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The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, Ed.

Part 2 out of 7

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Everybody knows that though the fairies live hundreds of years
they do sometimes die, and especially as they are obliged to pass
one day in every week under the form of some animal, when of
course they are liable to accident. It was in this way that death
once overtook the Queen of the Fairies, and it became necessary to
call a general assembly to elect a new sovereign. After much
discussion, it appeared that the choice lay between two fairies,
one called Surcantine and the other Paridamie; and their claims
were so equal that it was impossible without injustice to prefer
one to the other. Under these circumstances it was unanimously
decided that whichever of the two could show to the world the
greatest wonder should be Queen; but it was to be a special kind
of wonder, no moving of mountains or any such common fairy tricks
would do. Surcantine, therefore, resolved that she would bring up
a Prince whom nothing could make constant. While Paridamie decided
to display to admiring mortals a Princess so charming that no one
could see her without falling in love with her. They were allowed
to take their own time, and meanwhile the four oldest fairies were
to attend to the affairs of the kingdom.

Now Paridamie had for a long time been very friendly with King
Bardondon, who was a most accomplished Prince, and whose court was
the model of what a court should be. His Queen, Balanice, was also
charming; indeed it is rare to find a husband and wife so
perfectly of one mind about everything. They had one little
daughter, whom they had named 'Rosanella,' because she had a
little pink rose printed upon her white throat. From her earliest
infancy she had shown the most astonishing intelligence, and the
courtiers knew her smart sayings by heart, and repeated them on
all occasions. In the middle of the night following the assembly
of fairies, Queen Balanice woke up with a shriek, and when her
maids of honour ran to see what was the matter, they found she had
had a frightful dream.

'I thought,' said she, 'that my little daughter had changed into a
bouquet of roses, and that as I held it in my hand a bird swooped
down suddenly and snatched it from me and carried it away.'

'Let some one run and see that all is well with the Princess,' she

So they ran; but what was their dismay when they found that the
cradle was empty; and though they sought high and low, not a trace
of Rosanella could they discover. The Queen was inconsolable, and
so, indeed, was the King, only being a man he did not say quite so
much about his feelings. He presently proposed to Balanice that
they should spend a few days at one of their palaces in the
country; and to this she willingly agreed, since her grief made
the gaiety of the capital distasteful to her. One lovely summer
evening, as they sat together on a shady lawn shaped like a star,
from which radiated twelve splendid avenues of trees, the Queen
looked round and saw a charming peasant-girl approaching by each
path, and what was still more singular was that everyone carried
something in a basket which appeared to occupy her whole
attention. As each drew near she laid her basket at Balanice's
feet, saying:

'Charming Queen, may this be some slight consolation to you in
your unhappiness!'

The Queen hastily opened the baskets, and found in each a lovely
baby-girl, about the same age as the little Princess for whom she
sorrowed so deeply. At first the sight of them renewed her grief;
but presently their charms so gained upon her that she forgot her
melancholy in providing them with nursery-maids, cradle-rockers,
and ladies-in-waiting, and in sending hither and thither for
swings and dolls and tops, and bushels of the finest sweetmeats.

Oddly enough, every baby had upon its throat a tiny pink rose. The
Queen found it so difficult to decide on suitable names for all of
them, that until she could settle the matter she chose a special
colour for everyone, by which it was known, so that when they were
all together they looked like nothing so much as a nosegay of gay
flowers. As they grew older it became evident that though they
were all remarkably intelligent, and profited equally by the
education they received, yet they differed one from another in
disposition, so much so that they gradually ceased to be known as
'Pearl,' or 'Primrose,' or whatever might have been their colour,
and the Queen instead would say:

'Where is my Sweet?' or 'my Beautiful,' or 'my Gay.'

Of course, with all these charms they had lovers by the dozen. Not
only in their own court, but princes from afar, who were
constantly arriving, attracted by the reports which were spread
abroad; but these lovely girls, the first Maids of Honour, were as
discreet as they were beautiful, and favoured no one.

But let us return to Surcantine. She had fixed upon the son of a
king who was cousin to Bardondon, to bring up as her fickle
Prince. She had before, at his christening, given him all the
graces of mind and body that a prince could possibly require; but
now she redoubled her efforts, and spared no pains in adding every
imaginable charm and fascination. So that whether he happened to
be cross or amiable, splendidly or simply attired, serious or
frivolous, he was always perfectly irresistible! In truth, he was
a charming young fellow, since the Fairy had given him the best
heart in the world as well as the best head, and had left nothing
to be desired but--constancy. For it cannot be denied that Prince
Mirliflor was a desperate flirt, and as fickle as the wind; so
much so, that by the time he arrived at his eighteenth birthday
there was not a heart left for him to conquer in his father's
kingdom--they were all his own, and he was tired of everyone!
Things were in this state when he was invited to visit the court
of his father's cousin, King Bardondon.

Imagine his feelings when he arrived and was presented at once to
twelve of the loveliest creatures in the world, and his
embarrassment was heightened by the fact that they all liked him
as much as he liked each one of them, so that things came to such
a pass that he was never happy a single instant without them. For
could he not whisper soft speeches to Sweet, and laugh with Joy,
while he looked at Beauty? And in his more serious moments what
could be pleasanter than to talk to Grave upon some shady lawn,
while he held the hand of Loving in his own, and all the others
lingered near in sympathetic silence? For the first time in his
life he really loved, though the object of his devotion was not
one person, but twelve, to whom he was equally attached, and even
Surcantine was deceived into thinking that this was indeed the
height of inconstancy. But Paridamie said not a word.

In vain did Prince Mirliflor's father write commanding him to
return, and proposing for him one good match after another.
Nothing in the world could tear him from his twelve enchantresses.

One day the Queen gave a large garden-party, and just as the
guests were all assembled, and Prince Mirliflor was as usual
dividing his attentions between the twelve beauties, a humming of
bees was heard. The Rose-maidens, fearing their stings, uttered
little shrieks, and fled all together to a distance from the rest
of the company. Immediately, to the horror of all who were looking
on, the bees pursued them, and, growing suddenly to an enormous
size, pounced each upon a maiden and carried her off into the air,
and in an instant they were all lost to view. This amazing
occurrence plunged the whole court into the deepest affliction,
and Prince Mirliflor, after giving way to the most violent grief
at first, fell gradually into a state of such deep dejection that
it was feared if nothing could rouse him he would certainly die.
Surcantine came in all haste to see what she could do for her
darling, but he rejected with scorn all the portraits of lovely
princesses which she offered him for his collection. In short, it
was evident that he was in a bad way, and the Fairy was at her
wits' end. One day, as he wandered about absorbed in melancholy
reflections, he heard sudden shouts and exclamations of amazement,
and if he had taken the trouble to look up he could not have
helped being as astonished as everyone else, for through the air a
chariot of crystal was slowly approaching which glittered in the
sunshine. Six lovely maidens with shining wings drew it by rose-
coloured ribbons, while a whole flight of others, equally
beautiful, were holding long garlands of roses crossed above it,
so as to form a complete canopy. In it sat the Fairy Paridamie,
and by her side a Princess whose beauty positively dazzled all who
saw her. At the foot of the great staircase they descended, and
proceeded to the Queen's apartments, though everyone had run
together to see this marvel, till it was quite difficult to make a
way through the crowd; and exclamations of wonder rose on all
sides at the loveliness of the strange Princess. 'Great Queen,'
said Paridamie, 'permit me to restore to you your daughter
Rosanella, whom I stole out of her cradle.'

After the first transports of joy were over the Queen said to

'But my twelve lovely ones, are they lost to me for ever? Shall I
never see them again?'

But Paridamie only said:

'Very soon you will cease to miss them!' in a tone that evidently
meant 'Don't ask me any more questions.' And then mounting again
into her chariot she swiftly disappeared.

The news of his beautiful cousin's arrival was soon carried to the
Prince, but he had hardly the heart to go and see her. However, it
became absolutely necessary that he should pay his respects, and
he had scarcely been five minutes in her presence before it seemed
to him that she combined in her own charming person all the gifts
and graces which had so attracted him in the twelve Rose-maidens
whose loss he had so truly mourned; and after all it is really
more satisfactory to make love to one person at a time. So it came
to pass that before he knew where he was he was entreating his
lovely cousin to marry him, and the moment the words had left his
lips, Paridamie appeared, smiling and triumphant, in the chariot
of the Queen of the Fairies, for by that time they had all heard
of her success, and declared her to have earned the kingdom. She
had to give a full account of how she had stolen Rosanella from
her cradle, and divided her character into twelve parts, that each
might charm Prince Mirliflor, and when once more united might cure
him of his inconstancy once and for ever.

And as one more proof of the fascination of the whole Rosanella, I
may tell you that even the defeated Surcantine sent her a wedding
gift, and was present at the ceremony which took place as soon as
the guests could arrive. Prince Mirliflor was constant for the
rest of his life. And indeed who would not have been in his place?
As for Rosanella, she loved him as much as all the twelve beauties
put together, so they reigned in peace and happiness to the end of
their long lives.

By the Comte de Caylus.


Once upon a time there lived in the same village two children, one
called Sylvain and the other Jocosa, who were both remarkable for
beauty and intelligence. It happened that their parents were not
on terms of friendship with one another, on account of some old
quarrel, which had, however, taken place so long ago, that they
had quite forgotten what it was all about, and only kept up the
feud from force of habit. Sylvain and Jocosa for their parts were
far from sharing this enmity, and indeed were never happy when
apart. Day after day they fed their flocks of sheep together, and
spent the long sunshiny hours in playing, or resting upon some
shady bank. It happened one day that the Fairy of the Meadows
passed by and saw them, and was so much attracted by their pretty
faces and gentle manners that she took them under her protection,
and the older they grew the dearer they became to her. At first
she showed her interest by leaving in their favourite haunts many
little gifts such as they delighted to offer one to the other, for
they loved each other so much that their first thought was always,
'What will Jocosa like?' or, 'What will please Sylvain?' And the
Fairy took a great delight in their innocent enjoyment of the
cakes and sweetmeats she gave them nearly every day. When they
were grown up she resolved to make herself known to them, and
chose a time when they were sheltering from the noonday sun in the
deep shade of a flowery hedgerow. They were startled at first by
the sudden apparition of a tall and slender lady, dressed all in
green, and crowned with a garland of flowers. But when she spoke
to them sweetly, and told them how she had always loved them, and
that it was she who had given them all the pretty things which it
had so surprised them to find, they thanked her gratefully, and
took pleasure in answering the questions she put to them. When she
presently bade them farewell, she told them never to tell anyone
else that they had seen her. 'You will often see me again,' added
she, 'and I shall be with you frequently, even when you do not see
me.' So saying she vanished, leaving them in a state of great
wonder and excitement. After this she came often, and taught them
numbers of things, and showed them many of the marvels of her
beautiful kingdom, and at last one day she said to them, 'You know
that I have always been kind to you; now I think it is time you
did something for me in your turn. You both remember the fountain
I call my favourite? Promise me that every morning before the sun
rises you will go to it and clear away every stone that impedes
its course, and every dead leaf or broken twig that sullies its
clear waters. I shall take it as a proof of your gratitude to me
if you neither forget nor delay this duty, and I promise that so
long as the sun's earliest rays find my favourite spring the
clearest and sweetest in all my meadows, you two shall not be
parted from one another.'

