Part 1 out of 7
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The Green Fairy Book
Stella Margaret Alleyne
Green Fairy Book
To The Friendly Reader
This is the third, and probably the last, of the Fairy Books of
many colours. First there was the Blue Fairy Book; then,
children, you asked for more, and we made up the Red Fairy Book;
and, when you wanted more still, the Green Fairy Book was put
together. The stories in all the books are borrowed from many
countries; some are French, some German, some Russian, some
Italian, some Scottish, some English, one Chinese. However much
these nations differ about trifles, they all agree in liking
fairy tales. The reason, no doubt, is that men were much like
children in their minds long ago, long, long ago, and so before
they took to writing newspapers, and sermons, and novels, and
long poems, they told each other stories, such as you read in the
fairy books. They believed that witches could turn people into
beasts, that beasts could speak, that magic rings could make
their owners invisible, and all the other wonders in the stories.
Then, as the world became grown-up, the fairy tales which were
not written down would have been quite forgotten but that the old
grannies remembered them, and told them to the little
grandchildren: and when they, in their turn, became grannies,
they remembered them, and told them also. In this way these tales
are older than reading and writing, far older than printing. The
oldest fairy tales ever written down were written down in Egypt,
about Joseph's time, nearly three thousand five hundred years
ago. Other fairy stories Homer knew, in Greece, nearly three
thousand years ago, and he made them all up into a poem, the
Odyssey, which I hope you will read some day. Here you will find
the witch who turns men into swine, and the man who bores out the
big foolish giant's eye, and the cap of darkness, and the shoes
of swiftness, that were worn later by Jack the Giant-Killer.
These fairy tales are the oldest stories in the world, and as
they were first made by men who were childlike for their own
amusement, so they amuse children still, and also grown-up people
who have not forgotten how they once were children.
Some of the stories were made, no doubt, not only to amuse, but
to teach goodness. You see, in the tales, how the boy who is kind
to beasts, and polite, and generous, and brave, always comes best
through his trials, and no doubt these tales were meant to make
their hearers kind, unselfish, courteous, and courageous. This is
the moral of them. But, after all, we think more as we read them
of the diversion than of the lesson. There are grown-up people
now who say that the stories are not good for children, because
they are not true, because there are no witches, nor talking
beasts, and because people are killed in them, especially wicked
giants. But probably you who read the tales know very well how
much is true and how much is only make-believe, and I never yet
heard of a child who killed a very tall man merely because Jack
killed the giants, or who was unkind to his stepmother, if he had
one, because, in fairy tales, the stepmother is often
disagreeable. If there are frightful monsters in fairy tales,
they do not frighten you now, because that kind of monster is no
longer going about the world, whatever he may have done long,
long ago. He has been turned into stone, and you may see his
remains in museums. Therefore, I am not afraid that you will be
afraid of the magicians and dragons; besides, you see that a
really brave boy or girl was always their master, even in the
height of their power.
Some of the tales here, like The Half-Chick, are for very little
children; others for older ones. The longest tales, like Heart of
Ice, were not invented when the others were, but were written in
French, by clever men and women, such as Madame d'Aulnoy, and the
Count de Caylus, about two hundred years ago. There are not many
people now, perhaps there are none, who can write really good
fairy tales, because they do not believe enough in their own
stories, and because they want to be wittier than it has pleased
Heaven to make them.
So here we give you the last of the old stories, for the present,
and hope you will like them, and feel grateful to the Brothers
Grimm, who took them down from the telling of old women, and to
M. Sebillot and M. Charles Marelles, who have lent us some tales
from their own French people, and to Mr. Ford, who drew the
pictures, and to the ladies, Miss Blackley, Miss Alma Alleyne,
Miss Eleanor Sellar, Miss May Sellar, Miss Wright, and Mrs. Lang,
who translated many of the tales out of French, German, and other
If we have a book for you next year, it shall not be a fairy
book. What it is to be is a secret, but we hope that it will not
be dull. So good-bye, and when you have read a fairy book, lend
it to other children who have none, or tell them the stories in
your own way, which is a very pleasant mode of passing the time.
The Blue Bird
The Story of Caliph Stork
The Enchanted Watch
Sylvain and Jocosa
Prince Narcissus and the Princess Potentilla
Prince Featherhead and the Princess Celandine
The Three Little Pigs
Heart of Ice
The Enchanted Ring
The Golden Blackbird
The Little Soldier
The Magic Swan
The Dirty Shepherdess
The Enchanted Snake
The Biter Bit
Prince Fickle and Fair Helena
The Story of Hok Lee and the Dwarfs
The Story of the Three Bears
Prince Vivien and the Princess Placida
Little One-eye, Little Two-eyes, and Little Three-eyes
Jorinde and Joringel
Allerleirauh; or, the Many-furred Creature
The Twelve Huntsmen
Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle
The Crystal Coffin
The Three Snake-leaves
Jack my Hedgehog
The Golden Lads
The White Snake
The Story of a Clever Tailor
The Golden Mermaid
The War of the Wolf and the Fox
The Story of the Fisherman and his Wife
The Three Musicians
The Three Dogs
THE BLUE BIRD
Once upon a time there lived a King who was immensely rich. He
had broad lands, and sacks overflowing with gold and silver; but
he did not care a bit for all his riches, because the Queen, his
wife, was dead. He shut himself up in a little room and knocked
his head against the walls for grief, until his courtiers were
really afraid that he would hurt himself. So they hung
feather-beds between the tapestry and the walls, and then he
could go on knocking his head as long as it was any consolation
to him without coming to much harm. All his subjects came to see
him, and said whatever they thought would comfort him: some were
grave, even gloomy with him; and some agreeable, even gay; but
not one could make the least impression upon him. Indeed, he
hardly seemed to hear what they said. At last came a lady who was
wrapped in a black mantle, and seemed to be in the deepest grief.
She wept and sobbed until even the King's attention was
attracted; and when she said that, far from coming to try and
diminish his grief, she, who had just lost a good husband, was
come to add her tears to his, since she knew what he must be
feeling, the King redoubled his lamentations. Then he told the
sorrowful lady long stories about the good qualities of his
departed Queen, and she in her turn recounted all the virtues of
her departed husband; and this passed the time so agreeably that
the King quite forgot to thump his head against the feather-beds,
and the lady did not need to wipe the tears from her great blue
eyes as often as before. By degrees they came to talking about
other things in which the King took an interest, and in a
wonderfully short time the whole kingdom was astonished by the
news that the King was married again to the sorrowful lady.
Now the King had one daughter, who was just fifteen years old.
Her name was Fiordelisa, and she was the prettiest and most
charming Princess imaginable, always gay and merry. The new
Queen, who also had a daughter, very soon sent for her to come to
the Palace. Turritella, for that was her name, had been brought
up by her godmother, the Fairy Mazilla, but in spite of all the
care bestowed upon her, she was neither beautiful nor gracious.
Indeed, when the Queen saw how ill-tempered and ugly she appeared
beside Fiordelisa she was in despair, and did everything in her
power to turn the King against his own daughter, in the hope that
he might take a fancy to Turritella. One day the King said that
it was time Fiordelisa and Turritella were married, so he would
give one of them to the first suitable Prince who visited his
Court. The Queen answered:
'My daughter certainly ought to be the first to be married; she
is older than yours, and a thousand times more charming!'
The King, who hated disputes, said, 'Very well, it's no affair of
mine, settle it your own way.'
Very soon after came the news that King Charming, who was the
most handsome and magnificent Prince in all the country round,
was on his way to visit the King. As soon as the Queen heard
this, she set all her jewellers, tailors, weavers, and
embroiderers to work upon splendid dresses and ornaments for
Turritella, but she told the King that Fiordelisa had no need of
anything new, and the night before the King was to arrive, she
bribed her waiting woman to steal away all the Princess's own
dresses and jewels, so that when the day came, and Fiordelisa
wished to adorn herself as became her high rank, not even a
ribbon could she find.
However, as she easily guessed who had played her such a trick,
she made no complaint, but sent to the merchants for some rich
stuffs. But they said that the Queen had expressly forbidden them
to supply her with any, and they dared not disobey. So the
Princess had nothing left to put on but the little white frock
she had been wearing the day before; and dressed in that, she
went down when the time of the King's arrival came, and sat in a
corner hoping to escape notice. The Queen received her guest with
great ceremony, and presented him to her daughter, who was
gorgeously attired, but so much splendour only made her ugliness
more noticeable, and the King, after one glance at her, looked
the other way. The Queen, however, only thought that he was
bashful, and took pains to keep Turritella in full view. King
Charming then asked it there was not another Princess, called
'Yes,' said Turritella, pointing with her finger, 'there she is,
trying to keep out of sight because she is not smart.'
At this Fiordelisa blushed, and looked so shy and so lovely, that
the King was fairly astonished. He rose, and bowing low before
'Madam, your incomparable beauty needs no adornment.'
'Sire,' answered the Princess, 'I assure you that I am not in the
habit of wearing dresses as crumpled and untidy as this one, so I
should have been better pleased if you had not seen me at all.'
'Impossible!' cried King Charming. 'Wherever such a marvellously
beautiful Princess appears I can look at nothing else.'
Here the Queen broke in, saying sharply--
'I assure you, Sire, that Fiordelisa is vain enough already. Pray
make her no more flattering speeches.'
The King quite understood that she was not pleased, but that did
not matter to him, so he admired Fiordelisa to his heart's
content, and talked to her for three hours without stopping.
