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Full text of "Old-time stories"








"WHBBR" aUK 






6618 



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OLD-TIME 5TORIES 







TllK.V KK.\CIIKI> THK IIOr.SE WHERE THE I.IC.HT WAS BURNING.' 




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OLD -TIME 5TORIE5 



told ly 

MASTER,, 

CHARLES 

PERRAULT 

TrcLnd/afed from 
the French ( Jy 
/\ E- (Johnson 
cuith illustrations 



W- HEATH 
ROBIN5ON 




NEW YORK 
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY 



THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



TH.DE.N FOUNDATIONS 



First Published. 



PrintfJ in Great Britain 



f 



PREFATORY NOTE 

OF the eleven tales which the present volume com- 
prises, the first eight are from the master-hand 
of Charles Perrault. Charles Perrault (1628-1703) 
enjoyed much distinction in his day, and is familiar to 
students of French literature for the prominent part that he 
played in the famous Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns, 
which so keenly occupied French men of letters in the 
latter part of the seventeenth century. But his fame to-day 
rests upon his authorship of the traditional Tales of Mother 
Goose ; or Stories of Olden Times, and so long as there are 
children to listen spellbound to the adventures of Cinder- 
ella, Red Riding Hood, and that arch rogue Puss in Boots, 
his memory will endure. 

To the eight tales of Perrault three others have been 
added here. ' Beauty and the Beast,' by Mme Leprince. 
de Beaumont (171 1-1781), has a celebrity which warrants its 
inclusion, however inferior it may seem, as an example of 
the story-teller's art, 'to the masterpieces of Perrault. 
'Princess Rosette ' and' ; The Friendly Frog' are from 
the prolific pen/of; Mme d'Aulnoy (1650-1705), a contem- 
porary of Perkaultv-whc.m:she could sometimes rival in in- 
vention, if never in dramatic power. 












1) A * 



CONTENTS 

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD . i 

PUSS IN BOOTS . ... 21 

LITTLE TOM THUMB . .... 34 

THE FAIRIES 55 

RICKY OF THE TUFT . .61 

CINDERELLA 75 

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD . ... 92 

BLUE BEARD 99 

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 113 

THE FRIENDLY FROG . . .138 

PRINCESS ROSETTE . . 174 



vn 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

COLOURED PLATES 

' They reached the house where the light was burning ' 

(see page 41) . . , . Frontispiece 



FACING PAGE 



' The most beautiful sight he had ever seen ' . .16 

' All that remained for the youngest was the cat ' . .21 

' " You must die, madam," he said ' . . .99 

' Every evening the Beast paid her a visit ' . .130 

' " Could your father but see you, my poor child " . . 152 



BLACK-AND-WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

' The king ... at once published an edict ' . . .3 

' A little dwarf who had a pair of seven-league boots ' . 7 

' The king's son chanced to go a-hunting ' . .10 

' All asleep ' . . . . . . .12 

' They all fell asleep ' . . . . .13 

' As though he were dead ' . . . . 23 

' The cat went on ahead ' . . . .26 

Puss in Boots . . . . . .27 

' Puss became a personage of great importance ' . 3 1 

ix 



Old-Time Stories 



PAGE 



' A good dame opened the door ' . . -37 

' He could smell fresh flesh ' . . . -43 

' He set off over the countryside ' . . . .47 

' Laden with all the ogre's wealth ' . . 5 1 

' Lifting up the jug so that she might drink the more easily ' 57 
' She could not set four china vases on the mantelpiece without 

breaking one of them ' . . . . .63 

' Graceful and easy conversation ' . . . .65 

Ricky of the Tuft . . . . . 71 

' The haughtiest, proudest woman that had ever been seen ' . 77 

' Her godmother found her in tears ' . . .81 

' Away she went ' . . . . . -83 

' She rose and fled as nimbly as a fawn ' . -85 

' They tried it first on the princesses ' . . .89 

Little Red Riding Hood . . . . -93 

' She met old Father Wolf ' . . . . -95 

' Making nosegays of the wild flowers ' . . .96 

' Come up on the bed with me ' . . -97 

Blue Beard ....... 101 

' She washed it well ' . . . . .104 

Sister Anne ....... 105 

' Brandishing the cutlass aloft ' . . . .109 

' At first she found it very hard ' . . . 1 1 5 

' " Look at our little sister " ' . . 1 17 

' It was snowing horribly ' . . . .119 

The Beast . . . . . . .122 

' " Your doom is to become statues " . . 135 

x 



List of Illustrations 



PACE 



' The approach to it was by ten thousand steps ' 143 

The Friendly Frog . . . . . .146 

' The journey lasted seven years ' . . 155 

Princess Rosette . . . . . 1 79 

The wicked nurse . . . . .186 

' She was an ugly little fright ' . . . .189 

' She floated hither and thither ' . . . 194 

' A kindly old man ' . . . . . 1 95 



XI 



THE SLEEPING BEAUTY 
IN THE WOOD 

ONCE upon a time there lived a king and queen who 
were grieved, more grieved than words can tell, 
because they had no children. They tried the 
waters of every country, made vows and pilgrimages, and 
did everything that could be done, but without result. At 
last, however, the queen found that her wishes were ful- 
filled, and in due course she gave birth to a daughter. 

A grand christening was held, and all the fairies that 
could be found in the realm (they numbered seven in all) 
were invited to be godmothers to the little princess. This 
was done so that by means of the gifts which each in turn 
would bestow upon her (in accordance with the fairy custom 
of those days) the princess might be endowed with every 
imaginable perfection. 

When the christening ceremony was over, all the com- 
pany returned to the king's palace, where a great banquet 
was held in honour of the fairies. Places were laid for 
them in magnificent style, and before each was placed a solid 
gold casket containing a spoon, fork, and knife of fine gold, 
set with diamonds and rubies. But just as all were sitting 
down to table an aged fairy was seen to enter, whom no one 
had thought to invite the reason being that for more than 
fifty years she had never quitted the tower in which she lived, 
and people had supposed her to be dead or bewitched. 
A i 



Old -Time Stories 

By the king's orders a place was laid for her, but it was 
impossible to give her a golden casket like the others, for 
only seven had been made for the seven fairies. The old 
creature believed that she was intentionally slighted, and 
muttered threats between her teeth. 

She was overheard by one of the young fairies, who 
was seated near by. The latter, guessing that some mis- 
chievous gift might be bestowed upon the little princess, 
hid behind the tapestry as soon as the company left the 
table. Her intention was to be the last to speak, and so to 
have the power of counteracting, as far as possible, any evil 
which the old fairy might do. 

Presently the fairies began to bestow their gifts upon 
the princess. The youngest ordained that she should be 
the most beautiful person in the world ; the next, that 
she should have the temper of an angel ; the third, that 
she should do everything with wonderful grace ; the fourth, 
that she should dance to perfection ; the fifth, that she 
should sing like a nightingale ; and the sixth, that she should 
play every kind of music with the utmost skill. 

It was now the turn of the aged fairy. Shaking her 
head, in token of spite rather than of infirmity, she declared 
that the princess should prick her hand with a spindle, and 
die of it. A shudder ran through the company at this 
terrible gift. All eyes were filled with tears. 

But at this moment the young fairy stepped forth from 
behind the tapestry. 

1 Take comfort, your Majesties,' she cried in a loud 

voice ; ' your daughter shall not die. My power, it is true, 

is not enough to undo all that my aged kinswoman has 

decreed : the princess will indeed prick her hand with 

2 




' The king . . . at onct published an 



The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood 

a spindle. But instead of dying she shall merely fall into 
a profound slumber that will last a hundred years. At 
the end of that time a king's son shall come to awaken 
her.' 

The king, in an attempt to avert the unhappy doom 
pronounced by the old fairy, at once published an edict 
forbidding all persons, under pain of death, to use a spinning- 
wheel or keep a spindle in the house. 

At the end of fifteen or sixteen years the king and queen 
happened one day to be away, on pleasure bent. The 
princess was running about the castle, and going upstairs 
from room to room she came at length to a garret at the 
top of a tower, where an old serving-woman sat alone with 
her distaff, spinning. This good woman had never heard 
speak of the king's proclamation forbidding the use of 
spinning-wheels. 

' What are you doing, my good woman ? ' asked the 
princess. 

' I am spinning, my pretty child,' replied the dame, not 
knowing who she was. 

' Oh, what fun ! ' rejoined the princess ; ' how do you 
do it ? Let me try and see if I can do it equally well.' 

Partly because she was too hasty, partly because she 
was a little heedless, but also because the fairy decree had 
ordained it, no sooner had she seized the spindle than she 
pricked her hand and fell down in a swoon. 

In great alarm the good dame cried out for help. People 
came running from every quarter to the princess. They 
threw water on her face, chafed her with their hands, and 
rubbed her temples with the royal essence of Hungary. 
But nothing would restore her. 

5 



Old -Time Stories 

Then the king, who had been brought upstairs by the 
commotion, remembered the fairy prophecy. Feeling 
certain that what had happened was inevitable, since the 
fairies had decreed it, he gave orders that the princess 
should be placed in the finest apartment in the palace, upon 
a bed embroidered in gold and silver. 

You would have thought her an angel, so fair was she to 
behold. The trance had not taken away the lovely colour 
of her complexion. Her cheeks were delicately flushed, her 
lips like coral. Her eyes, indeed, were closed, but her 
gentle breathing could be heard, and it was therefore plain 
that she was not dead. The king commanded that she 
should be left to sleep in peace until the hour of her awaken- 
ing should come. 

When the accident happened to the princess, the good 
fairy who had saved her life by condemning her to sleep a 
hundred years was in the kingdom of Mataquin, twelve 
thousand leagues away. She was instantly warned of it, 
however, by a little dwarf who had a pair of seven-league 
boots, which are boots that enable one to cover seven leagues 
at a single step. The fairy set off at once, and within an hour 
her chariot of fire, drawn by dragons, was seen approaching. 

The king handed her down from her chariot, and she 
approved of all that he had done. But being gifted with 
great powers of foresight, she bethought herself that when 
the princess came to be awakened, she would be much dis- 
tressed to find herself all alone in the old castle. And this 
is what she did. 

She touched with her wand everybody (except the 
king and queen) who was in the castle governesses, maids 
of honour, ladies-in-waiting, gentlemen, officers, stewards, 
6 




'A little dwarf who had a pair oj seven-league boo/s' 



The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood 

cooks, scullions, errand boys, guards, porters, pages, foot- 
men. She touched likewise all the horses in the stables, 
with their grooms, the big mastiffs in the courtyard, and little 
Puff, the pet dog of the princess, who was lying on the bed 
beside his mistress. The moment she had touched them 
they all fell asleep, to awaken only at the same moment as 
their mistress. Thus they would always be ready with 
their service whenever she should require it. The very 
spits before the fire, loaded with partridges and pheasants, 
subsided into slumber, and the fire as well. All was done 
in a moment, for the fairies do not take long over their 
work. 

Then the king and queen kissed their dear child, without 
waking her, and left the castle. Proclamations were issued, 
forbidding any approach to it, but these warnings were 
not needed, for within a quarter of an hour there grew up 
all round the park so vast a quantity of trees big and small, 
with interlacing brambles and thorns, that neither man 
nor beast could penetrate them. The tops alone of the 
castle towers could be seen, and these only from a distance. 
Thus did the fairy's magic contrive that the princess, during 
all the time of her slumber, should have nought whatever 
to fear from prying eyes. 

At the end of a hundred years the throne had passed to 
another family from that of the sleeping princess. One day 
the king's son chanced to go a-hunting that way, and seeing 
in the distance some towers in the midst of a large and 
dense forest, he asked what they were. His attendants told 
him in reply the various stories which they had heard. 
Some said there was an old castle haunted by ghosts, others 
that all the witches of the neighbourhood held their revels 

9 



Old -Time Stories 

there. The favourite tale was that in the castle lived an 
ogre, who carried thither all the children whom he could 
catch. There he devoured them at his leisure, and since 
he was the only person who could force a passage 




1 T/ie kings son chanced to go 



through the wood nobody had been able to pursue 
him. 

While the prince was wondering what to believe, an 
old peasant took up the tale. 

' Your Highness,' said he, ' more than fifty years ago I 
heard my father say that in this castle lies a princess, the 
most beautiful that has ever been seen. It is her doom to 
10 



The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood 

sleep there for a hundred years, and then to be awakened 
by a king's son, for whose coming she waits.' 

This story fired the young prince. He jumped im- 
mediately to the conclusion that it was for him to see so gay 
an adventure through, and impelled alike by the wish for 
love and glory, he resolved to set about it on the spot. 

Hardly had he taken a step towards the wood when the 
tall trees, the brambles and the thorns, separated of them- 
selves and made a path for him. He turned in the direction 
of the castle, and espied it at the end of a long avenue. 
This avenue he entered, and was surprised to notice that 
the trees closed up again as soon as he had passed, so that 
none of his retinue were able to follow him. A young and 
gallant prince is always brave, however ; so he continued 
on his way, and presently reached a large fore-court. 

The sight that now met his gaze was enough to fill him 
with an icy fear. The silence of the place was dreadful, 
and death seemed all about him. The recumbent figures 
of men and animals had all the appearance of being lifeless, 
until he perceived by the pimply noses and ruddy faces 
of the porters that they merely slept. It was plain, too, 
from their glasses, in which were still some dregs of wine, 
that they had fallen asleep while drinking. 

The prince made his way into a great courtyard, paved 
with marble, and mounting the staircase entered the guard- 
room. Here the guards were lined up on either side in 
two ranks, their muskets on their shoulders, snoring their 
hardest. Through several apartments crowded with ladies 
and gentlemen in waiting, some seated, some standing, but 
all asleep, he pushed on, and so came at last to a chamber 
which was decked all over with gold. There he encoun- 

ii 



Old -Time Stories 



tered the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. Reclining 
upon a bed, the curtains of which on every side were drawn 
back, was a princess of seemingly some fifteen or sixteen 
summers, whose radiant beauty had an almost unearthly lustre. 
Trembling in his admiration he drew near and went 
on his knees beside her. At the same moment, the hour 
of disenchantment having come, the princess awoke, and 

bestowed upon him a look 
more tender than a first glance 
might seem to warrant. 

' Is it you, dear prince ? ' 
she said ; ' you have been long 
in coming ! ' 

Charmed by these words, 
and especially by the manner 
in which they were said, the 
prince scarcely knew how to 
express his delight and grati- 
fication. He declared that 
he loved her better than he 
loved himself. His words 
1 AH uistrrp ' were faltering, but they pleased 

the more for that. The less 
there is of eloquence, the more there is of love. 

Her embarrassment was less than his, and that is not to 
be wondered at, since she had had time to think of what 
she would say to him. It seems (although the story says 
nothing about it) that the good fairy had beguiled her long 
slumber with pleasant dreams. To be brief, after four hours 
of talking they had not succeeded in uttering one half of the 
things they had to say to each other. 

12 




GEL 




', v r, 

1 W ,' . / X . 




u.V /<// 



The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood 

Now the whole palace had awakened with the princess. 
Every one went about his business, and since they were not 
all in love they presently began to feel mortally hungry. 
The lady-in-waiting, who was suffering like the rest, at 
length lost patience, and in a loud voice called out to the 
princess that supper was served. 

The princess was already fully dressed, and in most 
magnificent style. As he helped her to rise, the prince re- 
frained from telling her that her clothes, with the straight 
collar which she wore, were like those to which his grand- 
mother had been accustomed. And in truth, they in no 
way detracted from her beauty. 

They passed into an apartment hung with mirrors, and 
were there served with supper by the stewards of the house- 
hold, while the fiddles and oboes played some old music 
and played it remarkably well, considering they had not 
played at all for just upon a hundred years. A little later, 
when supper was over, the chaplain married them in the 
castle chapel, and in due course, attended by the courtiers 
in waiting, they retired to rest. 

They slept but little, however. The princess, indeed, 
had not much need of sleep, and as soon as morning came 
the prince took his leave of her. He returned co the city, 
and told his father, who was awaiting him with some anxiety, 
that he had lost himself while hunting in the forest, but 
had obtained some black bread and cheese from a charcoal- 
burner, in whose hovel he had passed the night. His 
royal father, being of an easy-going nature, believed the 
tale, but his mother was not so easily hoodwinked. She 
noticed that he now went hunting every day, and that he 
always had an excuse handy when he had slept two or three 

'5 



Old -Time Stories 

nights from home. She felt certain, therefore, that he had 
some love affair. 

Two whole years passed since the marriage of the prince 
and princess, and during that time they had two children. 
The first, a daughter, was called ' Dawn,' while the second, 
a boy, was named ' Day,' because he seemed even more 
beautiful than his sister. 

Many a time the queen told her son that he ought to 
settle down in life. She tried in this way to make him 
confide in her, but he did not dare to trust her with his 
secret. Despite the affection which he bore her, he was 
afraid of his mother, for she came of a race of ogres, and 
the king had only married her for her wealth. 

It was whispered at the Court that she had ogrish in- 
stincts, and that when little children were near her she had 
the greatest difficulty in the world to keep herself from 
pouncing on them. 

No wonder the prince was reluctant to say a word. 

But at the end of two years the king died, and the prince 
found himself on the throne. He then made public an- 
nouncement of his marriage, and went in state to fetch 
his royal consort from her castle. With her two children 
beside her she made a triumphal entry into the capital of 
her husband's realm. 

Some time afterwards the king declared war on his neigh- 
bour, the Emperor Cantalabutte. He appointed the queen- 
mother as regent in his absence, and entrusted his wife 
and children to her care. 

He expected to be away at the war for the whole of the 
summer, and asfsoon as he was gone the queen-mother sent 
her daughter-in-law and the two children to a country 
16 





TIIK MOM Hi. M in [i Miiirr in; HAH HVKR SKKN. 




The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood 

mansion in the forest. This she did that she might be able 
the more easily to gratify her horrible longings. A few days 
later she went there herself, and in the evening summoned 
the chief steward. 

' For my dinner to-morrow,' she told him, ' I will eat 
little Dawn.' 

' Oh, Madam ! ' exclaimed the steward. 

' That is my will,' said the queen ; and she spoke in the 
tones of an ogre who longs for raw meat. 

' You will serve her with piquant sauce,' she added. 

The poor man, seeing plainly that it was useless to trifle 
with an ogress, took his big knife and went up to little 
Dawn's chamber. She was at that time four years old, and 
when she came running with a smile to greet him, flinging 
her arms round his neck and coaxing him to give her some 
sweets, he burst into tears, and let the knife fall from his 
hand. 

Presently he went down to the yard behind the house, 
and slaughtered a young lamb. For this he made so delicious 
a sauce that his mistress declared she had never eaten any- 
thing so good. 

At the same time the steward carried little Dawn to his 
wife, and bade the latter hide her in the quarters which 
they had below the yard. 

Eight days later the wicked queen summoned her steward 
again. 

' For my supper,' she announced, ' I will eat little Day.' 

The steward made no answer, being determined to trick 

her as he had done previously. He went in search of little 

Day, whom he found with a tiny foil in his hand, making 

brave passes though he was but three years old at a big 

B I? 



Old -Time Stories 

monkey. He carried him off to his wife, who stowed him 
away in hiding with little Dawn. To the ogress the steward 
served up, in place of Day, a young kid so tender that she 
found it surpassingly delicious. 

So far, so good. But there came an evening when this 
evil queen again addressed the steward. 

' I have a mind,' she said, ' to eat the queen with the 
same sauce as you served with her children.' 

This time the poor steward despaired of being able to 
practise another deception. The young queen was twenty 
years old, without counting the hundred years she had been 
asleep. Her skin, though white and beautiful, had become 
a little tough, and what animal could he possibly find that 
would correspond to her ? He made up his mind that if 
he would save his own life he must kill the queen, and went 
upstairs to her apartment determined to do the deed once 
and for all. Goading himself into a rage he drew his knife 
and entered the young queen's chamber, but a reluctance 
to give her no moment of grace made him repeat respectfully 
the command which he had received from the queen- 
mother. 

' Do it ! do it ! ' she cried, baring her neck to him ; 
' carry out the order you have been given ! Then once 
more I shall see my children, my poor children that I loved 
so much ! ' 

Nothing had been said to her when the children were 
stolen away, and she believed them to be dead. 

The poor steward was overcome by compassion. ' No, 

no, Madam,' he declared ; ' you shall not die, but you shall 

certainly see your children again. That will be in my 

quarters, where I have hidden them. I shall make the 

18 



The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood 

queen eat a young hind in place of you, and thus trick her 
once more.' 

Without more ado he led her to his quarters, and leaving 
her there to embrace and weep over her children, proceeded 
to cook a hind with such art that the queen-mother ate it 
for her supper with as much appetite as if it had indeed 
been the young queen. 

The queen-mother felt well satisfied with her cruel 
deeds, and planned to tell the king, on his return, that 
savage wolves had devoured his consort and his children. 
It was her habit, however, to prowl often about the courts 
and alleys of the mansion, in the hope of scenting raw 
meat, and one evening she heard the little boy Day crying 
in a basement cellar. The child was weeping because his 
mother had threatened to whip him for some naughtiness, 
and she heard at the same time the voice of Dawn begging 
forgiveness for her brother. 

The ogress recognised the voices of the queen and her 
children, and was enraged to find she had been tricked. 
The next morning, in tones so affrighting that all trembled, 
she ordered a huge vat to be brought into the middle of the 
courtyard. This she filled with vipers and toads, with 
snakes and serpents of every kind, intending to cast into it 
the queen and her children, and the steward with his wife 
and serving-girl. By her command these were brought 
forward, with their hands tied behind their backs. 

There they were, and her minions were making ready to 
cast them into the vat, when into the courtyard rode the 
king ! Nobody had expected him so soon, but he had 
travelled post-haste. Filled with amazement, he demanded 
to know what this horrible spectacle meant. None dared 

19 



Old -Time Stories 

tell him, and at that moment the ogress, enraged at what 
confronted her, threw herself head foremost into the vat, 
and was devoured on the instant by the hideous creatures 
she had placed in it. 

The king could not but be sorry, for after all she was 
his mother ; but it was not long before he found ample 
consolation in his beautiful wife and children. 



20 







All, THAT KKMAINKIl KOI; IT1K YOUNGEST WAS Tl I K CAT." 



PUSS IN BOOTS 

A CERTAIN miller had three sons, and when he died the 

/ \ sole worldly goods which he bequeathed to them 

were his mill, his ass, and his cat. This little legacy 

was very quickly divided up, and you may be quite sure 

that neither notary nor attorney were called in to help, for 

they would speedily have grabbed it all for themselves. 

The eldest son took the mill, and the second son took 
the ass. Consequently all that remained for the youngest 
son was the cat, and he was not a little disappointed at 
receiving such a miserable portion. 