Sylvain and Jocosa willingly undertook this service, and indeed
felt that it was but a very small thing in return for all that the
fairy had given and promised to them. So for a long time the
fountain was tended with the most scrupulous care, and was the
clearest and prettiest in all the country round. But one morning
in the spring, long before the sun rose, they were hastening
towards it from opposite directions, when, tempted by the beauty
of the myriads of gay flowers which grew thickly on all sides,
they paused each to gather some for the other.

'I will make Sylvain a garland,' said Jocosa, and 'How pretty
Jocosa will look in this crown!' thought Sylvain.

Hither and thither they strayed, led ever farther and farther, for
the brightest flowers seemed always just beyond them, until at
last they were startled by the first bright rays of the rising
sun. With one accord they turned and ran towards the fountain,
reaching it at the same moment, though from opposite sides. But
what was their horror to see its usually tranquil waters seething
and bubbling, and even as they looked down rushed a mighty stream,
which entirely engulfed it, and Sylvain and Jocosa found
themselves parted by a wide and swiftly-rushing river. All this
had happened with such rapidity that they had only time to utter a
cry, and each to hold up to the other the flowers they had
gathered; but this was explanation enough. Twenty times did
Sylvain throw himself into the turbulent waters, hoping to be able
to swim to the other side, but each time an irresistible force
drove him back upon the bank he had just quitted, while, as for
Jocosa, she even essayed to cross the flood upon a tree which came
floating down torn up by the roots, but her efforts were equally
useless. Then with heavy hearts they set out to follow the course
of the stream, which had now grown so wide that it was only with
difficulty they could distinguish each other. Night and day, over
mountains and through valleys, in cold or in heat, they struggled
on, enduring fatigue and hunger and every hardship, and consoled
only by the hope of meeting once more--until three years had
passed, and at last they stood upon the cliffs where the river
flowed into the mighty sea.

And now they seemed farther apart than ever, and in despair they
tried once more to throw themselves into the foaming waves. But
the Fairy of the Meadows, who had really never ceased to watch
over them, did not intend that they should be drowned at last, so
she hastily waved her wand, and immediately they found themselves
standing side by side upon the golden sand. You may imagine their
joy and delight when they realised that their weary struggle was
ended, and their utter contentment as they clasped each other by
the hand. They had so much to say that they hardly knew where to
begin, but they agreed in blaming themselves bitterly for the
negligence which had caused all their trouble; and when she heard
this the Fairy immediately appeared to them. They threw themselves
at her feet and implored her forgiveness, which she granted
freely, and promised at the same time that now their punishment
was ended she would always befriend them. Then she sent for her
chariot of green rushes, ornamented with May dewdrops, which she
particularly valued and always collected with great care; and
ordered her six short-tailed moles to carry them all back to the
well-known pastures, which they did in a remarkably short time;
and Sylvain and Jocosa were overjoyed to see their dearly-loved
home once more after all their toilful wanderings. The Fairy, who
had set her mind upon securing their happiness, had in their
absence quite made up the quarrel between their parents, and
gained their consent to the marriage of the faithful lovers; and
now she conducted them to the most charming little cottage that
can be imagined, close to the fountain, which had once more
resumed its peaceful aspect, and flowed gently down into the
little brook which enclosed the garden and orchard and pasture
which belonged to the cottage. Indeed, nothing more could have
been thought of, either for Sylvain and Jocosa or for their
flocks; and their delight satisfied even the Fairy who had planned
it all to please them. When they had explored and admired until
they were tired they sat down to rest under the rose-covered
porch, and the Fairy said that to pass the time until the wedding
guests whom she had invited could arrive she would tell them a
story. This is it:

The Yellow Bird

Once upon a time a Fairy, who had somehow or other got into
mischief, was condemned by the High Court of Fairyland to live for
several years under the form of some creature, and at the moment
of resuming her natural appearance once again to make the fortune
of two men. It was left to her to choose what form she would take,
and because she loved yellow she transformed herself into a lovely
bird with shining golden feathers such as no one had ever seen
before. When the time of her punishment was at an end the
beautiful yellow bird flew to Bagdad, and let herself be caught by
a Fowler at the precise moment when Badi-al-Zaman was walking up
and down outside his magnificent summer palace. This Badi-al-
Zaman--whose name means 'Wonder-of-the-World'--was looked upon in
Bagdad as the most fortunate creature under the sun, because of
his vast wealth. But really, what with anxiety about his riches
and being weary of everything, and always desiring something he
had not, he never knew a moment's real happiness. Even now he had
come out of his palace, which was large and splendid enough for
fifty kings, weary and cross because he could find nothing new to
amuse him. The Fowler thought that this would be a favourable
opportunity for offering him the marvellous bird, which he felt
certain he would buy the instant he saw it. And he was not
mistaken, for when Badi-al-Zaman took the lovely prisoner into his
own hands, he saw written under its right wing the words, 'He who
eats my head will become a king,' and under its left wing, 'He who
eats my heart will find a hundred gold pieces under his pillow
every morning.' In spite of all his wealth he at once began to
desire the promised gold, and the bargain was soon completed. Then
the difficulty arose as to how the bird was to be cooked; for
among all his army of servants not one could Badi-al-Zaman trust.
At last he asked the Fowler if he were married, and on hearing
that he was he bade him take the bird home with him and tell his
wife to cook it.

'Perhaps,' said he, 'this will give me an appetite, which I have
not had for many a long day, and if so your wife shall have a
hundred pieces of silver.'

The Fowler with great joy ran home to his wife, who speedily made
a savoury stew of the Yellow Bird. But when Badi-al-Zaman reached
the cottage and began eagerly to search in the dish for its head
and its heart he could not find either of them, and turned to the
Fowler's wife in a furious rage. She was so terrified that she
fell upon her knees before him and confessed that her two children
had come in just before he arrived, and had so teased her for some
of the dish she was preparing that she had presently given the
head to one and the heart to the other, since these morsels are
not generally much esteemed; and Badi-al-Zaman rushed from the
cottage vowing vengeance against the whole family. The wrath of a
rich man is generally to be feared, so the Fowler and his wife
resolved to send their children out of harm's way; but the wife,
to console her husband, confided to him that she had purposely
given them the head and heart of the bird because she had been
able to read what was written under its wings. So, believing that
their children's fortunes were made, they embraced them and sent
them forth, bidding them get as far away as possible, to take
different roads, and to send news of their welfare. For
themselves, they remained hidden and disguised in the town, which
was really rather clever of them; but very soon afterwards Badi-
al-Zaman died of vexation and annoyance at the loss of the
promised treasure, and then they went back to their cottage to
wait for news of their children. The younger, who had eaten the
heart of the Yellow Bird, very soon found out what it had done for
him, for each morning when he awoke he found a purse containing a
hundred gold pieces under his pillow. But, as all poor people may
remember for their consolation, nothing in the world causes so
much trouble or requires so much care as a great treasure.
Consequently, the Fowler's son, who spent with reckless profusion
and was supposed to be possessed of a great hoard of gold, was
before very long attacked by robbers, and in trying to defend
himself was so badly wounded that he died.

The elder brother, who had eaten the Yellow Bird's head, travelled
a long way without meeting with any particular adventure, until at
last he reached a large city in Asia, which was all in an uproar
over the choosing of a new Emir. All the principal citizens had
formed themselves into two parties, and it was not until after a
prolonged squabble that they agreed that the person to whom the
most singular thing happened should be Emir. Our young traveller
entered the town at this juncture, with his agreeable face and
jaunty air, and all at once felt something alight upon his head,
which proved to be a snow-white pigeon. Thereupon all the people
began to stare, and to run after him, so that he presently reached
the palace with the pigeon upon his head and all the inhabitants
of the city at his heels, and before he knew where he was they
made him Emir, to his great astonishment.

As there is nothing more agreeable than to command, and nothing to
which people get accustomed more quickly, the young Emir soon felt
quite at his ease in his new position; but this did not prevent
him from making every kind of mistake, and so misgoverning the
kingdom that at last the whole city rose in revolt and deprived
him at once of his authority and his life--a punishment which he
richly deserved, for in the days of his prosperity he disowned the
Fowler and his wife, and allowed them to die in poverty.

'I have told you this story, my dear Sylvain and Jocosa,' added
the Fairy, 'to prove to you that this little cottage and all that
belongs to it is a gift more likely to bring you happiness and
contentment than many things that would at first seem grander and
more desirable. If you will faithfully promise me to till your
fields and feed your flocks, and will keep your word better than
you did before, I will see that you never lack anything that is
really for your good.'

Sylvain and Jocosa gave their faithful promise, and as they kept
it they always enjoyed peace and prosperity. The Fairy had asked
all their friends and neighbours to their wedding, which took
place at once with great festivities and rejoicings, and they
lived to a good old age, always loving one another with all their

By the Comte de Caylus.


It generally happens that people's surroundings reflect more or
less accurately their minds and dispositions, so perhaps that is
why the Flower Fairy lived in a lovely palace, with the most
delightful garden you can imagine, full of flowers, and trees, and
fountains, and fish-ponds, and everything nice. For the Fairy
herself was so kind and charming that everybody loved her, and all
the young princes and princesses who formed her court, were as
happy as the day was long, simply because they were near her. They
came to her when they were quite tiny, and never left her until
they were grown up and had to go away into the great world; and
when that time came she gave to each whatever gift he asked of
her. But it is chiefly of the Princess Sylvia that you are going
to hear now. The Fairy loved her with all her heart, for she was
at once original and gentle, and she had nearly reached the age at
which the gifts were generally bestowed. However, the Fairy had a
great wish to know how the other princesses who had grown up and
left her, were prospering, and before the time came for Sylvia to
go herself, she resolved to send her to some of them. So one day
her chariot, drawn by butterflies, was made ready, and the Fairy
said: 'Sylvia, I am going to send you to the court of Iris; she
will receive you with pleasure for my sake as well as for your
own. In two months you may come back to me again, and I shall
expect you to tell me what you think of her.'