The Queen was in despair, and so was Turritella, when they saw
how much the King preferred Fiordelisa. They complained bitterly
to the King, and begged and teased him, until he at last
consented to have the Princess shut up somewhere out of sight
while King Charming's visit lasted. So that night, as she went to
her room, she was seized by four masked figures, and carried up
into the topmost room of a high tower, where they left her in the
deepest dejection. She easily guessed that she was to be kept out
of sight for fear the King should fall in love with her; but
then, how disappointing that was, for she already liked him very
much, and would have been quite willing to be chosen for his
bride! As King Charming did not know what had happened to the
Princess, he looked forward impatiently to meeting her again, and
he tried to talk about her with the courtiers who were placed in
attendance on him. But by the Queen's orders they would say
nothing good of her, but declared that she was vain, capricious,
and bad-tempered; that she tormented her waiting-maids, and that,
in spite of all the money that the King gave her, she was so mean
that she preferred to go about dressed like a poor shepherdess,
rather than spend any of it. All these things vexed the King very
much, and he was silent.
'It is true,' thought he, 'that she was very poorly dressed, but
then she was so ashamed that it proves that she was not
accustomed to be so. I cannot believe that with that lovely face
she can be as ill-tempered and contemptible as they say. No, no,
the Queen must be jealous of her for the sake of that ugly
daughter of hers, and so these evil reports are spread.'
The courtiers could not help seeing that what they had told the
King did not please him, and one of them cunningly began to
praise Fiordelisa, when he could talk to the King without being
heard by the others.
King Charming thereupon became so cheerful, and interested in all
he said, that it was easy to guess how much he admired the
Princess. So when the Queen sent for the courtiers and questioned
them about all they had found out, their report confirmed her
worst fears. As to the poor Princess Fiordelisa, she cried all
night without stopping.
'It would have been quite bad enough to be shut up in this gloomy
tower before I had ever seen King Charming,' she said; 'but now
when he is here, and they are all enjoying themselves with him,
it is too unkind.'
The next day the Queen sent King Charming splendid presents of
jewels and rich stuffs, and among other things an ornament made
expressly in honour of the approaching wedding. It was a heart
cut out of one huge ruby, and was surrounded by several diamond
arrows, and pierced by one. A golden true-lover's knot above the
heart bore the motto, 'But one can wound me,' and the whole jewel
was hung upon a chain of immense pearls. Never, since the world
has been a world, had such a thing been made, and the King was
quite amazed when it was presented to him. The page who brought
it begged him to accept it from the Princess, who chose him to be
'What!' cried he, 'does the lovely Princess Fiordelisa deign to
think of me in this amiable and encouraging way?'
'You confuse the names, Sire,' said the page hastily. 'I come on
behalf of the Princess Turritella.'
'Oh, it is Turritella who wishes me to be her knight,' said the
King coldly. 'I am sorry that I cannot accept the honour.' And he
sent the splendid gifts back to the Queen and Turritella, who
were furiously angry at the contempt with which they were
treated. As soon as he possibly could, King Charming went to see
the King and Queen, and as he entered the hall he looked for
Fiordelisa, and every time anyone came in he started round to see
who it was, and was altogether so uneasy and dissatisfied that
the Queen saw it plainly. But she would not take any notice, and
talked of nothing but the entertainments she was planning. The
Prince answered at random, and presently asked if he was not to
have the pleasure of seeing the Princess Fiordelisa.
'Sire,' answered the Queen haughtily, 'her father has ordered
that she shall not leave her own apartments until my daughter is
'What can be the reason for keeping that lovely Princess a
prisoner?' cried the King in great indignation.
'That I do not know,' answered the Queen; 'and even if I did, I
might not feel bound to tell you.'
The King was terribly angry at being thwarted like this. He felt
certain that Turritella was to blame for it, so casting a furious
glance at her he abruptly took leave of the Queen, and returned
to his own apartments. There he said to a young squire whom he
had brought with him: 'I would give all I have in the world to
gain the good will of one of the Princess's waiting-women, and
obtain a moment's speech with Fiordelisa.'
'Nothing could be easier,' said the young squire; and he very
soon made friends with one of the ladies, who told him that in
the evening Fiordelisa would be at a little window which looked
into the garden, where he could come and talk to her. Only, she
said, he must take very great care not to be seen, as it would be
as much as her place was worth to be caught helping King Charming
to see the Princess. The squire was delighted, and promised all
she asked; but the moment he had run off to announce his success
to the King, the false waiting-woman went and told the Queen all
that had passed. She at once determined that her own daughter
should be at the little window; and she taught her so well all
she was to say and do, that even the stupid Turritella could make
The night was so dark that the King had not a chance of finding
out the trick that was being played upon him, so he approached
the window with the greatest delight, and said everything that he
had been longing to say to Fiordelisa to persuade her of his love
for her. Turritella answered as she had been taught, that she was
very unhappy, and that there was no chance of her being better
treated by the Queen until her daughter was married. And then the
King entreated her to marry him; and thereupon he drew his ring
from his finger and put it upon Turritella's, and she answered
him as well as she could. The King could not help thinking that
she did not say exactly what he would have expected from his
darling Fiordelisa, but he persuaded himself that the fear of
being surprised by the Queen was making her awkward and
unnatural. He would not leave her until she had promised to see
him again the next night, which Turritella did willingly enough.
The Queen was overjoyed at the success of her stratagem, end
promised herself that all would now be as she wished; and sure
enough, as soon as it was dark the following night the King came,
bringing with him a chariot which had been given him by an
Enchanter who was his friend. This chariot was drawn by flying
frogs, and the King easily persuaded Turritella to come out and
let him put her into it, then mounting beside her he cried
'Now, my Princess, you are free; where will it please you that we
shall hold our wedding?'
And Turritella, with her head muffled in her mantle, answered
that the Fairy Mazilla was her godmother, and that she would like
it to be at her castle. So the King told the Frogs, who had the
map of the whole world in their heads, and very soon he and
Turritella were set down at the castle of the Fairy Mazilla. The
King would certainly have found out his mistake the moment they
stepped into the brilliantly lighted castle, but Turritella held
her mantle more closely round her, and asked to see the Fairy by
herself, and quickly told her all that had happened, and how she
had succeeded in deceiving King Charming.
'Oho! my daughter,' said the Fairy, 'I see we have no easy task
before us. He loves Fiordelisa so much that he will not be easily
pacified. I feel sure he will defy us!' Meanwhile the King was
waiting in a splendid room with diamond walls, so clear that he
could see the Fairy and Turritella as they stood whispering
together, and he was very much puzzled.
'Who can have betrayed us?' he said to himself. 'How comes our
enemy here? She must be plotting to prevent our marriage. Why
doesn't my lovely Fiordelisa make haste and come hack to me?'
But it was worse than anything he had imagined when the Fairy
Mazilla entered, leading Turritella by the hand, and said to
'King Charming, here is the Princess Turritella to whom you have
plighted your faith. Let us have the wedding at once.'
'I!' cried the King. 'I marry that little creature! What do you
take me for? I have promised her nothing!'
'Say no more. Have you no respect for a Fairy?' cried she
'Yes, madam,' answered the King, 'I am prepared to respect you as
much as a Fairy can be respected, if you will give me back my
'Am I not here?' interrupted Turritella. 'Here is the ring you
gave me. With whom did you talk at the little window, if it was
not with me?'
'What!' cried the King angrily, 'have I been altogether deceived
and deluded? Where is my chariot? Not another moment will I stay
'Oho,' said the Fairy, 'not so fast.' And she touched his feet,
which instantly became as firmly fixed to the floor as if they
had been nailed there.
'Oh! do whatever you like with me,' said the King; 'you may turn
me to stone, but I will marry no one but Fiordelisa.'
And not another word would he say, though the Fairy scolded and
threatened, and Turritella wept and raged for twenty days and
twenty nights. At last the Fairy Mazilla said furiously (for she
was quite tired out by his obstinacy), 'Choose whether you will
marry my goddaughter, or do penance seven years for breaking your
word to her.'
And then the King cried gaily: 'Pray do whatever you like with
me, as long as you deliver me from this ugly scold!'
'Scold!' cried Turritella angrily. 'Who are you, I should like to
know, that you dare to call me a scold? A miserable King who
breaks his word, and goes about in a chariot drawn by croaking
frogs out of a marsh!'
'Let us have no more of these insults,' cried the Fairy. 'Fly
from that window, ungrateful King, and for seven years be a Blue
Bird.' As she spoke the King's face altered, his arms turned to
wings, his feet to little crooked black claws. In a moment he had
a slender body like a bird, covered with shining blue feathers,
his beak was like ivory, his eyes were bright as stars, and a
crown of white feathers adorned his head.
As soon as the transformation was complete the King uttered a
dolorous cry and fled through the open window, pursued by the
mocking laughter of Turritella and the Fairy Mazilla. He flew on
until he reached the thickest part of the wood, and there,
perched upon a cypress tree, he bewailed his miserable fate.
'Alas! in seven years who knows what may happen to my darling
Fiordelisa!' he said. 'Her cruel stepmother may have married her
to someone else before I am myself again, and then what good will
life be to me?'
In the meantime the Fairy Mazilla had sent Turritella back to the
Queen, who was all anxiety to know how the wedding, had gone off.
But when her daughter arrived and told her all that had happened
she was terribly angry, and of course all her wrath fell upon
Fiordelisa. 'She shall have cause to repent that the King admires
her,' said the Queen, nodding her head meaningly, and then she
and Turritella went up to the little room in the tower where the
Princess was imprisoned. Fiordelisa was immensely surprised to
see that Turritella was wearing a royal mantle and a diamond
crown, and her heart sank when the Queen said: 'My daughter is
come to show you some of her wedding presents, for she is King
Charming's bride, and they are the happiest pair in the world, he
loves her to distraction.' All this time Turritella was spreading
out lace, and jewels, and rich brocades, and ribbons before
Fiordelisa's unwilling eyes, and taking good care to display King
Charming's ring, which she wore upon her thumb. The Princess
recognised it as soon as her eyes fell upon it, and after that
she could no longer doubt that he had indeed married Turritella.