' My brothers,' said he, ' will be able to get a decent 
living by joining forces, but for my part, as soon as I have 
eaten my cat and made a muff out of his skin, I am bound 
to die of hunger.' 

These remarks were overheard by Puss, who pretended 
not to have been listening, and said very soberly and 
seriously : 

' There is not the least need for you to worry, Master. 
All you have to do is to give me a pouch, and get a pair of 
boots made for me so that I can walk in the woods. You 
will find then that your share is not so bad after all.' 

Now this cat had often shown himself capable of perform- 
ing cunning tricks. When catching rats and mice, for 
example, he would hide himself amongst the meal and hang 
downwards by the feet as though he were dead. His master, 

21 



Old-Time Stories 

therefore, though he did not build too much on what the 
cat had said, felt some hope of being assisted in his miserable 
plight. 

On receiving the boots which he had asked for, Puss 
gaily pulled them on. Then he hung the pouch round his 
neck, and holding the cords which tied it in front of him 
with his paws, he sallied forth to a warren where rabbits 
abounded. Placing some bran and lettuce in the pouch, 
he stretched himself out and lay as if dead. His plan was 
to wait until some young rabbit, unlearned in worldly 
wisdom, should come and rummage in the pouch for the 
eatables which he had placed there. 

Hardly had he laid himself down when things fell out 
as he wished. A stupid young rabbit went into the pouch, 
and Master Puss, pulling the cords tight, killed him on the 
instant. 

Well satisfied with his capture, Puss departed to the king's 
palace. There he demanded an audience, and was ushered 
upstairs. He entered the royal apartment, and bowed 
profoundly to the king. 

' I bring you, Sire,' said he, ' a rabbit from the warren 
of the marquis of Carabas (such was the title he invented for 
his master), which I am bidden to present to you on his 
behalf.' 

' Tell your master,' replied the king, ' that I thank him, 
and am pleased by his attention.' 

Another time the cat hid himself in a wheatfield, keep- 
ing the mouth of his bag wide open. Two partridges ven- 
tured in, and by pulling the cords tight he captured both 
of them. Off he went and presented them to the king, 
just as he had done with the rabbit from the warren. His 

22 







As though he -were dtad' 



Puss in Boots 

Majesty was not less gratified by the brace of partridges, and 
handed the cat a present for himself. 

For two or three months Puss went on in this way, 
every now and again taking to the king, as a present from 
his master, some game which he had caught. There came 
a day when he learned that the king intended to take his 
daughter, who was the most beautiful princess in the world, 
for an excursion along the river bank. 

' If you will do as I tell you,' said Puss to his master, 
' your fortune is made. You have only to go and bathe in 
the river at the spot which 1 shall point out to you. Leave 
the rest to me.' 

The marquis of Carabas had no idea what plan was 
afoot, but did as the cat had directed. 

While he was bathing the king drew near, and Puss at 
once began to cry out at the top of his voice : 

' Help ! help ! the marquis of Carabas is drowning ! ' 

At these shouts the king put his head out of the carriage 
window. He recognised the cat who had so often brought 
him game, and bade his escort go speedily to the help of 
the marquis of Carabas. 

While they were pulling the poor marquis out of the 
river, Puss approached the carriage and explained to the 
king that while his master was bathing robbers had come 
and taken away his clothes, though he had cried ' Stop, 
thief ! ' at the top of his voice. As a matter of fact, the 
rascal had hidden them under a big stone. The king at 
once commanded the keepers of his wardrobe to go and 
select a suit of his finest clothes for the marquis of Carabas. 

The king received the marquis with many compliments, 
and as the fine clothes which the latter had just put on set 

25 



Old-Time Stories 

off his good looks (for he was handsome and comely in 
appearance), the king's daughter found him very much to 
her liking. Indeed, the marquis of Carabas had not bestowed 
more than two or three respectful but sentimental glances 
upon her when she fell madly in love with him. The king 
invited him to enter the coach and join the party. 




1 7 lie cat went on 



Delighted to see his plan so successfully launched, the 
cat went on ahead, and presently came upon some peasants 
who were mowing a field. 

' Listen, my good fellows,' said he ; ' if you do not tell 
the king that the field which you are mowing belongs to 
the marquis of Carabas, you will all be chopped up into 
little pieces like mince-meat.' 
26 




Puss ill fioets 



Puss in Boots 

In due course the king asked the mowers to whom the 
field on which they were at work belonged. 

' It is the property of the marquis of Carabas,' they all 
cried with one voice, for the threat from Puss had frightened 
them. 

' You have inherited a fine estate,' the king remarked to 
Carabas. 

' As you see for yourself, Sire,' replied the marquis ; 
' this is a meadow which never fails to yield an abundant 
crop each year.' 

Still travelling ahead, the cat came upon some 
harvesters. 

' Listen, my good fellows,' said he ; 'if you do not 
declare that every one of these fields belongs to the marquis 
of Carabas, you will all be chopped up into little bits like 
mince-meat.' 

The king came by a moment later, and wished to know 
who was the owner of the fields in sight. 

' It is the marquis of Carabas,' cried the harvesters. 
At this the king was more pleased than ever with the 
marquis. 

Preceding the coach on its journey, the cat made the same 
threat to all whom he met, and the king grew astonished at 
the great wealth of the marquis of Carabas. 

Finally Master Puss reached a splendid castle, which 
belonged to an ogre. He was the richest ogre that had ever 
been known, for all the lands through which the king had 
passed were part of the castle domain. 

The cat had taken care to find out who this ogre was, 
and what powers he possessed. He now asked for an inter- 
view, declaring that he was unwilling to pass so close to 

29 



Old-Time Stories 

the castle without having the honour of paying his respects 
to the owner. 

The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre can, and bade 
him sit down. 

' I have been told,' said Puss, ' that you have the power 
to change yourself into any kind of animal for example, 
that you can transform yourself into a lion or an elephant.' 

' That is perfectly true,' said the ogre, curtly ; ' and 
just to prove it you shall see me turn into a lion.' 

Puss was so frightened on seeing a lion before him that 
he sprang on to the roof not without difficulty and danger, 
for his boots were not meant for walking on the tiles. 

Perceiving presently that the ogre had abandoned his 
transformation, Puss descended, and owned to having been 
thoroughly frightened. 

' I have also been told,' he added, ' but I can scarcely 
believe it, that you have the further power to take the shape 
of the smallest animals for example, that you can change 
yourself into a rat or a mouse. I confess that to me it 
seems quite impossible.' 

' Impossible ? ' cried the ogre ; ' you shall see ! ' And 
in the same moment he changed himself into a mouse, 
which began to run about the floor. No sooner did Puss 
see it than he pounced on it and ate it. 

Presently the king came along, and noticing the ogre's 
beautiful mansion desired to visit it. The cat heard the 
rumble of the coach as it crossed the castle drawbridge, and 
running out to the courtyard cried to the king : 

' Welcome, your Majesty, to the castle of the marquis of 
Carabas ! ' 

' What 's that ? ' cried the king. ' Is this castle also 

3 




'Puss became a personage of great importance' 



Puss in Boots 

yours, marquis ? Nothing could be finer than this court- 
yard and the buildings which I see all about. With your 
permission we will go inside and look round.' 

The marquis gave his hand to the young princess, and 
followed the king as he led the way up the staircase. Enter- 
ing a great hall they found there a magnificent collation. 
This had been prepared by the ogre for some friends who 
were to pay him a visit that very day. The latter had not 
dared to enter when they learned that the king was there. 

The king was now quite as charmed with the excellent 
qualities of the marquis of Carabas as his daughter. The latter 
was completely captivated by him. Noting the great wealth 
of which the marquis was evidently possessed, and having 
quaffed several cups of wine, he turned to his host, saying : 

' It rests with you, marquis, whether you will be my 
son-in-law.' 

The marquis, bowing very low, accepted the honour 
which the king bestowed upon him. The very same day 
he married the princess. 

Puss became a personage of great importance, and gave 
up hunting mice, except for amusement. 




33 



LITTLE TOM THUMB 

ONCE upon a time there lived a wood-cutter and his 
wife, who had seven children, all boys. The 
eldest was only ten years old, and the youngest 
was seven. People were astonished that the wood-cutter had 
had so many children in so short a time, but the reason 
was that his wife delighted in children, and never had less 
than two at a time. 

They were very poor, and their seven children were 
a great tax on them, for none of them was yet able to earn 
his own living. And they were troubled also because the 
youngest was very delicate and could not speak a word. 
They mistook for stupidity what was in reality a mark of 
good sense. 

This youngest boy was very little. At his birth he was 
scarcely bigger than a man's thumb, and he was called in 
consequence ' Little Tom Thumb.' The poor child was 
the scapegoat of the family, and got the blame for everything. 
All the same, he was the sharpest and shrewdest of the 
brothers, and if he spoke but little he listened much. 

There came a very bad year, when the famine was so 
great that these poor people resolved to get rid of their 
family. One evening, after the children had gone to bed, 
the wood-cutter was sitting in the chimney-corner with his 
wife. His heart was heavy with sorrow as he said to her : 

' It must be plain enough to you that we can no longer 

34 



Little Tom Thumb 

feed our children. I cannot see them die of hunger before 
my eyes, and I have made up my mind to take them to- 
morrow to the forest and lose them there. It will be easy 
enough to manage, for while they are amusing themselves 
by collecting faggots we have only to disappear without 
their seeing us.' 

' Ah ! ' cried the wood-cutter's wife, ' do you mean to 
say you are capable of letting your own children be lost ? ' 

In vain did her husband remind her of their terrible 
poverty ; she could not agree. She was poor, but she was 
their mother. In the end, however, reflecting what a grief 
it would be to see them die of hunger, she consented to the 
plan, and went weeping to bed. 

Little Tom Thumb had heard all that was said. Having 
discovered, when in bed, that serious talk was going on, he 
had got up softly, and had slipped under his father's 
stool in order to listen without being seen. He went back 
to bed, but did not sleep a wink for the rest of the night, 
thinking over what he had better do. In the morning he 
rose very early and went to the edge of a brook. There he 
filled his pockets with little white pebbles and came quickly 
home again. 

They all set out, and little Tom Thumb said not a word 
to his brothers of what he knew. 

They went into a forest which was so dense that when 
only ten paces apart they could not see each other. The 
wood-cutter set about his work, and the children began 
to collect twigs to make faggots. Presently the father and 
mother, seeing them busy at their task, edged gradually 
away, and then hurried off in haste along a little narrow 
footpath. 

35 



Old-Time Stories 

When the children found they were alone they began 
to cry and call out with all their might. Little Tom Thumb 
let them cry, being confident that they would get back home 
again. For on the way he had dropped the little white 
stones which he carried in his pocket all along the path. 

' Don't be afraid, brothers,' he said presently ; ' our 
parents have left us here, but I will take you home again. 
Just follow me.' 

They fell in behind him, and he led them straight to 
their house by the same path which they had taken to the 
forest. At first they dared not go in, but placed themselves 
against the door, where they could hear everything their 
father and mother were saying. 

Now the wood-cutter and his wife had no sooner reached 
home than the lord of the manor sent them a sum of ten 
crowns which had been owing from him for a long time, 
and of which they had given up hope. This put new life 
into them, for the poor creatures were dying of hunger. 

The wood-cutter sent his wife off to the butcher at once, 
and as it was such a long time since they had had anything 
to eat, she bought three times as much meat as a supper 
for two required. 

When they found themselves once more at table, the 
wood-cutter's wife began to lament. 

' Alas ! where are our poor children now ? ' she said ; 
' they could make a good meal off what we have over. Mind 
you, William, it was you who wished to lose them : I declared 
over and over again that we should repent it. What are 
they doing now in that forest ? Merciful heavens, perhaps 
the wolves have already eaten them ! A monster you must 
be to lose your children in this way ! ' 
36 




' A good dame opened the door' 



Little Tom Thumb 

At last the wood-cutter lost patience, for she repeated 
more than twenty times that he would repent it, and that 
she had told him so. He threatened to beat her if she did 
not hold her tongue. 

It was not that the wood-cutter was less grieved than 
his wife, but she browbeat him, and he was of the same 
opinion as many other people, who like a woman to have 
the knack of saying the right thing, but not the trick of being 
always in the right. 

' Alas ! ' cried the wood-cutter's wife, bursting into tears, 
' where are now my children, my poor children ? ' 

She said it once so loud that the children at the door 
heard it plainly. Together they all called out : 

' Here we are ! Here we are ! ' 

She rushed to open the door for them, and exclaimed, 
as she embraced them : 

' How glad I am to see you again, dear children ! You 
must be very tired and very hungry. And you, Peterkin, 
how muddy you are come and let me wash you ! ' 

This Peterkin was her eldest son. She loved him more 
than all the others because he was inclined to be red-headed, 
and she herself was rather red. 

They sat down at the table and ate with an appetite 
which it did their parents good to see. They all talked 
at once, as they recounted the fears they had felt in the 
forest. 

The good souls were delighted to have their children 
with them again, and the pleasure continued as long as the 
ten crowns lasted. But when the money was all spent 
they relapsed into their former sadness. They again re- 
solved to lose the children, and to lead them much further 

39 



Old-Time Stories 

away than they had done the first time, so as to do 
the job thoroughly. But though they were careful not 
to speak openly about it, their conversation did not 
escape little Tom Thumb, who made up his mind to 
get out of the situation as he had done on the former 
occasion. 

But though he got up early to go and collect his little 
stones, he found the door of the house doubly locked, and 
he could not carry out his plan. 

He could not think what to do until the wood-cutter's 
wife gave them each a piece of bread for breakfast. Then it 
occurred to him to use the bread in place of the stones, 
by throwing crumbs along the path which they took, and he 
tucked it tight in his pocket. 

Their parents led them into the thickest and darkest 
part of the forest, and as soon as they were there slipped 
away by a side-path and left them. This did not much 
trouble little Tom Thumb, for he believed he could easily 
find the way back by means of the bread which he had 
scattered wherever he walked. But to his dismay he could 
not discover a single crumb. The birds had come along 
and eaten it all. 

They were in sore trouble now, for with every step 
they strayed further, and became more and more entangled 
in the forest. Night came on and a terrific wind arose, 
which filled them with dreadful alarm. On every side 
they seemed to hear nothing but the howling of wolves 
which were coming to eat them up. They dared not speak 
or move. 

In addition it began to rain so heavily that they were 
soaked to the skin. At every step they tripped and fell on 
40 



Little Tom Thumb 

the wet ground, getting up again covered with mud, not 
knowing what to do with their hands. 

Little Tom Thumb climbed to the top of a tree, in an 
endeavour to see something. Looking all about him he 
espied, far away on the other side of the forest, a little light 
like that of a candle. He got down from the tree, and was 
terribly disappointed to find that when he was on the 
ground he could see nothing at all. 

After they had walked some distance in the direction 
of the light, however, he caught a glimpse of it again as 
they were nearing the edge of the forest. At last they 
reached the house where the light was burning, but not 
without much anxiety, for every time they had to go down 
into a hollow they lost sight of it. 

They knocked at the door, and a good dame opened to 
them. She asked them what they wanted. 

Little Tom Thumb explained that they were poor 
children who had lost their way in the forest, and begged 
her, for pity's sake, to give them a night's lodging. 

Noticing what bonny children they all were, the woman 
began to cry. 

' Alas, my poor little dears ! ' she said ; ' you do not 
know the place you have come to ! Have you not heard 
that this is the house of an ogre who eats little children ? ' 

' Alas, madam ! ' answered little Tom Thumb, trem- 
bling like all the rest of his brothers, ' what shall we do ? 
One thing is very certain : if you do not take us in, the 
wolves of the forest will devour us this very night, and that 
being so we should prefer to be eaten by your husband. 
Perhaps he may take pity on us, if you will plead for us.' 

The ogre's wife, thinking she might be able to hide 

41 



Old -Time Stories 

them from her husband till the next morning, allowed them 
to come in, and put them to warm near a huge fire, where 
a whole sheep was cooking on the spit for the ogre's supper. 

Just as they were beginning to get warm they heard 
two or three great bangs at the door. The ogre had re- 
turned. His wife hid them quickly under the bed and 
ran to open the door. 

The first thing the ogre did was to ask whether supper 
was ready and the wine opened. Then without ado he 
sat down to table. Blood was still dripping from the 
sheep, but it seemed all the better to him for that. He 
sniffed to right and left, declaring that he could smell fresh 
flesh. 

' Indeed ! ' said his wife. ' It must be the calf which 
I have just dressed that you smell.' 

' / smell fresh flesh, I tell you,' shouted the ogre, eyeing 
his wife askance ; ' and there is something going on here 
which I do not understand.' 

With these words he got up from the table and went 
straight to the bed. 

' Aha ! ' said he ; 'so this is the way you deceive me, 
wicked woman that you are ! I have a very great mind to 
eat you too ! It 's lucky for you that you are old and tough ! 
I am expecting three ogre friends of mine to pay me a visit 
in the next few days, and here is a tasty dish which will just 
come in nicely for them ! ' 

One after another he dragged the children out from 
under the bed. 

The poor things threw themselves on their knees, im- 
ploring mercy ; but they had to deal with the most cruel of 
all ogres. Far from pitying them, he was already devouring 
42 




1 He could smell ,'res/i jlesh ' 



Little Tom Thumb 

them with his eyes, and repeating to his wife that when cooked 
with a good sauce they would make most dainty morsels. 

Off he went to get a large knife, which he sharpened, as he 
drew near the poor children, on a long stone in his left hand. 

He had already seized one of them when his wife called 
out to him. ' What do you want to do it now for ? ' she 
said ; ' will it not be time enough to-morrow ? ' 

' Hold your tongue,' replied the ogre ; ' they will be all 
the more tender.' 

' But you have such a lot of meat,' rejoined his wife ; 
' look, there are a calf, two sheep, and half a pig/ 

' You are right,' said the ogre ; ' give them a good supper 
to fatten them up, and take them to bed.' 

The good woman was overjoyed and brought them a 
splendid supper ; but the poor little wretches were so cowed 
with fright that they could not eat. 

As for the ogre, he went back to his drinking, very 
pleased to have such good entertainment for his friends. 
He drank a dozen cups more than usual, and was obliged 
to go off to bed early, for the wine had gone somewhat to 
his head. 

Now the ogre had seven daughters who as yet were only 
children. These little ogresses all had the most lovely 
complexions, for, like their father, they ate fresh meat. But 
they had little round grey eyes, crooked noses, and very 
large mouths, with long and exceedingly sharp teeth, set 
far apart. They were not so very wicked at present, but 
they showed great promise, for already they were in the habit 
of killing little children to suck their blood. 

They had gone to bed early, and were all seven in a great 
bed, each with a crown of gold upon her head. 

45 



Old-Time Stories 

In the same room there was another bed, equally large. 
Into this the ogre's wife put the seven little boys, and then 
went to sleep herself beside her husband. 

Little Tom Thumb was fearful lest the ogre should 
suddenly regret that he had not cut the throats of himself 
and his brothers the evening before. Having noticed 
that the ogre's daughters all had golden crowns upon their 
heads, he got up in the middle of the night and softly placed 
his own cap and those of his brothers on their heads. Before 
doing so, he carefully removed the crowns of gold, putting 
them on his own and his brothers' heads. In this way, if 
the ogre were to feel like slaughtering them that night he 
would mistake the girls for the boys, and vice versa. 

Things fell out just as he had anticipated. The ogre, 
waking up at midnight, regretted that he had postponed till 
the morrow what he could have done overnight. Jumping 
briskly out of bed, he seized his knife, crying : ' Now then, 
let 's see how the little rascals are ; we won't make the same 
mistake twice ! ' 

He groped his way up to his daughters' room, and ap- 
proached the bed in which were the seven little boys. All 
were sleeping, with the exception of little Tom Thumb, 
who was numb with fear when he felt the ogre's hand, as it 
touched the head of each brother in turn, reach his own. 

' Upon my word/ said the ogre, as he felt the golden 
crowns ; ' a nice job I was going to make of it ! It is very 
evident that I drank a little too much last night ! ' 

Forthwith he went to the bed where his daughters were, 
and here he felt the little boys' caps. 

' Aha, here are the little scamps ! ' he cried ; ' now for 
a"smart|bit of work ! ' 
46 




' He set off over the countryside ' 



Little Tom Thumb 

With these words, and without a moment's hesitation, he 
cut the throats of his seven daughters, and well satisfied 
with his work went back to bed beside his wife. 

No sooner did little Tom Thumb hear him snoring 
than he woke up his brothers, bidding them dress quickly 
and follow him. They crept quietly down to the garden, 
and jumped from the wall. All through the night they 
ran in haste and terror, without the least idea of where they 
were going. 

When the ogre woke up he said to his wife : 

' Go upstairs and dress those little rascals who were 
here last night.' 

The ogre's wife was astonished at her husband's kind- 
ness, never doubting that he meant her to go and put on 
their clothes. She went upstairs, and was horrified to 
discover her seven daughters bathed in blood, with their 
throats cut. 

She fell at once into a swoon, which is the way of most 
women in similar circumstances. 

The ogre, thinking his wife was very long in carrying out 
his orders, went up to help her, and was no less astounded 
than his wife at the terrible spectacle which confronted 
him. 

' What 's this I have done ? ' he exclaimed. ' I will be 
revenged on the wretches, and quickly, too ! ' 

He threw a jugful of water over his wife's face, and 
having brought her round ordered her to fetch his seven- 
league boots, so that he might overtake the children. 

He set off over the countryside, and strode far and 
wide until he came to the road along which the poor children 
were travelling. They were not more than a few yards 
D 49 



Old-Time Stories 

from their home when they saw the ogre striding from 
hill-top to hill-top, and stepping over rivers as though 
they were merely tiny streams. 

Little Tom Thumb espied near at hand a cave in some 
rocks. In this he hid his brothers, and himself followed 
them in, while continuing to keep a watchful eye upon the 
movements of the ogre. 

Now the ogre was feeling very tired after so much fruit- 
less marching (for seven-league boots are very fatiguing 
to their wearer), and felt like taking a little rest. As it 
happened, he went and sat down on the very rock beneath 
which the little boys were hiding. Overcome with weari- 
ness, he had not sat there long before he fell asleep and 
began to snore so terribly that the poor children were as 
frightened as when he had held his great knife to their 
throats. 

Little Tom Thumb was not so alarmed. He told his 
brothers to flee at once to their home while the ogre was 
still sleeping soundly, and not to worry about him. They 
took his advice and ran quickly home. 

Little Tom Thumb now approached the ogre and gently 
pulled off his boots, which he at once donned himself. 
The boots were very heavy and very large, but being en- 
chanted boots they had the faculty of growing larger or 
smaller according to the leg they had to suit. Consequently 
they always fitted as though they had been made for the 
wearer. 

He went straight to the ogre's house, where he found 
the ogre's wife weeping over her murdered daughters. 