Sylvia was very unwilling to go away, but as the Fairy wished it
she said nothing--only when the two months were over she stepped
joyfully into the butterfly chariot, and could not get back
quickly enough to the Flower-Fairy, who, for her part, was equally
delighted to see her again.

'Now, child,' said she, 'tell me what impression you have

'You sent me, madam,' answered Sylvia, 'to the Court of Iris, on
whom you had bestowed the gift of beauty. She never tells anyone,
however, that it was your gift, though she often speaks of your
kindness in general. It seemed to me that her loveliness, which
fairly dazzled me at first, had absolutely deprived her of the use
of any of her other gifts or graces. In allowing herself to be
seen, she appeared to think that she was doing all that could
possibly be required of her. But, unfortunately, while I was still
with her she became seriously ill, and though she presently
recovered, her beauty is entirely gone, so that she hates the very
sight of herself, and is in despair. She entreated me to tell you
what had happened, and to beg you, in pity, to give her beauty
back to her. And, indeed, she does need it terribly, for all the
things in her that were tolerable, and even agreeable, when she
was so pretty, seem quite different now she is ugly, and it is so
long since she thought of using her mind or her natural
cleverness, that I really don't think she has any left now. She is
quite aware of all this herself, so you may imagine how unhappy
she is, and how earnestly she begs for your aid.'

'You have told me what I wanted to know,' cried the Fairy, 'but
alas! I cannot help her; my gifts can be given but once.'

Some time passed in all the usual delights of the Flower-Fairy's
palace, and then she sent for Sylvia again, and told her she was
to stay for a little while with the Princess Daphne, and
accordingly the butterflies whisked her off, and set her down in
quite a strange kingdom. But she had only been there a very little
time before a wandering butterfly brought a message from her to
the Fairy, begging that she might be sent for as soon as possible,
and before very long she was allowed to return.

'Ah! madam,' cried she, 'what a place you sent me to that time!'

'Why, what was the matter?' asked the Fairy. 'Daphne was one of
the princesses who asked for the gift of eloquence, if I remember

'And very ill the gift of eloquence becomes a woman,' replied
Sylvia, with an air of conviction. 'It is true that she speaks
well, and her expressions are well chosen; but then she never
leaves off talking, and though at first one may be amused, one
ends by being wearied to death. Above all things she loves any
assembly for settling the affairs of her kingdom, for on those
occasions she can talk and talk without fear of interruption; but,
even then, the moment it is over she is ready to begin again about
anything or nothing, as the case may be. Oh! how glad I was to
come away I cannot tell you.'

The Fairy smiled at Sylvia's unfeigned disgust at her late
experience; but after allowing her a little time to recover she
sent her to the Court of the Princess Cynthia, where she left her
for three months. At the end of that time Sylvia came back to her
with all the joy and contentment that one feels at being once more
beside a dear friend. The Fairy, as usual, was anxious to hear
what she thought of Cynthia, who had always been amiable, and to
whom she had given the gift of pleasing.

'I thought at first,' said Sylvia, 'that she must be the happiest
Princess in the world; she had a thousand lovers who vied with one
another in their efforts to please and gratify her. Indeed, I had
nearly decided that I would ask a similar gift.'

'Have you altered your mind, then?' interrupted the Fairy.

'Yes, indeed, madam,' replied Sylvia; 'and I will tell you why.
The longer I stayed the more I saw that Cynthia was not really
happy. In her desire to please everyone she ceased to be sincere,
and degenerated into a mere coquette; and even her lovers felt
that the charms and fascinations which were exercised upon all who
approached her without distinction were valueless, so that in the
end they ceased to care for them, and went away disdainfully.'

'I am pleased with you, child,' said the Fairy; 'enjoy yourself
here for awhile and presently you shall go to Phyllida.'

Sylvia was glad to have leisure to think, for she could not make
up her mind at all what she should ask for herself, and the time
was drawing very near. However, before very long the Fairy sent
her to Phyllida, and waited for her report with unabated interest.

'I reached her court safely,' said Sylvia, 'and she received me
with much kindness, and immediately began to exercise upon me that
brilliant wit which you had bestowed upon her. I confess that I
was fascinated by it, and for a week thought that nothing could be
more desirable; the time passed like magic, so great was the charm
of her society. But I ended by ceasing to covet that gift more
than any of the others I have seen, for, like the gift of
pleasing, it cannot really give satisfaction. By degrees I wearied
of what had so delighted me at first, especially as I perceived
more and more plainly that it is impossible to be constantly smart
and amusing without being frequently ill-natured, and too apt to
turn all things, even the most serious, into mere occasions for a
brilliant jest.'

The Fairy in her heart agreed with Sylvia's conclusions, and felt
pleased with herself for having brought her up so well.

But now the time was come for Sylvia to receive her gift, and all
her companions were assembled; the Fairy stood in the midst and in
the usual manner asked what she would take with her into the great

Sylvia paused for a moment, and then answered: 'A quiet spirit.'
And the Fairy granted her request.

This lovely gift makes life a constant happiness to its possessor,
and to all who are brought into contact with her. She has all the
beauty of gentleness and contentment in her sweet face; and if at
times it seems less lovely through some chance grief or
disquietude, the hardest thing that one ever hears said is:

'Sylvia's dear face is pale to-day. It grieves one to see her so.'

And when, on the contrary, she is gay and joyful, the sunshine of
her presence rejoices all who have the happiness of being near

By the Comte de Caylus.


Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen who, though it is a
very long while since they died, were much the same in their
tastes and pursuits as people nowadays. The King, who was called
Cloverleaf, liked hunting better than anything else; but he
nevertheless bestowed as much care upon his kingdom as he felt
equal to--that is to say, he never made an end of folding and
unfolding the State documents. As to the Queen, she had once been
very pretty, and she liked to believe that she was so still, which
is, of course, always made quite easy for queens. Her name was
Frivola, and her one occupation in life was the pursuit of
amusement. Balls, masquerades, and picnics followed one another in
rapid succession, as fast as she could arrange them, and you may
imagine that under these circumstances the kingdom was somewhat
neglected. As a matter of fact, if anyone had a fancy for a town,
or a province, he helped himself to it; but as long as the King
had his horses and dogs, and the Queen her musicians and her
actors, they did not trouble themselves about the matter. King
Cloverleaf and Queen Frivola had but one child, and this Princess
had from her very babyhood been so beautiful, that by the time she
was four years old the Queen was desperately jealous of her, and
so fearful that when she was grown up she would be more admired
than herself, that she resolved to keep her hidden away out of
sight. To this end she caused a little house to be built not far
beyond the Palace gardens, on the bank of a river. This was
surrounded by a high wall, and in it the charming Potentilla was
imprisoned. Her nurse, who was dumb, took care of her, and the
necessaries of life were conveyed to her through a little window
in the wall, while guards were always pacing to and fro outside,
with orders to cut off the head of anyone who tried to approach,
which they would certainly have done without thinking twice about
it. The Queen told everyone, with much pretended sorrow, that the
Princess was so ugly, and so troublesome, and altogether so
impossible to love, that to keep her out of sight was the only
thing that could be done for her. And this tale she repeated so
often, that at last the whole court believed it. Things were in
this state, and the Princess was about fifteen years old, when
Prince Narcissus, attracted by the report of Queen Frivola's gay
doings, presented himself at the court. He was not much older than
the Princess, and was as handsome a Prince as you would see in a
day's journey, and really, for his age, not so very scatter-
brained. His parents were a King and Queen, whose story you will
perhaps read some day. They died almost at the same time, leaving
their kingdom to the eldest of their children, and commending
their youngest son, Prince Narcissus, to the care of the Fairy
Melinette. In this they did very well for him, for the Fairy was
as kind as she was powerful, and she spared no pains in teaching
the little Prince everything it was good for him to know, and even
imparted to him some of her own Fairy lore. But as soon as he was
grown up she sent him out to see the world for himself, though all
the time she was secretly keeping watch over him, ready to help in
any time of need. Before he started she gave him a ring which
would render him invisible when he put it on his finger. These
rings seem to be quite common; you must often have heard of them,
even if you have never seen one. It was in the course of the
Prince's wanderings, in search of experience of men and things,
that he came to the court of Queen Frivola, where he was extremely
well received. The Queen was delighted with him, so were all her
ladies; and the King was very polite to him, though he did not
quite see why the whole court was making such a fuss over him.

Prince Narcissus enjoyed all that went on, and found the time pass
very pleasantly. Before long, of course, he heard the story about
the Princess Potentilla, and, as it had by that time been repeated
many times, and had been added to here and there, she was
represented as such a monster of ugliness that he was really quite
curious to see her, and resolved to avail himself of the magic
power of his ring to accomplish his design. So he made himself
invisible, and passed the guard without their so much as
suspecting that anyone was near. Climbing the wall was rather a
difficulty, but when he at length found himself inside it he was
charmed with the peaceful beauty of the little domain it enclosed,
and still more delighted when he perceived a slender, lovely
maiden wandering among the flowers. It was not until he had sought
vainly for the imaginary monster that he realised that this was
the Princess herself, and by that time he was deeply in love with
her, for indeed it would have been hard to find anyone prettier
than Potentilla, as she sat by the brook, weaving a garland of
blue forget-me-nots to crown her waving golden locks, or to
imagine anything more gentle than the way she tended all the birds
and beasts who inhabited her small kingdom, and who all loved and
followed her. Prince Narcissus watched her every movement, and
hovered near her in a dream of delight, not daring as yet to
appear to her, so humble had he suddenly become in her presence.
And when evening came, and the nurse fetched the Princess into her
little house, he felt obliged to go back to Frivola's palace, for
fear his absence should be noticed and someone should discover his
new treasure. But he forgot that to go back absent, and dreamy,
and indifferent, when he had before been gay and ardent about
everything, was the surest way of awakening suspicion; and when,
in response to the jesting questions which were put to him upon
the subject, he only blushed and returned evasive answers, all the
ladies were certain that he had lost his heart, and did their
utmost to discover who was the happy possessor of it. As to the
Prince, he was becoming day by day more attached to Potentilla,
and his one thought was to attend her, always invisible, and help
her in everything she did, and provide her with everything that
could possibly amuse or please her. And the Princess, who had
learnt to find diversion in very small things in her quiet life,
was in a continual state of delight over the treasures which the
Prince constantly laid where she must find them. Then Narcissus
implored his faithful friend Melinette to send the Princess such
dreams of him as should make her recognise him as a friend when he
actually appeared before her eyes; and this device was so
successful that the Princess quite dreaded the cessation of these
amusing dreams, in which a certain Prince Narcissus was such a
delightful lover and companion. After that he went a step further
and began to have long talks with the Princess--still, however,
keeping himself invisible, until she begged him so earnestly to
appear to her that he could no longer resist, and after making her
promise that, no matter what he was like, she would still love
him, he drew the ring from his finger, and the Princess saw with
delight that he was as handsome as he was agreeable. Now, indeed,
they were perfectly happy, and they passed the whole long summer
day in Potentilla's favourite place by the brook, and when at last
Prince Narcissus had to leave her it seemed to them both that the
hours had gone by with the most amazing swiftness. The Princess
stayed where she was, dreaming of her delightful Prince, and
nothing could have been further from her thoughts than any trouble
or misfortune, when suddenly, in a cloud of dust and shavings, by
came the enchanter Grumedan, and unluckily he chanced to catch
sight of Potentilla. Down he came straightway and alighted at her
feet, and one look at her charming blue eyes and smiling lips
quite decided him that he must appear to her at once, though he
was rather annoyed to remember that he had on only his second-best
cloak. The Princess sprang to her feet with a cry of terror at
this sudden apparition, for really the Enchanter was no beauty. To
begin with, he was very big and clumsy, then he had but one eye,
and his teeth were long, and he stammered badly; nevertheless, he
had an excellent opinion of himself, and mistook the Princess's
cry of terror for an exclamation of delighted surprise. After
pausing a moment to give her time to admire him, the Enchanter
made her the most complimentary speech he could invent, which,
however, did not please her at all, though he was extremely
delighted with it himself. Poor Potentilla only shuddered and

'Oh! where is my Narcissus?'

