a canopy of cloth of gold which protected it from
the heat of the sun. Nearly a hundred other sheep were
scattered about, not eating the grass, but some drinking
coffee, lemonade, or sherbet, others eating ices,
strawberries and cream, or sweetmeats, while others, again,
were playing games. Many of them wore golden collars
with jewels, flowers, and ribbons.
Miranda stopped short in amazement at this unexpected
sight, and was looking in all directions for the
shepherd of this surprising flock, when the beautiful
sheep came bounding toward her.
"Approach, lovely Princess," he cried; "have no fear
of such gentle and peaceable animals as we are."
"What a marvel!" cried the Princess, starting back a
little. "Here is a sheep that can talk."
"Your monkey and your dog could talk, madam," said
he; "are you more astonished at us than at them?"
"A fairy gave them the power to speak," replied
Miranda. "So I was used to them."
"Perhaps the same thing has happened to us," he said,
smiling sheepishly. "But, Princess, what can have led
"A thousand misfortunes, Sir Sheep," she answered.
"I am the unhappiest princess in the world, and I am
seeking a shelter against my father's anger."
"Come with me, madam," said the Sheep; "I offer you
a hiding-place which you only will know of, and where
you will be mistress of everything you see."
"I really cannot follow you," said Miranda, "for I am
too tired to walk another step."
The Sheep with the golden horns ordered that his
chariot should be fetched, and a moment after appeared
six goats, harnessed to a pumpkin, which was so big that
two people could quite well sit in it, and was all lined
with cushions of velvet and down. The Princess stepped
into it, much amused at such a new kind of carriage, the
King of the Sheep took his place beside her, and the
goats ran away with them at full speed, and only stopped
when they reached a cavern, the entrance to which was
blocked by a great stone. This the King touched with
his foot, and immediately it fell down, and he invited
the Princess to enter without fear. Now, if she had not
been so alarmed by everything that had happened, nothing
could have induced her to go into this frightful cave,
but she was so afraid of what might be behind her that
she would have thrown herself even down a well at this
moment. So, without hesitation, she followed the Sheep,
who went before her, down, down, down, until she
thought they must come out at the other side of the
world--indeed, she was not sure that he wasn't leading
her into Fairyland. At last she saw before her a great
plain, quite covered with all sorts of flowers, the scent of
which seemed to her nicer than anything she had ever
smelled before; a broad river of orange-flower water
flowed round it and fountains of wine of every kind ran
in all directions and made the prettiest little cascades and
brooks. The plain was covered with the strangest trees,
there were whole avenues where partridges, ready
roasted, hung from every branch, or, if you preferred
pheasants, quails, turkeys, or rabbits, you had only to
turn to the right hand or to the left and you were sure to
find them. In places the air was darkened by showers
of lobster-patties, white puddings, sausages, tarts, and
all sorts of sweetmeats, or with pieces of gold and silver,
diamonds and pearls. This unusual kind of rain, and
the pleasantness of the whole place, would, no doubt,
have attracted numbers of people to it, if the King of the
Sheep had been of a more sociable disposition, but from
all accounts it is evident that he was as grave as a judge.
As it was quite the nicest time of the year when
Miranda arrived in this delightful land the only palace she
saw was a long row of orange trees, jasmines, honeysuckles,
and musk-roses, and their interlacing branches
made the prettiest rooms possible, which were hung with
gold and silver gauze, and had great mirrors and
candlesticks, and most beautiful pictures. The Wonderful
Sheep begged that the Princess would consider herself
queen over all that she saw, and assured her that, though
for some years he had been very sad and in great trouble,
she had it in her power to make him forget all his grief.
"You are so kind and generous, noble Sheep," said the
Princess, "that I cannot thank you enough, but I must
confess that all I see here seems to me so extraordinary
that I don't know what to think of it."
As she spoke a band of lovely fairies came up and
offered her amber baskets full of fruit, but when she held
out her hands to them they glided away, and she could
feel nothing when she tried to touch them.
"Oh!" she cried, "what can they be? Whom am I
with?" and she began to cry.