In despair she cried, 'Take away these miserable gauds! what
pleasure has a wretched captive in the sight of them?' and then
she fell insensible upon the floor, and the cruel Queen laughed
maliciously, and went away with Turritella, leaving her there
without comfort or aid. That night the Queen said to the King,
that his daughter was so infatuated with King Charming, in spite
of his never having shown any preference for her, that it was
just as well she should stay in the tower until she came to her
senses. To which he answered that it was her affair, and she
could give what orders she pleased about the Princess.
When the unhappy Fiordelisa recovered, and remembered all she had
just heard, she began to cry bitterly, believing that King
Charming was lost to her for ever, and all night long she sat at
her open window sighing and lamenting; but when it was dawn she
crept away into the darkest corner of her little room and sat
there, too unhappy to care about anything. As soon as night came
again she once more leaned out into the darkness and bewailed her
Now it happened that King Charming, or rather the Blue Bird, had
been flying round the palace in the hope of seeing his beloved
Princess, but had not dared to go too near the windows for fear
of being seen and recognised by Turritella. When night fell he
had not succeeded in discovering where Fiordelisa was imprisoned,
and, weary and sad, he perched upon a branch of a tall fir tree
which grew close to the tower, and began to sing himself to
sleep. But soon the sound of a soft voice lamenting attracted his
attention, and listening intently he heard it say--
'Ah! cruel Queen! what have I ever done to be imprisoned like
this? And was I not unhappy enough before, that you must needs
come and taunt me with the happiness your daughter is enjoying
now she is King Charming's bride?'
The Blue Bird, greatly surprised, waited impatiently for the
dawn, and the moment it was light flew off to see who it could
have been who spoke thus. But he found the window shut, and could
see no one. The next night, however, he was on the watch, and by
the clear moonlight he saw that the sorrowful lady at the window
was Fiordelisa herself.
'My Princess! have I found you at last?' said he, alighting close
'Who is speaking to me?' cried the Princess in great surprise.
'Only a moment since you mentioned my name, and now you do not
know me, Fiordelisa,' said he sadly. 'But no wonder, since I am
nothing but a Blue Bird, and must remain one for seven years.'
'What! Little Blue Bird, are you really the powerful King
Charming?' said the Princess, caressing him.
'It is too true,' he answered. 'For being faithful to you I am
thus punished. But believe me, if it were for twice as long I
would bear it joyfully rather than give you up.'
'Oh! what are you telling me?' cried the Princess. 'Has not your
bride, Turritella, just visited me, wearing the royal mantle and
the diamond crown you gave her? I cannot be mistaken, for I saw
your ring upon her thumb.'
Then the Blue Bird was furiously angry, and told the Princess all
that had happened, how he had been deceived into carrying off
Turritella, and how, for refusing to marry her, the Fairy Mazilla
had condemned him to be a Blue Bird for seven years.
The Princess was very happy when she heard how faithful her lover
was, and would never have tired of hearing his loving speeches
and explanations, but too soon the sun rose, and they had to part
lest the Blue Bird should be discovered. After promising to come
again to the Princess's window as soon as it was dark, he flew
away, and hid himself in a little hole in the fir-tree, while
Fiordelisa remained devoured by anxiety lest he should be caught
in a trap, or eaten up by an eagle.
But the Blue Bird did not long stay in his hiding-place. He flew
away, and away, until he came to his own palace, and got into it
through a broken window, and there he found the cabinet where his
jewels were kept, and chose out a splendid diamond ring as a
present for the Princess. By the time he got back, Fiordelisa was
sitting waiting for him by the open window, and when he gave her
the ring, she scolded him gently for having run such a risk to
get it for her.
'Promise me that you will wear it always!' said the Blue Bird.
And the Princess promised on condition that he should come and
see her in the day as well as by night. They talked all night
long, and the next morning the Blue Bird flew off to his kingdom,
and crept into his palace through the broken window, and chose
from his treasures two bracelets, each cut out of a single
emerald. When he presented them to the Princess, she shook her
head at him reproachfully, saying--
'Do you think I love you so little that I need all these gifts to
remind me of you?'
And he answered--
'No, my Princess; but I love you so much that I feel I cannot
express it, try as I may. I only bring you these worthless
trifles to show that I have not ceased to think of you, though I
have been obliged to leave you for a time.' The following night
he gave Fiordelisa a watch set in a single pearl. The Princess
laughed a little when she saw it, and said--
'You may well give me a watch, for since I have known you I have
lost the power of measuring time. The hours you spend with me
pass like minutes, and the hours that I drag through without you
seem years to me.'
'Ah, Princess, they cannot seem so long to you as they do to me!'
he answered. Day by day he brought more beautiful things for the
Princess--diamonds, and rubies, and opals; and at night she
decked herself with them to please him, but by day she hid them
in her straw mattress. When the sun shone the Blue Bird, hidden
in the tall fir-tree, sang to her so sweetly that all the
passersby wondered, and said that the wood was inhabited by a
spirit. And so two years slipped away, and still the Princess was
a prisoner, and Turritella was not married. The Queen had offered
her hand to all the neighbouring Princes, but they always
answered that they would marry Fiordelisa with pleasure, but not
Turritella on any account. This displeased the Queen terribly.
'Fiordelisa must be in league with them, to annoy me!' she said.
'Let us go and accuse her of it.'
So she and Turritella went up into the tower. Now it happened
that it was nearly midnight, and Fiordelisa, all decked with
jewels, was sitting at the window with the Blue Bird, and as the
Queen paused outside the door to listen she heard the Princess
and her lover singing together a little song he had just taught
her. These were the words:--
'Oh! what a luckless pair are we,
One in a prison, and one in a tree.
All our trouble and anguish came
From our faithfulness spoiling our enemies' game.
But vainly they practice their cruel arts,
For nought can sever our two fond hearts.'
They sound melancholy perhaps, but the two voices sang them gaily
enough, and the Queen burst open the door, crying, 'Ah! my
Turritella, there is some treachery going on here!'
As soon as she saw her, Fiordelisa, with great presence of mind,
hastily shut her little window, that the Blue Bird might have
time to escape, and then turned to meet the Queen, who
overwhelmed her with a torrent of reproaches.
'Your intrigues are discovered, Madam,' she said furiously; 'and
you need not hope that your high rank will save you from the
punishment you deserve.'
'And with whom do you accuse me of intriguing, Madam?' said the
Princess. 'Have I not been your prisoner these two years, and who
have I seen except the gaolers sent by you?'
While she spoke the Queen and Turritella were looking at her in
the greatest surprise, perfectly dazzled by her beauty and the
splendour of her jewels, and the Queen said:
'If one may ask, Madam, where did you get all these diamonds?
Perhaps you mean to tell me that you have discovered a mine of
them in the tower!'
'I certainly did find them here,' answered the Princess.
'And pray,' said the Queen, her wrath increasing every moment,
'for whose admiration are you decked out like this, since I have
often seen you not half as fine on the most important occasions
'For my own,' answered Fiordelisa. 'You must admit that I have
had plenty of time on my hands, so you cannot be surprised at my
spending some of it in making myself smart.'
'That's all very fine,' said the Queen suspiciously. 'I think I
will look about, and see for myself.'
So she and Turritella began to search every corner of the little
room, and when they came to the straw mattress out fell such a
quantity of pearls, diamonds, rubies, opals, emeralds, and
sapphires, that they were amazed, and could not tell what to
think. But the Queen resolved to hide somewhere a packet of false
letters to prove that the Princess had been conspiring with the
King's enemies, and she chose the chimney as a good place.
Fortunately for Fiordelisa this was exactly where the Blue Bird
had perched himself, to keep an eye upon her proceedings, and try
to avert danger from his beloved Princess, and now he cried:
'Beware, Fiordelisa! Your false enemy is plotting against you.'
This strange voice so frightened the Queen that she took the
letter and went away hastily with Turritella, and they held a
council to try and devise some means of finding out what Fairy or
Enchanter was favouring the Princess. At last they sent one of
the Queen's maids to wait upon Fiordelisa, and told her to
pretend to be quite stupid, and to see and hear nothing, while
she was really to watch the Princess day and night, and keep the
Queen informed of all her doings.
Poor Fiordelisa, who guessed she was sent as a spy, was in
despair, and cried bitterly that she dared not see her dear Blue
Bird for fear that some evil might happen to him if he were
The days were so long, and the nights so dull, but for a whole
month she never went near her little window lest he should fly to
her as he used to do.
However, at last the spy, who had never taken her eyes off the
Princess day or night, was so overcome with weariness that she
fell into a deep sleep, and as son as the Princess saw that, she
flew to open her window and cried softly:
'Blue Bird, blue as the sky,
Fly to me now, there's nobody by.'
And the Blue Bird, who had never ceased to flutter round within
sight and hearing of her prison, came in an instant. They had so
much to say, and were so overjoyed to meet once more, that it
scarcely seemed to them five minutes before the sun rose, and the
Blue Bird had to fly away.
But the next night the spy slept as soundly as before, so that
the Blue Bird came, and he and the Princess began to think they
were perfectly safe, and to make all sorts of plans for being
happy as they were before the Queen's visit. But, alas! the third
night the spy was not quite so sleepy, and when the Princess
opened her window and cried as usual:
'Blue Bird, blue as the sky,
Fly to me now, there's nobody nigh,'
she was wide awake in a moment, though she was sly enough to keep
her eyes shut at first. But presently she heard voices, and
peeping cautiously, she saw by the moonlight the most lovely blue
bird in the world, who was talking to the Princess, while she
stroked and caressed it fondly.
The spy did not lose a single word of the conversation, and as
soon as the day dawned, and the Blue Bird had reluctantly said
good-bye to the Princess, she rushed off to the Queen, and told
her all she had seen and heard.
Then the Queen sent for Turritella, and they talked it over, and
very soon came to the conclusion than this Blue Bird was no other
than King Charming himself.