To which he replied with a self-satisfied chuckle: 'You want a
narcissus, madam? Well, they are not rare; you shall have as many
as you like.'

Whereupon he waved his wand, and the Princess found herself
surrounded and half buried in the fragrant flowers. She would
certainly have betrayed that this was not the kind of narcissus
she wanted, but for the Fairy Melinette, who had been anxiously
watching the interview, and now thought it quite time to
interfere. Assuming the Prince's voice, she whispered in
Potentilla's ear:

'We are menaced by a great danger, but my only fear is for you, my
Princess. Therefore I beg you to hide what you really feel, and we
will hope that some way out of the difficulty may present itself.'

The Princess was much agitated by this speech, and feared lest the
Enchanter should have overheard it; but he had been loudly calling
her attention to the flowers, and chuckling over his own smartness
in getting them for her; and it was rather a blow to him when she
said very coldly that they were not the sort she preferred, and
she would be glad if he would send them all away. This he did, but
afterwards wished to kiss the Princess's hand as a reward for
having been so obliging; but the Fairy Melinette was not going to
allow anything of that kind. She appeared suddenly, in all her
splendour, and cried:

'Stay, Grumedan; this Princess is under my protection, and the
smallest impertinence will cost you a thousand years of captivity.
If you can win Potentilla's heart by the ordinary methods I cannot
oppose you, but I warn you that I will not put up with any of your
usual tricks.'

This declaration was not at all to the Enchanter's taste; but he
knew that there was no help for it, and that he would have to
behave well, and pay the Princess all the delicate attentions he
could think of; though they were not at all the sort of thing he
was used to. However, he decided that to win such a beauty it was
quite worth while; and Melinette, feeling that she could now leave
the Princess in safety, hurried off to tell Prince Narcissus what
was going forward. Of course, at the very mention of the Enchanter
as a rival he was furious, and I don't know what foolish things he
would not have done if Melinette had not been there to calm him
down. She represented to him what a powerful enchanter Grumedan
was, and how, if he were provoked, he might avenge himself upon
the Princess, since he was the most unjust and churlish of all the
enchanters, and had often before had to be punished by the Fairy
Queen for some of his ill-deeds. Once he had been imprisoned in a
tree, and was only released when it was blown down by a furious
wind; another time he was condemned to stay under a big stone at
the bottom of a river, until by some chance the stone should be
turned over; but nothing could ever really improve him. The Fairy
finally made Narcissus promise that he would remain invisible when
he was with the Princess, since she felt sure that this would make
things easier for all of them. Then began a struggle between
Grumedan and the Prince, the latter under the name of Melinette,
as to which could best delight and divert the Princess and win her
approbation. Prince Narcissus first made friends with all the
birds in Potentilla's little domain, and taught them to sing her
name and her praises, with all their sweetest trills and most
touching melodies, and all day long to tell her how dearly he
loved her. Grumedan, thereupon, declared that there was nothing
new about that, since the birds had sung since the world began,
and all lovers had imagined that they sang for them alone.
Therefore he said he would himself write an opera that should be
absolutely a novelty and something worth hearing. When the time
came for the performance (which lasted five weary hours) the
Princess found to her dismay that the 'opera' consisted of this
more than indifferent verse, chanted with all their might by ten
thousand frogs:

'Admirable Potentilla, Do you think it kind or wise In this sudden
way to kill a Poor Enchanter with your eyes?'

Really, if Narcissus had not been there to whisper in her ear and
divert her attention, I don't know what would have become of poor
Potentilla, for though the first repetition of this absurdity
amused her faintly, she nearly died of weariness before the time
was over. Luckily Grumedan did not perceive this, as he was too
much occupied in whipping up the frogs, many of whom perished
miserably from fatigue, since he did not allow them to rest for a
moment. The Prince's next idea for Potentilla's amusement was to
cause a fleet of boats exactly like those of Cleopatra, of which
you have doubtless read in history, to come up the little river,
and upon the most gorgeously decorated of these reclined the great
Queen herself, who, as soon as she reached the place where
Potentilla sat in rapt attention, stepped majestically on shore
and presented the Princess with that celebrated pearl of which you
have heard so much, saying:

'You are more beautiful than I ever was. Let my example warn you
to make a better use of your beauty!'

And then the little fleet sailed on, until it was lost to view in
the windings of the river. Grumedan was also looking on at the
spectacle, and said very contemptuously:

'I cannot say I think these marionettes amusing. What a to-do to
make over a single pearl! But if you like pearls, madam, why, I
will soon gratify you.'

So saying, he drew a whistle from his pocket, and no sooner had he
blown it than the Princess saw the water of the river bubble and
grow muddy, and in another instant up came hundreds of thousands
of great oysters, who climbed slowly and laboriously towards her
and laid at her feet all the pearls they contained.

'Those are what I call pearls,' cried Grumedan in high glee. And
truly there were enough of them to pave every path in Potentilla's
garden and leave some to spare! The next day Prince Narcissus had
prepared for the Princess's pleasure a charming arbour of leafy
branches, with couches of moss and grassy floor and garlands
everywhere, with her name written in different coloured blossoms.
Here he caused a dainty little banquet to be set forth, while
hidden musicians played softly, and the silvery fountains plashed
down into their marble basins, and when presently the music
stopped a single nightingale broke the stillness with his
delicious chant.

'Ah!' cried the Princess, recognizing the voice of one of her
favourites, 'Philomel, my sweet one, who taught you that new

And he answered: 'Love, my Princess.'

Meanwhile the Enchanter was very ill-pleased with the
entertainment, which he declared was dulness itself.

'You don't seem to have any idea in these parts beyond little
squeaking birds!' said he. 'And fancy giving a banquet without so
much as an ounce of plate!'

So the next day, when the Princess went out into her garden, there
stood a summer-house built of solid gold, decorated within and
without with her initials and the Enchanter's combined. And in it
was spread an enormous repast, while the table so glittered with
golden cups and plates, flagons and dishes, candlesticks and a
hundred other things beside, that it was hardly possible to look
steadily at it. The Enchanter ate like six ogres, but the Princess
could not touch a morsel. Presently Grumedan remarked with a grin:

'I have provided neither musicians nor singers; but as you seem
fond of music I will sing to you myself.'

Whereupon he began, with a voice like a screech-owl's, to chant
the words of his 'opera,' only this time happily not at such a
length, and without the frog accompaniment. After this the Prince
again asked the aid of his friends the birds, and when they had
assembled from all the country round he tied about the neck of
each one a tiny lamp of some brilliant colour, and when darkness
fell he made them go through a hundred pretty tricks before the
delighted Potentilla, who clapped her little hands with delight
when she saw her own name traced in points of light against the
dark trees, or when the whole flock of sparks grouped themselves
into bouquets of different colours, like living flowers. Grumedan
leaning back in his arm-chair, with one knee crossed over the
other and his nose in the air, looked on disdainfully.

'Oh! if you like fireworks, Princess,' said he; and the next night
all the will-o'-the-wisps in the country came and danced on the
plain, which could be seen from the Princess's windows, and as she
was looking out, and rather enjoying the sight, up sprang a
frightful volcano, pouring out smoke and flames which terrified
her greatly, to the intense amusement of the Enchanter, who
laughed like a pack of wolves quarrelling. After this, as many of
the will-o'-the-wisps as could get in crowded into Potentilla's
garden, and by their light the tall yew-trees danced minuets until
the Princess was weary and begged to be excused from looking at
anything more that night. But, in spite of Potentilla's efforts to
behave politely to the tiresome old Enchanter, whom she detested,
he could not help seeing that he failed to please her, and then he
began to suspect very strongly that she must love someone else,
and that somebody besides Melinette was responsible for all the
festivities he had witnessed. So after much consideration he
devised a plan for finding out the truth. He went to the Princess
suddenly, and announced that he was most unwillingly forced to
leave her, and had come to bid her farewell. Potentilla could
scarcely hide her delight when she heard this, and his back was
hardly turned before she was entreating Prince Narcissus to make
himself visible once more. The poor Prince had been getting quite
thin with anxiety and annoyance, and was only too delighted to
comply with her request. They greeted one another rapturously, and
were just sitting down to talk over everything cosily, and enjoy
the Enchanter's discomfiture together, when out he burst in a fury
from behind a bush. With his huge club he aimed a terrific blow at
Narcissus, which must certainly have killed him but for the
adroitness of the Fairy Melinette, who arrived upon the scene just
in time to snatch him up and carry him off at lightning speed to
her castle in the air. Poor Potentilla, however, had not the
comfort of knowing this, for at the sight of the Enchanter
threatening her beloved Prince she had given one shriek and fallen
back insensible. When she recovered her senses she was more than
ever convinced that he was dead, since even Melinette was no
longer near her, and no one was left to defend her from the odious
old Enchanter.

To make matters worse, he seemed to be in a very bad temper, and
came blustering and raging at the poor Princess.

'I tell you what it is, madam,' said he: 'whether you love this
whipper-snapper Prince or not doesn't matter in the least. You are
going to marry me, so you may as well make up your mind to it; and
I am going away this very minute to make all the arrangements. But
in case you should get into mischief in my absence, I think I had
better put you to sleep.'