At this instant the King of the Sheep came back to
her, and was so distracted to find her in tears that he
could have torn his wool.
"What is the matter, lovely Princess?" he cried. "Has
anyone failed to treat you with due respect?"
"Oh! no," said Miranda; "only I am not used to living
with sprites and with sheep that talk, and everything
here frightens me. It was very kind of you to bring
me to this place, but I shall be even more grateful to you
if you will take me up into the world again."
"Do not be afraid," said the Wonderful Sheep; "I
entreat you to have patience, and listen to the story of
my misfortunes. I was once a king, and my kingdom
was the most splendid in the world. My subjects loved
me, my neighbors envied and feared me. I was respected
by everyone, and it was said that no king ever
deserved it more.
"I was very fond of hunting, and one day, while chasing
a stag, I left my attendants far behind; suddenly I
saw the animal leap into a pool of water, and I rashly
urged my horse to follow it, but before we had gone many
steps I felt an extraordinary heat, instead of the coolness
of the water; the pond dried up, a great gulf opened
before me, out of which flames of fire shot up, and I fell
helplessly to the bottom of a precipice.
"I gave myself up for lost, but presently a voice said:
`Ungrateful Prince, even this fire is hardly enough to
warm your cold heart!'
"`Who complains of my coldness in this dismal place?'
"`An unhappy being who loves you hopelessly,'
replied the voice, and at the same moment the flames began
to flicker and cease to burn, and I saw a fairy, whom I
had known as long as I could remember, and whose ugliness
had always horrified me. She was leaning upon the
arm of a most beautiful young girl, who wore chains of
gold on her wrists and was evidently her slave.
"`Why, Ragotte,' I said, for that was the fairy's name,
`what is the meaning of all this? Is it by your orders
that I am here?'
"`And whose fault is it,' she answered, `that you have
never understood me until now? Must a powerful fairy
like myself condescend to explain her doings to you who
are no better than an ant by comparison, though you
think yourself a great king?'
"`Call me what you like,' I said impatiently; `but
what is it that you want--my crown, or my cities, or my
"`Treasures!' said the fairy, disdainfully. `If I chose
I could make any one of my scullions richer and more
powerful than you. I do not want your treasures, but,'
she added softly, `if you will give me your heart--if you
will marry me--I will add twenty kingdoms to the one
you have already; you shall have a hundred castles full of
gold and five hundred full of silver, and, in short,
anything you like to ask me for.'
"`Madam Ragotte,' said I, `when one is at the bottom
of a pit where one has fully expected to be roasted alive,
it is impossible to think of asking such a charming per-
son as you are to marry one! I beg that you will set me
at liberty, and then I shall hope to answer you fittingly.'
"`Ah!' said she, `if you really loved me you would not
care where you were--a cave, a wood, a fox-hole, a
desert, would please you equally well. Do not think
that you can deceive me; you fancy you are going to
escape, but I assure you that you are going to stay here
and the first thing I shall give you to do will be to keep my
sheep--they are very good company and speak quite as
well as you do.
"As she spoke she advanced, and led me to this plain
where we now stand, and showed me her flock, but I paid
little attention to it or to her.
"To tell the truth, I was so lost in admiration of her
beautiful slave that I forgot everything else, and the
cruel Ragotte, perceiving this, turned upon her so furious
and terrible a look that she fell lifeless to the ground.
"At this dreadful sight I drew my sword and rushed at
Ragotte, and should certainly have cut off her head had
she not by her magic arts chained me to the spot on
which I stood; all my efforts to move were useless, and
at last, when I threw myself down on the ground in
despair, she said to me, with a scornful smile:
"`I intend to make you feel my power. It seems that
you are a lion at present, I mean you to be a sheep.'
"So saying, she touched me with her wand, and I
became what you see. I did not lose the power of speech,
or of feeling the misery of my present state.
"`For five years,' she said, `you shall be a sheep, and
lord of this pleasant land, while I, no longer able to see
your face, which I loved so much, shall be better able to
hate you as you deserve to be hated.'