'Ah! that insolent Princess!' cried the Queen. 'To think that
when we supposed her to be so miserable, she was all the while as
happy as possible with that false King. But I know how we can
So the spy was ordered to go back and pretend to sleep as soundly
as ever, and indeed she went to bed earlier than usual, and
snored as naturally as possible, and the poor Princess ran to the
window and cried:
'Blue Bird, blue as the sky,
Fly to me now, there's nobody by!'
But no bird came. All night long she called, and waited, and
listened, but still there was no answer, for the cruel Queen had
caused the fir tree to be hung all over with knives, swords,
razors, shears, bill-hooks, and sickles, so that when the Blue
Bird heard the Princess call, and flew towards her, his wings
were cut, and his little black feet clipped off, and all pierced
and stabbed in twenty places, he fell back bleeding into his
hiding place in the tree, and lay there groaning and despairing,
for he thought the Princess must have been persuaded to betray
him, to regain her liberty.
'Ah! Fiordelisa, can you indeed be so lovely and so faithless?'
he sighed, 'then I may as well die at once!' And he turned over
on his side and began to die. But it happened that his friend the
Enchanter had been very much alarmed at seeing the Frog chariot
come back to him without King Charming, and had been round the
world eight times seeking him, but without success. At the very
moment when the King gave himself up to despair, he was passing
through the wood for the eighth time, and called, as he had done
all over the world:
'Charming! King Charming! Are you here?'
The King at once recognised his friend's voice, and answered very
'I am here.'
The Enchanter looked all round him, but could see nothing, and
then the King said again:
'I am a Blue Bird.'
Then the Enchanter found him in an instant, and seeing his
pitiable condition, ran hither and thither without a word, until
he had collected a handful of magic herbs, with which, and a few
incantations, he speedily made the King whole and sound again.
'Now,' said he, 'let me hear all about it. There must be a
Princess at the bottom of this.'
'There are two!' answered King Charming, with a wry smile.
And then he told the whole story, accusing Fiordelisa of having
betrayed the secret of his visits to make her peace with the
Queen, and indeed saying a great many hard things about her
fickleness and her deceitful beauty, and so on. The Enchanter
quite agreed with him, and even went further, declaring that all
Princesses were alike, except perhaps in the matter of beauty,
and advised him to have done with Fiordelisa, and forget all
about her. But, somehow or other, this advice did not quite
please the King.
'What is to be done next?' said the Enchanter, 'since you still
have five years to remain a Blue Bird.'
'Take me to your palace,' answered the King; 'there you can at
least keep me in a cage safe from cats and swords.'
'Well, that will be the best thing to do for the present,' said
his friend. 'But I am not an Enchanter for nothing. I'm sure to
have a brilliant idea for you before long.'
In the meantime Fiordelisa, quite in despair, sat at her window
day and night calling her dear Blue Bird in vain, and imagining
over and over again all the terrible things that could have
happened to him, until she grew quite pale and thin. As for the
Queen and Turritella, they were triumphant; but their triumph was
short, for the King, Fiordelisa's father, fell ill and died, and
all the people rebelled against the Queen and Turritella, and
came in a body to the palace demanding Fiordelisa.
The Queen came out upon the balcony with threats and haughty
words, so that at last they lost their patience, and broke open
the doors of the palace, one of which fell back upon the Queen
and killed her. Turritella fled to the Fairy Mazilla, and all the
nobles of the kingdom fetched the Princess Fiordelisa from her
prison in the tower, and made her Queen. Very soon, with all the
care and attention they bestowed upon her, she recovered from the
effects of her long captivity and looked more beautiful than
ever, and was able to take counsel with her courtiers, and
arrange for the governing of her kingdom during her absence. And
then, taking a bagful of jewels, she set out all alone to look
for the Blue Bird, without telling anyone where she was going.
Meanwhile, the Enchanter was taking care of King Charming, but as
his power was not great enough to counteract the Fairy Mazilla's,
he at last resolved to go and see if he could make any kind of
terms with her for his friend; for you see, Fairies and
Enchanters are cousins in a sort of way, after all; and after
knowing one another for five or six hundred years and falling
out, and making it up again pretty often, they understand one
another well enough. So the Fairy Mazilla received him
graciously. 'And what may you be wanting, Gossip?' said she.
'You can do a good turn for me if you will;' he answered. 'A
King, who is a friend of mine, was unlucky enough to offend
'Aha! I know who you mean,' interrupted the Fairy. 'I am sorry
not to oblige you, Gossip, but he need expect no mercy from me
unless he will marry my goddaughter, whom you see yonder looking
so pretty and charming. Let him think over what I say.'
The Enchanter hadn't a word to say, for he thought Turritella
really frightful, but he could not go away without making one
more effort for his friend the King, who was really in great
danger as long as he lived in a cage. Indeed, already he had met
with several alarming accidents. Once the nail on which his cage
was hung had given way, and his feathered Majesty had suffered
much from the fall, while Madam Puss, who happened to be in the
room at the time, had given him a scratch in the eye which came
very near blinding him. Another time they had forgotten to give
him any water to drink, so that he was nearly dead with thirst;
and the worst thing of all was that he was in danger of losing
his kingdom, for he had been absent so long that all his subjects
believed him to be dead. So considering all these things the
Enchanter agreed with the Fairy Mazilla that she should restore
the King to his natural form, and should take Turritella to stay
in his palace for several months, and if, after the time was over
he still could not make up his mind to marry her, he should once
more be changed into a Blue Bird.
Then the Fairy dressed Turritella in a magnificent gold and
silver robe, and they mounted together upon a flying Dragon, and
very soon reached King Charming's palace, where he, too, had just
been brought by his faithful friend the Enchanter.
Three strokes of the Fairy's wand restored his natural form, and
he was as handsome and delightful as ever, but he considered that
he paid dearly for his restoration when he caught sight of
Turritella, and the mere idea of marrying her made him shudder.
Meanwhile, Queen Fiordelisa, disguised as a poor peasant girl,
wearing a great straw hat that concealed her face, and carrying
an old sack over her shoulder, had set out upon her weary
journey, and had travelled far, sometimes by sea and sometimes by
land; sometimes on foot, and sometimes on horseback, but not
knowing which way to go. She feared all the time that every step
she took was leading her farther from her lover. One day as she
sat, quite tired and sad, on the bank of a little brook, cooling
her white feet in the clear running water, and combing her long
hair that glittered like gold in the sunshine, a little bent old
woman passed by, leaning on a stick. She stopped, and said to
'What, my pretty child, are you all alone?'
'Indeed, good mother, I am too sad to care for company,' she
answered; and the tears ran down her cheeks.
'Don't cry,' said the old woman, 'but tell me truly what is the
matter. Perhaps I can help you.'
The Queen told her willingly all that had happened, and how she
was seeking the Blue Bird. Thereupon the little old woman
suddenly stood up straight, and grew tall, and young, and
beautiful, and said with a smile to the astonished Fiordelisa:
'Lovely Queen, the King whom you seek is no longer a bird. My
sister Mazilla has given his own form back to him, and he is in
his own kingdom. Do not be afraid, you will reach him, and will
prosper. Take these four eggs; if you break one when you are in
any great difficulty, you will find aid.'
So saying, she disappeared, and Fiordelisa, feeling much
encouraged, put the eggs into her bag and turned her steps
towards Charming's kingdom. After walking on and on for eight
days and eight nights, she came at last to a tremendously high
hill of polished ivory, so steep that it was impossible to get a
foothold upon it. Fiordelisa tried a thousand times, and
scrambled and slipped, but always in the end found herself
exactly where she started from. At last she sat down at the foot
of it in despair, and then suddenly bethought herself of the
eggs. Breaking one quickly, she found in it some little gold
hooks, and with these fastened to her feet and hands, she mounted
the ivory hill without further trouble, for the little hooks
saved her from slipping. As soon as she reached the top a new
difficulty presented itself, for all the other side, and indeed
the whole valley, was one polished mirror, in which thousands and
thousands of people were admiring their reflections. For this was
a magic mirror, in which people saw themselves just as they
wished to appear, and pilgrims came to it from the four corners
of the world. But nobody had ever been able to reach the top of
the hill, and when they saw Fiordelisa standing there, they
raised a terrible outcry, declaring that if she set foot upon
their glass she would break it to pieces. The Queen, not knowing
what to do, for she saw it would be dangerous to try to go down,
broke the second egg, and out came a chariot, drawn by two white
doves, and Fiordelisa got into it, and was floated softly away.
After a night and a day the doves alighted outside the gate of
King Charming's kingdom. Here the Queen got out of the chariot,
and kissed the doves and thanked them, and then with a beating
heart she walked into the town, asking the people she met where
she could see the King. But they only laughed at her, crying:
'See the King? And pray, why do you want to see the King, my
little kitchen-maid? You had better go and wash your face first,
your eyes are not clear enough to see him!' For the Queen had
disguised herself, and pulled her hair down about her eyes, that
no one might know her. As they would not tell her, she went on
farther, and presently asked again, and this time the people
answered that to-morrow she might see the King driving through
the streets with the Princess Turritella, as it was said that at
last he had consented to marry her. This was indeed terrible news
to Fiordelisa. Had she come all this weary way only to find
Turritella had succeeded in making King Charming forget her?
She was too tired and miserable to walk another step, so she sat
down in a doorway and cried bitterly all night long. As soon as
it was light she hastened to the palace, and after being sent
away fifty times by the guards, she got in at last, and saw the
thrones set in the great hall for the King and Turritella, who
was already looked upon as Queen.
Fiordelisa hid herself behind a marble pillar, and very soon saw
Turritella make her appearance, richly dressed, but as ugly as
ever, and with her came the King, more handsome and splendid even
than Fiordelisa had remembered him. When Turritella had seated
herself upon the throne, the Queen approached her.