' Your husband,' said little Tom Thumb, ' is in great 
danger, for he has been captured by a gang of thieves, and 

50 





' Laden with all the ogre's wealth ' 



Little Tom Thumb 

the latter have sworn to kill him if he does not hand over all 
his gold and silver. Just as they had the dagger at his 
throat, he caught sight of me and begged me to come to 
you and thus rescue him from his terrible plight. You 
are to give me everything of value which he possesses, 
without keeping back a thing, otherwise he will be slain 
without mercy. As the matter is urgent he wished me to 
wear his seven-league boots, to save time, and also to prove 
to you that I am no impostor.' 

The ogre's wife, in great alarm, gave him immediately 
all that she had, for although this was an ogre who devoured 
little children, he was by no means a bad husband. 

Little Tom Thumb, laden with all the ogre's wealth, 
forthwith repaired to his father's house, where he was 
received with great joy. 

Many people do not agree about this last adventure, and 
pretend that little Tom Thumb never committed this theft 
from the ogre, and only took the seven-league boots, about 
which he had no compunction, since they were only used 
by the ogre for catching little children. These folks assert 
that they are in a position to know, having been guests at 
the wood-cutter's cottage. They further say that when 
little Tom Thumb had put on the ogre's boots, he went 
off to the Court, where he knew there was great anxiety 
concerning the result of a battle which was being fought 
by an army two hundred leagues away. 

They say that he went to the king and undertook, if 
desired, to bring news of the army before the day was out ; 
and that the king promised him a large sum of money if he 
could carry out his project. 

53 



Old -Time Stories 

Little Tom Thumb brought news that very night, and 
this first errand having brought him into notice, he made 
as much money as he wished. For not only did the king 
pay him handsomely to carry orders to the army, but many 
ladies at the court gave him anything he asked to get them 
news of their lovers, and this was his greatest source of 
income. He was occasionally entrusted by wives with 
letters to their husbands, but they paid him so badly, and 
this branch of the business brought him in so little, that 
he did not even bother to reckon what he made from it. 

After acting as courier for some time, and amassing 
great wealth thereby, little Tom Thumb returned to his 
father's house, and was there greeted with the greatest joy 
imaginable. He made all his family comfortable, buying 
newly-created positions for his father and brothers. In 
this way he set them all up, not forgetting at the same time 
to look well after himself. 



54 



THE FAIRIES 

ONCE upon a time there lived a widow with two 
daughters. The elder was often mistaken for her 
mother, so like her was she both in nature and in 
looks ; parent and child being so disagreeable and arrogant 
that no one could live with them. 

The younger girl, who took after her father in the 
gentleness and sweetness of her disposition, was also one 
of the prettiest girls imaginable. The mother doted on the 
elder daughter naturally enough, since she resembled her 
so closely and disliked the younger one as intensely. She 
made the latter live in the kitchen and work hard from 
morning till night. 

One of the poor child's many duties was to go twice a 
day and draw water from a spring a good half-mile away, 
bringing it back in a large pitcher. One day when she 
was at the spring an old woman came up and begged for 
a drink. 

' Why, certainly, good mother,' the pretty lass replied. 
Rinsing her pitcher, she drew some water from the cleanest 
part of the spring and handed it to the dame, lifting up 
the jug so that she might drink the more easily. 

Now this old woman was a fairy, who had taken the form 
of a poor village dame to see just how far the girl's good 
nature would go. ' You are so pretty,' she said, when she 
had finished drinking, ' and so polite, that I am determined 

55 



Old-Time Stories 

to bestow a gift upon you. This is the boon I grant you : 
with every word that you utter there shall fall from your 
mouth either a flower or a precious stone.' 

When the girl reached home she was scolded by her 
mother for being so long in coming back from the 
spring. 

' I am sorry to have been so long, mother,' said the poor 
child. 

As she spoke these words there fell from her mouth 
three roses, three pearls, and three diamonds. 

' What 's this ? ' cried her mother ; ' did I see pearls 
and diamonds dropping out of your mouth ? What does 
this mean, dear daughter ? ' (This was the first time she 
had ever addressed her daughter affectionately.) 

The poor child told a simple tale of what had happened, 
and in speaking scattered diamonds right and left. 

' Really,' said her mother, ' I must send my own child 
there. Come here, Fanchon ; look what comes out of your 
sister's mouth whenever she speaks ! Wouldn't you like 
to be able to do the same ? All you have to do is to go 
and draw some water at the spring, and when a poor woman 
asks you for a drink, give it her very nicely.' 

' Oh, indeed ! ' replied the ill-mannered girl ; ' don't 
you wish you may see me going there ! ' 

4 I tell you that you are to go,' said her mother, ' and 
to go this instant.' 

Very sulkily the girl went off, taking with her the best 
silver flagon in the house. No sooner had she reached the 
spring than she saw a lady, magnificently attired, who came 
towards her from the forest, and asked for a drink. This 
was the same fairy who had appeared to her sister, mas- 
56 




' Lifting up the ju% so that she might drink the more easily ' 



The Fairies 

querading now as a princess in order to see how far this 
girl's ill-nature would carry her. 

' Do you think I have come here just to get you a drink ? ' 
said the loutish damsel, arrogantly. ' I suppose you think 
I brought a silver flagon here specially for that purpose 
it 's so likely, isn't it ? Drink from the spring, if you 
want to ! ' 

' You are not very polite,' said the fairy, displaying no 
sign of anger. ' Well, in return for your lack of courtesy 
I decree that for every word you utter a snake or a toad 
shall drop out of your mouth.' 

The moment her mother caught sight of her coming 
back she cried out, ' Well, daughter ? ' 

' Well, mother ? ' replied the rude girl. As she spoke 
a viper and a toad were spat out of her mouth. 

' Gracious heavens ! ' cried her mother ; ' what do I 
see ? Her sister is the cause of this, and I will make her 
pay for it ! ' 

Off she ran to thrash the poor child, but the latter fled 
away and hid in the forest near by. The king's son met 
her on his way home from hunting, and noticing how pretty 
she was inquired what she was doing all alone, and what 
she was weeping about. 

' Alas, sir,' she cried ; ' my mother has driven me from 
home ! ' 

As she spoke the prince saw four or five pearls and as 
many diamonds fall from her mouth. He begged her to 
tell him how this came about, and she told him the whole 
story. 

The king's son fell in love with her, and reflecting that 
such a gift as had been bestowed upon her was worth more 

59 



Old -Time Stories 

than any dowry which another maiden might bring him, 
he took her to the palace of his royal father, and there 
married her. 

As for the sister, she made herself so hateful that even 
her mother drove her out of the house. Nowhere could 
the wretched girl find any one who would take her in, and 
at last she lay down in the forest and died. 



60 



RICKY OF THE TUFT 

ONCE upon a time there was a queen who bore a son 
so ugly and misshapen that for some time it was 
doubtful if he would have human form at all. 
But a fairy who was present at his birth promised that he 
should have plenty of brains, and added that by virtue of 
the gift which she had just bestowed upon him he would 
be able to impart to the person whom he should love 
best the same degree of intelligence which he possessed 
himself. 

This somewhat consoled the poor queen, who was 
greatly disappointed at having brought into the world 
such a hideous brat. And indeed, no sooner did the child 
begin to speak than his sayings proved to be full of shrewd- 
ness, while all that he did was somehow so clever that he 
charmed every one. 

I forgot to mention that when he was born he had a 
little tuft of hair upon his head. For this reason he was 
called Ricky of the Tuft, Ricky being his family name. 

Some seven or eight years later the queen of a neigh- 
bouring kingdom gave birth to twin daughters. The first 
one to come into the world was more beautiful than the 
dawn, and the queen was so overjoyed that it was feared 
her great excitement might do her some harm. The same 
fairy who had assisted at the birth of Ricky of the Tuft 
was present, and, in order to moderate the transports of the 

61 



Old-Time Stories 

queen she declared that this little princess would have no 
sense at all, and would be as stupid as she was beautiful. 

The queen was deeply mortified, and a moment or two 
later her chagrin became greater still, for the second daughter 
proved to be extremely ugly. 

' Do not be distressed, Madam,' said the fairy ; ' your 
daughter shall be recompensed in another way. She shall 
have so much good sense that her lack of beauty will scarcely 
be noticed.' 

' May Heaven grant it ! ' said the queen ; ' but is there 
no means by which the elder, who is so beautiful, can be 
endowed with some intelligence ? ' 

' In the matter of brains I can do nothing for her, 
Madam,' said the fairy, ' but as regards beauty I can do a great 
deal. As there is nothing I would not do to please you, I 
will bestow upon her the power of making beautiful any 
person who shall greatly please her.' 

As the two princesses grew up their perfections in- 
creased, and everywhere the beauty of the elder and the 
wit of the younger were the subject of common talk. 

It is equally true that their defects also increased as 
they became older. The younger grew uglier every minute, 
and the elder daily became more stupid. Either she answered 
nothing at all when spoken to, or replied with some idiotic 
remark. At the same time she was so awkward that she 
could not set four china vases on the mantelpiece without 
breaking one of them, nor drink a glass of water without 
spilling half of it over her clothes. 

Now although the elder girl possessed the great advan- 
tage which beauty always confers upon youth, she was 
nevertheless outshone in almost all company by her younger 
62 




' She could nut set four chini vases on the mantelpiece without breaking one of them ' 



Ricky of the Tuft 



sister. At first every one gathered round the beauty to 
see and admire her, but very soon they were all attracted 
by the graceful and easy conversation of the clever one. In 
a very short time the elder girl would be left entirely alone, 
while everybody clustered round her sister. 




' Graceful and easy conversation ' 

The elder princess was not so stupid that she was not 
aware of this, and she would willingly have surrendered 
all her beauty for half her sister's cleverness. Sometimes 
she was ready to die of grief, for the queen, though a sen- 
sible woman, could not refrain from occasionally reproach- 
ing her with her stupidity. 

The princess had retired one day to a wood to bemoan her 
E 65 



Old -Time Stories 

misfortune, when she saw approaching her an ugly little man, 
of very disagreeable appearance, but clad in magnificent attire. 

This was the young prince Ricky of the Tuft. He had 
fallen in love with her portrait, which was everywhere to be 
seen, and had left his father's kingdom in order to have the 
pleasure of seeing and talking to her. 

Delighted to meet her thus alone, he approached with 
every mark of respect and politeness. But while he paid 
her the usual compliments he noticed that she was plunged 
in melancholy. 

' I cannot understand, madam,' he said, ' how any one 
with your beauty can be so sad as you appear. I can boast 
of having seen many fair ladies, and I declare that none of 
them could compare in beauty with you.' 

' It is very kind of you to say so, sir,' answered the 
princess ; and stopped there, at a loss what to say further. 

' Beauty,' said Ricky, ' is of such great advantage that 
everything else can be disregarded ; and I do not see that 
the possessor of it can have anything much to grieve about.' 

To this the princess replied : 

' I would rather be as plain as you are and have some sense, 
than be as beautiful as I am and at the same time stupid.' 

' Nothing more clearly displays good sense, madam, than 
a belief that one is not possessed of it. It follows, therefore, 
that the more one has, the more one fears it to be wanting.' 

' I am not sure about that,' said the princess ; ' but I 
know only too well that I am very stupid, and this is the 
reason of the misery which is nearly killing me.' 

' If that is all that troubles you, madam, I can easily put 
an end to your suffering.' 

' How will you manage that ? ' said the princess. 
66 



Ricky of the Tuft 

' I am able, madam,' said Ricky of the Tuft, ' to bestow 
as much good sense as it is possible to possess on the person 
whom I love the most. You are that person, and it there- 
fore rests with you to decide whether you will acquire so 
much intelligence. The only condition is that you shall 
consent to marry me.' 

The princess was dumbfounded, and remained silent. 

' I can see,' pursued Ricky, ' that this suggestion per- 
plexes you, and I am not surprised. But I will give you 
a whole year to make up your mind to it.' 

The princess had so little sense, and at the same time 
desired it so ardently, that she persuaded herself the end 
of this year would never come. So she accepted the offer 
which had been made to her. No sooner had she given her 
word to Ricky that she would marry him within one year 
from that very day, than she felt a complete change come 
over her. She found herself able to say all that she wished 
with the greatest ease, and to say it in an elegant, finished, 
and natural manner. She at once engaged Ricky in a 
brilliant and lengthy conversation, holding her own so well 
that Ricky feared he had given her a larger share of sense 
than he had retained for himself. 

On her return to the palace amazement reigned through- 
out the Court at such a sudden and extraordinary change. 
Whereas formerly they had been accustomed to hear her 
give vent to silly, pert remarks, they now heard her express 
herself sensibly and very wittily. 

The entire Court was overjoyed. The only person not 
too pleased was the younger sister, for now that she had 
no longer the advantage over the elder in wit, she seemed 
nothing but a little fright in comparison. 

67 



Old -Time Stories 

The king himself often took her advice, and several 
times held his councils in her apartment. 

The news of this change spread abroad, and the princes 
of the neighbouring kingdoms made many attempts to 
captivate her. Almost all asked her in marriage. But 
she found none with enough sense, and so she listened to 
all without promising herself to any. 

At last came one who was so powerful, so rich, so witty, 
and so handsome, that she could not help being somewhat 
attracted by him. Her father noticed this, and told her 
she could make her own choice of a husband : she had 
only to declare herself. 

Now the more sense one has, the more difficult it is to 
make up one's mind in an affair of this kind. After thank- 
ing her father, therefore, she asked for a little time to think 
it over. 

In order to ponder quietly what she had better do she 
went to walk in a wood the very one, as it happened, 
where she encountered Ricky of the Tuft. 

While she walked, deep in thought, she heard beneath 
her feet a thudding sound, as though many people were 
running busily to and fro. Listening more attentively she 
heard voices. ' Bring me that boiler,' said one ; then 
another ' Put some wood on that fire ! ' 

At that moment the ground opened, and she saw below 
what appeared to be a large kitchen full of cooks and scullions, 
and all the train of attendants which the preparation of a 
great banquet involves. A gang of some twenty or thirty 
spit-turners emerged and took up their positions round 
a very long table in a path in the wood. They all wore 
their cook's caps on one side, and with their basting im- 
68 



Ricky of the Tuft 



plements in their hands they kept time together as they 
worked, to the lilt of a melodious song. 

The princess was astonished by this spectacle, and asked 
for whom their work was being done. 

' For Prince Ricky of the Tuft, madam,' said the foreman 
of the gang ; ' his wedding is to-morrow.' 

At this the princess was more surprised than ever. In 
a flash she remembered that it was a year to the very day 
since she had promised to marry Prince Ricky of the Tuft, 
and was taken aback by the recollection. The reason she 
had forgotten was that when she made the promise she was 
still without sense, and with the acquisition of that intelli- 
gence which the prince had bestowed upon her, all memory 
of her former stupidities had been blotted out. 

She had not gone another thirty paces when Ricky of 
the Tuft appeared before her, gallant and resplendent, like 
a prince upon his wedding day. 

' As you see, madam,' he said, ' I keep my word to the 
minute. I do not doubt that you have come to keep yours, 
and by giving me your hand to make me the happiest of 
men.' 

' I will be frank with you,' replied the princess. ' I 
have not yet made up my mind on the point, and I am 
afraid I shall never be able to take the decision you 
desire.' 

' You astonish me, madam,' said Ricky of the Tuft. 

' I can well believe it,' said the princess, ' and un- 
doubtedly, if I had to deal with a clown, or a man who 
lacked good sense, I should feel myself very awkwardly 
situated. " A princess must keep her word," he would 
say, " and you must marry me because you promised to ! ' 

69 



Old-Time Stories 

But I am speaking to a man of the world, of the greatest 
good sense, and I am sure that he will listen to reason. As 
you are aware, I could not make up my mind to marry 
you even when I was entirely without sense ; how can 
you expect that to-day, possessing the intelligence you 
bestowed on me, which makes me still more difficult to 
please than formerly, I should take a decision which I 
could not take then ? If you wished so much to marry me, 
you were very wrong to relieve me of my stupidity, and to 
let me see more clearly than I did.' 

' If a man who lacked good sense,' replied Ricky of the 
Tuft, ' would be justified, as you have just said, in reproach- 
ing you for breaking your word, why do you expect, madam, 
that I should act differently where the happiness of my 
whole life is at stake ? Is it reasonable that people who 
have sense should be treated worse than those who have 
none ? Would you maintain that for a moment you, 
who so markedly have sense, and desired so ardently to 
have it ? But, pardon me, let us get to the facts. With 
the exception of my ugliness, is there anything about me 
which displeases you ? Are you dissatisfied with my breed- 
ing, my brains, my disposition, or my manners ? ' 

' In no way,' replied the princess ; ' I like exceedingly 
all that you have displayed of the qualities you mention.' 

' In that case,' said Ricky of the Tuft, ' happiness will 
be mine, for it lies in your power to make me the most 
attractive of men.' 

' How can that be done ? ' asked the princess. 

' It will happen of itself,' replied Ricky of the Tuft, ' if 
you love me well enough to wish that it be so. To remove 
your doubts, madam, let me tell you that the same fairy 
70 




Ricky of the Tuft 



Ricky of the Tutt 



who on the day of my birth bestowed upon me the power 
of endowing with intelligence the woman of my choice, 
gave to you also the power of endowing with beauty the 
man whom you should love, and on whom you should wish 
to confer this favour.' 

' If that is so,' said the princess, ' I wish with all my 
heart that you may become the handsomest and most at- 
tractive prince in the world, and I give you without reserve 
the boon which it is mine to bestow.' 

No sooner had the princess uttered these words than 
Ricky of the Tuft appeared before her eyes as the hand- 
somest, most graceful and attractive man that she had 
ever set eyes on. 

Some people assert that this was not the work of fairy 
enchantment, but that love alone brought about the trans- 
formation. They say that the princess, as she mused 
upon her lover's constancy, upon his good sense, and his 
many admirable qualities of heart and head, grew blind to 
the deformity of his body and the ugliness of his face ; 
that his hump back seemed no more than was natural in a 
man who could make the courtliest of bows, and that the 
dreadful limp which had formerly distressed her now be- 
tokened nothing more than a certain diffidence and charm- 
ing deference of manner. They say further that she found 
his eyes shine all the brighter for their squint, and that 
this defect in them was to her but a sign of passionate love ; 
while his great red nose she found nought but martial and 
heroic. 

However that may be, the princess promised to marry 
him on the spot, provided only that he could obtain the 
consent of her royal father. 

73 



Old-Time Stories 

The king knew Ricky of the Tuft to be a prince both 
wise and witty, and on learning of his daughter's regard 
for him, he accepted him with pleasure as a son-in-law. 

The wedding took place upon the morrow, just as Ricky 
of the Tuft had foreseen, and in accordance with the arrange- 
ments he had long ago put in train. 



74 



CINDERELLA 

ONCE upon a time there was a worthy man who 
married for his second wife the haughtiest, proudest 
woman that had ever been seen. She had two 
daughters, who possessed their mother's temper and re- 
sembled her in everything. Her husband, on the other 
hand, had a young daughter, who was of an exceptionally 
sweet and gentle nature. She got this from her mother, 
who had been the nicest person in the world. 

The wedding was no sooner over than the stepmother 
began to display her bad temper. She could not endure 
the excellent qualities of this young girl, for they made her 
own daughters appear more hateful than ever. She thrust 
upon her all the meanest tasks about the house. It was 
she who had to clean the plates and the stairs, and sweep 
out the rooms of the mistress of the house and her daughters. 
She slept on a wretched mattress in a garret at the top of 
the house, while the sisters had rooms with parquet flooring, 
and beds of the most fashionable style, with mirrors in 
which they could see themselves from top to toe. 

The poor girl endured everything patiently, not daring 
to complain to her father. The latter would have scolded 
her, because he was entirely ruled by his wife. When she 
had finished her work she used to sit amongst the cinders 
in the corner of the chimney, and it was from this habit 
that she came to be commonly known as Cinder-slut. The 

75 



Old-Time Stories 

younger of the two sisters, who was not quite so spiteful as 
the elder, called her Cinderella. But her wretched clothes 
did not prevent Cinderella from being a hundred times 
more beautiful than her sisters, for all their resplendent 
garments. 

It happened that the king's son gave a ball, and he in- 
vited all persons of high degree. The two young ladies 
were invited amongst others, for they cut a considerable 
figure in the country. Not a little pleased were they, and 
the question of what clothes and what mode of dressing the 
hair would become them best took up all their time. And 
all this meant fresh trouble for Cinderella, for it was she 
who went over her sisters' linen and ironed their ruffles. 
They could talk of nothing else but the fashions in 
clothes. 

' For my part,' said the elder, ' I shall wear my dress of 
red velvet, with the Honiton lace.' 

' I have only my everyday petticoat,' said the younger, 
' but to make up for it I shall wear my cloak with the golden 
flowers and my necklace of diamonds, which are not so 
bad.' 

They sent for a good hairdresser to arrange their double- 
frilled caps, and bought patches at the best shop. 

They summoned Cinderella and asked her advice, for 
she had good taste. Cinderella gave them the best possible 
suggestions, and even offered to dress their hair, to which 
they gladly agreed. 

While she was thus occupied they said : 

' Cinderella, would you not like to go to the ball ? ' 

' Ah, but you fine young ladies are laughing at me. It 
would be no place for me.' 
76 




' Tht haughtiest, proudest woman that had ever been seen ' 



Cinderella 

1 That is very true, people would laugh to see a cinder- 
slut in the ballroom.' 

Any one else but Cinderella would have done their 
hair amiss, but she was good-natured, and she finished them 
off to perfection. They were so excited in their glee that 
for nearly two days they ate nothing. They broke more 
than a dozen laces through drawing their stays tight in order 
to make their waists more slender, and they were perpetually 
in front of a mirror. 

At last the happy day arrived. Away they went, Cinder- 
ella watching them as long as she could keep them in sight. 
When she could no longer see them she began to cry. Her 
godmother found her in tears, and asked what was troubling 
her. 

' I should like I should like ' 

She was crying so bitterly that she could not finish the 
sentence. 

Said her godmother, who was a fairy : 

' You would like to go to the ball, would you not ? ' 

' Ah, yes,' said Cinderella, sighing. 

' Well, well,' said her godmother, ' promise to be a good 
girl and I will arrange for you to go.' 

She took Cinderella into her room and said : 

' Go into the garden and bring me a pumpkin.' 

Cinderella went at once and gathered the finest that she 
could find. This she brought to her godmother, wondering 
how a pumpkin could help in taking her to the ball. 

Her godmother scooped it out, and when only the rind 
was left, struck it with her wand. Instantly the pumpkin 
was changed into a beautiful coach, gilded all over. 

Then she went and looked in the mouse-trap, where 

79 



Old -Time Stories 

she found six mice all alive. She told Cinderella to lift the 
door of the mouse-trap a little, and as each mouse came 
out she gave it a tap with her wand, whereupon it was 
transformed into a fine horse. So that here was a fine team 
of six dappled mouse-grey horses. 