So saying, he waved his wand over her, and in spite of her utmost
efforts to keep awake she sank into a profound and dreamless

As he wished to make what he considered a suitable entry into the
King's palace, he stepped outside the Princess's little domain,
and mounted upon an immense chariot with great solid wheels, and
shafts like the trunk of an oak-tree, but all of solid gold. This
was drawn with great difficulty by forty-eight strong oxen; and
the Enchanter reclined at his ease, leaning upon his huge club,
and holding carelessly upon his knee a tawny African lion, as if
it had been a little lapdog. It was about seven o'clock in the
morning when this extraordinary chariot reached the palace gates;
the King was already astir, and about to set off on a hunting
expedition; as for the Queen, she had only just gone off into her
first sleep, and it would have been a bold person indeed who
ventured to wake her.

The King was greatly annoyed at having to stay and see a visitor
at such a time, and pulled off his hunting boots again with many
grimaces. Meantime the Enchanter was stumping about in the hall,

'Where is this King? Let him be told that I must see him and his
wife also.'

The King, who was listening at the top of the staircase, thought
this was not very polite; however, he took counsel with his
favourite huntsman, and, following his advice, presently went down
to see what was wanted of him. He was struck with astonishment at
the sight of the chariot, and was gazing at it, when the Enchanter
strode up to him, exclaiming:

'Shake hands, Cloverleaf, old fellow! Don't you know me?'

'No, I can't say I do,' replied the King, somewhat embarrassed.

'Why, I am Grumedan, the Enchanter,' said he, 'and I am come to
make your fortune. Let us come in and talk things over a bit.'

Thereupon he ordered the oxen to go about their business, and they
bounded off like stags, and were out of sight in a moment. Then,
with one blow of his club, he changed the massive chariot into a
perfect mountain of gold pieces.

'Those are for your lackeys,' said he to the King, 'that they may
drink my health.'

Naturally a great scramble ensued, and at last the laughter and
shouting awoke the Queen, who rang for her maids to ask the reason
of such an unwonted hurry-burly. When they said that a visitor was
asking for her, and then proceeded each one to tell breathlessly a
different tale of wonder, in which she could only distinguish the
words, 'oxen,' 'gold,' 'club,' 'giant,' 'lion,' she thought they
were all out of their minds. Meanwhile the King was asking the
Enchanter to what he was indebted for the honour of this visit,
and on his replying that he would not say until the Queen was also
present, messenger after messenger was dispatched to her to beg
her immediate attendance. But Frivola was in a very bad humour at
having been so unceremoniously awakened, and declared that she had
a pain in her little finger, and that nothing should induce her to

When the Enchanter heard this he insisted that she must come.

'Take my club to her Majesty,' said he, 'and tell her that if she
smells the end of it she will find it wonderfully reviving.'

So four of the King's strongest men-at-arms staggered off with it;
and after some persuasion the Queen consented to try this novel
remedy. She had hardly smelt it for an instant when she declared
herself to be perfectly restored; but whether that was due to the
scent of the wood or to the fact that as soon as she touched it
out fell a perfect shower of magnificent jewels, I leave you to
decide. At any rate, she was now all eagerness to see the
mysterious stranger, and hastily throwing on her royal mantle,
popped her second-best diamond crown over her night-cap, put a
liberal dab of rouge upon each cheek, and holding up her largest
fan before her nose--for she was not used to appearing in broad
daylight--she went mincing into the great hall. The Enchanter
waited until the King and Queen had seated themselves upon their
throne, and then, taking his place between them, he began

'My name is Grumedan. I am an extremely well-connected Enchanter;
my power is immense. In spite of all this, the charms of your
daughter Potentilla have so fascinated me that I cannot live
without her. She fancies that she loves a certain contemptible
puppy called Narcissus; but I have made very short work with him.
I really do not care whether you consent to my marriage with your
daughter or not, but I am bound to ask your consent, on account of
a certain meddling Fairy called Melinette, with whom I have reason
for wishing to keep on good terms.'

The King and Queen were somewhat embarrassed to know what answer
to make to this terrible suitor, but at last they asked for time
to talk over the matter: since, they said, their subjects might
think that the heir to the throne should not be married with as
little consideration as a dairymaid.

'Oh! take a day or two if you like,' said the Enchanter; 'but in
the meantime, I am going to send for your daughter. Perhaps you
will be able to induce her to be reasonable.'

So saying, he drew out his favourite whistle, and blew one ear-
piercing note--whereupon the great lion, who had been dozing in
the sunny courtyard, come bounding in on his soft, heavy feet.
'Orion,' said the Enchanter, 'go and fetch me the Princess, and
bring her here at once. Be gentle now!'

At these words Orion went off at a great pace, and was soon at the
other end of the King's gardens. Scattering the guards right and
left, he cleared the wall at a bound, and seizing the sleeping
Princess, he threw her on to his back, where he kept her by
holding her robe in his teeth. Then he trotted gently back, and in
less than five minutes stood in the great hall before the
astonished King and Queen.

The Enchanter held his club close to the Princess's charming
little nose, whereupon she woke up and shrieked with terror at
finding herself in a strange place with the detested Grumedan.
Frivola, who had stood by, stiff with displeasure at the sight of
the lovely Princess, now stepped forward, and with much pretended
concern proposed to carry off Potentilla to her own apartments
that she might enjoy the quiet she seemed to need. Really her one
idea was to let the Princess be seen by as few people as possible;
so, throwing a veil over her head, she led her away and locked her
up securely. All this time Prince Narcissus, gloomy and
despairing, was kept a prisoner by Melinette in her castle in the
air, and in spite of all the splendour by which he was surrounded,
and all the pleasures which he might have enjoyed, his one thought
was to get back to Potentilla. The Fairy, however, left him there,
promising to do her very best for him, and commanding all her
swallows and butterflies to wait upon him and do his bidding. One
day, as he paced sadly to and fro, he thought he heard a voice he
knew calling to him, and sure enough there was the faithful
Philomel, Potentilla's favourite, who told him all that had
passed, and how the sleeping Princess had been carried off by the
Lion to the great grief of all her four-footed and feathered
subjects, and how, not knowing what to do, he had wandered about
until he heard the swallows telling one another of the Prince who
was in their airy castle and had come to see if it could be
Narcissus. The Prince was more distracted than ever, and tried
vainly to escape from the castle, by leaping from the roof into
the clouds; but every time they caught him, and rolling softly up,
brought him back to the place from which he started, so at last he
gave up the attempt and waited with desperate patience for the
return of Melinette. Meanwhile matters were advancing rapidly in
the court of King Cloverleaf, for the Queen quite made up her mind
that such a beauty as Potentilla must be got out of the way as
quickly as possible. So she sent for the Enchanter secretly, and
after making him promise that he would never turn herself and King
Cloverleaf out of their kingdom, and that he would take Potentilla
far away, so that never again might she set eyes upon her, she
arranged the wedding for the next day but one.

You may imagine how Potentilla lamented her sad fate, and
entreated to be spared. All the comfort she could get out of
Frivola was, that if she preferred a cup of poison to a rich
husband she would certainly provide her with one.

When, then, the fatal day came the unhappy Potentilla was led into
the great hall between the King and Queen, the latter wild with
envy at the murmurs of admiration which rose on all sides at the
loveliness of the Princess. An instant later in came Grumedan by
the opposite door. His hair stood on end, and he wore a huge bag-
purse and a cravat tied in a bow, his mantle was made of a shower
of silver coins with a lining of rose colour, and his delight in
his own appearance knew no bounds. That any Princess could prefer
a cup of poison to himself never for an instant occurred to him.
Nevertheless, that was what did happen, for when Queen Frivola in
jest held out the fatal cup to the Princess, she took it eagerly,

'Ah! beloved Narcissus, I come to thee!' and was just raising it
to her lips when the window of the great hall burst open, and the
Fairy Melinette floated in upon a glowing sunset cloud, followed
by the Prince himself:

All the court looked on in dazzled surprise, while Potentilla,
catching sight of her lover, dropped the cup and ran joyfully to
meet him.

The Enchanter's first thought was to defend himself when he saw
Melinette appear, but she slipped round his blind side, and
catching him by the eyelashes dragged him off to the ceiling of
the hall, where she held him kicking for a while just to give him
a lesson, and then touching him with her wand she imprisoned him
for a thousand years in a crystal ball which hung from the roof.
'Let this teach you to mind what I tell you another time,' she
remarked severely. Then turning to the King and Queen, she begged
them to proceed with the wedding, since she had provided a much
more suitable bridegroom. She also deprived them of their kingdom,
for they had really shown themselves unfit to manage it, and
bestowed it upon the Prince and Princess, who, though they were
unwilling to take it, had no choice but to obey the Fairy.
However, they took care that the King and Queen were always
supplied with everything they could wish for.

Prince Narcissus and Princess Potentilla lived long and happily,
beloved by all their subjects. As for the Enchanter, I don't
believe he has been let out yet.

La Princesse Pimprenella et Le Prince Romarin.


Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen, who were the best
creatures in the world, and so kind-hearted that they could not
bear to see their subjects want for anything. The consequence was
that they gradually gave away all their treasures, till they
positively had nothing left to live upon; and this coming to the
ears of their neighbour, King Bruin, he promptly raised a large
army and marched into their country. The poor King, having no
means of defending his kingdom, was forced to disguise himself
with a false beard, and carrying his only son, the little Prince
Featherhead, in his arms, and accompanied only by the Queen, to
make the best of his way into the wild country. They were lucky
enough to escape the soldiers of King Bruin, and at last, after
unheard-of fatigues and adventures, they found themselves in a
charming green valley, through which flowed a stream clear as
crystal and overshadowed by beautiful trees. As they looked round
them with delight, a voice said suddenly: 'Fish, and see what you
will catch.' Now the King had always loved fishing, and never went
anywhere without a fish-hook or two in his pocket, so he drew one
out hastily, and the Queen lent him her girdle to fasten it to,
and it had hardly touched the water before it caught a big fish,
which made them an excellent meal--and not before they needed it,
for they had found nothing until then but a few wild berries and
roots. They thought that for the present they could not do better
than stay in this delightful place, and the King set to work, and
soon built a bower of branches to shelter them; and when it was
finished the Queen was so charmed with it that she declared
nothing was lacking to complete her happiness but a flock of
sheep, which she and the little Prince might tend while the King
fished. They soon found that the fish were not only abundant and
easily caught, but also very beautiful, with glittering scales of
every imaginable hue; and before long the King discovered that he
could teach them to talk and whistle better than any parrot. Then
he determined to carry some to the nearest town and try to sell
them; and as no one had ever before seen any like them the people
flocked about him eagerly and bought all he had caught, so that
presently not a house in the city was considered complete without
a crystal bowl full of fish, and the King's customers were very
particular about having them to match the rest of the furniture,
and gave him a vast amount of trouble in choosing them. However,
the money he obtained in this way enabled him to buy the Queen her
flock of sheep, as well as many of the other things which go to
make life pleasant, so that they never once regretted their lost
kingdom. Now it happened that the Fairy of the Beech-Woods lived
in the lovely valley to which chance had led the poor fugitives,
and it was she who had, in pity for their forlorn condition, sent
the King such good luck to his fishing, and generally taken them
under her protection. This she was all the more inclined to do as
she loved children, and little Prince Featherhead, who never cried
and grew prettier day by day, quite won her heart. She made the
acquaintance of the King and the Queen without at first letting
them know that she was a fairy, and they soon took a great fancy
to her, and even trusted her with the precious Prince, whom she
carried off to her palace, where she regaled him with cakes and
tarts and every other good thing. This was the way she chose of
making him fond of her; but afterwards, as he grew older, she
spared no pains in educating and training him as a prince should
be trained. But unfortunately, in spite of all her care, he grew
so vain and frivolous that he quitted his peaceful country life in
disgust, and rushed eagerly after all the foolish gaieties of the
neighbouring town, where his handsome face and charming manners
speedily made him popular. The King and Queen deeply regretted
this alteration in their son, but did not know how to mend
matters, since the good old Fairy had made him so self-willed.