"She disappeared as she finished speaking, and if I had
not been too unhappy to care about anything I should
have been glad that she was gone.
"The talking sheep received me as their king, and told
me that they, too, were unfortunate princes who had, in
different ways, offended the revengeful fairy, and had
been added to her flock for a certain number of years;
some more, some less. From time to time, indeed, one
regains his own proper form and goes back again to his
place in the upper world; but the other beings whom you
saw are the rivals or the enemies of Ragotte, whom she has
imprisoned for a hundred years or so; though even they
will go back at last. The young slave of whom I told
you about is one of these; I have seen her often, and it
has been a great pleasure to me. She never speaks to
me, and if I were nearer to her I know I should find her
only a shadow, which would be very annoying. However,
I noticed that one of my companions in misfortune
was also very attentive to this little sprite, and I found out
that he had been her lover, whom the cruel Ragotte had
taken away from her long before; since then I have cared
for, and thought of, nothing but how I might regain my
freedom. I have often been in the forest; that is where
I have seen you, lovely Princess, sometimes driving your
chariot, which you did with all the grace and skill in the
world; sometimes riding to the chase on so spirited a
horse that it seemed as if no one but yourself could have
managed it, and sometimes running races on the plain
with the Princesses of your Court--running so lightly
that it was you always who won the prize. Oh! Princess,
I have loved you so long, and yet how dare I tell you of
my love! what hope can there be for an unhappy sheep
Miranda was so surprised and confused by all that she
had heard that she hardly knew what answer to give to
the King of the Sheep, but she managed to make some
kind of little speech, which certainly did not forbid him
to hope, and said that she should not be afraid of the
shadows now she knew that they would some day come
to life again. "Alas!" she continued, "if my poor
Patypata, my dear Grabugeon, and pretty little Tintin, who
all died for my sake, were equally well off, I should have
nothing left to wish for here!"
Prisoner though he was, the King of the Sheep had
still some powers and privileges.
"Go," said he to his Master of the Horse, "go and
seek the shadows of the little black girl, the monkey, and
the dog: they will amuse our Princess."
And an instant afterward Miranda saw them coming
toward her, and their presence gave her the greatest
pleasure, though they did not come near enough for her
to touch them.
The King of the Sheep was so kind and amusing, and
loved Miranda so dearly, that at last she began to love
him too. Such a handsome sheep, who was so polite
and considerate, could hardly fail to please, especially
if one knew that he was really a king, and that his strange
imprisonment would soon come to an end. So the Princess's
days passed very gaily while she waited for the
happy time to come. The King of the Sheep, with the
help of all the flock, got up balls, concerts, and hunting
parties, and even the shadows joined in all the fun, and
came, making believe to be their own real selves.
One evening, when the couriers arrived (for the King
sent most carefully for news--and they always brought
the very best kinds), it was announced that the sister of
the Princess Miranda was going to be married to a great
Prince, and that nothing could be more splendid than all
the preparations for the wedding.
"Ah!" cried the young Princess, "how unlucky I am
to miss the sight of so many pretty things! Here am I
imprisoned under the earth, with no company but sheep
and shadows, while my sister is to be adorned like a
queen and surrounded by all who love and admire her,
and everyone but myself can go to wish her joy!"
"Why do you complain, Princess?" said the King of
the Sheep. "Did I say that you were not to go to the
wedding? Set out as soon as you please; only promise
me that you will come back, for I love you too much to
be able to live without you."
Miranda was very grateful to him, and promised
faithfully that nothing in the world should keep her from
coming back. The King caused an escort suitable to her
rank to be got ready for her, and she dressed herself
splendidly, not forgetting anything that could make her
more beautiful. Her chariot was of mother-of-pearl,
drawn by six dun-colored griffins just brought from the
other side of the world, and she was attended by a
number of guards in splendid uniforms, who were all at least
eight feet high and had come from far and near to ride
in the Princess's train.