But she was puzzled to know how to provide a coachman. 

4 I will go and see,' said Cinderella, ' if there is not a rat 
in the rat-trap. We could make a coachman of him.' 

' Quite right,' said her godmother, ' go and see.' 

Cinderella brought in the rat-trap, which contained 
three big rats. The fairy chose one specially on account of 
his elegant whiskers. 

As soon as she had touched him he turned into a fat 
coachman with the finest moustachios that ever were seen. 

' Now go into the garden and bring me the six lizards 
which you will find behind the water-butt.' 

No sooner had they been brought than the godmother 
turned them into six lackeys, who at once climbed up behind 
the coach in their braided liveries, and hung on there as if 
they had never done anything else all their lives. 

Then said the fairy godmother : 

' Well, there you have the means of going to the ball. 
Are you satisfied ? ' 

' Oh, yes, but am I to go like this in my ugly clothes ? ' 

Her godmother merely touched her with her wand, 
and on the instant her clothes were changed into garments 
of gold and silver cloth, bedecked with jewels. After that 
her godmother gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest 
in the world. 

Thus altered, she entered the coach. Her godmother 
bade her not to stay beyond midnight whatever happened, 
80 




' Her godmother found her in tears ' 



Cinderella 

warning her that if she remained at the ball a moment 
longer, her coach would again become a pumpkin, her 
horses mice, and her lackeys lizards, while her old clothes 
would reappear upon her once more. 

She promised her godmother that she would not fail to 
leave the ball before midnight, and away she went, beside 
herself with delight. 

The king's son, when he was told of the arrival of a 
great princess whom nobody knew, went forth to receive 
her. He handed her down from the coach, and led her 
into the hall where the company was assembled. At once 




1 Away she went ' 

there fell a great silence. The dancers stopped, the violins 
played no more, so rapt was the attention which everybody 
bestowed upon the superb beauty of the unknown guest. 
Everywhere could be heard in confused whispers : 

' Oh, how beautiful she is ! ' 

The king, old man as he was, could not take his eyes 
off her, and whispered to the queen that it was many a long 
day since he had seen any one so beautiful and charming. 

All the ladies were eager to scrutinise her clothes and 
the dressing of her hair, being determined to copy them on 

83 



Old -Time Stories 

the^morrow, provided they could find materials so fine, and 
tailors so clever. 

The king's son placed her in the seat of honour, and 
at once begged the privilege of being her partner in a dance. 
Such was the grace with which she danced that the admira- 
tion of all was increased. 

A magnificent supper was served, but the young prince 
could eat nothing, so taken up was he with watching her. 
She went and sat beside her sisters, and bestowed number- 
less attentions upon them. She made them share with her 
the oranges and lemons which the king had given her 
greatly to their astonishment, for they did not recognise 
her. 

While they were talking, Cinderella heard the clock 
strike a quarter to twelve. She at once made a profound 
curtsey to the company, and departed as quickly as she 
could. 

As soon as she was home again she sought out her god- 
mother, and having thanked her, declared that she wished 
to go upon the morrow once more to the ball, because the 
king's son had invited her. 

While she was busy telling her godmother all that had 
happened at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door. 
Cinderella let them in. 

' What a long time you have been in coming ! ' she declared, 
rubbing her eyes and stretching herself as if she had only 
just awakened. In real truth she had not for a moment 
wished to sleep since they had left. 

' If you had been at the ball,' said one of the sisters, 
' you would not be feeling weary. There came a most 
beautiful princess, the most beautiful that has ever been 
84 




''She rose and fled as nimbly as a fawn' 



Cinderella 

seen, and she bestowed numberless attentions upon us, 
and gave us her oranges and lemons.' 

Cinderella was overjoyed. She asked them the name 
of the princess, but they replied that no one knew it, and 
that the king's son was so distressed that he would give 
anything in the world to know who she was. 

Cinderella smiled, and said she must have been beautiful 
indeed. 

' Oh, how lucky you are. Could I not manage to see 
her ? Oh, please, Javotte, lend me the yellow dress which 
you wear every day.' 

' Indeed ! ' said Javotte, ' that is a fine idea. Lend 
my dress to a grubby cinder-slut like you you must think 
me mad ! ' 

Cinderella had expected this refusal. She was in no 
way upset, for she would have been very greatly embar- 
rassed had her sister been willing to lend the dress. 

The next day the two sisters went to the ball, and so 
did Cinderella, even more splendidly attired than the first 
time. 

The king's son was always at her elbow, and paid her 
endless compliments. 

The young girl enjoyed herself so much that she forgot 
her godmother's bidding completely, and when the first 
stroke of midnight fell upon her ears, she thought it was 
no more than eleven o'clock. 

She rose and fled as nimbly as a fawn. The prince 
followed her, but could not catch her. She let fall one of 
her glass slippers, however, and this the prince picked up 
with tender care. 

When Cinderella reached home she was out of breath, 

87 



Old-Time Stories 

without coach, without lackeys, and in her shabby clothes. 
Nothing remained of all her splendid clothes save one of 
the little slippers, the fellow to the one which she had let 
fall. 

Inquiries were made of the palace doorkeepers as to 
whether they had seen a princess go out, but they declared 
they had seen no one leave except a young girl, very ill-clad, 
who looked more like a peasant than a young lady. 

When her two sisters returned from the ball, Cinderella 
asked them if they had again enjoyed themselves, and if 
the beautiful lady had been there. They told her that she 
was present, but had fled away when midnight sounded, 
and in such haste that she had let fall one of her little glass 
slippers, the prettiest thing in the world. They added 
that the king's son, who picked it up, had done nothing but 
gaze at it for the rest of the ball, from which it was plain 
that he was deeply in love with its beautiful owner. 

They spoke the truth. A few days later, the king's son 
caused a proclamation to be made by trumpeters, that he 
would take for wife the owner of the foot which the slipper 
would fit. 

They tried it first on the princesses, then on the duchesses 
and the whole of the Court, but in vain. Presently they 
brought it to the home of the two sisters, who did all they 
could to squeeze a foot into the slipper. This, however, 
they could not manage. 

Cinderella was looking on and recognised her slipper : 

' Let me see,' she cried, laughingly, ' if it will not fit 
me.' 

Her sisters burst out laughing, and began to gibe at her, 
but the equerry who was trying on the slipper looked closely 
88 




They tried it first on the princesses '' 



Cinderella 

at Cinderella. Observing that she was very beautiful he 
declared that the claim was quite a fair one, and that his 
orders were to try the slipper on every maiden. He bade 
Cinderella sit down, and on putting the slipper to her little 
foot he perceived that the latter slid in without trouble, and 
was moulded to its shape like wax. 

Great was the astonishment of the two sisters at this, 
and greater still when Cinderella drew from her pocket 
the other little slipper. This she likewise drew on. 

At that very moment her godmother appeared on the 
scene. She gave a tap with her wand to Cinderella's clothes, 
and transformed them into a dress even more magnificent 
than her previous ones. 

The two sisters recognised her for the beautiful person 
whom they had seen at the ball, and threw themselves at 
her feet, begging her pardon for all the ill-treatment she had 
suffered at their hands. 

Cinderella raised them, and declaring as she embraced 
them that she pardoned them with all her heart, bade them 
to love her well in future. 

She was taken to the palace of the young prince in all 
her new array. He found her more beautiful than ever, 
and was married to her a few days afterwards. 

Cinderella was as good as she was beautiful. She set 
aside apartments in the palace for her two sisters, and 
married them the very same day to two gentlemen of high 
rank about the Court. 



Qi 



LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD 

ONCE upon a time there was a little village girl, the 
prettiest that had ever been seen. Her mother 
doted on her. Her grandmother was even fonder, 
and made her a little red hood, which became her so well 
that everywhere she went by the name of Little Red Riding 
Hood. 

One day her mother, who had just made and baked some 
cakes, said to her : 

' Go and see how your grandmother is, for I have been 
told that she is ill. Take her a cake and this little pot of 
butter.' 

Little Red Riding Hood set off at once for the house of 
her grandmother, who lived in another village. 

On her way through a wood she met old Father Wolf. 
He would have very much liked to eat her, but dared not 
do so on account of some wood-cutters who were in the 
forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor 
child, not knowing that it was dangerous to stop and listen 
to a wolf, said : 

I am going to see my grandmother, and am taking her 
a cake and a pot of butter which my mother has sent to her.' 

' Does she live far away ? ' asked the Wolf. 

' Oh yes,' replied Little Red Riding Hood ; ' it is 
yonder by the mill which you can see right below there, 
and it is the first house in the village.' 
92 




Little Red Riding Hood 



Little Red Riding Hood 

' Well now,' said the Wolf, ' I think I shall go and see 
her too. I will go by this path, and you by that path, and 
we will see who gets there first.' 

The Wolf set off running with all his might by the shorter 
road, and the little girl continued on her way by the longer 




' She met old Father H'alf 

road. As she went she amused herself by gathering nuts, 
running after the butterflies, and making nosegays of the 
wild flowers which she found. 

The Wolf was not long in reaching the grandmother's 
house. 

95 



Old-Time Stories 

He knocked. Toe Toe. 

' Who is there ? ' 

' It is your little daughter, Red Riding Hood,' said the 
Wolf, disguising his voice, ' and I bring you a cake and a 
little pot of butter as a present from my mother.' 




'Making nosegays of the wild flowers' 

The worthy grandmother was in bed, not being very 
well, and cried out to him : 

' Pull out the peg and the latch will fall.' 

The Wolf drew out the peg and the door flew open. 
Then he sprang upon the poor old lady and ate her up in 
less than no time, for he had been more than three days 
without food. 
96 



Little Red Riding Hood 

After that he shut the door, lay down in the grand- 
mother's bed, and waited for Little Red Riding Hood. 
Presently she came and knocked. Toe Toe. 
4 Who is there ? ' 
Now Little Red Riding Hood on hearing the Wolf's 




' Come up fn the hi <i u'ith me ' 

gruff voice was at first frightened, but thinking that her 
grandmother had a bad cold, she replied : 

' It is your little daughter, Red Riding Hood, and I 
bring you a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother.' 

Softening his voice, the Wolf called out to her : 

' Pull out the peg and the latch will fall.' 
G 97 



Old-Time Stories 

Little Red Riding Hood drew out the peg and the door 
flew open. 

When he saw her enter, the Wolf hid himself in the bed 
beneath the counterpane. 

' Put the cake and the little pot of butter on the bin,' 
he said, ' and come up on the bed with me.' 

Little Red Riding Hood took off her clothes, but when 
she climbed up on the bed she was astonished to see how 
her grandmother looked in her nightgown. 

1 Grandmother dear ! ' she exclaimed, ' what big arms 
you have ! ' 

' The better to embrace you, my child ! ' 

' Grandmother dear, what big legs you have ! ' 

' The better to run with, my child ! ' 

' Grandmother dear, what big ears you have ! ' 

' The better to hear with, my child ! ' 

' Grandmother dear, what big eyes you have ! ' 

' The better to see with, my child ! ' 

' Grandmother dear, what big teeth you have ! ' 

' The better to eat you with ! ' 

With these words the wicked Wolf leapt upon Little 
Red Riding Hood and gobbled her up. 



A" o ;\ ,v .', vv ,\ o. ^ ;. ,, , 




" You MUST IIIK. MADAM.' [II. SAID." 



BLUE BEARD 

ONCE upon a time there was a man who owned 
splendid town and country houses, gold and silver 
plate, tapestries and coaches gilt all over. But 
the poor fellow had a blue beard, and this made him so ugly 
and frightful that there was not a woman or girl who did 
not run away at sight of him. 

Amongst his neighbours was a lady of high degree who 
had two surpassingly beautiful daughters. He asked for 
the hand of one of these in marriage, leaving it to their 
mother to choose which should be bestowed upon him. 
Both girls, however, raised objections, and his offer was 
bandied from one to the other, neither being able to bring 
herself to accept a man with a blue beard. Another reason 
for their distaste was the fact that he had already married 
several wives, and no one knew what had become of 
them. 

In order that they might become better acquainted, 
Blue Beard invited the two girls, with their mother and 
three or four of their best friends, to meet a party of young 
men from the neighbourhood at one of his country houses. 
Here they spent eight whole days, and throughout their 
stay there was a constant round of picnics, hunting and 
fishing expeditions, dances, dinners, and luncheons ; and 
they never slept at all, through spending all the night in 
playing merry pranks upon each other. In short, every- 

99 

11 W 



Old-Timc Stories 

thing went so gaily that the younger daughter began to 
think the master of the house had not so very blue a beard 
after all, and that he was an exceedingly agreeable man. As 
soon as the party returned to town their marriage took 
place. 

At the end of a month Blue Beard informed his wife 
that important business obliged him to make a journey into 
a distant part of the country, which would occupy at least 
six weeks. He begged her to amuse herself well during 
his absence, and suggested that she should invite some of 
her friends and take them, if she liked, to the country. 
He was particularly anxious that she should enjoy herself 
thoroughly. 

' Here,' he said, ' are the keys of the two large store- 
rooms, and here is the one that locks up the gold and 
silver plate which is not in everyday use. This key belongs 
to the strong-boxes where my gold and silver is kept, this to 
the caskets containing my jewels ; while here you have the 
master-key which gives admittance to all the apartments. 
As regards this little key, it is the key of the small room at 
the end of the long passage on the lower floor. You may 
open everything, you may go everywhere, but I forbid you 
to enter this little room. And I forbid you so seriously 
that if you were indeed to open the door, I should be so angry 
that I might do anything.' 

She promised to follow out these instructions exactly, 
and after embracing her, Blue Beard steps into his coach and 
is off upon his journey. 

Her neighbours and friends did not wait to be invited 
before coming to call upon the young bride, so great was 
their eagerness to see the splendours of her house. They 
100 




Blue Beam 



Blue Beard 

had not dared to venture while her husband was there, for 
his blue beard frightened them. But in less than no time 
there they were, running in and out of the rooms, the closets, 
and the wardrobes, each of which was finer than the last. 
Presently they went upstairs to the storerooms, and there 
they could not admire enough the profusion and magni- 
ficence of the tapestries, beds, sofas, cabinets, tables, and 
stands. There were mirrors in which they could view 
themselves from top to toe, some with frames of plate glass, 
others with frames of silver and gilt lacquer, that were the 
most superb and beautiful things that had ever been seen. 
They were loud and persistent in their envy of their friend's 
good fortune. She, on the other hand, derived little amuse- 
ment from the sight of all these riches, the reason being 
that she was impatient to go and inspect the little room on 
the lower floor. 

So overcome with curiosity was she that, without re- 
flecting upon the discourtesy of leaving her guests, she ran 
down a private staircase, so precipitately that twice or thrice 
she nearly broke her neck, and so reached the door of the 
little room. There she paused for a while, thinking of the 
prohibition which her husband had made, and reflecting 
that harm might come to her as a result of disobedience. 
But the temptation was so great that she could not conquer 
it. Taking the little key, with a trembling hand she opened 
the door of the room. 

At first she saw nothing, for the windows were closed, 
but after a few moments she perceived dimly that the 
floor was entirely covered with clotted blood, and that 
in this were reflected the dead bodies of several women 
that hung along the walls. These were all the wives 

103 



Old -Time Stories 



of Blue Beard, whose throats he had cut, one after 
another. 

She thought to die of terror, and the key of the room, 
which she had just withdrawn from the lock, fell from her 
hand. 

When she had somewhat regained her senses, she picked 
up the key, closed the door, and went up to her chamber to 

compose herself a little. 
But this she could not 
do, for her nerves were 
too shaken. Noticing 
that the key of the little 
room was stained with 
blood, she wiped it two 
or three times. But the 
blood did not go. She 
washed it well, and even 
rubbed it with sand and 
grit. Always the blood 
remained. For the key 
was bewitched, and there 
was no means of clean- 
ing it completely. When 
the blood was removed 
from one side, it re- 
appeared on the other. 

Blue Beard returned 
from his journey that very evening. He had received 
some letters on the way, he said, from which he learned 
that the business upon which he had set forth had just 
been concluded to his satisfaction. His wife did everything 
104 




1 She washed it well ' 




Sister Amu- 



Blue Beard 

she could to make it appear that she was delighted by his 
speedy return. 

On the morrow he demanded the keys. She gave them 
to him, but with so trembling a hand that he guessed at 
once what had happened. 

' How comes it,' he said to her, ' that the key of the 
little room is not with the others ? ' 

' I must have left it upstairs upon my table,' she 
said. 

' Do not fail to bring it to me presently,' said Blue 
Beard. 

After several delays the key had to be brought. Blue 
Beard examined it, and addressed his wife. 

' Why is there blood on this key ? ' 

' I do not know at all,' replied the poor woman, paler 
than death. 

' You do not know at all ? ' exclaimed Blue Beard ; ' I 
know well enough. You wanted to enter the little room ! 
Well, madam, enter it you shall you shall go and take your 
place among the ladies you have seen there.' 

She threw herself at her husband's feet, asking his 
pardon with tears, and with all the signs of a true repentance 
for her disobedience. She would have softened a rock, in 
her beauty and distress, but Blue Beard had a heart harder 
than any stone. 

' You must die, madam,' he said ; ' and at once.' 

' Since I must die,' she replied, gazing at him with eyes 
that were wet with tears, ' give me a little time to say my 
prayers.' 

' I give you one quarter of an hour,' replied Blue Beard, 
' but not a moment longer.' 

107 



Old-Time Stories 

When the poor girl was alone, she called her sister to 
her and said : 

' Sister Anne ' for that was her name ' go up, I im- 
plore you, to the top of the tower, and see if my brothers 
are not approaching. They promised that they would come 
and visit me to-day. If you see them, make signs to them 
to hasten.' 

Sister Anne went up to the top of the tower, and the 
poor unhappy girl cried out to her from time to time : 

' Anne, Sister Anne, do you see nothing coming ? ' 

And Sister Anne replied : 

' I see nought but dust in the sun and the green grass 
growing.' 

Presently Blue Beard, grasping a great cutlass, cried 
out at the top of his voice : 

' Come down quickly, or I shall come upstairs myself.' 

' Oh please, one moment more,' called out his wife. 

And at the same moment she cried in a whisper : 

' Anne, Sister Anne, do you see nothing coming ? ' 

I see nought but dust in the sun and the green grass 
growing.' 

' Come down at once, I say,' shouted Blue Beard, ' or 
I will come upstairs myself.' 

' I am coming,' replied his wife. 

Then she called : 

' Anne, Sister Anne, do you see nothing coming ? ' 

I see,' replied Sister Anne, ' a great cloud of dust which 
comes this way.' 

Is it my brothers ? ' 

' Alas, sister, no ; it is but a flock of sheep.' 

' Do you refuse to come down ? ' roared Blue Beard. 
1 08 




' Brandishing the cutlass alojt' 



Blue Beard 

' One little moment more,' exclaimed his wife. 

Once more she cried : 

' Anne, Sister Anne, do you see nothing coming ? ' 

' I see,' replied her sister, ' two horsemen who come 
this way, but they are as yet a long way off. . . . Heaven 
be praised,' she exclaimed a moment later, ' they are 
my brothers. ... I am signalling to them all I can to 
hasten.' 

Blue Beard let forth so mighty a shout that the whole 
house shook. The poor wife went down and cast herself at 
his feet, all dishevelled and in tears. 

' That avails you nothing,' said Blue Beard ; ' you must 
die.' 

Seizing her by the hair with one hand, and with the 
other brandishing the cutlass aloft, he made as if to cut 
off her head. 

The poor woman, turning towards him and fixing a 
dying gaze upon him, begged for a brief moment in which 
to collect her thoughts. 

' No ! no ! ' he cried ; ' commend your soul to Heaven.' 
And raising his arm 

At this very moment there came so loud a knocking at 
the gate that Blue Beard stopped short. The gate was 
opened, and two horsemen dashed in, who drew their swords 
and rode straight at Blue Beard. The latter recognised 
them as the brothers of his wife one of them a dragoon, 
and the other a musketeer and fled instantly in an effort 
to escape. But the two brothers were so close upon him 
that they caught him ere he could gain the first flight of 
steps. They plunged their swords through his body and 
left him dead. The poor woman was nearly as dead as her 

in 



Old -Time Stories 

husband, and had not the strength to rise and embrace her 
brothers. 

It was found that Blue Beard had no heirs, and that 
consequently his wife became mistress of all his wealth. 
She devoted a portion to arranging a marriage between her 
sister Anne and a young gentleman with whom the latter 
had been for some time in love, while another portion 
purchased a captain's commission for each of her brothers. 
The rest formed a dowry for her own marriage with a very 
worthy man, who banished from her mind all memory of 
the evil days she had spent with Blue Beard. 



112 



BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 

ONCE upon a time there lived a merchant who was 
exceedingly rich. He had six children three boys 
and three girls and being a sensible man he spared 
no expense upon their education, but engaged tutors of 
every kind for them. All his daughters were pretty, but 
the youngest especially was admired by everybody. When 
she was small she was known simply as ' the little beauty,' 
and this name stuck to her, causing a great deal of jealousy 
on the part of her sisters. 

This youngest girl was not only prettier than her 
sisters, but very much nicer. The two elder girls were 
very arrogant as a result of their wealth ; they pretended 
to be great ladies, declining to receive the daughters 
of other merchants, and associating only with people 
of quality. Every day they went off to balls and theatres, 
and for walks in the park, with many a gibe at their little 
sister, who spent much of her time in reading good 
books. 

Now these girls were known to be very rich, and in conse- 
quence were sought in marriage by many prominent mer- 
chants. The two eldest said they would never marry unless 
they could find a duke, or at least a count. But Beauty 
this, as I have mentioned, was the name by which the 
youngest was known very politely thanked a&swho proposed 
marriage to her, and said that she was too young at present, 
H 113 



Old -Time Stories 

and that she wished to keep her father company for several 
years yet. 

Suddenly the merchant lost his fortune, the sole pro- 
perty which remained to him being a small house in the 
country, a long way from the capital. With tears he broke 
it to his children that they would have to move to this house, 
where by working like peasants they might just be able 
to live. 

The two elder girls replied that they did not wish to 
leave the town, and that they had several admirers who 
would be only too happy to marry them, notwithstanding 
their loss of fortune. But the simple maidens were mis- 
taken : their admirers would no longer look at them, now 
that they were poor. Everybody disliked them on account 
of their arrogance, and folks declared that they did not 
deserve pity : in fact, that it was a good thing their pride 
had had a fall a turn at minding sheep would teach them 
how to play the fine lady ! ' But we are very sorry for 
Beauty's misfortune,' everybody added ; ' she is such a 
dear girl, and was always so considerate to poor people : so 
gentle, and with such charming manners ! ' 

There were even several worthy men who would have 
married her, despite the fact that she was now penniless ; 
but she told them she could not make up her mind to leave 
her poor father in his misfortune, and that she intended 
to go with him to the country, to comfort him and help 
him to work. Poor Beauty had been very grieved at first 
over the loss of her fortune, but she said to herself : 

' However much I cry, I shall not recover my wealth, so 
I must try to be happy without it.' 