'Who are you, and how dare you come near my high-mightiness, upon
my golden throne?' said Turritella, frowning fiercely at her.
'They call me the little kitchen-maid,' she replied, 'and I come
to offer some precious things for sale,' and with that she
searched in her old sack, and drew out the emerald bracelets King
Charming had given her.
'Ho, ho!' said Turritella, those are pretty bits of glass. I
suppose you would like five silver pieces for them.'
'Show them to someone who understands such things, Madam,'
answered the Queen; 'after that we can decide upon the price.'
Turritella, who really loved King Charming as much as she could
love anybody, and was always delighted to get a chance of talking
to him, now showed him the bracelets, asking how much he
considered them worth. As soon as he saw them he remembered those
he had given to Fiordelisa, and turned very pale and sighed
deeply, and fell into such sad thought that he quite forgot to
answer her. Presently she asked him again, and then he said, with
a great effort:
'I believe these bracelets are worth as much as my kingdom. I
thought there was only one such pair in the world; but here, it
seems, is another.'
Then Turritella went back to the Queen, and asked her what was
the lowest price she would take for them.
'More than you would find it easy to pay, Madam,' answered she;
'but if you will manage for me to sleep one night in the Chamber
of Echoes, I will give you the emeralds.'
'By all means, my little kitchen-maid,' said Turritella, highly
The King did not try to find out where the bracelets had come
from, not because he did not want to know, but because the only
way would have been to ask Turritella, and he disliked her so
much that he never spoke to her if he could possibly avoid it. It
was he who had told Fiordelisa about the Chamber of Echoes, when
he was a Blue Bird. It was a little room below the King's own
bed-chamber, and was so ingeniously built that the softest
whisper in it was plainly heard in the King's room. Fiordelisa
wanted to reproach him for his faithlessness, and could not
imagine a better way than this. So when, by Turritella's orders,
she was left there she began to weep and lament, and never ceased
The King's pages told Turritella, when she asked them, what a
sobbing and sighing they had heard, and she asked Fiordelisa what
it was all about. The Queen answered that she often dreamed and
But by an unlucky chance the King heard nothing of all this, for
he took a sleeping draught every night before he lay down, and
did not wake up until the sun was high.
The Queen passed the day in great disquietude.
'If he did hear me,' she said, 'could he remain so cruelly
indifferent? But if he did not hear me, what can I do to get
another chance? I have plenty of jewels, it is true, but nothing
remarkable enough to catch Turritella's fancy.'
Just then she thought of the eggs, and broke one, out of which
came a little carriage of polished steel ornamented with gold,
drawn by six green mice. The coachman was a rose-coloured rat,
the postilion a grey one, and the carriage was occupied by the
tiniest and most charming figures, who could dance and do
wonderful tricks. Fiordelisa clapped her hands and danced for joy
when she saw this triumph of magic art, and as soon as it was
evening, went to a shady garden-path down which she knew
Turritella would pass, and then she made the mice galop, and the
tiny people show off their tricks, and sure enough Turritella
came, and the moment she saw it all cried:
'Little kitchen-maid, little kitchen-maid, what will you take for
And the Queen answered:
'Let me sleep once more in the Chamber of Echoes.'
'I won't refuse your request, poor creature,' said Turritella
And then she turned to her ladies and whispered
'The silly creature does not know how to profit by her chances;
so much the better for me.'
When night came Fiordelisa said all the loving words she could
think of, but alas! with no better success than before, for the
King slept heavily after his draught. One of the pages said:
'This peasant girl must he crazy;' but another answered:
'Yet what she says sounds very sad and touching.'
As for Fiordelisa, she thought the King must have a very hard
heart if he could hear how she grieved and yet pay her no
attention. She had but one more chance, and on breaking the last
egg she found to her great delight that it contained a more
marvellous thing than ever. It was a pie made of six birds,
cooked to perfection, and yet they were all alive, and singing
and talking, and they answered questions and told fortunes in the
most amusing way. Taking this treasure Fiordelisa once more set
herself to wait in the great hall through which Turritella was
sure to pass, and as she sat there one of the King's pages came
by, and said to her:
'Well, little kitchen-maid, it is a good thing that the King
always takes a sleeping draught, for if not he would be kept
awake all night by your sighing and lamenting.'
Then Fiordelisa knew why the King had not heeded her, and taking
a handful of pearls and diamonds out of her sack, she said, 'If
you can promise me that to-night the King shall not have his
sleeping draught, I will give you all these jewels.'
'Oh! I promise that willingly,' said the page.
At this moment Turritella appeared, and at the first sight of the
savoury pie, with the pretty little birds all singing and
chattering, she cried:--
'That is an admirable pie, little kitchen-maid. Pray what will
you take for it?'
'The usual price,' she answered. 'To sleep once more in the
Chamber of Echoes.'
'By all means, only give me the pie,' said the greedy Turritella.
And when night was come, Queen Fiordelisa waited until she
thought everybody in the palace would be asleep, and then began
to lament as before.
'Ah, Charming!' she said, 'what have I ever done that you should
forsake me and marry Turritella? If you could only know all I
have suffered, and what a weary way I have come to seek you.'
Now the page had faithfully kept his word, and given King
Charming a glass of water instead of his usual sleeping draught,
so there he lay wide awake, and heard every word Fiordelisa said,
and even recognised her voice, though he could not tell where it
'Ah, Princess!' he said, 'how could you betray me to our cruel
enemies when I loved you so dearly?'
Fiordelisa heard him, and answered quickly:
'Find out the little kitchen-maid, and she will explain
Then the King in a great hurry sent for his pages and said:
'If you can find the little kitchen-maid, bring her to me at
'Nothing could be easier, Sire,' they answered, 'for she is in
the Chamber of Echoes.'
The King was very much puzzled when he heard this. How could the
lovely Princess Fiordelisa be a little kitchen-maid? or how could
a little kitchen-maid have Fiordelisa's own voice? So he dressed
hastily, and ran down a little secret staircase which led to the
Chamber of Echoes. There, upon a heap of soft cushions, sat his
lovely Princess. She had laid aside all her ugly disguises and
wore a white silken robe, and her golden hair shone in the soft
lamp-light. The King was overjoyed at the sight, and rushed to
throw himself at her feet, and asked her a thousand questions
without giving her time to answer one. Fiordelisa was equally
happy to be with him once more, and nothing troubled them but the
remembrance of the Fairy Mazilla. But at this moment in came the
Enchanter, and with him a famous Fairy, the same in fact who had
given Fiordelisa the eggs. After greeting the King and Queen,
they said that as they were united in wishing to help King
Charming, the Fairy Mazilla had no longer any power against him,
and he might marry Fiordelisa as soon as he pleased. The King's
joy may be imagined, and as soon as it was day the news was
spread through the palace, and everybody who saw Fiordelisa loved
her directly. When Turritella heard what had happened she came
running to the King, and when she saw Fiordelisa with him she was
terribly angry, but before she could say a word the Enchanter and
the Fairy changed her into a big brown owl, and she floated away
out of one of the palace windows, hooting dismally. Then the
wedding was held with great splendour, and King Charming and
Queen Fiordelisa lived happily ever after.
L'Oiseau Bleu. Par Mme. d'Aulnoy.
Once upon a time there was a handsome black Spanish hen, who had
a large brood of chickens. They were all fine, plump little
birds, except the youngest, who was quite unlike his brothers and
sisters. Indeed, he was such a strange, queer-looking creature,
that when he first chipped his shell his mother could scarcely
believe her eyes, he was so different from the twelve other
fluffy, downy, soft little chicks who nestled under her wings.
This one looked just as if he had been cut in two. He had only
one leg, and one wing, and one eye, and he had half a head and
half a beak. His mother shook her head sadly as she looked at him
'My youngest born is only a half-chick. He can never grow up a
tall handsome cock like his brothers. They will go out into the
world and rule over poultry yards of their own; but this poor
little fellow will always have to stay at home with his mother.'
And she called him Medio Pollito, which is Spanish for
Now though Medio Pollito was such an odd, helpless-looking little
thing, his mother soon found that he was not at all willing to
remain under her wing and protection. Indeed, in character he was
as unlike his brothers and sisters as he was in appearance. They
were good, obedient chickens, and when the old hen chicked after
them, they chirped and ran back to her side. But Medio Pollito
had a roving spirit in spite of his one leg, and when his mother
called to him to return to the coop, he pretended that he could
not hear, because he had only one ear.
When she took the whole family out for a walk in the fields,
Medio Pollito would hop away by himself, and hide among the
Indian corn. Many an anxious minute his brothers and sisters had
looking for him, while his mother ran to and fro cackling in fear
As he grew older he became more self-willed and disobedient, and
his manner to his mother was often very rude, and his temper to
the other chickens very disagreeable.
One day he had been out for a longer expedition than usual in the
fields. On his return he strutted up to his mother with the
peculiar little hop and kick which was his way of walking, and
cocking his one eye at her in a very bold way he said:
'Mother, I am tired of this life in a dull farmyard, with nothing
but a dreary maize field to look at. I'm off to Madrid to see the
'To Madrid, Medio Pollito!' exclaimed his mother; 'why, you silly
chick, it would be a long journey for a grown-up cock, and a poor
little thing like you would be tired out before you had gone half
the distance. No, no, stay at home with your mother, and some
day, when you are bigger, we will go a little journey together.'
But Medio Pollito had made up his mind, and he would not listen
to his mother's advice, nor to the prayers and entreaties of his
brothers and sisters.