Just at this time the Fairy of the Beech-Woods received a visit
from an old friend of hers called Saradine, who rushed into her
house so breathless with rage that she could hardly speak.

'Dear, dear! what is the matter?' said the Fairy of the Beech-
Woods soothingly.

'The matter!' cried Saradine. 'You shall soon hear all about it.
You know that, not content with endowing Celandine, Princess of
the Summer Islands, with everything she could desire to make her
charming, I actually took the trouble to bring her up myself; and
now what does she do but come to me with more coaxings and
caresses than usual to beg a favour. And what do you suppose this
favour turns out to be--when I have been cajoled into promising to
grant it? Nothing more nor less than a request that I will take
back all my gifts--"since," says my young madam, "if I have the
good fortune to please you, how am I to know that it is really I,
myself? And that's how it will be all my life long, whenever I
meet anybody. You see what a weariness my life will be to me under
these circumstances, and yet I assure you I am not ungrateful to
you for all your kindness!" I did all I could,' continued
Saradine, 'to make her think better of it, but in vain; so after
going through the usual ceremony for taking back my gifts, I'm
come to you for a little peace and quietness. But, after all, I
have not taken anything of consequence from this provoking
Celandine. Nature had already made her so pretty, and given her
such a ready wit of her own, that she will do perfectly well
without me. However, I thought she deserved a little lesson, so to
begin with I have whisked her off into the desert, and there left

'What! all alone, and without any means of existence?' cried the
kind-hearted old Fairy. 'You had better hand her over to me. I
don't think so very badly of her after all. I'll just cure her
vanity by making her love someone better than herself. Really,
when I come to consider of it, I declare the little minx has shown
more spirit and originality in the matter than one expects of a

Saradine willingly consented to this arrangement, and the old
Fairy's first care was to smooth away all the difficulties which
surrounded the Princess, and lead her by the mossy path overhung
with trees to the bower of the King and Queen, who still pursued
their peaceful life in the valley.

They were immensely surprised at her appearance, but her charming
face, and the deplorably ragged condition to which the thorns and
briers had reduced her once elegant attire, speedily won their
compassion; they recognised her as a companion in misfortune, and
the Queen welcomed her heartily, and begged her to share their
simple repast. Celandine gracefully accepted their hospitality,
and soon told them what had happened to her. The King was charmed
with her spirit, while the Queen thought she had indeed been
daring thus to go against the Fairy's wishes.

'Since it has ended in my meeting you,' said the Princess, 'I
cannot regret the step I have taken, and if you will let me stay
with you, I shall be perfectly happy.'

The King and Queen were only too delighted to have this charming
Princess to supply the place of Prince Featherhead, whom they saw
but seldom, since the Fairy had provided him with a palace in the
neighbouring town, where he lived in the greatest luxury, and did
nothing but amuse himself from morning to night. So Celandine
stayed, and helped the Queen to keep house, and very soon they
loved her dearly. When the Fairy of the Beech-Woods came to them,
they presented the Princess to her, and told her story, little
thinking that the Fairy knew more about Celandine than they did.
The old Fairy was equally delighted with her, and often invited
her to visit her Leafy Palace, which was the most enchanting place
that could be imagined, and full of treasures. Often she would say
to the Princess, when showing her some wonderful thing:

'This will do for a wedding gift some day.' And Celandine could
not help thinking that it was to her that the Fairy meant to give
the two blue wax-torches which burned without ever getting
smaller, or the diamond from which more diamonds were continually
growing, or the boat that sailed under water, or whatever
beautiful or wonderful thing they might happen to be looking at.
It is true that she never said so positively, but she certainly
allowed the Princess to believe it, because she thought a little
disappointment would be good for her. But the person she really
relied upon for curing Celandine of her vanity was Prince
Featherhead. The old Fairy was not at all pleased with the way he
had been going on for some time, but her heart was so soft towards
him that she was unwilling to take him away from the pleasures he
loved, except by offering him something better, which is not the
most effectual mode of correction, though it is without doubt the
most agreeable.

However, she did not even hint to the Princess that Featherhead
was anything but absolutely perfect, and talked of him so much
that when at last she announced that he was coming to visit her,
Celandine made up her mind that this delightful Prince would be
certain to fall in love with her at once, and was quite pleased at
the idea. The old Fairy thought so too, but as this was not at all
what she wished, she took care to throw such an enchantment over
the Princess that she appeared to Featherhead quite ugly and
awkward, though to every one else she looked just as usual. So
when he arrived at the Leafy Palace, more handsome and fascinating
even than ever she had been led to expect, he hardly so much as
glanced at the Princess, but bestowed all his attention upon the
old Fairy, to whom he seemed to have a hundred things to say. The
Princess was immensely astonished at his indifference, and put on
a cold and offended air, which, however, he did not seem to
observe. Then as a last resource she exerted all her wit and
gaiety to amuse him, but with no better success, for he was of an
age to be more attracted by beauty than by anything else, and
though he responded politely enough, it was evident that his
thoughts were elsewhere. Celandine was deeply mortified, since for
her part the Prince pleased her very well, and for the first time
she bitterly regretted the fairy gifts she had been anxious to get
rid of. Prince Featherhead was almost equally puzzled, for he had
heard nothing from the King and Queen but the praises of this
charming Princess, and the fact that they had spoken of her as so
very beautiful only confirmed his opinion that people who live in
the country have no taste. He talked to them of his charming
acquaintances in the town, the beauties he had admired, did
admire, or thought he was going to admire, until Celandine, who
heard it all, was ready to cry with vexation. The Fairy too was
quite shocked at his conceit, and hit upon a plan for curing him
of it. She sent to him by an unknown messenger a portrait of
Princess Celandine as she really was, with this inscription: 'All
this beauty and sweetness, with a loving heart and a great
kingdom, might have been yours but for your well-known

This message made a great impression upon the Prince, but not so
much as the portrait. He positively could not tear his eyes away
from it, and exclaimed aloud that never, never had he seen
anything so lovely and so graceful. Then he began to think that it
was too absurd that he, the fascinating Featherhead, should fall
in love with a portrait; and, to drive away the recollections of
its haunting eyes, he rushed back to the town; but somehow
everything seemed changed. The beauties no longer pleased him,
their witty speeches had ceased to amuse; and indeed, for their
parts, they found the Prince far less amiable than of yore, and
were not sorry when he declared that, after all, a country life
suited him best, and went back to the Leafy Palace. Meanwhile, the
Princess Celandine had been finding the time pass but slowly with
the King and Queen, and was only too pleased when Featherhead
reappeared. She at once noticed the change in him, and was deeply
curious to find the reason of it. Far from avoiding her, he now
sought her company and seemed to take pleasure in talking to her,
and yet the Princess did not for a moment flatter herself with the
idea that he was in love with her, though it did not take her long
to decide that he certainly loved someone. But one day the
Princess, wandering sadly by the river, spied Prince Featherhead
fast asleep in the shade of a tree, and stole nearer to enjoy the
delight of gazing at his dear face unobserved. Judge of her
astonishment when she saw that he was holding in his hand a
portrait of herself! In vain did she puzzle over the apparent
contradictoriness of his behaviour. Why did he cherish her
portrait while he was so fatally indifferent to herself? At last
she found an opportunity of asking him the name of the Princess
whose picture he carried about with him always.

'Alas! how can I tell you?' replied he.

'Why should you not?' said the Princess timidly. 'Surely there is
nothing to prevent you.'

'Nothing to prevent me!' repeated he, 'when my utmost efforts have
failed to discover the lovely original. Should I be so sad if I
could but find her? But I do not even know her name.'

More surprised than ever, the Princess asked to be allowed to see
the portrait, and after examining it for a few minutes returned
it, remarking shyly that at least the original had every cause to
be satisfied with it.

'That means that you consider it flattered,' said the Prince
severely. 'Really, Celandine, I thought better of you, and should
have expected you to be above such contemptible jealousy. But all
women are alike!'

'Indeed, I meant only that it was a good likeness,' said the
Princess meekly.

'Then you know the original,' cried the Prince, throwing himself
on his knees beside her. 'Pray tell me at once who it is, and
don't keep me in suspense!'

'Oh! don't you see that it is meant for me?' cried Celandine.

The Prince sprang to his feet, hardly able to refrain from telling
her that she must be blinded by vanity to suppose she resembled
the lovely portrait even in the slightest degree; and after gazing
at her for an instant with icy surprise, turned and left her
without another word, and in a few hours quitted the Leafy Palace

Now the Princess was indeed unhappy, and could no longer bear to
stay in a place where she had been so cruelly disdained. So,
without even bidding farewell to the King and Queen, she left the
valley behind her, and wandered sadly away, not caring whither.
After walking until she was weary, she saw before her a tiny
house, and turned her slow steps towards it. The nearer she
approached the more miserable it appeared, and at length she saw a
little old woman sitting upon the door-step, who said grimly:

'Here comes one of these fine beggars who are too idle to do
anything but run about the country!'

'Alas! madam,' said Celandine, with tears in her pretty eyes, 'a
sad fate forces me to ask you for shelter.'

'Didn't I tell you what it would be?' growled the old hag. 'From
shelter we shall proceed to demand supper, and from supper money
to take us on our way. Upon my word, if I could be sure of finding
some one every day whose head was as soft as his heart, I wouldn't
wish for a more agreeable life myself! But I have worked hard to
build my house and secure a morsel to eat, and I suppose you think
that I am to give away everything to the first passer-by who
chooses to ask for it. Not at all! I wager that a fine lady like
you has more money than I have. I must search her, and see if it
is not so,' she added, hobbling towards Celandine with the aid of
her stick.