When they were established in the country the merchant 
114 



Beauty and the Beast 

j 

and his family started working on the land. Beauty used to 
rise at four o'clock in the morning, and was busy all day 
looking after the house, and preparing dinner for the family. 
At first she found it very hard, for she was not accustomed 
to work like a servant, but at the end of a couple of months 




Y 




' .\t first she found it verv Jiiu-J' 

she grew stronger, and her health was improved by the 
work. When she had leisure she read, or played the harpsi- 
chord, or sang at her spinning-wheel. 

Her two sisters, on the other hand, were bored to death ; 
they did not get up till ten o'clock in the morning, and they 
idled about all day. Their only diversion was to bemoan 

"5 



Old-Time Stories 

the beautiful clothes they used to wear and the company 
they used to keep. c Look at our little sister,' they would 
say to each other ; ' her tastes are so low and her mind so 
stupid that she is quite content with this miserable state 
of affairs.' 

The good merchant did not share the opinion of his 
two daughters, for he knew that Beauty was more fitted 
to shine in company than her sisters. He was greatly im- 
pressed by the girl's good qualities, and especially by her 
patience for her sisters, not content with leaving her all 
the work of the house, never missed an opportunity of 
insulting her. 

They had been living for a year in this seclusion when 
the merchant received a letter informing him that a ship on 
which he had some merchandise had just come safely home. 
The news nearly turned the heads of the two elder girls, for 
they thought that at last they would be able to quit their dull 
life in the country. When they saw their father ready to 
set out they begged him to bring them back dresses, furs, 
caps, and finery of every kind. Beauty asked for nothing, 
thinking to herself that all the money which the merchandise 
might yield would not be enough to satisfy her sisters' 
demands. 

' You have not asked me for anything,' said her father. 

' As you are so kind as to think of me,' she replied, 
' please bring me a rose, for there are none here.' 

Beauty had no real craving for a rose, but she was anxious 
not to seem to disparage the conduct of her sisters. The 
latter would have declared that she purposely asked for 
nothing in order to be different from them. 

The merchant duly set forth ; but when he reached his 
116 




1 Look at Mir little sister"' 



Beauty and the Beast 



destination there was a law-suit over his merchandise, and 
after much trouble he returned poorer than he had been 
before. With only thirty miles to go before reaching 
home, he was already looking forward to the pleasure of 




as snmi'ing horribly ' 



seeing his children again, when he found he had to pass 
through a large wood. Here he lost himself. It was snowing 
horribly ; the wind was so strong that twice he was thrown 
from his horse, and when night came on he made up his 
mind he must either die of hunger and cold or be eaten 
by the wolves that he could hear howling all about him. 

119 



Old -Time Stories 

Suddenly he saw, at the end of a long avenue of trees, a 
strong light. It seemed to be some distance away, but he 
walked towards it, and presently discovered that it came 
from a large palace, which was all lit up. 

The merchant thanked heaven for sending him this 
help, and hastened to the castle. To his surprise, however, 
he found no one about in the courtyards. His horse, which 
had followed him, saw a large stable open and went in ; and 
on finding hay and oats in readiness the poor animal, 
which was dying of hunger, set to with a will. The 
merchant tied him up in tie stable, and approached the 
house, where he found not a soul. He entered a large 
room ; here there was a good fire, and a table laden 
with food, but with a place laid for one only. The rain 
and snow had soaked him to the skin, so he drew near 
the fire to dry himself. I am sure,' he remarked to 
himself, ' that the master of this house or his servants will 
forgive the liberty I am taking ; doubtless they will be 
here soon.' 

He waited some considerable time ; but eleven o'clock 
struck and still he had seen nobody. Being no longer able 
to resist his hunger he took a chicken and devoured it in 
two mouthfuls, trembling. Then he drank several glasses 
of wine, and becoming bolder ventured out of the room. 
He went through several magnificently furnished apart- 
ments, and finally found a room with a very good bed. It 
was now past midnight, and as he was very tired he decided 
to shut the door and go to bed. 

It was ten o'clock the next morning when he rose, and 
he was greatly astonished to find a new suit in place of his 
own, which had been spoilt. ' This palace,' he said to him- 
120 



Beauty and tljie Beast 



self, ' must surely belong to some jgood fairy, who has taken 
pity on my plight.' 

He looked out of the window. The snow had vanished, 
and his eyes rested instead upoa arbours of flowers a 
charming spectacle. He went back to the room where he 
had supped the night before, and found there a little table 
with a cup of chocolate on it. 'I thank you, Madam Fairy,' 
he said aloud, ' for being so kind as to think of my break- 
fast.' 

Having drunk his chocolate the good man went forth 
to look for his horse. As he passed under a bower of roses 
he remembered that Beauty had asked for one, and he 
plucked a spray from a mass of blooms. The very same 
moment he heard a terrible noise, and saw a beast coming 
towards him which was so hideous that he came near to 
fainting. 

' Ungrateful wretch ! ' said the Beast, in a dreadful voice ; 
4 I have saved your life by receiving you into my castle, and 
in return for my trouble you steal that which I love better 
than anything in the world my roses. You shall pay for 
this with your life ! I give you fifteen minutes to make 
your peace with Heaven.' 

The merchant threw himself on his knees and wrung 
his hands. ' Pardon, my lord ! ' he cried ; ' one of my 
daughters had asked for a rose, and I did not dream I should 
be giving offence by picking one.' 

' I am not called " my lord," ' answered the monster, 
' but " The Beast." I have no liking for compliments, 
but prefer people to say what they think. Do not hope 
therefore to soften me by flattery. You have daughters, 
you say ; well, I am willing to pardon you if one of your 

121 



Old -Time Stories 

daughters will come, of her own choice, to die in your 
place. Do not argue with me go ! And swear that if 
your daughters refuse to die in your place you will come 
back again in three months.' 

The good man had no intention of sacrificing one of his 




The Beast 

daughters to this hideous monster, but he thought that at 
least he might have the pleasure of kissing them once again. 
He therefore swore to return, and the Beast told him he 
could go when he wished. ' I do not wish you to go empty- 
handed,' he added ; ' return to the room where you slept ; 
you will find there a large empty box. Fill it with what 
you will ; I will have it sent home for you.' 

122 



Beauty and the Beast 



With these words the Beast withdrew, leaving the mer- 
chant to reflect that if he must indeed die, at all events 
he would have the consolation of providing for his poor 
children. 

He went back to the room where he had slept. He 
found there a large number of gold pieces, and with these 
he filled the box the Beast had mentioned. Having closed 
the latter, he took his horse, which was still in the stable, 
and set forth from the palace, as melancholy now as he had 
been joyous when he entered it. 

The horse of its own accord took one of the forest roads, 
and in a few hours the good man reached his own little 
house. His children crowded round him, but at sight of 
them, instead of welcoming their caresses, he burst into 
tears. In his hand was the bunch of roses which he had 
brought for Beauty, and he gave it to her with these words : 

' Take these roses, Beauty ; it is dearly that your poor 
father will have to pay for them.' 

Thereupon he told his family of the dire adventure 
which had befallen him. On hearing the tale the two elder 
girls were in a great commotion, and began to upbraid 
Beauty for not weeping as they did. ' See to what her 
smugness has brought this young chit,' they said ; ' surely 
she might strive to find some way out of this trouble, as we 
do ! But oh, dear me, no ; her ladyship is so determined 
to be different that she can speak of her father's death 
without a tear ! ' 

' It would be quite useless to weep,' said Beauty. ' Why 
should I lament my father's death ? He is not going to 
die. Since the monster agrees to accept a daughter instead, 
I intend to offer myself to appease his fury. It will be a 

123 



Old-Time Stories 

happiness to do so, for in dying I shall have the joy of saving 
my father, and of proving to him my devotion.' 

' No, sister,' said her three brothers ; ' you shall not 
die ; we will go in quest of this monster, and will perish 
under his blows if we cannot kill him.' 

' Do not entertain any such hopes, my children,' said the 
merchant ; ' the power of this Beast is so great that I have 
not the slightest expectation of escaping him. I am touched 
by the goodness of Beauty's heart, but I will not expose her 
to death. I am old and have not much longer to live ; and 
I shall merely lose a few years that will be regretted only on 
account of you, my dear children.' 

* I can assure you, father,' said Beauty, ' that you will not 
go to this palace without me. You cannot prevent me from 
following you. Although I am young I am not so very 
deeply in love with life, and I would rather be devoured 
by this monster than die of the grief which your loss would 
cause me.' Words were useless. Beauty was quite deter- 
mined to go to this wonderful palace, and her sisters were 
not sorry, for they regarded her good qualities with deep 
jealousy. 

The merchant was so taken up with the sorrow of losing 
his daughter that he forgot all about the box which he had 
filled with gold. To his astonishment, when he had shut 
the door of his room and was about to retire for the night, 
there it was at the side of his bed ! He decided not to tell 
his children that he had become so rich, for his elder 
daughters would have wanted to go back to town, and he 
had resolved to die in the country. He did confide his 
secret to Beauty, however, and the latter told him that 
during his absence they had entertained some visitors, 
124 



Beauty and tl.e Beast 



amongst whom were two admirers of her sisters. She 
begged her father to let them marry ; for she was of such 
a sweet nature that she loved them, and forgave them with 
all her heart the evil they had done her. 

When Beauty set off with her father the two heartless 
girls rubbed their eyes with an onion, so as to seem tearful ; 
but her brothers wept in reality, as did also the merchant. 
Beauty alone did not cry, because she did not want to add 
to their sorrow. 

The horse took the road to the palace, and by evening 
they espied it, all lit up as before. An empty stable awaited 
the nag, and when the good merchant and his daughter 
entered the great hall, they found there a table magnificently 
laid for two people. The merchant had not the heart to 
eat, but Beauty, forcing herself to appear calm, sat down 
and served him. Since the Beast had provided such 
splendid fare, she thought to herself, he must presumably 
be anxious to fatten her up before eating her. 

When they had finished supper they heard a terrible 
noise. With tears the merchant bade farewell to his daughter, 
for he knew it was the Beast. Beauty herself could not help 
trembling at the awful apparition, but she did her best to 
compose herself. The Beast asked her if she had come 
of her own free will, and she timidly answered that such 
was the case. 

' You are indeed kind,' said the Beast, ' and I am much 
obliged to you. You, my good man, will depart to-morrow 
morning, and you must not think of coming back again. 
Good-bye, Beauty ! ' 

' Good-bye, Beast ! ' she answered. 

Thereupon the monster suddenly disappeared. 

125 



Old -Time Stories 

' Daughter,' said the merchant, embracing Beauty, ' I 
am nearly dead with fright. Let me be the one to stay 
here ! ' 

' No, father,' said Beauty, firmly, ' you must go to- 
morrow morning, and leave me to the mercy of Heaven. 
Perhaps pity will be taken on me.' 

They retired to rest, thinking they would not sleep at 
all during the night, but they were hardly in bed before their 
eyes were closed in sleep. In her dreams there appeared 
to Beauty a lady, who said to her : 

' Your virtuous character pleases me, Beauty. In thus 
undertaking to give your life to save your father you have per- 
formed an act of goodness which shall not go unrewarded.' 

When she woke up Beauty related this dream to her 
father. He was somewhat consoled by it, but could not 
refrain from loudly giving vent to his grief when the time 
came to tear himself away from his beloved child. 

As soon as he had gone Beauty sat down in the great 
hall and began to cry. But she had plenty of courage, 
and after imploring divine protection she determined to 
grieve no more during the short time she had yet to 
live. 

She was convinced that the Beast would devour her 
that night, but made up her mind that in the interval she 
would walk about and have a look at this beautiful castle, 
the splendour of which she could not but admire. 

Imagine her surprise when she came upon a door on 
which were the words ' Beauty's Room ' ! She quickly 
opened this door, and was dazzled by the magnificence of 
the appointments within. They are evidently anxious 
that I should not be dull,' she murmured, as she caught 
126 



Beauty and the Beast 

sight of a large book-case, a harpsichord, and several volumes 
of music. A moment later another thought crossed her 
mind. ' If I had only a day to spend here,' she reflected, 
' such provision would surely not have been made for 
me.' 

This notion gave her fresh courage. She opened the 
bookcase, and found a book in which was written, in letters 
of gold : 

' Ask for anything you wish : you are mistress of all here.' 

' Alas ! ' she said with a sigh, ' my only wish is to see 
my poor father, and to know what he is doing.' 

As she said this to herself she glanced at a large mirror. 
Imagine her astonishment when she perceived her home 
reflected in it, and saw her father just approaching. Sorrow 
was written on his face ; but when her sisters came to meet 
him it was impossible not to detect, despite the grimaces 
with which they tried to simulate grief, the satisfaction they 
felt at the loss of their sister. In a moment the vision 
faded away, yet Beauty could not but think that the Beast 
was very kind, and that she had nothing much to fear from 
him. 

At midday she found the table laid, and during her meal 
she enjoyed an excellent concert, though the performers 
were invisible. But in the evening, as she was about to 
sit down at the table, she heard the noise made by the Beast, 
and quaked in spite of herself. 

' Beauty,' said the monster to her, ' may I watch you 
have your supper ? ' 

' You are master here,' said the trembling Beauty. 

' Not so,' replied the Beast ; ' it is you who are mistress ; 
you have only to tell me to go, if my presence annoys you, 

127 



Old- rime Stories 

and I will go immediately. Tell me, now, do you not 
consider me very ugly ? ' 

' I do,' said Beauty, ' since I must speak the truth ; but 
I think you are also very kind.' 

' It is as you say,' said the monster ; ' and in addition 
to being ugly, I lack intelligence. As I am well aware, I 
am a mere beast.' 

' It is not the way with stupid people,' answered 
Beauty, ' to admit a lack of intelligence. Fools never 
realise it.' 

' Sup well, Beauty,' said the monster, ' and try to banish 
dulness from your home for all about you is yours, and I 
should be sorry to think you were not happy.' 

' You are indeed kind,' said Beauty. ' With one thing, 
I must own, I am well pleased, and that is your kind heart. 
When I think of that you no longer seem to be ugly.' 

' Oh yes,' answered the Beast, ' I have a good heart, 
right enough, but I am a monster.' 

' There are many men,' said Beauty, ' who make worse 
monsters than you, and I prefer you, notwithstanding your 
looks, to those who under the semblance of men hide false, 
corrupt, and ungrateful hearts.' 

The Beast replied that if only he had a grain of wit he 
would compliment her in the grand style by way of thanks ; 
but that being so stupid he could only say he was much 
obliged. 

Beauty ate with a good appetite, for she now had scarcely 
any fear of the Beast. But she nearly died of fright when 
he put this question to her : 

' Beauty, will you be my wife ? ' 

For some time she did not answer, fearing lest she might 
128 



Beauty and the Beast 



anger the monster by her refusal. She summoned up 
courage at last to say, rather fearfully, ' No, Beast ! ' 

The poor monster gave forth so terrible a sigh that the 
noise of it went whistling through the whole palace. But 
to Beauty's speedy relief the Beast sadly took his leave and 
left the room, turning several times as he did so to look 
once more at her. Left alone, Beauty was moved by great 
compassion for this poor Beast. ' What a pity he is so 
ugly,' she said, ' for he is so good.' 

Beauty passed three months in the palace quietly enough. 
Every evening the Beast paid her a visit, and entertained 
her at supper by a display of much good sense, if not with 
what the world calls wit. And every day Beauty was made 
aware of fresh kindnesses on the part of the monster. 
Through seeing him often she had become accustomed to 
his ugliness, and far from dreading the moment of his visit, 
she frequently looked at her watch to see if it was nine 
o'clock, the hour when the Beast always appeared. 

One thing alone troubled Beauty ; every evening, before 
retiring to bed, the monster asked her if she would be his 
wife, and seemed overwhelmed with grief when she refused. 
One day she said to him : 

' You distress me, Beast. I wish I could marry you, but I 
cannot deceive you by allowing you to believe that that can 
ever be. I will always be your friend be content with that.' 

' Needs must,' said the Beast. ' But let me make the 
position plain. I know I am very terrible, but I love you 
very much, and I shall be very happy if you will only 
remain here. Promise that you will never leave me.' 

Beauty blushed at these words. She had seen in her 
mirror that her father was stricken down by the sorrow 
I 129 



Old-Time Stories 

of having lost her, and she wished very much to see him 
again. ' I would willingly promise to remain with you 
always,' she said to the Beast, ' but I have so great a desire 
to see my father again that I shall die of grief if you refuse 
me this boon.' 

' I would rather die myself than cause you grief,' said the 
monster. ' I will send you back to your father. You 
shall stay with him, and your Beast shall die of sorrow at 
your departure.' 

' No, no,' said Beauty, crying ; ' I like you too much 
to wish to cause your death. I promise you I will return 
in eight days. You have shown me that my sisters are 
married, and that my brothers have joined the army. My 
father is all alone ; let me stay with him one week.' 

' You shall be with him to-morrow morning,' said the 
Beast. ' But remember your promise. All you have to 
do when you want to return is to put your ring on a table 
when you are going to bed. Good-bye, Beauty ! ' 

As usual, the Beast sighed when he said these last words, 
and Beauty went to bed quite down-hearted at having 
grieved him. 

When she woke the next morning she found she was in 
her father's house. She rang a little bell which stood by 
the side of her bed, and it was answered by their servant, 
who gave a great cry at sight of her. The good man came 
running at the noise, and was overwhelmed with joy at 
the sight of his dear daughter. Their embraces lasted for 
more than a quarter of an hour. When their transports 
had subsided, it occurred to Beauty that she had no clothes 
to put on ; but the servant told her that she had just dis- 
covered in the next room a chest full of dresses trimmed 
130 




KVF.F.Y EVEMM: THE P.F.AST l'\||> [|I.K A VISIT." 



Beauty and the Beast 

with gold and studded with diamonds. Beauty felt grate- 
ful to the Beast for this attention, and having selected the 
simplest of the gowns she bade the servant pack up the 
others, as she wished to send them as presents to her sisters. 
The words were hardly out of her mouth when the chest 
disappeared. Her father expressed the opinion that the 
Beast wished her to keep them all for herself, and in a 
trice dresses and chest were back again where they were 
before. 

When Beauty had dressed she learned that her sisters, 
with their husbands, had arrived. Both were very un- 
happy. The eldest had wedded an exceedingly handsome 
man, but the latter was so taken up with his own looks that 
he studied them from morning to night, and despised his 
wife's beauty. The second had married a man with plenty 
of brains, but he only used them to pay insults to everybody 
his wife first and foremost. 

The sisters were greatly mortified when they saw Beauty 
dressed like a princess, and more beautiful than the dawn. 
Her caresses were ignored, and the jealousy which they 
could not stifle only grew worse when she told them how 
happy she was. Out into the garden went the envious 
pair, there to vent their spleen to the full. 

' Why should this chit be happier than we are ? ' each 
demanded of the other ; ' are we not much nicer than 
she is ? ' 

Sister,' said the elder, ' I have an idea. Let us try to 
persuade her to stay here longer than the eight days. Her 
stupid Beast will fly into a rage when he finds she has 
broken her word, and will very likely devour her.' 

' You are right, sister,' said the other ; ' but we must 



Old-Time Stories 

make a great fuss of her if we are to make the plan 
successful.' 

With this plot decided upon they went upstairs again, 
and paid such attention to their little sister that Beauty 
wept for joy. When the eight days had passed the two 
sisters tore their hair, and showed such grief over her 
departure that she promised to remain another eight days. 

Beauty reproached herself, nevertheless, with the grief 
she was causing to the poor Beast ; moreover, she greatly 
missed not seeing him. On the tenth night of her stay in 
her father's house she dreamed that she was in the palace 
garden, where she saw the Beast lying on the grass nearly 
dead, and that he upbraided her for her ingratitude. Beauty 
woke up with a start, and burst into tears. 

' I am indeed very wicked,' she said, ' to cause so much 
grief to a Beast who has shown me nothing but kindness. 
Is it his fault that he is so ugly, and has so few wits ? He 
is good, and that makes up for all the rest. Why did I not 
wish to marry him ? I should have been a good deal happier 
with him than my sisters are with their husbands. It is 
neither good looks nor brains in a husband that make a 
woman happy ; it is beauty of character, virtue, kindness. 
All these qualities the Beast has. I admit I have no love 
for him, but he has my esteem, friendship, and gratitude. 
At all events I must not make him miserable, or I shall 
reproach myself all my life.' 

With these words Beauty rose and placed her ring on 
the table. 

Hardly had she returned to her bed than she was asleep, 
and when she woke the next morning she saw with joy 
that she was in the Beast's palace. She dressed in her 
132 



Beauty and the Beast 



very best on purpose to please him, and nearly died of im- 
patience all day, waiting for nine o'clock in the evening. 
But the clock struck in vain : no Beast appeared. Beauty 
now thought she must have caused his death, and rushed 
about the palace with loud despairing cries. She looked 
everywhere, and at last, recalling her dream, dashed into 
the garden by the canal, where she had seen him in her 
sleep. There she found the poor Beast lying unconscious, 
and thought he must be dead. She threw herself on his 
body, all her horror of his looks forgotten, and, feeling his 
heart still beat, fetched water from the canal and threw it 
on his face. 

The Beast opened his eyes and said to Beauty : 

' You forgot your promise. The grief I felt at having 
lost you made me resolve to die of hunger ; but I die 
content since I have the pleasure of seeing you once 
more.' 

' Dear Beast, you shall not die,' said Beauty ; ' you 
shall live and become my husband. Here and now I offer 
you my hand, and swear that I will marry none but you. 
Alas, I fancied I felt only friendship for you, but the sorrow 
I have experienced clearly proves to me that I cannot live 
without you.' 

Beauty had scarce uttered these words when the castle 
became ablaze with lights before her eyes : fireworks, 
music all proclaimed a feast. But these splendours were 
lost on her : she turned to her dear Beast, still trembling 
for his danger. 

Judge of her surprise now ! At her feet she saw no 
longer the Beast, who had disappeared, but a prince, more 
beautiful than Love himself, who thanked her for having 

133 



Old-Time Stories 

put an end to his enchantment. With good reason were 
her eyes riveted upon the prince, but she asked him never- 
theless where the Beast '.iad gone. 

' You see him at your feet,' answered the prince. ' A 
wicked fairy condemned me to retain that form until some 
beautiful girl should consent to marry me, and she forbade 
me to betray any sign of intelligence. You alone in all the 
world could show yourself susceptible to the kindness of 
my character, and in offering you my crown I do but dis- 
charge the obligation that I owe you.' 