'What is the use of our all crowding each other up in this poky
little place?' he said. 'When I have a fine courtyard of my own
at the King's palace, I shall perhaps ask some of you to come and
pay me a short visit,' and scarcely waiting to say good-bye to
his family, away he stumped down the high road that led to
'Be sure that you are kind and civil to everyone you meet,'
called his mother, running after him; but he was in such a hurry
to be off, that he did not wait to answer her, or even to look
A little later in the day, as he was taking a short cut through a
field, he passed a stream. Now the stream was all choked up, and
overgrown with weeds and water-plants, so that its waters could
not flow freely.
'Oh! Medio Pollito,' it cried, as the half-chick hopped along its
banks, 'do come and help me by clearing away these weeds.'
'Help you, indeed!' exclaimed Medio Pollito, tossing his head,
and shaking the few feathers in his tail. 'Do you think I have
nothing to do but to waste my time on such trifles? Help
yourself, and don't trouble busy travellers. I am off to Madrid
to see the King,' and hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick, away stumped
A little later he came to a fire that had been left by some
gipsies in a wood. It was burning very low, and would soon be
'Oh! Medio Pollito,' cried the fire, in a weak, wavering voice as
the half-chick approached, 'in a few minutes I shall go quite
out, unless you put some sticks and dry leaves upon me. Do help
me, or I shall die!'
'Help you, indeed!' answered Medio Pollito. 'I have other things
to do. Gather sticks for yourself, and don't trouble me. I am off
to Madrid to see the King,' and hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick, away
stumped Medio Pollito.
The next morning, as he was getting near Madrid, he passed a
large chestnut tree, in whose branches the wind was caught and
entangled. 'Oh! Medio Pollito,' called the wind, 'do hop up here,
and help me to get free of these branches. I cannot come away,
and it is so uncomfortable.'
'It is your own fault for going there,' answered Medio Pollito.
'I can't waste all my morning stopping here to help you. Just
shake yourself off, and don't hinder me, for I am off to Madrid
to see the King,' and hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick, away stumped
Medio Pollito in great glee, for the towers and roofs of Madrid
were now in sight. When he entered the town he saw before him a
great splendid house, with soldiers standing before the gates.
This he knew must be the King's palace, and he determined to hop
up to the front gate and wait there until the King came out. But
as he was hopping past one of the back windows the King's cook
'Here is the very thing I want,' he exclaimed, 'for the King has
just sent a message to say that he must have chicken broth for
his dinner,' and opening the window he stretched out his arm,
caught Medio Pollito, and popped him into the broth-pot that was
standing near the fire. Oh! how wet and clammy the water felt as
it went over Medio Pollito's head, making his feathers cling to
'Water, water!' he cried in his despair, 'do have pity upon me
and do not wet me like this.'
'Ah! Medio Pollito,' replied the water, 'you would not help me
when I was a little stream away on the fields, now you must be
Then the fire began to burn and scald Medio Pollito, and he
danced and hopped from one side of the pot to the other, trying
to get away from the heat, and crying out in pain:
Fire, fire! do not scorch me like this; you can't think how it
'Ah! Medio Pollito,' answered the fire, 'you would not help me
when I was dying away in the wood. You are being punished.'
At last, just when the pain was so great that Medio Pollito
thought he must die, the cook lifted up the lid of the pot to see
if the broth was ready for the King's dinner.
'Look here!' he cried in horror, 'this chicken is quite useless.
It is burnt to a cinder. I can't send it up to the royal table;'
and opening the window he threw Medio Pollito out into the
street. But the wind caught him up, and whirled him through the
air so quickly that Medio Pollito could scarcely breathe, and his
heart beat against his side till he thought it would break.
'Oh, wind!' at last he gasped out, 'if you hurry me along like
this you will kill me. Do let me rest a moment, or--' but he was
so breathless that he could not finish his sentence.
'Ah! Medio Pollito,' replied the wind, 'when I was caught in the
branches of the chestnut tree you would not help me; now you are
punished.' And he swirled Medio Pollito over the roofs of the
houses till they reached the highest church in the town, and
there he left him fastened to the top of the steeple.
And there stands Medio Pollito to this day. And if you go to
Madrid, and walk through the streets till you come to the highest
church, you will see Medio Pollito perched on his one leg on the
steeple, with his one wing drooping at his side, and gazing sadly
out of his one eye over the town.
THE STORY OF CALIPH STORK
Caliph Chasid, of Bagdad, was resting comfortably on his divan one
fine afternoon. He was smoking a long pipe, and from time to time
he sipped a little coffee which a slave handed to him, and after
each sip he stroked his long beard with an air of enjoyment. In
short, anyone could see that the Caliph was in an excellent
humour. This was, in fact, the best time of day in which to
approach him, for just now he was pretty sure to be both affable
and in good spirits, and for this reason the Grand Vizier Mansor
always chose this hour in which to pay his daily visit.
He arrived as usual this afternoon, but, contrary to his usual
custom, with an anxious face. The Caliph withdrew his pipe for a
moment from his lips and asked, 'Why do you look so anxious, Grand
The Grand Vizier crossed his arms on his breast and bent low
before his master as he answered:
'Oh, my Lord! whether my countenance be anxious or not I know not,
but down below, in the court of the palace, is a pedlar with such
beautiful things that I cannot help feeling annoyed at having so
little money to spare.'
The Caliph, who had wished for some time past to give his Grand
Vizier a present, ordered his black slave to bring the pedlar
before him at once. The slave soon returned, followed by the
pedlar, a short stout man with a swarthy face, and dressed in very
ragged clothes. He carried a box containing all manner of wares--
strings of pearls, rings, richly mounted pistols, goblets, and
combs. The Caliph and his Vizier inspected everything, and the
Caliph chose some handsome pistols for himself and Mansor, and a
jewelled comb for the Vizier's wife. Just as the pedlar was about
to close his box, the Caliph noticed a small drawer, and asked if
there was anything else in it for sale. The pedlar opened the
drawer and showed them a box containing a black powder, and a
scroll written in strange characters, which neither the Caliph nor
the Mansor could read.
'I got these two articles from a merchant who had picked them up
in the street at Mecca,' said the pedlar. 'I do not know what they
may contain, but as they are of no use to me, you are welcome to
have them for a trifle.'
The Caliph, who liked to have old manuscripts in his library, even
though he could not read them, purchased the scroll and the box,
and dismissed the pedlar. Then, being anxious to know what might
be the contents of the scroll, he asked the Vizier if he did not
know of anyone who might be able to decipher it.
'Most gracious Lord and master,' replied the Vizier, 'near the
great Mosque lives a man called Selim the learned, who knows every
language under the sun. Send for him; it may be that he will be
able to interpret these mysterious characters.'
The learned Selim was summoned immediately.
'Selim,' said the Caliph, 'I hear you are a scholar. Look well at
this scroll and see whether you can read it. If you can, I will
give you a robe of honour; but if you fail, I will order you to
receive twelve strokes on your cheeks, and five-and-twenty on the
soles of your feet, because you have been falsely called Selim the
Selim prostrated himself and said, 'Be it according to your will,
oh master!' Then he gazed long at the scroll. Suddenly he
exclaimed: 'May I die, oh, my Lord, if this isn't Latin !'
'Well,' said the Caliph, 'if it is Latin, let us hear what it
So Selim began to translate: 'Thou who mayest find this, praise
Allah for his mercy. Whoever shall snuff the powder in this box,
and at the same time shall pronounce the word "Mutabor!" can
transform himself into any creature he likes, and will understand
the language of all animals. When he wishes to resume the human
form, he has only to bow three times towards the east, and to
repeat the same word. Be careful, however, when wearing the shape
of some beast or bird, not to laugh, or thou wilt certainly forget
the magic word and remain an animal for ever.'
When Selim the learned had read this, the Caliph was delighted. He
made the wise man swear not to tell the matter to anyone, gave him
a splendid robe, and dismissed him. Then he said to his Vizier,
'That's what I call a good bargain, Mansor. I am longing for the
moment when I can become some animal. To-morrow morning I shall
expect you early; we will go into the country, take some snuff
from my box, and then hear what is being said in air, earth, and
Next morning Caliph Chasid had barely finished dressing, and
breakfasting, when the Grand Vizier arrived, according to orders,
to accompany him in his expedition. The Caliph stuck the snuff-box
in his girdle, and, having desired his servants to remain at home,
started off with the Grand Vizier only in attendance. First they
walked through the palace gardens, but they looked in vain for
some creature which could tempt them to try their magic power. At
length the Vizier suggested going further on to a pond which lay
beyond the town, and where he had often seen a variety of
creatures, especially storks, whose grave, dignified appearance
and constant chatter had often attracted his attention.
The Caliph consented, and they went straight to the pond. As soon
as they arrived they remarked a stork strutting up and down with a
stately air, hunting for frogs, and now and then muttering
something to itself. At the same time they saw another stork far
above in the sky flying towards the same spot.
'I would wager my beard, most gracious master,' said the Grand
Vizier, 'that these two long legs will have a good chat together.
How would it be if we turned ourselves into storks?'
'Well said,' replied the Caliph; 'but first let us remember
carefully how we are to become men once more. True! Bow three
times towards the east and say "Mutabor!" and I shall be Caliph
and you my Grand Vizier again. But for Heaven's sake don't laugh
or we are lost!'
As the Caliph spoke he saw the second stork circling round his
head and gradually flying towards the earth. Quickly he drew the
box from his girdle, took a good pinch of the snuff, and offered
one to Mansor, who also took one, and both cried together
Instantly their legs shrivelled up and grew thin and red; their
smart yellow slippers turned to clumsy stork's feet, their arms to
wings; their necks began to sprout from between their shoulders
and grew a yard long; their beards disappeared, and their bodies
were covered with feathers.
'You've got a fine long bill, Sir Vizier,' cried the Caliph, after
standing for some time lost in astonishment. 'By the beard of the
Prophet I never saw such a thing in all my life!'