'Alas! madam,' replied the Princess, 'I only wish I had. I would
give it to you with all the pleasure in life.'

'But you are very smartly dressed for the kind of life you lead,'
continued the old woman.

'What!' cried the Princess, 'do you think I am come to beg of

'I don't know about that,' answered she; 'but at any rate you
don't seem to have come to bring me anything. But what is it that
you do want? Shelter? Well, that does not cost much; but after
that comes supper, and that I can't hear of. Oh dear no! Why, at
your age one is always ready to eat; and now you have been
walking, and I suppose you are ravenous?'

'Indeed no, madam,' answered the poor Princess, 'I am too sad to
be hungry.'

'Oh, well! if you will promise to go on being sad, you may stay
for the night,' said the old woman mockingly.

Thereupon she made the Princess sit down beside her, and began
fingering her silken robe, while she muttered 'Lace on top, lace
underneath! This must have cost you a pretty penny! It would have
been better to save enough to feed yourself, and not come begging
to those who want all they have for themselves. Pray, what may you
have paid for these fine clothes?'

'Alas! madam,' answered the Princess, 'I did not buy them, and I
know nothing about money.'

'What do you know, if I may ask?' said the old dame.

'Not much; but indeed I am very unhappy,' cried Celandine,
bursting into tears, 'and if my services are any good to you--'

'Services!' interrupted the hag crossly. 'One has to pay for
services, and I am not above doing my own work.'

'Madam, I will serve you for nothing,' said the poor Princess,
whose spirits were sinking lower and lower. 'I will do anything
you please; all I wish is to live quietly in this lonely spot.'

'Oh! I know you are only trying to take me in,' answered she; 'and
if I do let you serve me, is it fitting that you should be so much
better dressed I am? If I keep you, will you give me your clothes
and wear some that I will provide you with? It is true that I am
getting old and may want someone to take care of me some day.'

'Oh! for pity's sake, do what you please with my clothes,' cried
poor Celandine miserably.

And the old woman hobbled off with great alacrity, and fetched a
little bundle containing a wretched dress, such as the Princess
had never even seen before, and nimbly skipped round, helping her
to put it on instead of her own rich robe, with many exclamations

'Saints!--what a magnificent lining! And the width of it! It will
make me four dresses at least. Why, child, I wonder you could walk
under such a weight, and certainly in my house you would not have
had room to turn round.'

So saying, she folded up the robe, and put it by with great care,
while she remarked to Celandine:

'That dress of mine certainly suits you to a marvel; be sure you
take great care of it.'

When supper-time came she went into the house, declining all the
Princess's offers of assistance, and shortly afterwards brought
out a very small dish, saying:

'Now let us sup.'

Whereupon she handed Celandine a small piece of black bread and
uncovered the dish, which contained two dried plums.

'We will have one between us,' continued the old dame; 'and as you
are the visitor, you shall have the half which contains the stone;
but be very careful that you don't swallow it, for I keep them
against the winter, and you have no idea what a good fire they
make. Now, you take my advice--which won't cost you anything--and
remember that it is always more economical to buy fruit with
stones on this account.'

Celandine, absorbed in her own sad thoughts, did not even hear
this prudent counsel, and quite forgot to eat her share of the
plum, which delighted the old woman, who put it by carefully for
her breakfast, saying:

'I am very much pleased with you, and if you go on as you have
begun, we shall do very well, and I can teach you many useful
things which people don't generally know. For instance, look at my
house! It is built entirely of the seeds of all the pears I have
eaten in my life. Now, most people throw them away, and that only
shows what a number of things are wasted for want of a little
patience and ingenuity.'

But Celandine did not find it possible to be interested in this
and similar pieces of advice. And the old woman soon sent her to
bed, for fear the night air might give her an appetite. She passed
a sleepless night; but in the morning the old dame remarked:

'I heard how well you slept. After such a night you cannot want
any breakfast; so while I do my household tasks you had better
stay in bed, since the more one sleeps the less one need eat; and
as it is market-day I will go to town and buy a pennyworth of
bread for the week's eating.'

And so she chattered on, but poor Celandine did not hear or heed
her; she wandered out into the desolate country to think over her
sad fate. However, the good Fairy of the Beech-Woods did not want
her to be starved, so she sent her an unlooked for relief in the
shape of a beautiful white cow, which followed her back to the
tiny house. When the old woman saw it her joy knew no bounds.

'Now we can have milk and cheese and butter!' cried she. 'Ah! how
good milk is! What a pity it is so ruinously expensive!' So they
made a little shelter of branches for the beautiful creature which
was quite gentle, and followed Celandine about like a dog when she
took it out every day to graze. One morning as she sat by a little
brook, thinking sadly, she suddenly saw a young stranger
approaching, and got up quickly, intending to avoid him. But
Prince Featherhead, for it was he, perceiving her at the same
moment, rushed towards her with every demonstration of joy: for he
had recognised her, not as the Celandine whom he had slighted, but
as the lovely Princess whom he had sought vainly for so long. The
fact was that the Fairy of the Beech-Woods, thinking she had been
punished enough, had withdrawn the enchantment from her, and
transferred it to Featherhead, thereby in an instant depriving him
of the good looks which had done so much towards making him the
fickle creature he was. Throwing himself down at the Princess's
feet, he implored her to stay, and at least speak to him, and she
at last consented, but only because he seemed to wish it so very
much. After that he came every day in the hope of meeting her
again, and often expressed his delight at being with her. But one
day, when he had been begging Celandine to love him, she confided
to him that it was quite impossible, since her heart was already
entirely occupied by another.

'I have,' said she, 'the unhappiness of loving a Prince who is
fickle, frivolous, proud, incapable of caring for anyone but
himself, who has been spoilt by flattery, and, to crown all, who
does not love me.'

'But,' cried Prince Featherhead, 'surely you cannot care for so
contemptible and worthless a creature as that.'

'Alas! but I do care,' answered the Princess, weeping.

'But where can his eyes be,' said the Prince, 'that your beauty
makes no impression upon him? As for me, since I have possessed
your portrait I have wandered over the whole world to find you,
and, now we have met, I see that you are ten times lovelier than I
could have imagined, and I would give all I own to win your love.'

'My portrait?' cried Celandine with sudden interest. 'Is it
possible that Prince Featherhead can have parted with it?'

'He would part with his life sooner, lovely Princess,' answered
he; 'I can assure you of that, for I am Prince Featherhead.'

At the same moment the Fairy of the Beech-Woods took away the
enchantment, and the happy Princess recognised her lover, now
truly hers, for the trials they had both undergone had so changed
and improved them that they were capable of a real love for each
other. You may imagine how perfectly happy they were, and how much
they had to hear and to tell. But at length it was time to go back
to the little house, and as they went along Celandine remembered
for the first time what a ragged old dress she was wearing, and
what an odd appearance she must present. But the Prince declared
that it became her vastly, and that he thought it most
picturesque. When they reached the house the old woman received
them very crossly.

'I declare,' said she, 'that it's perfectly true: wherever there
is a girl you may be sure that a young man will appear before
long! But don't imagine that I'm going to have you here--not a bit
of it, be off with you, my fine fellow!'

Prince Featherhead was inclined to be angry at this uncivil
reception, but he was really too happy to care much, so he only
demanded, on Celandine's behalf, that the old dame should give her
back her own attire, that she might go away suitably dressed.

This request roused her to fury, since she had counted upon the
Princess's fine robes to clothe her for the rest of her life, so
that it was some time before the Prince could make himself heard
to explain that he was willing to pay for them. The sight of a
handful of gold pieces somewhat mollified her, however, and after
making them both promise faithfully that on no consideration would
they ask for the gold back again, she took the Princess into the
house and grudgingly doled out to her just enough of her gay
attire to make her presentable, while the rest she pretended to
have lost. After this they found that they were very hungry, for
one cannot live on love, any more than on air, and then the old
woman's lamentations were louder than before. 'What!' she cried,
'feed people who were as happy as all that! Why, it was simply

But as the Prince began to look angry, she, with many sighs and
mutterings, brought out a morsel of bread, a bowl of milk, and six
plums, with which the lovers were well content: for as long as
they could look at one another they really did not know what they
were eating. It seemed as if they would go on for ever with their
reminiscences, the Prince telling how he had wandered all over the
world from beauty to beauty, always to be disappointed when he
found that no one resembled the portrait; the Princess wondering
how it was he could have been so long with her and yet never have
recognised her, and over and over again pardoning him for his cold
and haughty behaviour to her.

'For,' she said, 'you see, Featherhead, I love you, and love makes
everything right! But we cannot stay here,' she added; 'what are
we to do?'

The Prince thought they had better find their way to the Fairy of
the Beech-Woods and put themselves once more under her protection,
and they had hardly agreed upon this course when two little
chariots wreathed with jasmine and honeysuckle suddenly appeared,
and, stepping into them, they were whirled away to the Leafy
Palace. Just before they lost sight of the little house they heard
loud cries and lamentations from the miserly old dame, and,
looking round, perceived that the beautiful cow was vanishing in
spite of her frantic efforts to hold it fast. And they afterwards
heard that she spent the rest of her life in trying to put the
handful of gold the Prince had thrown to her into her money-bag.
For the Fairy, as a punishment for her avarice, caused it to slip
out again as fast as she dropped it in.

The Fairy of the Beech-Woods ran to welcome the Prince and
Princess with open arms, only too delighted to find them so much
improved that she could, with a clear conscience, begin to spoil
them again. Very soon the Fairy Saradine also arrived, bringing
the King and Queen with her. Princess Celandine implored her
pardon, which she graciously gave; indeed the Princess was so
charming she could refuse her nothing. She also restored to her
the Summer Islands, and promised her protection in all things. The
Fairy of the Beech-Woods then informed the King and Queen that
their subjects had chased King Bruin from the throne, and were
waiting to welcome them back again; but they at once abdicated in
favour of Prince Featherhead, declaring that nothing could induce
them to forsake their peaceful life, and the Fairies undertook to
see the Prince and Princess established in their beautiful
kingdoms. Their marriage took place the next day, and they lived
happily ever afterwards, for Celandine was never vain and
Featherhead was never fickle any more.

Le Prince Muguet et la Princesse Zaza.


There was once upon a time a pig who lived with her three children
on a large, comfortable, old-fashioned farmyard. The eldest of the
little pigs was called Browny, the second Whitey, and the youngest
and best looking Blacky. Now Browny was a very dirty little pig,
and I am sorry to say spent most of his time rolling and wallowing
about in the mud. He was never so happy as on a wet day, when the
mud in the farmyard got soft, and thick, and slab. Then he would
steal away from his mother's side, and finding the muddiest place
in the yard, would roll about in it and thoroughly enjoy himself.
His mother often found fault with him for this, and would shake
her head sadly and say: 'Ah, Browny! some day you will be sorry
that you did not obey your old mother.' But no words of advice or
warning could cure Browny of his bad habits.