In agreeable surprise Beauty offered her hand to the 
handsome prince, and assisted him to rise. Together they 
repaired to the castle, and Beauty was overcome with joy 
to find, assembled in the hall, her father and her entire 
family. The lady who had appeared to her in her dream 
had had them transported to the castle. 

' Beauty,' said this lady (who was a celebrated fairy), 
' come and receive the reward of your noble choice. You 
preferred merit to either beauty or wit, and you certainly 
deserve to find these qualities combined in one person. It 
is your destiny to become a great queen, but I hope that 
the pomp of royalty will not destroy your virtues. As for 
you, ladies,' she continued, turning to Beauty's two sisters, 
' I know your hearts and the malice they harbour. Your 
doom is to become statues, and under the stone that wraps 
you round to retain all your feelings. You will stand at 
the door of your sister's palace, and I can visit no greater 
punishment upon you than that you shall be witnesses of 
her happiness. Only when you recognise your faults can 
you return to your present shape, and I am very much 
afraid that you will be statues for ever. Pride, ill-temper, 

134 




'" your doom is to become statues' 



Beauty and the Beast 



greed, and laziness can all be corrected, but nothing short 
of a miracle will turn a wicked and envious heart.' 

In a trice, with a tap of her hand, the fairy transported 
them all to the prince's realm, where his subjects were 
delighted to see him again. He married Beauty, and they 
lived together for a long time in happiness the more perfect 
because it was founded on virtue. 



137 



THE FRIENDLY FROG 

ONCE upon a time there was a king who had been at 
war for a long time with his neighbours. After 
many battles had been fought his capital was 
besieged by the enemy. Fearing for the safety of the 
queen, the king implored her to take refuge in a strong- 
hold to which he himself had never been but once. The 
queen besought him with tears to let her remain at his side, 
and share his fate, and lamented loudly when the king 
placed her in the carriage which was to take her away under 
escort. 

The king promised to slip away whenever possible and 
pay her a visit, seeking thus to comfort her, although he 
knew that there was small chance of the hope being ful- 
filled. For the castle was a long way off, in the midst of 
a dense forest, and only those with a thorough knowledge 
of the roads could possibly reach it. 

The queen was broken-hearted at having to leave her 
husband exposed to the perils of war, and though she made 
her journey by easy stages, lest the fatigue of so much 
travelling should make her ill, she was downcast and 
miserable when at length she reached the castle. She 
made excursions into the country round about, when 
sufficiently recovered, but found nothing to amuse or dis- 
tract her. On all sides wide barren spaces met her eye, 
melancholy rather than pleasant to look upon. 
138 



The Friendly Frog 



' How different from my old home ! ' she exclaimed, 
as she gloomily surveyed the scene ; ' if I stay here long 
I shall die. To whom can I talk in this solitude ? To 
whom can I unburden my grief ? What have I done that 
the king should exile me ? He must wish me, I suppose, 
to feel the bitterness of separation to the utmost, since he 
banishes me to this hateful castle.' 

She grieved long and deeply, and though the king wrote 
every day to her with good news of the way the siege was 
going, she became more and more unhappy. At last she 
determined that she would go back to him, but knowing 
that her attendants had been forbidden to let her return, 
except under special orders from the king, she kept her 
intention to herself. On the pretext of wishing sometimes 
to join the hunt, she ordered a small chariot, capable of 
accommodating one person only, to be built for her. This 
she drove herself, and used to keep up with the hounds 
so closely that she would leave the rest of the hunt behind. 
The chariot being in her sole control, this gave her the 
opportunity to escape whenever she liked, and the only 
obstacle was her lack of familiarity with the roads through 
the forest. She trusted, however, to the favour of Provi- 
dence to bring her safely through it. 

She now gave orders for a great hunt to be held, and 
intimated her wish that every one should attend. She 
herself was to be present in her chariot, and she proposed 
that every follower of the chase should choose a different 
line, and so close every avenue of escape to the quarry. 
The arrangements were carried out according to the queen's 
plan. Confident that she would soon see her husband 
again, she donned her most becoming attire. Her hat 

139 



Old-Time Stories 

was trimmed with feathers of different colours, the front 
of her dress with a number of precious stones. Thus 
adorned, she looked in her beauty (which was of no ordinary 
stamp) like a second Diana. 

When the excitement of the chase was at its height she 
gave rein to her horses, urging them on with voice and 
whip, until their pace quickened to a gallop. But then, get- 
ting their bits between their teeth, the team sped onwards 
so fast that presently the chariot seemed to be borne upon 
the wind, and to be travelling faster than the eye could 
follow. Too late the poor queen repented of her rashness. 
' What possessed me,' she cried, ' to think that I could 
manage such wild and fiery steeds ? Alack ! What will 
become of me ! What would the king do if he knew of 
my great peril ? He only sent me away because he loves 
me dearly, and wished me to be in greater safety and this 
is the way I repay his tender care ! ' 

Her piteous cries rang out upon the air, but though 
she called on Heaven and invoked the fairies to her aid, it 
seemed that all the unseen powers had forsaken her. 

Over went the chariot. She lacked the strength to 
jump clear quickly enough, and her foot was caught between 
the wheel and the axle-tree. It was only by a miracle that 
she was not killed, and she lay stretched on the ground at 
the foot of a tree, with her heart scarcely beating and her 
face covered with blood, unable to speak. 

For a long time she lay thus. At last she opened her 
eyes and saw, standing beside her, a woman of gigantic 
stature. The latter wore nought but a lion's skin ; her 
arms and legs were bare, and her hair was tied up with a 
dried snake's skin, the head of which dangled over her 
140 



The Friendl^ Frog 
[ 

shoulder. In her hand she carried, for walking-stick, a 
stone club, and a quiver full of arrows hung at her side. 

This extraordinary apparition convinced the queen that 
she was dead, and indeed it seemed impossible that she 
could have survived so terrible a disaster. ' No wonder 
death needs resolution,' she murmured, ' since sights so 
terrible await one in the other world.' 

The giantess overheard these words, and laughed to 
find the queen thought herself dead. 

' Courage,' she said ; ' you are still in the land of the 
living, though your lot is not improved. I am the Lion- 
Witch. My dwelling is near by ; you must come and live 
with me.' 

' If you will have the kindness, good Lion- Witch, to 
take me back to my castle, the king, who loves me dearly, 
will not refuse you any ransom you demand, though it were 
the half of his kingdom.' 

' I will not do that,' replied the giantess, ' for I have 
wealth enough already. Moreover, I am tired of living 
alone, and as you have your wits about you it is possible 
you may be able to amuse me.' 

With these words she assumed the shape of a lioness, 
and taking the queen on her back, bore her off into the 
depths of a cavern. There she anointed the queen's wounds 
with an essence which quickly healed them. 

But imagine the wonder and despair of the queen to 
find herself in this dismal lair ! The approach to it was by 
ten thousand steps, which led downward to the centre of 
the earth, and the only light was that which came from a 
number of lofty lamps, reflected in a lake of quicksilver. 
This lake teemed with monsters, each of which was hideous 

141 



Old -Time Stories 

enough to have terrified 'one far less timid than the queen. 
Ravens, screech-owls, and many another bird of evil omen 
filled the air with harsh cries. Far off could be espied a 
mountain, from the slopes of which there flowed the tears 
of all hapless lovers. Its sluggish stream was fed by 
every ill-starred love. The trees had neither leaves nor 
fruit, and the ground was cumbered with briars, nettles, 
and rank weeds. The food, too, was such as might be 
expected in such a horrid clime. A few dried roots, horse- 
chestnuts, and thorn-apples this was all the fare with 
which the Lion- Witch appeased the hunger of those who 
fell into her clutches. 

When the queen was well enough to be set to work, 
the Witch told her she might build herself a hut, since she 
was fated to remain in her company for the rest of her life. 
On hearing this the queen burst into tears. ' Alas ! ' she 
cried, ' what have I done that you should keep me here ? 
If my death, which I feel to be nigh, will cause you any 
pleasure, then I implore you to kill me : I dare not hope 
for any other kindness from you. But do not condemn 
me to the sadness of a life - long separation from my 
husband.' 

But the Lion-Witch merely laughed at her, bidding 
her dry her tears, if she would be wise, and do her part to 
please her. Otherwise, she declared, her lot would be the 
most miserable in the world. 

' And what must I do to soften your heart ? ' replied the 
queen. 

' I have a liking for fly-pasties,' said the Lion- Witch ; 
' and you must contrive to catch flies enough to make me a 
large and tasty one.' 
142 




' The approach to it was by ten thousand steps ' 



The Friendly Frog 



' But there are no flies here,' rejoined the queen ; ' and 
even if there were there is not enough light to catch them 
by. Moreover, supposing I caught some, I have never in 
my life made pastry. You are therefore giving me orders 
which I cannot possibly carry out.' 

' No matter,' said the pitiless Lion- Witch ; ' what I 
want I will have ! ' 

The queen made no reply, but reflected that, no matter 
how cruel the Witch might be, she had only one life to lose, 
and in her present plight what terror could death hold for 
her ? She did not attempt to look for flies, therefore, but 
sat down beneath a yew tree, and gave way to tears and 
lamentations. ' Alas, dear husband,' she cried, ' how 
grieved you will be when you go to fetch me from the castle, 
and find me gone ! You will suppose me to be dead or 
faithless ; how I hope that you will mourn the loss of my 
life, not the loss of my love ! Perhaps the remains of my 
chariot will be found in the wood, with all the ornaments 
I had put on to please you : at sight of these you will not 
doubt any more that I am dead. But then, how do I know 
that you will not bestow on some one else the heartfelt 
love which once belonged to me ? At all events I shall 
be spared the sorrow of that knowledge, since I am never 
to return to the world.' 

These thoughts would have filled her mind for a long 
time, but she was interrupted by the dismal croaking of a 
raven overhead. Lifting her eyes, she saw in the dim light 
a large raven on the point of swallowing a frog which it 
held in its beak. ' Though I have no hope of help for 
myself,' she said, ' I will not let this unfortunate frog die, 
if I can save it ; though our lots are so different, its suffer- 



Old-Time Stories 

ings are quite as great as mine.' She picked up the first 
stick which came to hand, and made the raven let go its 
prey. The frog fell to the ground and lay for a time 
half stunned ; but as soon as it could think, in its froggish 
way, it began to speak. ' Beautiful queen,' it said, ' you are 




The Friendly Frog 

the first friendly soul that I have seen since my curiosity 
brought me here.' 

' By what magic are you endowed with speech, little 
Frog ? ' replied the queen ; ' and what people are they 
whom you see here ? I have seen none at all as yet.' 

' All the monsters with which the lake is teeming,' 
replied the little Frog, ' were once upon a time in the world. 
146 



The Friendly 



Frog 



Some sat on thrones, some held high positions at Court ; 
there are even some royal ladies here who were the cause 
of strife and bloodshed. It is these latter whom you see in 
the shape of leeches, and they are condemned to remain 
here for a certain time. But of those who come here none 
ever returns to the world better or wiser.' 

' I can quite understand,' said the queen, ' that wicked 
people are not improved by merely being thrown together. 
But how is it that you are here, my friendly little Frog ? ' 

' I came here out of curiosity,' she replied. ' I am part 
fairy, and though, in certain directions, my powers are 
limited, in others they are far-reaching. The Lion- Witch 
would kill me if she knew that I was in her domain.' 

' Whatever your fairy powers,' said the queen, ' I cannot 
understand how you could have fallen into the raven's 
clutches and come so near to being devoured.' 

' That is easily explained,' said the Frog. ' I have nought 
to fear when my little cap of roses is on my head, for that 
is the source of my power. Unluckily I had left it in the 
marsh when that ugly raven pounced upon me, and but 
for you, Madam, I should not now be here. Since you 
have saved my life, you have only to command me and I 
will do everything in my power to lessen the misfortunes of 
your lot.' 

' Alas, dear Frog,' said the queen, ' the wicked fairy 
who holds me captive desires that I should make her a 
fly-pasty. But there are no flies here, and if there were 
I could not see to catch them in the dim light. I am like, 
therefore, to get a beating which will kill me.' 

' Leave that to me,' said the Frog, ' I will quickly get 
you some.' 

H7 



Old-Time Stories 

Thereupon the Frog smeared sugar all over herself, 
and the same was done by more than six thousand of her 
froggy friends. They then made for a place where the 
fairy had a large store of flies, which she used to torment 
some of her luckless victims. No sooner did the flies 
smell the sugar than they flew to it, and found themselves 
sticking to the frogs. Away, then, went the latter at a 
gallop, to bring their friendly aid to the queen. Never 
was there such a catching of flies before, nor a better pasty 
than the one the queen made for the fairy. The surprise 
of the Witch was great when the queen handed it to her, 
for she was baffled to think how the flies could have been 
so cleverly caught. 

The queen suffered so much from want of protection 
against the poisonous air that she cut down some cypress 
branches and began to build herself a hut. The Frog 
kindly offered her services. She summoned round her all 
those who had helped in the fly hunt, and they assisted the 
queen to build as pretty a little place to live in as you could 
find anywhere in the world. 

But no sooner had she lain down to rest than the monsters 
of the lake, envious of her repose, gathered round the hut. 
They set up the most hideous noise that had ever been 
heard, and drove her so nearly mad that she got up and fled 
in fear and trembling from the house. This was just what 
the monsters were after, and a dragon, who had once upon 
a time ruled tyrannously over one of the greatest countries 
of the world, immediately took possession of it. 

The poor queen tried to protest against this ill-treat- 
ment. But no one would listen to her : the monsters 
laughed and jeered at her, and the Lion- Witch said that 

148 



The Friendly Frog 

if she came and dinned lamentations into her ears again 
she would give her a sound thrashing. 

The queen was therefore obliged to hold her tongue. 
She sought out the Frog, who waj the most sympathetic 
creature in the world, and they wept together ; for the 
moment she put on her cap of roses the Frog became able 
to laugh or weep like anybody else. 

' I am so fond of you,' said the Frog to the queen, ' that 
I will build your house again, though every monster in the 
lake should be filled with envy.' 

Forthwith she cut some wood, and a little country 
mansion for the queen sprang up so quickly that she was 
able to sleep in it that very night. Nothing that could 
make for the queen's comfort was forgotten by the Frog, 
and there was even a bed of wild thyme. 

When the wicked fairy learnt that the queen was not 
sleeping on the ground, she sent for her and asked : 

' What power is it, human or divine, that protects you ? 
This land drinks only a rain of burning sulphur, and has 
never produced so much as a sage-leaf : yet they tell me 
fragrant herbs spring up beneath your feet.' 

' I cannot explain it, madam,' said the queen, ' unless it 
is due to the child I am expecting. Perhaps for her a less 
unhappy fate than mine is in store.' 

' I have a craving just now,' said the Witch, ' for a posy 
of rare flowers. See if this happiness which you expect 
will enable you to get them. If you do not succeed, such 
a thrashing as I know well how to give is surely in store 
for you.' 

The queen began to weep, for threats like these dis- 
tressed her, and she despaired as she thought of the im- 

149 



Old -Time Stories 

possibility of finding flowers. But when she returned to 
her little house, the friendly Frog met her. 

' How unhappy you look ! ' she said. 

' Alas, dear friend,' said the queen, ' who would not be 
so ? The Witch has demanded a posy of the most beautiful 
flowers. Where am I to find them ? You see what sort 
of flowers grow here ! Yet my life is forfeit if I do not 
procure them.' 

' Dear queen,' said the Frog tenderly, ' we must do our 
best to extricate you from this dilemma. Hereabouts there 
lives a bat of my acquaintance a kindly soul. She moves 
about more quickly than I do, so I will give her my cap of 
roses, and with the aid of this she will be able to find you 
flowers.' 

The queen curtseyed low, it being quite impossible to 
embrace the Frog, and the latter went off at once to speak 
to the bat. In a few hours the bat came back with some 
exquisite flowers tucked under her wings. Off went the 
queen with them to the Witch, who was more astonished 
than ever, being quite unable to understand in what mar- 
vellous way the queen had been assisted. 

The queen never ceased to plot some means of escape, 
and told the Frog of her longings. ' Madam,' said the 
latter, ' allow me first to take counsel with my little cap, 
and we will make plans according to what it advises.' 
Having placed her cap upon some straw, she burnt in front 
of it a few juniper twigs, some capers, and a couple of green 
peas. She then croaked five times. This completed the 
rites, and having donned her cap again, she began to speak 
like an oracle. 

' Fate, the all-powerful, decrees that you must not 

150 



The Friendly 

leave this place. You will have a li 



Frog 

tie princess more beauti- 



ful than Venus herself. Let nothifng fret you ; time alone 
can heal.' 

The queen bowed her head and shed tears, but she 
determined to have faith in the friend she had found. 
' Whatever happens,' she said, ' do not leave me here 
alone, and befriend me when my little one is born.' The 
Frog promised to remain with her, and did her best to 
comfort her. 

It is now time to return to the king. So long as the 
enemy kept him confined within his capital he could not 
regularly send messengers to the queen. But at length, 
after many sorties, he forced the enemy to raise the siege. 
This success gave him pleasure not so much on his own 
account, as for the sake of the queen, who could now be 
brought home in safety. He knew nothing of the disaster 
which had befallen her, for none of his retinue had dared to 
tell him of it. They had found in the forest the remains 
of the chariot, the runaway horses, and the apparel in which 
she had driven forth to find her husband, and being con- 
vinced that she was killed or devoured by wild beasts, their 
one idea was to make the king believe that she had died 
suddenly. 

It seemed as if the king could not survive this mournful 
news. He tore his hair, wept bitterly, and lamented his 
loss with all manner of sorrowful cries and sobs and sighs. 
For several days he would see nobody, and hid himself 
from view. Later, he returned to his capital and entered 
upon a long period of mourning, to the sincerity of which 
his heartfelt sorrow bore even plainer testimony than his 
sombre garb of woe. His royal neighbours all sent am- 



Old -Time Stories 

bassadors with messages of condolence, and when the cere- 
monies proper to these occasions were at length over, he 
proclaimed a period of peace. He released his subjects 
from military service, and devoted himself to giving them 
every assistance in the development of commerce. 

Of all this the queen knew nothing. A little princess 
had been born to her in the meantime, and her beauty did 
not belie the Frog's prediction. They gave her the name 
of Moufette, but the queen had great difficulty in persuading 
the Witch to let her bring up the child, for her ferocity was 
such that she would have liked to eat it. 

At the age of six months Moufette was a marvel of beauty, 
and often, as she gazed upon her with mingled tenderness 
and pity, the queen would say : 

4 Could your father but see you, my poor child, how 
delighted he would be, and how dear you would be to him ! 
But perhaps even now he has begun to forget me : doubtless 
he believes that death has robbed him of us, and it may be 
that another now fills the place I had in his affections.' 

Many were the tears she shed over these sad thoughts, 
and the Frog, whose love for her was sincere, was moved 
one day by the sight of her grief to say to her : 

4 If you like, Madam, I will go and seek your royal hus- 
band. It is a long journey, and I am but a tardy traveller, 
but sooner or later I have no doubt I shall get there.' 

No suggestion could have been more warmly approved, 
the queen clasping her hands, and bidding little Moufette 
do the same, in token of the gratitude she felt towards the 
good Frog for offering to make the expedition. Nor would 
the king, she declared, be less grateful. ' Of what advan- 
tage, however,' she went on, 4 will it be to him to learn 
152 





'Cori.n VIM K 1ATHKK f;r i -KK vm , \iv POOR CHILD 



The Friendly Frog 



that I am in this dire abode, since it will be impossible for 
him to rescue me from it ? ' 

' That we must leave to Providence, Madam,' said the 
Frog ; ' we can but make those efforts of which we are 
capable.' 

They took farewell of each other, and the queen sent 
a message to the king. This was written with her blood 
on a piece of rag, for she had neither ink nor paper. The 
good Frog was bringing him news of herself, she wrote, and 
she implored him to give heed to all that she might tell him, 
and to believe everything she had to say. 

It took the Frog a yea- and four days to climb the ten 
thousand steps which led from the gloomy realm in which 
she had left the queen, up into the world. Another year 
was spent in preparing her equipage, for she was too proud 
to consent to appear at Court like a poor and humble frog 
from the marshes. A little sedan-chair was made for her, 
large enough to hold a couple of eggs comfortably, and this 
was covered outside with tortoise-shell and lined with lizard- 
skin. From the little green frogs that hop about the 
meadows she selected fifty to act as maids of honour, and 
each of these was mounted on a snail. They had dainty 
saddles, and rode in dashing style with the leg thrown 
over the saddle-bow. A numerous bodyguard of rats, 
dressed like pages, ran before the snails in short, nothing 
so captivating had ever been seen before. To crown all, 
the cap of roses, which never faded but was always in full 
bloom, most admirably became her. Being something of a 
coquette, too, she could not refrain from a touch of rouge 
and a patch or two ; indeed, some said she was painted 
like a great many other ladies of the land, but it has been 

153 



Old -Time Stories 

proved by inquiry that this report had its origin with her 
enemies. 

The journey lasted seven years, and during all that time 
the poor queen endured unutterable pain and suffering. 
Had it not been for the solace of the beautiful Moufette 
she must have died a hundred times. Every word that 
the dear little creature uttered filled her with delight ; 
indeed, with the exception of the Lion- Witch, there was 
nobody who was not charmed by her. 

There came at length a day, after the queen had lived 
for six years in this dismal region, when the Witch told 
her that she could go hunting with her, on condition that 
she yielded up everything which she killed. The queen's 
joy when she once more saw the sun may be imagined ; 
though at first she thought she would be blinded, so un- 
accustomed to its light had she become. So quick and 
lively was Moufette, even at five or six years of age, that 
she never failed in her aim, and mother and daughter together 
were thus able to appease somewhat the fierce instincts of 
the Witch. 

Meanwhile the Frog was travelling over hills and valleys. 
Day or night, she never stopped, and at last she came nigh 
to the capital, where the king was now in residence. To 
her astonishment signs of festivity met her eye at every 
turn ; on all sides there was merriment, song and dancing, 
and the nearer she came to the city the more festive seemed 
the mood of the people. All flocked with amazement to 
see her rustic retinue, and by the time she reached the city 
the crowd had become so large that it was with difficulty 
she made her way to the palace. 

At the palace all was splendour, for the king, who had 

154 




' The joutnev 'listed teven 



The Friendly Frog 

been deprived of his wife's society for nine years, had at last 
yielded to the petitions of his subjects, and was about to 
wed a princess who possessed man/ amiable qualities, though 
she lacked, admittedly, the beauty of his wife. 

The good Frog descended from her sedan-chair, and 
with her attendants in her train entered the royal presence. 
To request an audience was unnecessary, for the king and 
his intended bride and all the princes were much too curious 
to learn why she had come to think of interrupting her. 