Miranda reached her father's palace just as the
wedding ceremony began, and everyone, as soon as she came
in, was struck with surprise at her beauty and the
splendor of her jewels. She heard exclamations of
admiration on all sides; and the King her father looked at
her so attentively that she was afraid he must recognize
her; but he was so sure that she was dead that the idea
never occurred to him.
However, the fear of not getting away made her leave
before the marriage was over. She went out hastily,
leaving behind her a little coral casket set with emeralds.
On it was written in diamond letters: "Jewels for the
Bride," and when they opened it, which they did as soon
as it was found, there seemed to be no end to the pretty
things it contained. The King, who had hoped to join
the unknown Princess and find out who she was, was
dreadfully disappointed when she disappeared so
suddenly, and gave orders that if she ever came again the
doors were to be shut that she might not get away so
easily. Short as Miranda's absence had been, it had
seemed like a hundred years to the King of the Sheep.
He was waiting for her by a fountain in the thickest part
of the forest, and the ground was strewn with splendid
presents which he had prepared for her to show his joy
and gratitude at her coming back.
As soon as she was in sight he rushed to meet her,
leaping and bounding like a real sheep. He caressed her
tenderly, throwing himself at her feet and kissing her
hands, and told her how uneasy he had been in her
absence, and how impatient for her return, with an
eloquence which charmed her.
After some time came the news that the King's second
daughter was going to be married. When Miranda heard
it she begged the King of the Sheep to allow her to go and
see the wedding as before. This request made him feel
very sad, as if some misfortune must surely come of it,
but his love for the Princess being stronger than anything
else he did not like to refuse her.
"You wish to leave me, Princess," said he; "it is my
unhappy fate--you are not to blame. I consent to your
going, but, believe me, I can give you no stronger proof
of my love than by so doing."
The Princess assured him that she would only stay a
very short time, as she had done before, and begged him
not to be uneasy, as she would be quite as much grieved
if anything detained her as he could possibly be.
So, with the same escort, she set out, and reached the
palace as the marriage ceremony began. Everybody was
delighted to see her; she was so pretty that they thought
she must be some fairy princess, and the Princes who were
there could not take their eyes off her.
The King was more glad than anyone else that she had
come again, and gave orders that the doors should all be
shut and bolted that very minute. When the wedding
was all but over the Princess got up quickly, hoping to
slip away unnoticed among the crowd, but, to her great
dismay, she found every door fastened.
She felt more at ease when the King came up to her, and
with the greatest respect begged her not to run away so
soon, but at least to honor him by staying for the splendid
feast which was prepared for the Princes and Princesses.
He led her into a magnificent hall, where all the Court was
assembled, and himself taking up the golden bowl full of
water, he offered it to her that she might dip her pretty
fingers into it.
At this the Princess could no longer contain herself;
throwing herself at the King's feet, she cried out:
"My dream has come true after all--you have offered
me water to wash my hands on my sister's wedding day,
and it has not vexed you to do it."
The King recognized her at once--indeed, he had
already thought several times how much like his poor little
Miranda she was.
"Oh! my dear daughter," he cried, kissing her, "can you
ever forget my cruelty? I ordered you to be put to death
because I thought your dream portended the loss of my
crown. And so it did," he added, "for now your sisters
are both married and have kingdoms of their own--and
mine shall be for you." So saying he put his crown on the
Princess's head and cried:
"Long live Queen Miranda!"
All the Court cried: "Long live Queen Miranda!" after
him, and the young Queen's two sisters came running up,
and threw their arms round her neck, and kissed her a
thousand times, and then there was such a laughing and
crying, talking and kissing, all at once, and Miranda
thanked her father, and began to ask after everyone--
particularly the Captain of the Guard, to whom she owed
so much; but, to her great sorrow, she heard that he was
dead. Presently they sat down to the banquet, and the
King asked Miranda to tell them all that had happened
to her since the terrible morning when he had sent the
Captain of the Guard to fetch her. This she did with so
much spirit that all the guests listened with breathless
interest. But while she was thus enjoying herself with
the King and her sisters, the King of the Sheep was waiting
impatiently for the time of her return, and when it
came and went, and no Princess appeared, his anxiety
became so great that he could bear it no longer.