'My very humble thanks,' replied the Grand Vizier, as he bent his
long neck; 'but, if I may venture to say so, your Highness is even
handsomer as a stork than as a Caliph. But come, if it so pleases
you, let us go near our comrades there and find out whether we
really do understand the language of storks.'
Meantime the second stork had reached the ground. It first scraped
its bill with its claw, stroked down its feathers, and then
advanced towards the first stork. The two newly made storks lost
no time in drawing near, and to their amazement overheard the
'Good morning, Dame Longlegs. You are out early this morning!'
'Yes, indeed, dear Chatterbill! I am getting myself a morsel of
breakfast. May I offer you a joint of lizard or a frog's thigh?'
'A thousand thanks, but I have really no appetite this morning. I
am here for a very different purpose. I am to dance to-day before
my father's guests, and I have come to the meadow for a little
Thereupon the young stork began to move about with the most
wonderful steps. The Caliph and Mansor looked on in surprise for
some time; but when at last she balanced herself in a picturesque
attitude on one leg, and flapped her wings gracefully up and down,
they could hold out no longer; a prolonged peal burst from each of
their bills, and it was some time before they could recover their
composure. The Caliph was the first to collect himself. 'That was
the best joke,' said he, 'I've ever seen. It's a pity the stupid
creatures were scared away by our laughter, or no doubt they would
have sung next!'
Suddenly, however, the Vizier remembered how strictly they had
been warned not to laugh during their transformation. He at once
communicated his fears to the Caliph, who exclaimed, 'By Mecca and
Medina! it would indeed prove but a poor joke if I had to remain a
stork for the remainder of my days! Do just try and remember the
stupid word, it has slipped my memory.'
'We must bow three times eastwards and say "Mu...mu...mu..."'
They turned to the east and fell to bowing till their bills
touched the ground, but, oh horror--the magic word was quite
forgotten, and however often the Caliph bowed and however
touchingly his Vizier cried 'Mu...mu...' they could not recall it,
and the unhappy Chasid and Mansor remained storks as they were.
The two enchanted birds wandered sadly on through the meadows. In
their misery they could not think what to do next. They could not
rid themselves of their new forms; there was no use in returning
to the town and saying who they were; for who would believe a
stork who announced that he was a Caliph; and even if they did
believe him, would the people of Bagdad consent to let a stork
rule over them?
So they lounged about for several days, supporting themselves on
fruits, which, however, they found some difficulty in eating with
their long bills. They did not much care to eat frogs or lizards.
Their one comfort in their sad plight was the power of flying, and
accordingly they often flew over the roofs of Bagdad to see what
was going on there.
During the first few days they noticed signs of much disturbance
and distress in the streets, but about the fourth day, as they sat
on the roof of the palace, they perceived a splendid procession
passing below them along the street. Drums and trumpets sounded, a
man in a scarlet mantle, embroidered in gold, sat on a splendidly
caparisoned horse surrounded by richly dressed slaves; half Bagdad
crowded after him, and they all shouted, 'Hail, Mirza, the Lord of
The two storks on the palace roof looked at each other, and Caliph
Chasid said, 'Can you guess now, Grand Vizier, why I have been
enchanted? This Mirza is the son of my deadly enemy, the mighty
magician Kaschnur, who in an evil moment vowed vengeance on me.
Still I will not despair! Come with me, my faithful friend; we
will go to the grave of the Prophet, and perhaps at that sacred
spot the spell may be loosed.'
They rose from the palace roof, and spread their wings toward
But flying was not quite an easy matter, for the two storks had
had but little practice as yet.
'Oh, my Lord!' gasped the Vizier, after a couple of hours, 'I can
get on no longer; you really fly too quick for me. Besides, it is
nearly evening, and we should do well to find some place in which
to spend the night.'
Chasid listened with favour to his servant's suggestion, and
perceiving in the valley beneath them a ruin which seemed to
promise shelter they flew towards it. The building in which they
proposed to pass the night had apparently been formerly a castle.
Some handsome pillars still stood amongst the heaps of ruins, and
several rooms, which yet remained in fair preservation, gave
evidence of former splendour. Chasid and his companion wandered
along the passages seeking a dry spot, when suddenly Mansor stood
'My Lord and master,' he whispered, 'if it were not absurd for a
Grand Vizier, and still more for a stork, to be afraid of ghosts,
I should feel quite nervous, for someone, or something close by
me, has sighed and moaned quite audibly.'
The Caliph stood still and distinctly heard a low weeping sound
which seemed to proceed from a human being rather than from any
animal. Full of curiosity he was about to rush towards the spot
from whence the sounds of woe came, when the Vizier caught him by
the wing with his bill, and implored him not to expose himself to
fresh and unknown dangers. The Caliph, however, under whose
stork's breast a brave heart beat, tore himself away with the loss
of a few feathers, and hurried down a dark passage. He saw a door
which stood ajar, and through which he distinctly heard sighs,
mingled with sobs. He pushed open the door with his bill, but
remained on the threshold, astonished at the sight which met his
eyes. On the floor of the ruined chamber--which was but scantily
lighted by a small barred window--sat a large screech owl. Big
tears rolled from its large round eyes, and in a hoarse voice it
uttered its complaints through its crooked beak. As soon as it saw
the Caliph and his Vizier--who had crept up meanwhile--it gave
vent to a joyful cry. It gently wiped the tears from its eyes with
its spotted brown wings, and to the great amazement of the two
visitors, addressed them in good human Arabic.
'Welcome, ye storks! You are a good sign of my deliverance, for it
was foretold me that a piece of good fortune should befall me
through a stork.'
When the Caliph had recovered from his surprise, he drew up his
feet into a graceful position, bent his long neck, and said: 'Oh,
screech owl! from your words I am led to believe that we see in
you a companion in misfortune. But, alas! your hope that you may
attain your deliverance through us is but a vain one. You will
know our helplessness when you have heard our story.'
The screech owl begged him to relate it, and the Caliph
accordingly told him what we already know.
When the Caliph had ended, the owl thanked him and said: 'You hear
my story, and own that I am no less unfortunate than yourselves.
My father is the King of the Indies. I, his only daughter, am
named Lusa. That magician Kaschnur, who enchanted you, has been
the cause of my misfortunes too. He came one day to my father and
demanded my hand for his son Mirza. My father--who is rather
hasty--ordered him to be thrown downstairs. The wretch not long
after managed to approach me under another form, and one day, when
I was in the garden, and asked for some refreshment, he brought
me--in the disguise of a slave--a draught which changed me at once
to this horrid shape. Whilst I was fainting with terror he
transported me here, and cried to me with his awful voice: "There
shall you remain, lonely and hideous, despised even by the brutes,
till the end of your days, or till some one of his own free will
asks you to be his wife. Thus do I avenge myself on you and your
'Since then many months have passed away. Sad and lonely do I live
like any hermit within these walls, avoided by the world and a
terror even to animals; the beauties of nature are hidden from me,
for I am blind by day, and it is only when the moon sheds her pale
light on this spot that the veil falls from my eyes and I can
see.' The owl paused, and once more wiped her eyes with her wing,
for the recital of her woes had drawn fresh tears from her.
The Caliph fell into deep thought on hearing this story of the
Princess. 'If I am not much mistaken,' said he, 'there is some
mysterious connection between our misfortunes, but how to find the
key to the riddle is the question.'
The owl answered: 'Oh, my Lord! I too feel sure of this, for in my
earliest youth a wise woman foretold that a stork would bring me
some great happiness, and I think I could tell you how we might
save ourselves.' The Caliph was much surprised, and asked her what
'The Magician who has made us both miserable,' said she, 'comes
once a month to these ruins. Not far from this room is a large
hall where he is in the habit of feasting with his companions. I
have often watched them. They tell each other all about their evil
deeds, and possibly the magic word which you have forgotten may be
'Oh, dearest Princess!' exclaimed the Caliph, 'say, when does he
come, and where is the hall?'
The owl paused a moment and then said: 'Do not think me unkind,
but I can only grant your request on one condition.'
'Speak, speak!' cried Chasid; 'command, I will gladly do whatever
'Well,' replied the owl, 'you see I should like to be free too;
but this can only be if one of you will offer me his hand in
The storks seemed rather taken aback by this suggestion, and the
Caliph beckoned to his Vizier to retire and consult with him.
When they were outside the door the Caliph said: 'Grand Vizier,
this is a tiresome business. However, you can take her.'
'Indeed!' said the Vizier; 'so that when I go home my wife may
scratch my eyes out! Besides, I am an old man, and your Highness
is still young and unmarried, and a far more suitable match for a
young and lovely Princess.'
'That's just where it is,' sighed the Caliph, whose wings drooped
in a dejected manner; 'how do you know she is young and lovely? I
call it buying a pig in a poke.'
They argued on for some time, but at length, when the Caliph saw
plainly that his Vizier would rather remain a stork to the end of
his days than marry the owl, he determined to fulfil the condition
himself. The owl was delighted. She owned that they could not have
arrived at a better time, as most probably the magicians would
meet that very night.
She then proceeded to lead the two storks to the chamber. They
passed through a long dark passage till at length a bright ray of
light shone before them through the chinks of a half-ruined wall.
When they reached it the owl advised them to keep very quiet.
Through the gap near which they stood they could with ease survey
the whole of the large hall. It was adorned with splendid carved
pillars; a number of coloured lamps replaced the light of day. In
the middle of the hall stood a round table covered with a variety
of dishes, and about the table was a divan on which eight men were
seated. In one of these bad men the two recognised the pedlar who
had sold the magic powder. The man next him begged him to relate
all his latest doings, and amongst them he told the story of the
Caliph and his Vizier.
'And what kind of word did you give them?' asked another old
'A very difficult Latin word; it is "Mutabor."'