Whitey was quite a clever little pig, but she was greedy. She was
always thinking of her food, and looking forward to her dinner;
and when the farm girl was seen carrying the pails across the
yard, she would rise up on her hind legs and dance and caper with
excitement. As soon as the food was poured into the trough she
jostled Blacky and Browny out of the way in her eagerness to get
the best and biggest bits for herself. Her mother often scolded
her for her selfishness, and told her that some day she would
suffer for being so greedy and grabbing.

Blacky was a good, nice little pig, neither dirty nor greedy. He
had nice dainty ways (for a pig), and his skin was always as
smooth and shining as black satin. He was much cleverer than
Browny and Whitey, and his mother's heart used to swell with pride
when she heard the farmer's friends say to each other that some
day the little black fellow would be a prize pig.

Now the time came when the mother pig felt old and feeble and near
her end. One day she called the three little pigs round her and

'My children, I feel that I am growing odd and weak, and that I
shall not live long. Before I die I should like to build a house
for each of you, as this dear old sty in which we have lived so
happily will be given to a new family of pigs, and you will have
to turn out. Now, Browny, what sort of a house would you like to

'A house of mud,' replied Browny, looking longingly at a wet
puddle in the corner of the yard.

'And you, Whitey?' said the mother pig in rather a sad voice, for
she was disappointed that Browny had made so foolish a choice.

'A house of cabbage,' answered Whitey, with a mouth full, and
scarcely raising her snout out of the trough in which she was
grubbing for some potato-parings.

'Foolish, foolish child!' said the mother pig, looking quite
distressed. 'And you, Blacky?' turning to her youngest son, 'what
sort of a house shall I order for you?'

'A house of brick, please mother, as it will be warm in winter,
and cool in summer, and safe all the year round.'

'That is a sensible little pig,' replied his mother, looking
fondly at him. 'I will see that the three houses are got ready at
once. And now one last piece of advice. You have heard me talk of
our old enemy the fox. When he hears that I am dead, he is sure to
try and get hold of you, to carry you off to his den. He is very
sly and will no doubt disguise himself, and pretend to be a
friend, but you must promise me not to let him enter your houses
on any pretext whatever.'

And the little pigs readily promised, for they had always had a
great fear of the fox, of whom they had heard many terrible tales.
A short time afterwards the old pig died, and the little pigs went
to live in their own houses.

Browny was quite delighted with his soft mud walls and with the
clay floor, which soon looked like nothing but a big mud pie. But
that was what Browny enjoyed, and he was as happy as possible,
rolling about all day and making himself in such a mess. One day,
as he was lying half asleep in the mud, he heard a soft knock at
his door, and a gentle voice said:

'May I come in, Master Browny? I want to see your beautiful new

'Who are you?' said Browny, starting up in great fright, for
though the voice sounded gentle, he felt sure it was a feigned
voice, and he feared it was the fox.

'I am a friend come to call on you,' answered the voice.

'No, no,' replied Browny, 'I don't believe you are a friend. You
are the wicked fox, against whom our mother warned us. I won't let
you in.'

'Oho! is that the way you answer me?' said the fox, speaking very
roughly in his natural voice. 'We shall soon see who is master
here,' and with his paws he set to work and scraped a large hole
in the soft mud walls. A moment later he had jumped through it,
and catching Browny by the neck, flung him on his shoulders and
trotted off with him to his den.

The next day, as Whitey was munching a few leaves of cabbage out
of the corner of her house, the fox stole up to her door,
determined to carry her off to join her brother in his den. He
began speaking to her in the same feigned gentle voice in which he
had spoken to Browny; but it frightened her very much when he

'I am a friend come to visit you, and to have some of your good
cabbage for my dinner.'

'Please don't touch it,' cried Whitey in great distress. 'The
cabbages are the walls of my house, and if you eat them you will
make a hole, and the wind and rain will come in and give me a
cold. Do go away; I am sure you are not a friend, but our wicked
enemy the fox.' And poor Whitey began to whine and to whimper, and
to wish that she had not been such a greedy little pig, and had
chosen a more solid material than cabbages for her house. But it
was too late now, and in another minute the fox had eaten his way
through the cabbage walls, and had caught the trembling, shivering
Whitey, and carried her off to his den.

The next day the fox started off for Blacky's house, because he
had made up his mind that he would get the three little pigs
together in his den, and then kill them, and invite all his
friends to a feast. But when he reached the brick house, he found
that the door was bolted and barred, so in his sly manner he
began, 'Do let me in, dear Blacky. I have brought you a present of
some eggs that I picked up in a farmyard on my way here.'

'No, no, Mister Fox,' replied Blacky, 'I am not going to open my
door to you. I know your cunning ways. You have carried off poor
Browny and Whitey, but you are not going to get me.'

At this the fox was so angry that he dashed with all his force
against the wall, and tried to knock it down. But it was too
strong and well-built; and though the fox scraped and tore at the
bricks with his paws he only hurt himself, and at last he had to
give it up, and limp away with his fore-paws all bleeding and

'Never mind!' he cried angrily as he went off, 'I'll catch you
another day, see if I don't, and won't I grind your bones to
powder when I have got you in my den!' and he snarled fiercely and
showed his teeth.

Next day Blacky had to go into the neighbouring town to do some
marketing and to buy a big kettle. As he was walking home with it
slung over his shoulder, he heard a sound of steps stealthily
creeping after him. For a moment his heart stood still with fear,
and then a happy thought came to him. He had just reached the top
of a hill, and could see his own little house nestling at the foot
of it among the trees. In a moment he had snatched the lid off the
kettle and had jumped in himself. Coiling himself round he lay
quite snug in the bottom of the kettle, while with his fore-leg he
managed to put the lid on, so that he was entirely hidden. With a
little kick from the inside he started the kettle off, and down
the hill it rolled full tilt; and when the fox came up, all that
he saw was a large black kettle spinning over the ground at a
great pace. Very much disappointed, he was just going to turn
away, when he saw the kettle stop close to the little brick house,
and in a moment later Blacky jumped out of it and escaped with the
kettle into the house, when he barred and bolted the door, and put
the shutter up over the window.

'Oho!' exclaimed the fox to himself, 'you think you will escape me
that way, do you? We shall soon see about that, my friend,' and
very quietly and stealthily he prowled round the house looking for
some way to climb on to the roof.

In the meantime Blacky had filled the kettle with water, and
having put it on the fire, sat down quietly waiting for it to
boil. Just as the kettle was beginning to sing, and steam to come
out of the spout, he heard a sound like a soft, muffled step,
patter, patter, patter overhead, and the next moment the fox's
head and fore-paws were seen coming down the chimney. But Blacky
very wisely had not put the lid on the kettle, and, with a yelp of
pain, the fox fell into the boiling water, and before he could
escape, Blacky had popped the lid on, and the fox was scalded to

As soon as he was sure that their wicked enemy was really dead,
and could do them no further harm, Blacky started off to rescue
Browny and Whitey. As he approached the den he heard piteous
grunts and squeals from his poor little brother and sister who
lived in constant terror of the fox killing and eating them. But
when they saw Blacky appear at the entrance to the den their joy
knew no bounds. He quickly found a sharp stone and cut the cords
by which they were tied to a stake in the ground, and then all
three started off together for Blacky's house, where they lived
happily ever after; and Browny quite gave up rolling in the mud,
and Whitey ceased to be greedy, for they never forgot how nearly
these faults had brought them to an untimely end.


Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen who were foolish
beyond all telling, but nevertheless they were vastly fond of one
another. It is true that certain spiteful people were heard to say
that this was only one proof the more of their exceeding
foolishness, but of course you will understand that these were not
their own courtiers, since, after all, they were a King and Queen,
and up to this time all things had prospered with them. For in
those days the one thing to be thought of in governing a kingdom
was to keep well with all the Fairies and Enchanters, and on no
account to stint them of the cakes, the ells of ribbon, and
similar trifles which were their due, and, above all things, when
there was a christening, to remember to invite every single one,
good, bad, or indifferent, to the ceremony. Now, the foolish Queen
had one little son who was just going to be christened, and for
several months she had been hard at work preparing an enormous
list of the names of those who were to be invited, but she quite
forgot that it would take nearly as long to read it over as it had
taken to write it out. So, when the moment of the christening
arrived the King--to whom the task had been entrusted--had barely
reached the end of the second page and his tongue was tripping
with fatigue and haste as he repeated the usual formula: 'I
conjure and pray you, Fairy so-and-so'--or 'Enchanter such-a-one'
--'to honour me with a visit, and graciously bestow your gifts upon
my son.'

To make matters worse, word was brought to him that the Fairies
asked on the first page had already arrived and were waiting
impatiently in the Great Hall, and grumbling that nobody was there
to receive them. Thereupon he gave up the list in despair and
hurried to greet those whom he had succeeded in asking, imploring
their goodwill so humbly that most of them were touched, and
promised that they would do his son no harm. But there happened to
be among them a Fairy from a far country about whom they knew
nothing, though her name had been written on the first page of the
list. This Fairy was annoyed that after having taken the trouble
to come so quickly, there had been no one to receive her, or help
her to alight from the great ostrich on which she had travelled
from her distant home, and now she began to mutter to herself in
the most alarming way.

'Oh! prate away,' said she, 'your son will never be anything to
boast of. Say what you will, he will be nothing but a Mannikin--'

No doubt she would have gone on longer in this strain, and given
the unhappy little Prince half-a-dozen undesirable gifts, if it
had not been for the good Fairy Genesta, who held the kingdom
under her special protection, and who luckily hurried in just in
time to prevent further mischief. When she had by compliments and
entreaties pacified the unknown Fairy, and persuaded her to say no
more, she gave the King a hint that now was the time to distribute
the presents, after which ceremony they all took their departure,
excepting the Fairy Genesta, who then went to see the Queen, and
said to her:

'A nice mass you seem to have made of this business, madam. Why
did you not condescend to consult me? But foolish people like you
always think they can do without help or advice, and I observe
that, in spite of all my goodness to you, you had not even the
civility to invite me!'

'Ah! dear madam,' cried the King, throwing himself at her feet;
'did I ever have time to get as far as your name? See where I put
in this mark when I abandoned the hopeless undertaking which I had
but just begun!'

'There! there!' said the Fairy, 'I am not offended. I don't allow
myself to be put out by trifles like that with people I really am
fond of. But now about your son: I have saved him from a great
many disagreeable things, but you must let me take him away and
take care of him, and you will not see him again until he is all

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