"She is not coming back any more," he cried. "My
miserable sheep's face displeases her, and without
Miranda what is left to me, wretched creature that I am!
Oh! cruel Ragotte; my punishment is complete."
For a long time he bewailed his sad fate like this, and
then, seeing that it was growing dark, and that still there
was no sign of the Princess, he set out as fast as he could
in the direction of the town. When he reached the palace
he asked for Miranda, but by this time everyone had
heard the story of her adventures, and did not want her
to go back again to the King of the Sheep, so they refused
sternly to let him see her. In vain he begged and prayed
them to let him in; though his entreaties might have
melted hearts of stone they did not move the guards of
the palace, and at last, quite broken-hearted, he fell dead
at their feet.
In the meantime the King, who had not the least idea
of the sad thing that was happening outside the gate of his
palace, proposed to Miranda that she should be driven in
her chariot all round the town, which was to be illuminated
with thousands and thousands of torches, placed in
windows and balconies, and in all the grand squares.
But what a sight met her eyes at the very entrance of the
palace! There lay her dear, kind sheep, silent and motionless,
upon the pavement!
She threw herself out of the chariot and ran to him,
crying bitterly, for she realized that her broken promise
had cost him his life, and for a long, long time she was so
unhappy that they thought she would have died too.
So you see that even a princess is not always happy--
especially if she forgets to keep her word; and the greatest
misfortunes often happen to people just as they think they
have obtained their heart's desires!
 Madame d'Aulnoy.
THERE was, once upon a time, a man and his wife
fagot-makers by trade, who had several children, all boys.
The eldest was but ten years old, and the youngest only
They were very poor, and their seven children incommoded
them greatly, because not one of them was able to
earn his bread. That which gave them yet more uneasiness
was that the youngest was of a very puny constitution,
and scarce ever spoke a word, which made them take
that for stupidity which was a sign of good sense. He
was very little, and when born no bigger than one's
thumb, which made him be called Little Thumb.
The poor child bore the blame of whatsoever was done
amiss in the house, and, guilty or not, was always in the
wrong; he was, notwithstanding, more cunning and had a
far greater share of wisdom than all his brothers put
together; and, if he spake little, he heard and thought the
There happened now to come a very bad year, and the
famine was so great that these poor people resolved to rid
themselves of their children. One evening, when they
were all in bed and the fagot-maker was sitting with his
wife at the fire, he said to her, with his heart ready to
burst with grief:
"Thou seest plainly that we are not able to keep our
children, and I cannot see them starve to death before
my face; I am resolved to lose them in the wood to-morrow,
which may very easily be done; for, while they are busy
in tying up fagots, we may run away, and leave them,
without their taking any notice."
"Ah!" cried his wife; "and canst thou thyself have the
heart to take thy children out along with thee on purpose
to lose them?"
In vain did her husband represent to her their extreme
poverty: she would not consent to it; she was indeed poor,
but she was their mother. However, having considered
what a grief it would be to her to see them perish with
hunger, she at last consented, and went to bed all in tears.
Little Thumb heard every word that had been spoken;
for observing, as he lay in his bed, that they were talking
very busily, he got up softly, and hid himself under his
father's stool, that he might hear what they said without
being seen. He went to bed again, but did not sleep a
wink all the rest of the night, thinking on what he had to
do. He got up early in the morning, and went to the
river-side, where he filled his pockets full of small white
pebbles, and then returned home.
They all went abroad, but Little Thumb never told his
brothers one syllable of what he knew. They went into a
very thick forest, where they could not another at ten
paces distance. The fagot-maker began to cut wood, and
the children to gather up the sticks to make fagots. Their
father and mother, seeing them busy at their work, got
away from them insensibly, and ran away from them all
at once, along a by-way through the winding bushes.