' Sire,' said the Frog, ' I am in doubt whether the news 
I bring will cause you joy or sorrow. I can only conclude, 
from the marriage which you are proposing to celebrate, that 
you are no longer faithful to your queen.' 

Tears fell from the king's eyes. ' Her memory is as 
dear to me as ever,' he declared ; ' but you must know, 
good Frog, that monarchs cannot always follow their own 
wishes. For nine years now my subjects have been urging 
me to take a wife, and indeed it is due to them that there 
should be an heir to the throne. Hence my choice of this 
young princess, whose charms are apparent.' 

' I warn you not to marry her,' rejoined the Frog ; ' the 
queen is not dead, and I am the bearer of a letter from her, 
writ in her own blood. There has been born to you a little 
daughter, Moufette, who is more beautiful than the very 
heavens.' 

The king took the rag on which the short message from 
the queen was written. He kissed it and moistened it with 
his tears ; and declared, holding it up for all to see, that he 
recognised the handwriting of his wife. Then he plied the 
Frog with endless questions, to all of which she replied with 
lively intelligence. 

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Old-Time Stories 

The princess who was to have been queen, and the 
envoys who were attending the marriage ceremony, were 
somewhat out of countenance. ' Sire,' said one of the most 
distinguished guests, turning to the king, ' can you contem- 
plate the breaking of your solemn pledge upon the word 
of a toad like that ? This scum of the marshes has the 
audacity to come and lie to the entire Court, just for the 
gratification of being listened to ! ' 

' I would have you know, your Excellency,' replied the 
Frog, ' that I am no scum of the marshes. Since you 
force me to display my powers hither, fairies all ! ' 

At these words the frogs, the rats, the snails, and the 
lizards all suddenly ranged themselves behind the Frog. 
But in place of their familiar natural forms, they appeared 
now as tall, majestic figures, handsome of mien, and with 
eyes that outshone the stars. Each wore a crown of jewels 
on his head, while over his shoulders hung a royal mantle 
of velvet, lined with ermine, the train of which was borne 
by dwarfs. Simultaneously the sound of trumpets, drums, 
and hautboys filled the air with martial melody, and all the 
fairies began to dance a ballet, with step so light that the 
least spring lifted them to the vaulted ceiling of the chamber. 

The astonishment of the king and his future bride was 
in no way diminished when the fairy dancers suddenly 
changed before their eyes into flowers jasmine, jonquils, 
violets, roses, and carnations which carried on the dance 
just as though they were possessed of legs and feet. It 
was as though a flower-bed had come to life, every move- 
ment of which gave pleasure alike to eye and nostril. A 
moment later the flowers vanished, and in their place were 
fountains of leaping water that fell in a cascade and formed 
158 



The Friendly Frog 

a lake beneath the castle walls. On the surface of the lake 
were little boats, painted and gilt, so pretty and dainty that 
the princess challenged the ambassadors to a voyage. None 
hesitated to do so, for they thought it was all a gay pastime, 
and a merry prelude to the marriage festivities. But no 
sooner had they embarked than boats, fountains, and lake 
vanished, and the frogs were frogs once more. 

' Sire,' said the Frog, when the king asked what had 
become of the princess, ' your wife alone is your queen. 
Were my affection for her less than it is, I should not inter- 
fere ; but she deserves so well, and your daughter Moufette 
is so charming, that you ought not to lose one moment in 
setting out to their rescue.' 

' I do assure you, Madam Frog,' replied the king, ' that 
if I could believe my wife to be alive, I would shrink from 
nothing in the world for sight of her again.' 

' Surely,' said the Frog, ' after the marvels I have shown 
you, there ought not to be doubt in your mind of the truth 
of what I say. Leave your realm in the hands of those 
whom you can trust, and set forth without delay. Take 
this ring it will provide you with the means of seeing the 
queen, and of speaking with the Lion-Witch, notwith- 
standing that she is the most formidable creature in the 
world.' 

The king refused to let any one accompany him, and 
after bestowing handsome gifts upon the Frog, he set forth. 
' Do not lose heart,' she said to him ; ' you will encounter 
terrible difficulties, but I am convinced that your desires 
will meet with success.' He plucked up courage at these 
words, and started upon the quest of his dear wife, though 
he had only the ring to guide him. 

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Old -Time Stories 

Now Moufette's beauty became more and more perfect 
as she grew older, and all the monsters of the lake of quick- 
silver were enamoured of her. Hideous and terrifying to 
behold, they came and lay at her feet. Although Moufette 
had seen them ever since she was born, her lovely eyes 
could never grow accustomed to them, and she would 
run away and hide in her mother's arms. ' Shall we re- 
main here long ? ' she would ask ; ' are we never to escape 
from misery ? ' 

The queen would answer hopefully, so as to keep up 
the spirits of the child, but in her heart hope had died. 
The absence of the Frog and the lack of any news from her, 
together with the long time that had passed since she had 
heard anything of the king, filled her with grief and despair. 

By now it had become a regular thing for them to go 
hunting with the Lion- Witch. The latter liked good things, 
and enjoyed the game which they killed for her. The 
head or the feet of the quarry was all the share they got, 
but there was compensation in being allowed to look again 
upon the daylight. The Witch would take the shape of a 
lioness, and the queen and her daughter would seat them- 
selves on her back. In this fashion they ranged the forests 
a-hunting. 

One day, when the king was resting in a forest to which 
his ring had guided him, he saw them shoot by like an 
arrow from the bow. They did not perceive him, and 
when he tried to follow them he lost sight of them com- 
pletely. The queen was still as beautiful as of old, despite 
all that she had suffered, and she seemed to her husband 
more attractive than ever, so that he longed to have her 
with him again. He felt certain that the young princess 
1 60 



The Friendly Frog 



with her was his dear little Moufttte, and he resolved to 
face death a thousand times rather than abandon his in- 
tention of rescuing her. 

With the assistance of his ring he penetrated to the 
gloomy region in which the queen had been for so many 
years. His astonishment was great to find himself descend- 
ing to the centre of the earth, but with every new thing that 
met his eyes his amazement grew greater. 

The Lion- Witch, from whom nothing was hid, knew 
well the day and hour of his destined arrival. Much did 
she wish that the powers in league with her could have 
ordered things otherwise, but she resolved to pit her strength 
against his to the full. 

She built a palace of crystal which floated in the midst 
of the lake of quicksilver, rising and falling on its waves. 
Therein she imprisoned the queen and her daughter, and 
assembling the monsters, who were all admirers of Moufette, 
she gave them this warning : 

' You will lose this beautiful princess if you do not help 
me to keep her from a gallant who has come to bear her 
away.' 

The monsters vowed that they would do everything in 
their power, and forthwith they surrounded the palace of 
crystal. The less heavy stationed themselves upon the roofs 
and walls, others mounted guard at the doors, while the 
remainder filled the lake. 

Following the dictates of his faithful ring, the king went 
first to the Witch's cavern. She was waiting for him in the 
form of a lioness, and the moment he appeared she sprang 
upon him. But she was not prepared for his valiant 
swordsmanship, and as she put forth a paw to fell him to 



L 



161 



Old -Time Stories 

the ground, he cut it c ff at the elbow-joint. She yelped 
loudly and fell over, whereupon he went up to her and set 
his foot upon her throat, swearing that he would kill her. 
Notwithstanding her uncontrollable rage, and the fact that 
she had nothing to fear from wounds, she felt cowed by 
him. 

4 What do you seek to do to me ? ' she asked ; ' what do 
you want of me ? ' 

' I intend to punish you,' replied the king with dignity, 
' for having carried away my wife. Deliver her up to me, 
or I will strangle you on the spot.' 

' Turn your eyes to the lake,' she answered, ' and see if 
it lies in my power to do so.' 

The king followed the direction she indicated, and saw 
the queen and her daughter in the palace of crystal, where 
it floated like a boat without oars or rudder on the lake of 
quicksilver. He was like to die of mingled joy and sorrow. 
He shouted to them at the top of his voice, and they heard 
him. But how was hs to reach them ? 

While he pondered a plan for the accomplishment of 
this, the Lion-Witch vanished. He ran round and round 
the lake, but no sooner did the palace draw near enough, 
at one point or another, to let him make a spring for it, 
than it suddenly receded with menacing speed. As often 
as his hopes were raised they were dashed to the ground. 

Fearing that he would presently tire, the queen cried 
to him that he must not lose courage, for the Lion- Witch 
sought to wear him down, but that true love could brave all 
obstacles. She stretched out imploring hands, and so did 
Moufette. At sight of this the king felt his courage re- 
newed within him. Lifting his voice, he declared that he 
162 



The Friendly Frog 



would rather live the rest of his life in this dismal region 
than go away without them. 

Patience he certainly needed, for no monarch in the 
world ever spent such a miserable time. There was only 
the ground, cumbered with briars and thorns, for bed, and 
for food he had only wild fruit more bitter than gall. In 
addition, he was under the perpetual necessity of defending 
himself from the monsters of the lake. 

Three years went by in this fashion, and the king could 
not pretend that he had gained the least advantage. He 
was almost in despair, and many a time was tempted to 
cast himself into the lake. He would have done so without 
hesitation had there been any hope that thereby the suffer- 
ings of the queen and the princess could be alleviated. 

One day as he was running, after his custom, from one 
side of the lake to the other, he was hailed by one of the 
ugliest of the dragons. ' Swear by your crown and sceptre, 
by your kingly robe, by your wife and child,' said the 
monster, ' to give me a certain tit-bit to eat for which I 
have a fancy, whenever I shall ask for it, and I will take 
you on my back : none of the monsters in this lake which 
are guarding the palace will prevent us from carrying away 
the queen and Princess Moufette.' 

' Best of dragons ! ' cried the king ; ' I swear to you, 
and to all of dragon blood, that you shall have your fill of 
whatsoever you desire, and I will be for ever your devoted 
servant.' 

' Promise nothing which you do not mean to fulfil,' 
replied the dragon ; ' for otherwise life-long misfortunes 
may overwhelm you.' 

The king repeated his assurances, for he was dying of 

163 



Old -Time Stories 

impatience to regain his beloved queen, and mounted the 
dragon just as though he were the most dashing of steeds. 
But now the other monsters rushed to bar the way. The 
combat was joined, and nought was audible save the hissing 
of the serpents, nought visible save the brimstone, fire 
and sulphur, which were belched forth in every direction. 

The king reached the palace at last, but there fresh 
efforts were required of him, for the entrances were de- 
fended by bats and owls and ravens. But even the boldest 
of these was torn to pieces by the dragon, who attacked 
them tooth and nail. The queen, too, who was a spectator 
of this savage fight, kicked down chunks of the wall, and 
armed with these helped her dear husband in the fray. 
Victory at length rested with them, and as they flew to one 
another's arms, the enchantment was brought to an end by 
a thunderbolt which plunged into the lake and dried it up. 

The friendly dragon vanished, along with all the other 
monsters, and the king found himself (by what means he 
had not the least idea) home again in his own city, and seated, 
with his queen and Moufette beside him, in a splendid 
dining-hall before a table laid with the richest fare. Never 
before was there such amazement and delight as theirs. 
The populace came running for a sight of the queen and 
princess, and to add to the wonder of it all, the latter was 
seen to be attired in apparel of such magnificence that the 
gaze was almost dazzled by her jewels. 

You can easily imagine what festivities now took place at 
the palace. There were masquerades, and tournaments 
with tilting at the ring which attracted the highest princes 
from all over the world ; even more were these drawn by 
the bright eyes of Moufette. 
164 



The Friendly Frog 



Amongst the handsomest and most accomplished in 
skill-at-arms, there was none anywhere who could out- 
shine Prince Moufy. He won the applause and admiration 
of all, and Moufette, who had hitherto known only dragons 
and serpents, was not backward in according him her share 
of praise. Prince Moufy was deeply in love with her, and 
not a day passed but he showed her some fresh attention 
in the hope of gaining her favour. In due course he offered 
himself as a suitor, informing the king and queen that his 
realm was of a richness and extent that might well claim 
their favourable consideration. 

The king replied that Moufette should make her own 
choice of husband, for his only wish was to please her and 
make her happy. With this answer the prince was well 
satisfied, for he was already aware that the princess was not 
indifferent to him. He offered her his hand, and she de- 
clared that if he were not to be her husband, then no other 
man should be. Prince Moufy threw himself in rapture at 
her feet, and exacted, lover-like, a promise that she would 
keep her word with him. 

The prince and princess were betrothed, and Prince 
Moufy then returned to his own realm, in order to make 
preparations for the marriage. Moufette wept much at his 
going, for she was oppressed by an inexplicable presenti- 
ment of evil. The prince likewise was much downcast, 
and the queen, noticing this, gave him a portrait of her 
daughter with an injunction to curtail the splendour of 
his preparations rather than allow his return to be 
delayed. The prince was nothing loth to obey her behest, 
and promised to adopt a course which so well consulted 
his own happiness. 

165 



Old-'time Stories 

The princess amused herself with music during his 
absence, for in a few months she had learned to play exceed- 
ingly well. 

One day, when she was in the queen's apartment, the 
king rushed in. Tears were streaming down his face as 
he took his daughter in his arms and cried aloud : ' Alas, 
my child ! O wretched father ! O miserable king ! ' Sobs 
choked his utterance, and he could say no more. 

Greatly alarmed, the queen and princess asked him what 
had happened, and at last he got out that there had just 
arrived an enormously tall giant, who professed to be an envoy 
of the dragon of the lake ; and that in pursuance of the 
promise which the king had given in exchange for assist- 
ance in fighting the monsters, the dragon demanded that 
he should give up the princess, as he desired to make her 
into a pie for dinner. The king added that he had bound 
himself by solemn oaths to give the dragon what he asked 
and in the days of which we are telling no one ever broke 
his word. 

The queen received this dire news with piercing shrieks, 
and clasped her child to her bosom. ' My life shall be for- 
feit,' she cried, ' ere my daughter is delivered up to this 
monster. Let him rather take our kingdom and all that 
we have. Unnatural father ! Is it possible you can con- 
sent to such cruelty ? What ! My child to be made into 
a pie ! The bare notion is intolerable ! Send this grim 
envoy to me ; it may be the spectacle of my anguish will 
soften his heart.' 

The king said nothing, but went in quest of the giant. 
He brought him to the queen, who flung herself at his feet 
with her daughter. She begged him to have mercy, and to 
1 66 



The Friendly Frog 

persuade the dragon to take all that they possessed, but to 
spare Moufette's life. The giant replied, however, that 
the matter did not rest with him. The dragon, he said, 
was so obstinate, and so addicted to the pleasures of the 
table, that no power on earth would restrain him from 
eating what he had a mind to make a meal of. Furthermore, 
he counselled them, as a friend, to yield with a good grace 
lest greater ills should be in store. At these words the 
queen fainted, and the princess would have been in similar 
case, if she had not been obliged to go to the assistance of 
her mother. 

No sooner was the dreadful news known throughout 
the palace than it spread all over the city. On all sides 
there was weeping and wailing, for Moufette was greatly 
beloved. 

The king could not bring himself to give her up to the 
giant, and the latter, after waiting several days, grew restive 
and began to utter terrible threats. But the king and 
queen, taking counsel together, were agreed. ' What is 
there worse that could happen to us ? ' they said ; ' if the 
dragon of the lake were to come and eat us all up, we could 
not suffer more, for if Moufette is put into a pie that will 
be the end of us.' 

Presently the giant informed them that he had received 
a message from the dragon, to the effect that if the princess 
would agree to marry one of his nephews, he would spare 
her life. This nephew was not only young and handsome, 
but a prince to boot ; and there was no doubt of her being 
able to live very happily with him. 

This proposal somewhat assuaged their grief, but when 
the queen mentioned it to the princess, she found her more 

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Old -Time Stories 

ready to face death than entertain this marriage. ' I cannot 
break faith just to save my life,' said Moufette ; ' you pro- 
mised me to Prince Moufy, and I will marry none else. 
Let me perish, for my death will enable you to live in peace.' 
The king in his turn tried, with many endearments, to per- 
suade her, but she could not be moved. Finally, therefore, 
it was arranged that she should be conducted to a mountain- 
top, there to await the dragon. 

Everything was made ready for the great sacrificial rite, 
and nothing so mournful had ever been seen before. Black 
garments and pale, distraught faces were encountered at 
every turn. Four hundred maidens of the noblest birth, 
clad in long white robes and wearing crowns of cypress, 
accompanied the princess. The latter was borne in an 
open litter of black velvet, that all men might behold the 
wondrous miracle of her beauty. Her tresses, tied with 
crape, hung over her shoulders, and she wore a crown of 
jasmine and marigolds. The only thing that seemed to 
affect her was the grief of the king and queen, who walked 
behind her, overwhelmed with the burden of their sorrow. 
Beside the litter strode the giant, armed from top to toe, 
and looking hungrily at the princess, as though already he 
savoured his share of the dish she was to make. The air 
was filled with sighs and sobs, and the tears of the spectators 
made rivulets along the road. 

' O Frog, dear Frog,' cried the queen ; ' you have 
indeed forsaken me ! Why give me help in that dismal place 
and refuse it to me here ? Had I but died then, I should 
not now be mourning the end of all my hopes, and I should 
have been spared the agony of waiting to see my darling 
Moufette devoured.' 
168 






The Friendly Frog 



Slowly the procession made its way to the summit of 
the fatal mountain. On arrival there the cries and lamen- 
tations broke out with renewed force, and a more pitiful 
noise was never heard before. Tne giant then directed 
that all farewells must be said, and a general withdrawal 
made, and his order was obeyed. Folks in those days 
were docile and obedient, and never thought of combating 
ill-fortune. 

The king and queen, with all the Court, now climbed 
another hill-top, from which they could obtain a view of 
all that happened to the princess. They had not long to 
wait, for they quickly espied a dragon, half a league long, 
sailing through the sky. He flew laboriously, for his bulk 
was so great that even six large wings could hardly support 
it. His body was covered all over with immense blue 
scales and tongues of poison flame, his twisted tail had 
fifty coils and another half coil beyond that, while his claws 
were each as big as a windmill. His jaws were agape, and 
inside could be seen three rows of teeth as long as an 
elephant's tusks. 

Now while the dragon was slowly wending his way to 
the mountain-top, the good and faithful Frog, mounted on 
a hawk's back, was flying at full speed to Prince Moufy. 
She was wearing her cap of roses, and though he was locked 
in his privy chamber she needed no key to enter. 

' Hapless lover ! ' she cried ; ' Mhat are you doing 
here ? This very moment, while you sit dreaming about 
her beauty, Moufette is in direst peril ! See, here is a rose- 
leaf ; I have but to blow upon it and it vill become a mettle- 
some steed.' 

As she spoke there suddenly appeared a green horse. 

169 



' 

Old-Time Stories 

It had twelve hoofs and three heads, and from the latter 
it could spit forth fire, bomb-shells, and cannon-balls re- 
spectively. The Frog ':hen gave the prince a sword, eight 
yards long and no heavier than a feather, and a garment 
fashioned out of a single diamond. This he slipped on like 
a coat, and though it was hard as rock it was so pliant that 
his movements were in no way impeded. 

' Now fly to the rescue of your love,' said the Frog ; 
' the green horse will carry you to her. Do not omit to let 
her know, when you have delivered her, of what my part 
has been.' 

' Great-hearted fairy ! ' cried the prince, ' this is no 
moment to return you thanks, but from henceforth I am 
your faithful servant.' 

Off went the horse with the three heads, galloping on 
its twelve hoofs three times as fast, and more, than the best 
of ordinary steeds ; and in a very short time the prince 
had reached the mountain, where he found his dear princess 
all alone. 

As the dragon slowly drew near, the green horse began 
to throw out fire, bomb-shells, and cannon-balls, which 
greatly disconcerted the monster. Twenty balls lodged 
in his throat, his scaly armour was dinted, and the bomb- 
shells put out one of his eyes. This enraged him, and he 
tried to hurl himse'f upon the prince. But the latter 's 
long sword was so finely tempered that he could do what 
he liked with it, and now he plunged it in up to the hilt, 
now cut with it as though it had been a whip. The prince 
would have suffered, however, from the dragon's claws 
had it not been for his diamond coat, which was im- 
penetrable. 
170 



The Friendly Frog 



Moufette had recognised her lover from afar, for the 
gleaming diamond which covered him was transparent ; 
and she was like to die of terror at the risk he ran. The 
king and queen, however, felt hope revive within them. 
They had little thought to see arriving so opportunely a 
horse with three heads and twelve hoofs that breathed forth 
fire and flame, nor yet a prince, in diamond mail, and 
armed with so redoubtable a sword, who performed such 
prodigies of valour. The king put his hat on the end of 
his stick, the queen tied a handkerchief to hers, and with all 
the Court following suit, there was no lack of signals of 
encouragement to the prince. Not that such were necessary, 
for his own stout heart and the peril in which he saw Moufette 
were enough to keep his courage up. 

Heavens, how he fought ! Barbs, talons, horns, wings, 
and scales fell from the dragon till the ground was covered 
with them, and the soil was dyed blue and green with the 
mingled blood of dragon and horse. Five times the prince 
was unhorsed, but each time he pickeci himself up and com- 
posedly mounted his steed again. Then would follow 
such cannonades, bombardments, arid flame-throwing as 
had never been seen or heard of before. 

At length, its strength exhausted, the dragon fell, and 
the prince delivered a finishing stroke.) None could believe 
their eyes when from the gaping wound so made there 
stepped forth a handsome and elegant 'prince, clad in a coat 
of blue and gold velvet, embroidered with pearls, and 
wearing on his head a little Grecian helmet with a crest of 
white feathers. With outstretched hands this new-comer 
ran to Prince Moufy and embraced him. 

' How can I ever repay you, my pallant deliverer ? ' he 

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Old-Time Stories 

cried. ' Never was monarch confined in a more dreadful 
prison than the one from which you have freed me. It 
is sixteen years since the Lion- Witch condemned me to it, 
and I have languished there ever since. Moreover, such 
is her power that she would have obliged me, against 
my will, to devour that sweet princess. I beg you to 
let me pay my respects to her, and explain my hapless 
plight ! ' 

Astonished and delighted by the remarkable way in 
which his adventure had ended, Prince Moufy lavished 
courtesies upon the newly-discovered prince. Together 
they went to Moufette, who rendered thanks a thousand 
times to Providence for her unexpected happiness. Already 
the king and queen a:id all the Court had joined her, and 
everybody spoke at once, and nobody listened to anybody, 
while nearly as many i:ears were shed for joy as a little time 
ago had been shed for.' grief. And finally, to set the crown 
on their rejoicing, the good Frog was espied flying through 
the air on her hawk. The latter had little golden bells 
upon its feet, and when the faint tinkling of these caused 
every one to look up, there was the Frog, beautiful as the 
dawn, with her cap of roses shining like the sun. 