As soon as the storks heard this they were nearly beside
themselves with joy. They ran at such a pace to the door of the
ruined castle that the owl could scarcely keep up with them. When
they reached it the Caliph turned to the owl, and said with much
feeling: 'Deliverer of my friend and myself, as a proof of my
eternal gratitude, accept me as your husband.' Then he turned
towards the east. Three times the storks bowed their long necks to
the sun, which was just rising over the mountains. 'Mutabor!' they
both cried, and in an instant they were once more transformed. In
the rapture of their newly-given lives master and servant fell
laughing and weeping into each other's arms. Who shall describe
their surprise when they at last turned round and beheld standing
before them a beautiful lady exquisitely dressed!
With a smile she held out her hand to the Caliph, and asked: 'Do
you not recognise your screech owl?'
It was she! The Caliph was so enchanted by her grace and beauty,
that he declared being turned into a stork had been the best piece
of luck which had ever befallen him. The three set out at once for
Bagdad. Fortunately, the Caliph found not only the box with the
magic powder, but also his purse in his girdle; he was, therefore,
able to buy in the nearest village all they required for their
journey, and so at last they reached the gates of Bagdad.
Here the Caliph's arrival created the greatest sensation. He had
been quite given up for dead, and the people were greatly rejoiced
to see their beloved ruler again.
Their rage with the usurper Mirza, however, was great in
proportion. They marched in force to the palace and took the old
magician and his son prisoners. The Caliph sent the magician to
the room where the Princess had lived as an owl, and there had him
hanged. As the son, however, knew nothing of his father's acts,
the Caliph gave him his choice between death and a pinch of the
magic snuff. When he chose the latter, the Grand Vizier handed him
the box. One good pinch, and the magic word transformed him to a
stork. The Caliph ordered him to be confined in an iron cage, and
placed in the palace gardens.
Caliph Chasid lived long and happily with his wife the Princess.
His merriest time was when the Grand Vizier visited him in the
afternoon; and when the Caliph was in particularly high spirits he
would condescend to mimic the Vizier's appearance when he was a
stork. He would strut gravely, and with well-stiffened legs, up
and down the room, chattering, and showing how he had vainly bowed
to the east and cried 'Mu...Mu...' The Caliphess and her children
were always much entertained by this performance; but when the
Caliph went on nodding and bowing, and calling 'Mu...mu...' too
long, the Vizier would threaten laughingly to tell the Chaliphess
the subject of the discussion carried on one night outside the
door of Princess Screech Owl.
THE ENCHANTED WATCH
Once upon a time there lived a rich man who had three sons. When
they grew up, he sent the eldest to travel and see the world, and
three years passed before his family saw him again. Then he
returned, magnificently dressed, and his father was so delighted
with his behaviour, that he gave a great feast in his honour, to
which all the relations and friends were invited.
When the rejoicings were ended, the second son begged leave of his
father to go in his turn to travel and mix with the world. The
father was enchanted at the request, and gave him plenty of money
for his expenses, saying, 'If you behave as well as your brother,
I will do honour to you as I did to him.' The young man promised
to do his best, and his conduct during three years was all that it
should be. Then he went home, and his father was so pleased with
him that his feast of welcome was even more splendid than the one
The third brother, whose name was Jenik, or Johnnie, was
considered the most foolish of the three. He never did anything at
home except sit over the stove and dirty himself with the ashes;
but he also begged his father's leave to travel for three years.
'Go if you like, you idiot; but what good will it do you?'
The youth paid no heed to his father's observations as long as he
obtained permission to go. The father saw him depart with joy,
glad to get rid of him, and gave him a handsome sum of money for
Once, as he was making one of his journeys, Jenik chanced to cross
a meadow where some shepherds were just about to kill a dog. He
entreated them to spare it, and to give it to him instead which
they willingly did, and he went on his way, followed by the dog. A
little further on he came upon a cat, which someone was going to
put to death. He implored its life, and the cat followed him.
Finally, in another place, he saved a serpent, which was also
handed over to him and now they made a party of four--the dog
behind Jenik, the cat behind the dog, and the serpent behind the
Then the serpent said to Jenik, 'Go wherever you see me go,' for
in the autumn, when all the serpents hide themselves in their
holes, this serpent was going in search of his king, who was king
of all the snakes.
Then he added: 'My king will scold me for my long absence,
everyone else is housed for the winter, and I am very late. I
shall have to tell him what danger I have been in, and how,
without your help, I should certainly have lost my life. The king
will ask what you would like in return, and be sure you beg for
the watch which hangs on the wall. It has all sorts of wonderful
properties, you only need to rub it to get whatever you like.'
No sooner said than done. Jenik became the master of the watch,
and the moment he got out he wished to put its virtues to the
proof. He was hungry, and thought it would be delightful to eat in
the meadow a loaf of new bread and a steak of good beef washed
down by a flask of wine, so he scratched the watch, and in an
instant it was all before him. Imagine his joy!
Evening soon came, and Jenik rubbed his watch, and thought it
would be very pleasant to have a room with a comfortable bed and a
good supper. In an instant they were all before him. After supper
he went to bed and slept till morning, as every honest man ought
to do. Then he set forth for his father's house, his mind dwelling
on the feast that would be awaiting him. But as he returned in the
same old clothes in which he went away, his father flew into a
great rage, and refused to do anything for him. Jenik went to his
old place near the stove, and dirtied himself in the ashes without
The third day, feeling rather dull, he thought it would be nice to
see a three-story house filled with beautiful furniture, and with
vessels of silver and gold. So he rubbed the watch, and there it
all was. Jenik went to look for his father, and said to him: 'You
offered me no feast of welcome, but permit me to give one to you,
and come and let me show you my plate.'
The father was much astonished, and longed to know where his son
had got all this wealth. Jenik did not reply, but begged him to
invite all their relations and friends to a grand banquet.
So the father invited all the world, and everyone was amazed to
see such splendid things, so much plate, and so many fine dishes
on the table. After the first course Jenik prayed his father to
invite the King, and his daughter the Princess. He rubbed his
watch and wished for a carriage ornamented with gold and silver,
and drawn by six horses, with harness glittering with precious
stones. The father did not dare to sit in this gorgeous coach, but
went to the palace on foot. The King and his daughter were
immensely surprised with the beauty of the carriage, and mounted
the steps at once to go to Jenik's banquet. Then Jenik rubbed his
watch afresh, and wished that for six miles the way to the house
should be paved with marble. Who ever felt so astonished as the
King? Never had he travelled over such a gorgeous road.
When Jenik heard the wheels of the carriage, he rubbed his watch
and wished for a still more beautiful house, four stories high,
and hung with gold, silver, and damask; filled with wonderful
tables, covered with dishes such as no king had ever eaten before.
The King, the Queen, and the Princess were speechless with
surprise. Never had they seen such a splendid palace, nor such a
high feast! At dessert the King asked Jenik's father to give him
the young man for a son-in-law. No sooner said than done! The
marriage took place at once, and the King returned to his own
palace, and left Jenik with his wife in the enchanted house.
Now Jenik was not a very clever man, and at the end of a very
short time he began to bore his wife. She inquired how he managed
to build palaces and to get so many precious things. He told her
all about the watch, and she never rested till she had stolen the
precious talisman. One night she took the watch, rubbed it, and
wished for a carriage drawn by four horses; and in this carriage
she at once set out for her father's palace. There she called to
her own attendants, bade them follow her into the carriage, and
drove straight to the sea-side. Then she rubbed her watch, and
wished that the sea might be crossed by a bridge, and that a
magnificent palace might arise in the middle of the sea. No sooner
said than done. The Princess entered the house, rubbed her watch,
and in an instant the bridge was gone.
Left alone, Jenik felt very miserable. His father, mother, and
brothers, and, indeed, everybody else, all laughed at him. Nothing
remained to him but the cat and dog whose lives he had once saved.
He took them with him and went far away, for he could no longer
live with his family. He reached at last a great desert, and saw
some crows flying towards a mountain. One of them was a long way
behind, and when he arrived his brothers inquired what had made
him so late. 'Winter is here,' they said, 'and it is time to fly
to other countries.' He told them that he had seen in the middle
of the sea the most wonderful house that ever was built.
On hearing this, Jenik at once concluded that this must be the
hiding-place of his wife. So he proceeded directly to the shore
with his dog and his cat. When he arrived on the beach, he said to
the dog: 'You are an excellent swimmer, and you, little one, are
very light; jump on the dog's back and he will take you to the
palace. Once there, he will hide himself near the door, and you
must steal secretly in and try to get hold of my watch.'
No sooner said than done. The two animals crossed the sea; the dog
hid near the house, and the cat stole into the chamber. The
Princess recognised him, and guessed why he had come; and she took
the watch down to the cellar and locked it in a box. But the cat
wriggled its way into the cellar, and the moment the Princess
turned her back, he scratched and scratched till he had made a
hole in the box. Then he took the watch between his teeth, and
waited quietly till the Princess came back. Scarcely had she
opened the door when the cat was outside, and the watch into the
The cat was no sooner beyond the gates than she said to the dog:
'We are going to cross the sea; be very careful not to speak to
The dog laid this to heart and said nothing; but when they
approached the shore he could not help asking, 'Have you got the
The cat did not answer--he was afraid that he might let the
talisman fall. When they touched the shore the dog repeated his
'Yes,' said the cat.
And the watch fell into the sea. Then our two friends began each
to accuse the other, and both looked sorrowfully at the place
where their treasure had fallen in. Suddenly a fish appeared near
the edge of the sea. The cat seized it, and thought it would make
them a good supper.
'I have nine little children,' cried the fish. 'Spare the father
of a family!'
'Granted,' replied the cat; 'but on condition that you find our
The fish executed his commission, and they brought the treasure
back to their master. Jenik rubbed the watch and wished that the
palace, with the Princess and all its inhabitants, should be
swallowed up in the sea. No sooner said than done. Jenik returned
to his parents, and he and his watch, his cat and his dog, lived
together happily to the end of their days.