When the children saw they were left alone, they began
to cry as loud as they could. Little Thumb let them cry
on, knowing very well how to get home again, for, as he
came, he took care to drop all along the way the little
white pebbles he had in his pockets. Then he said to them:
"Be not afraid, brothers; father and mother have left
us here, but I will lead you home again, only follow me."
They did so, and he brought them home by the very
same way they came into the forest. They dared not go
in, but sat themselves down at the door, listening to what
their father and mother were saying.
The very moment the fagot-maker and his wife reached
home the lord of the manor sent them ten crowns, which
he had owed them a long while, and which they never
expected. This gave them new life, for the poor people
were almost famished. The fagot-maker sent his wife
immediately to the butcher's. As it was a long while since
they had eaten a bit, she bought thrice as much meat as
would sup two people. When they had eaten, the woman
"Alas! where are now our poor children? they would
make a good feast of what we have left here; but it was
you, William, who had a mind to lose them: I told you we
should repent of it. What are they now doing in the
forest? Alas! dear God, the wolves have perhaps already
eaten them up; thou art very inhuman thus to have lost
The fagot-maker grew at last quite out of patience, for
she repeated it above twenty times, that they should repent
of it, and that she was in the right of it for so saying.
He threatened to beat her if she did not hold her tongue.
It was not that the fagot-maker was not, perhaps, more
vexed than his wife, but that she teased him, and that he
was of the humor of a great many others, who love wives to
speak well, but think those very importunate who are
continually doing so. She was half-drowned in tears, crying out:
"Alas! where are now my children, my poor children?"
She spoke this so very loud that the children, who were
at the gate, began to cry out all together:
"Here we are! Here we are!"
She ran immediately to open the door, and said,
"I am glad to see you, my dear children; you are very
hungry and weary; and my poor Peter, thou art horribly
bemired; come in and let me clean thee."
Now, you must know that Peter was her eldest son,
whom she loved above all the rest, because he was somewhat
carroty, as she herself was. They sat down to supper,
and ate with such a good appetite as pleased both father
and mother, whom they acquainted how frightened they
were in the forest, speaking almost always all together.
The good folks were extremely glad to see their children
once more at home, and this joy continued while the ten
crowns lasted; but, when the money was all gone, they
fell again into their former uneasiness, and resolved to lose
them again; and, that they might be the surer of doing it,
to carry them to a much greater distance than before.
They could not talk of this so secretly but they were
overheard by Little Thumb, who made account to get
out of this difficulty as well as the former; but, though he
got up very early in the morning to go and pick up some
little pebbles, he was disappointed, for he found the house-
door double-locked, and was at a stand what to do. When
their father had given each of them a piece of bread for
their breakfast, Little Thumb fancied he might make use
of this instead of the pebbles by throwing it in little bits
all along the way they should pass; and so he put the
bread in his pocket.
Their father and mother brought them into the thickest
and most obscure part of the forest, when, stealing away
into a by-path, they there left them. Little Thumb was
not very uneasy at it, for he thought he could easily find
the way again by means of his bread, which he had scattered
all along as he came; but he was very much surprised
when he could not find so much as one crumb; the
birds had come and had eaten it up, every bit. They were
now in great affliction, for the farther they went the more
they were out of their way, and were more and more
bewildered in the forest.
Night now came on, and there arose a terribly high
wind, which made them dreadfully afraid. They fancied
they heard on every side of them the howling of wolves
coming to eat them up. They scarce dared to speak or
turn their heads. After this, it rained very hard, which
wetted them to the skin; their feet slipped at every step
they took, and they fell into the mire, whence they got
up in a very dirty pickle; their hands were quite benumbed.
Little Thumb climbed up to the top of a tree, to see if
he could discover anything; and having turned his head
about on every side, he saw at last a glimmering light,
like that of a candle, but a long way from the forest. He
came down, and, when upon the ground, he could see it
no more, which grieved him sadly. However, having
walked for some time with his brothers toward that side
on which he had seen the light, he perceived it again as he
came out of the wood.
They came at last to the house where this candle was,
not without an abundance of fear: for very often they lost
sight of it, which happened every time they came into a