The queen ran to her and took her by one of her little 
paws. At that instant the wise Frog was transformed into 
a majestic royal lady of gracious mien. ' I come,' she 
cried, ' to crown the faithful Moufette, who preferred to 
face death rather than break her word to Prince Moufy.' 
With these words she placed two myrtle wreaths upon the 
lovers' heads ; and at a signal of three taps from her wand 
the dragon's bones rose up and formed a triumphal arch 
to commemorate the auspicious occasion. 

172 



The Friendly Frog 

Back to the city went all the company, singing wedding 
songs as gladly as they had previously with sorrow bewailed 
the sacrifice of the princess. On the morrow the marriage 
took place, and with what festivities it was solemnised 
may be left to the imagination. 



PRINCESS ROSETTE 

ONCE upon a time there lived a king and queen 
who had two handsome boys, and so well looked 
after were the latter that they grew apace, like the 
daylight. 

The queen never had a child without summoning the 
fairies to be present at the birth, and she always begged 
them to tell what its future was to be. When in due course 
she had a beautiful little daughter so pretty that one could 
not set eyes on her without loving her all the fairies came 
to visit her, and were hospitably entertained. As they 
were making ready to go, the queen said to them : 

' Do not forget your friendly custom, but tell me what 
fortune awaits Rosette.' Such was the name which had 
been given to the little princess. 

The fairies replied that they had left their magic books 
at home, but would come and see her some other time. 

' Ah,' said the queen, ' that bodes ill. You are anxious 
not to distress me by an unhappy prophecy. But tell me 
all, I implore you, and hide nothing from me.' 

The fairies did their utmost to excuse themselves. But 
the queen became more and more eager to learn everything, 
and at last the chief of them made a declaration. 

1 We fear, Madam,' she said, ' that Rosette will bring 
disaster on her brothers, and that in some fashion she will 
be the cause of their death. This much and no more can 

174 



Princess Rosette 

we foretell of the pretty child, and we are grieved that we 
should have no better news to give you.' 

Then the fairies went away, and the queen was left 
grieving. 

So deep was her grief that the king saw it in her face, 
and asked what ailed her. She had gone too near the fire, 
she told him, and had burnt all the flax that was on her 
distaff. 

' Is that all ? ' said the king, and going up to his store- 
room he brought her more flax than she could have spun in 
a hundred years. 

But the queen continued sad, and again the king asked 
what ailed her. She declared that in walking by the river 
she had let her green satin slipper fall into the water. 

' Is that all ? ' said the king, and summoning all the 
shoemakers in the kingdom he brought her ten thousand 
green satin slippers. 

Still she grieved, and once more he asked what ailed 
her. She told him that in eating with rather too vigorous 
an appetite she had swallowed her wedding-ring, which 
had been on her finger. The king knew at once that she 
was not telling the truth, for he had put away this ring 
himself. 

' My dear wife,' he said, ' you lie ; I put away your ring 
in my purse here it is ! ' 

She was not a little confused at being caught telling a 
lie (for there is nothing in the world so ugly), and she saw 
that the king was displeased. She told him, therefore, what 
the fairies had prophesied of little Rosette, and implored 
him to say if he could think of any good remedy. 

The king was plunged in the deepest melancholy, so 



Old -Time Stories 

much so that he remarked on one occasion to the queen : 
' I see no other means of saving our two sons but to bring 
about the death of our little child while she is still in long 
clothes.' But the queen exclaimed that she would rather 
suffer death herself. She would never consent, she de- 
clared, to such a cruel course, and he must think of some- 
thing else. 

The royal pair were at their wits' end when the queen 
was told that in a forest near the city there lived an aged 
hermit. His habitation was a hollow tree, and folks were 
wont to seek his advice upon all manner of things. ' I too 
must go there,' said the queen ; ' the fairies have warned 
me of the evil, but they have forgotten to tell me of the 
remedy.' 

She rose betimes and mounted a dainty little white 
mule that was shod with gold, and took with her two of 
her ladies, each riding a bonny horse. When they had 
entered the wood they dismounted, as a sign of deference, 
and presented themselves at the tree where the hermit 
lived. The latter had an aversion from the sight of women, 
but on recognising the queen he addressed her. 

' You are welcome,' he said ; ' what do you want of 
me?' 

She told him what the fairies had said of Rosette, and 
begged for advice. His reply was that the princess must 
be placed in a tower and never be allowed to leave it. The 
queen tendered her thanks, and having bestowed liberal 
alms upon him, returned to tell everything to the king. 

When the king had heard her news he gave orders at 
once for a great tower to be built. In this the princess was 
shut up, and to keep her amused the king and queen and 
176 



Princess Rosette 

her two brothers went every day to see her. The elder 
boy was known as the Big Prince, and the younger as the 
Little Prince. Both were passionately attached to their 
sister, for she had such beauty and charm as had never been 
seen before. For the lightest of looks from her many 
would have paid a hundred gold pieces and more. 

When the princess was fifteen years old the Big Prince 
spoke of her to his father. ' My sister is old enough now 
to marry, Sire,' he said ; ' shall we not soon be celebrating 
her wedding ? ' The Little Prince said the same thing to 
his mother. But their royal parents turned the conversation 
and made no answer on the subject of the marriage. 

One day the king and queen were stricken by a grievous 
malady, and died almost within twenty-four hours. Through- 
out the realm there was mourning ; every one wore black, 
and on all sides the tolling of bells was heard. Rosette 
was grieved beyond consolation by the death of her dear 
mother. 

But when the royal dead had been interred, the noble- 
men of the realm set the Big Prince upon a throne of gold 
and diamonds, robed him in purple velvet embroidered 
with suns and moons, and placed a splendid crown upon 
his head. Then all the Court cried aloud three times : 
' Long live the King ! ' and there followed universal fes- 
tivities and rejoicings. 

' Now that we are in power,' said the king and his brother 
as soon as they could converse in private, ' we must release 
our sister from the tower in which she has languished so 
long.' They had only to cross the garden to reach the 
tower, which was built in a corner. It had been reared as 
high as possible, for it had been the intention of the late 
M 177 



Old-Time Stories 

king and queen that their daughter should remain in it for 
life. 

Rosette was busy with embroidery when her brothers 
entered, but on catching sight of them she rose and left 
the frame at which she was working. Taking the king's 
hand, she said : ' Good-morrow, Sire ; you are king to-day, 
and I am your humble servant. I implore you to release 
me from the tower in which I have been languishing so 
long.' And with these words she burst into tears. 

The king embraced her and told her not to weep, for 
he had come to take her from the tower and establish her 
in a beautiful castle. The prince, who had brought a 
pocketful of sweets to give to Rosette, added his word. 
' Come,' he said, ' let us leave this hateful tower, and do 
not be unhappy any longer. Very soon the king will find 
a husband for you.' 

When Rosette saw the beautiful garden, with all its 
flowers and fruit and its many fountains, she was overcome 
with amazement and could not speak a word. She had 
never before seen anything of the kind. She looked about 
her on all sides, and then ran hither and thither, picking 
the fruit from the trees and the flowers from the beds, 
while her little dog Frillikin (who was as green as a parrot, 
had only one ear, and could dance deliciously) capered in 
front of her, yapping his loudest, and amusing everybody 
present by his absurd gambols. 

Presently Frillikin dashed into a little copse, and the 
princess followed. Never was any one so struck with 
wonder as she, to behold there a great peacock with tail 
outspread. So beautiful, so exquisitely and perfectly 
beautiful did it seem to her that she could not take away 
178 



HmMwwlilWfflra&iffiliM^^ 




Princess Rosette 



Princess Rosette 

her eyes. When the king and the prince joined her they 
asked what it was that had so taken her fancy. She pointed 
to the peacock and asked what it was, to which they replied 
that it was a bird that was sometimes served at table. 

' What ? ' she cried ; ' a bird so beautiful as that to be killed 
and eaten ? I tell you, I will marry no one but the King 
of the Peacocks, and when I am queen no one shall ever 
eat such a dish again ! ' 

No words can express the astonishment of the king. 
' My dear sister,' he said, ' where do you suppose that we 
are to find the King of the Peacocks ? ' 

' Wherever you please, Sire,' was the answer ; ' but I 
will marry none but him ! ' 

After having announced this decision she allowed her 
brothers to escort her to their castle. But so great was the 
fancy she had taken to the peacock that she insisted on its 
being brought and placed in her apartment. 

All the ladies of the Court, by whom Rosette had never 
yet been seen, now hastened to pay their dutiful respects. 
Gifts of every kind were proffered to her sweetmeats and 
sugar, gay ribbons, and dresses of cloth-of-gold, dolls, 
slippers richly embroidered, with many pearls and diamonds. 
All did their best to show her attention, and she displayed 
such charming manners, kissing hands and curtseying so 
graciously when any gift was offered to her, that not a 
gentleman or lady of the Court but left her presence loud 
in her praise. 

While the princess was being thus entertained, the king 
and the prince were taking counsel as to how they could 
find the King of the Peacocks, supposing such a person did 
really exist. In pursuit of the plan which they formed a 

181 



Old -Time Stories 

portrait was painted of the Princess Rosette, and so cun- 
ningly wrought was this picture that only speech seemed 
wanting to make it live. Then they said to their sister : 

' Since you will marry none but the King of the Peacocks, 
we are setting forth together in quest of him through the 
wide world. If we find him we shall be well rewarded. 
Wait for our return, and take care of our kingdom while 
we are away.' 

Rosette thanked them for the trouble they were taking, 
and promised to govern the kingdom well. She declared 
that while they were away her only pleasures would be to 
admire the beautiful peacock and make Frillikin dance. 
Their adieux were said with many tears. 

Behold, then, the royal pair upon their travels, asking 
of all whom they met : 'Do you know the King of the 
Peacocks ? ' The reply from all was ' No, we do not.' 
Then the travellers would pass on and go further, journeying 
in this way so far, far away that no one had ever been so 
far before. 

At last they reached the kingdom of the Cockchafers, 
and the latter in their myriads made so loud a buzzing that 
the king thought he would go deaf. He asked one who 
seemed more intelligent than the rest if he knew where- 
abouts the King of the Peacocks was to be found. 

' Sire,' said the cockchafer, ' his kingdom is thirty thou- 
sand leagues away ; you have taken the longest road to get 
there.' 

' How do you know that ? ' asked the king. 

' Because we know you well,' replied the cockchafer ; 
' every year we spend two or three months in your garden ! ' 

The king and his brother embraced the cockchafer 
182 



Princess Rosette 

warmly, and struck up a great friendship. Arm in arm 
they all went off to dinner, over which the visitors expressed 
their astonishment at the remarkable features of this country, 
where the smallest leaf from a tree was worth a gold piece. 
Presently they set off for their destination, and as they now 
knew the road they were not long in reaching it. They 
observed that all the trees were full of peacocks ; indeed 
the place held so many of them that their screaming as 
they talked could be heard two leagues away. 

' If the King of the Peacocks is himself a peacock,' said 
the king to his brother, ' how can our sister dream of marry- 
ing him ? It would be folly to sanction it. A nice set of 
relatives she would present to us a lot of little peacocks 
for nephews ! ' The prince was equally uneasy in his 
mind. ' It was an unfortunate notion to come into her 
head,' he declared ; ' I cannot imagine how she ever came 
to think that such a person as the King of the Peacocks 
existed.' 

When they reached the city they found it peopled with 
men and women, but the latter all wore garments fashioned 
out of peacocks' feathers ; and from the profusion in which 
these objects were everywhere to be seen it was plain that 
they were regarded with an intense admiration. They 
encountered the King of the Peacocks, who was out for a 
drive in a splendid little chariot of gold, studded with 
diamonds, drawn by a dozen galloping peacocks. 

The King of the Peacocks, fair of complexion, with a 
crown of peacocks' feathers surmounting his long and curly 
yellow locks, was so extremely handsome that the king and 
prince were delighted with his appearance. He guessed 
from their clothes, so different from those of the natives, 

183 



Old -Time Stories 

that they were strangers ; but to make sure he caused his 
carriage to stop and summoned them to him. 

The king and the prince advanced to meet him, and 
bowed low. ' We have come from far away, Sire,' they 
said, ' in order to show you a portrait.' With these words 
they drew from the pack which they carried the magnificent 
portrait of Rosette. 

4 I do not believe,' said the King of the Peacocks, when 
he had looked long and well at it, ' that the world holds so 
beautiful a maiden.' 

' She is a hundred times more beautiful than that,' said 
the king. 

' You are joking,' said the King of the Peacocks. 

' Sire,' said the prince, ' this is my brother, who is a 
monarch like yourself : men call him King. For myself, 
I am known as Prince. This portrait shows our sister, the 
Princess Rosette. We are here to ask if you are willing 
to marry her. She has good sense as well as good looks, 
and we will give her for dowry a bushel of golden crowns.' 

' Why, certainly,' said the King of the Peacocks, ' I 
will marry her with all my heart. I promise she shall 
want for nothing, and I will love her truly. But I would 
have you know that she must be as beautiful as her picture, 
and that if she falls short of it by the least little bit, I will 
put you to death.' 

' We accept the conditions,' said Rosette's two brothers. 

' You accept ? ' said the King of the Peacocks. ' Then 
you must bide in prison until the princess has arrived.' 

The royal brothers raised no objection to this, for they 
knew well that Rosette was more beautiful than her portrait. 
The King of the Peacocks saw to it that his captives were 
184 



Princess Rosette 

well looked after, and went often to visit them. The por- 
trait of Rosette was placed in his palace, and he was so taken 
up with it that, night or day, he could scarcely sleep. 

From prison the king and the prince sent a letter to the 
princess telling her to pack at once all she might require 
and come as quickly as possible, for the King of the Peacocks 
awaited her. They did not dare to mention that they were 
in prison, lest she should be too uneasy. 

When the princess received this letter her transports of 
delight were enough to kill her. She announced to every 
one that the King of the Peacocks had been found, and 
desired to wed her. Bonfires were lit, guns fired, and 
sugar and sweetmeats eaten in abundance ; while for three 
days every one who came to see the princess was treated to 
bread and butter with jam, and cakes and ale. 

Having dispensed hospitality in this liberal fashion, the 
princess gave all her beautiful dolls to her dearest friends, 
and entrusted her brother's realm to the wisest elders of 
the city. She bade them take care of everything, spend 
as little as possible, and save money until the king should 
return. At the same time she begged them to look after 
her peacock. 

Taking with her only her nurse and foster-sister, and her 
little green dog Frillikin, she embarked on a vessel and 
put out to sea. They had with them the bushel of golden 
crowns, and clothes enough to last for ten years, with a 
change of dress twice a day ; and they did nothing but 
laugh and sing on the voyage. 

Presently the nurse said to the boatman : 

' Tell me, tell me, are we near the Land of Peacocks ? ' 

' Not yet, not yet,' replied the boatman. 

185 



Old -Time Stories 

A little later she asked again : 

1 Tell me, tell me, are we near it now ? ' 

' Presently, presently/ replied the boatman. 

Once more she asked : 

-' Tell me, tell me, are we near it now ? ' 




The wicked nurse 

1 Very near, very near,' said the boatman. 

When he answered thus the nurse sat down beside him 
in the stern of the boat. ' If you like, you can be rich for 
ever,' she said to him. 

' I should like that well,' replied the boatman. 

' If you like,' she went on, ' you can gain good money.' 

' I ask nothing better,' said he. 
186 



Princess Rosette 

' Very well, then,' said the nurse ; ' to-night, when the 
princess is asleep, you must help me to throw her into the 
sea. When she is drowned I will dress up my daughter 
in her fine clothes, and we will take her to the King of the 
Peacocks, who will be delighted to marry her. You shall 
have your fill of diamonds as reward.' 

The boatman was taken aback by this suggestion from 
the nurse. He declared it was a pity to drown so beautiful 
a princess, and that he had compassion for her. But the 
nurse fetched a bottle of wine, and -plied him with drink 
until he no longer had wits enough left to refuse. 

When night fell the princess went to sleep, according 
to her usual practice, with little Frillikin comfortably 
curled up at the foot of the bed, stirring not a paw. When 
Rosette was fast asleep the wicked nurse, who had remained 
awake, went to find the boatman. She took him to the 
cabin where the princess lay, and with the help of the foster- 
sister they lifted her up feather-bed, mattress, sheets, 
blankets, and all without disturbing her, and threw her 
into the sea just as she was. So soundly did the princess 
slumber that she never woke up. 

Now luckily her bed was made of feathers from the 
phoenix, which are very rare and have this peculiar virtue 
that they never sink in water. Consequently the princess 
went floating along in her bed, just as though she were in 
a boat. 

Presently, however, the water began little by little to 
lap first against the sides of the feather-bed, then against 
the mattress, until Rosette began to feel uncomfortable. 
She turned over restlessly, and Frillikin woke up. He 
had a very keen nose, and when he scented the soles and 

187 



Old-Time Stories 

the cod-fish so near at hand he began yapping. He barked 
so loudly that he woke up all the other fish, and they began 
to swim round and about. Some of the big fish bumped 
their heads against the bed, and there being nothing to 
steady the latter it spun round and round like a top. 

You may imagine how astonished the princess was ! 
' Is our vessel doing a dance upon the water ? ' she ex- 
claimed ; ' I do not remember ever to have been so un- 
comfortable as I am to-night.' And all the time Frillikin 
was barking as though he had taken leave of his senses. 

The wicked nurse and the boatman heard him from 
afar. ' Do you hear that ? ' they exclaimed ; ' it is that 
funny little dog drinking our very good health with his 
mistress ! Let us make haste and get ashore.' By this 
time, you must understand, they were lying off the capital 
of the King of the Peacocks. 

A hundred carriages had been sent to the water's edge 
by the king. These were drawn by animals of every kind 
lions, bears, stags, wolves, horses, oxen, asses, eagles, 
and peacocks. The carriage in which Princess Rosette 
was to be borne was drawn by six blue monkeys which could 
leap and dance upon the tight-rope and perform endless 
amusing antics ; these had trappings of crimson velvet, 
studded with gold plates. 

Sixty young girls awaited the coming of the princess. 
They had been selected by the king to be her maids of 
honour, and their attire, of every colour of the rainbow, 
shone with ornaments of which gold and silver were the 
least precious. 

The nurse had taken great pains over the toilette of her 
daughter. She had decked her out in Rosette's most 
1 88 



Princess Rosette 

beautiful gown, and placed her diamonds on her head. 
But nothing could disguise the fact that she was an ugly 
little fright. Her hair was black and greasy, she was cross- 
eyed and bow-legged, and in the middle of her back she 




1 She -was an ugly little fright ' 

had a big hump. Moreover she was ill-tempered and 
sulky, and was for ever grumbling. 

When the people of Peacock Land saw her disembark 
they were so completely taken aback that none could say a 
word. 

' What 's the matter with you all ? ' she demanded ; 
' have you all gone to sleep ? Bring me something to eat 

189 



Old-Time Stories 

at once, do you hear ? I '11 have the lot of you hanged, 
precious riff-raff that you are ! ' 

' What a horrible creature ! ' murmured the citizens 
amongst themselves, when they heard these threats ; ' as 
ill-tempered as she is ugly ! A nice bride for our king, 
or I am much mistaken ! It was hardly worth the trouble 
to bring her all the way across the world.' The girl mean- 
time continued to behave in most domineering fashion, 
giving slaps and blows to every one without the slightest 
provocation. 

The procession, being very large, was obliged to move 
slowly, and as the carriage bore her along she comported 
herself as though she were a queen. But all the peacocks, 
who had perched upon the trees to greet her as she passed, 
and had arranged to call out ' Long live the beautiful Queen 
Rosette ! ' cried out when they saw how horrible she was : 
' Fie ! fie ! how ugly she is ! ' This enraged her, and she 
called out to her escort : ' Kill those impudent peacocks : 
they are insulting me ! ' But the peacocks flew nimbly 
away, and laughed at her. 

The rascally boatman was witness of all that occurred, 
and whispered to the nurse : ' Things are not going well 
for us, my good woman : your daughter should have been 
prettier.' 

' Hold your tongue, stupid ! ' she replied ; ' or you 
will get us into trouble.' 

Word was brought to the king that the princess was 
approaching. ' Well,' said he ; ' did her brothers speak 
the truth ? Is she more beautiful than her portrait ? ' 

' Sire,' said the courtiers, ' if she is only as beautiful, 
that should be enough.' 
190 



Princess Rosette 

' Very true ! ' exclaimed the king. ' I shall be content 
with that. Let us go and see her.' 

He could tell from the din which arose from the court- 
yard that the princess had arrived, but the only words he 
could hear plainly amidst the hubbub were cries of ' Fie ! 
fie ! how ugly she is ! ' He supposed people must be 
referring to some dwarf or pet creature which she had 
perhaps brought with her, for it never entered his head 
that it could be the princess herself who was meant. 

The portrait of Rosette, uncovered, was hoisted on the 
end of a long pole, and carried in front of the king, who 
walked in state with his barons and peacocks, and the am- 
bassadors from neighbouring kingdoms in his train. Great 
was the impatience of the King of the Peacocks to behold 
his dear Rosette ; but when at length he did set eyes on her 
gracious heavens, it was a wonder the shock did not kill 
him on the spot ! He flew into a most terrible rage, rending 
his clothes, and refusing to go near her. Indeed, she 
frightened him. 

' What ! ' he cried ; ' have those two dastardly prisoners 
the impudence to mock me thus, and propose that I should 
wed such a loathsome creature as that ? They shall die 
for it ! Away with that hussy and her nurse, and the fellow 
who brought them here ; cast them into the dungeon of 
my keep ! ' 

Now the king and his brother, who had heard in prison 
that their sister was expected, had attired themselves hand- 
somely to receive her. But instead of the prison being 
opened and their liberty restored, as they had anticipated, 
there came the gaoler with a squad of soldiers, and made 
them descend into a black dungeon, swarming with vile 

191 



Old-Time Stories 

creatures, where the water was up to their necks. Never 
were two people more astounded or more distressed. 
' Alas ! ' they cried to each other ; ' this is a doleful wedding 
feast for us ! What has brought this unhappy fate upon 
us ? ' They did not know what in the world to think, except 
that it was desired to compass their death, and this reflection 
filled them with melancholy. 

Three days passed and they heard not a word of any- 
thing. At the end of the third day the King of the Peacocks 
came and hurled insults at them through a hole in the 
wall. 

' You called yourselves King and Prince to trap me,' he 
shouted to them, ' and sought thus to make me promise 
to wed your sister. But you are nought but a couple of 
beggars, not worth the water you drink. You shall be 
sent for trial, and the judges will make short work of 
your case the rope to hang you with is being plaited 
already ! ' 

' Not so fast, King of the Peacocks,' replied the captive 
monarch, angrily, ' or you will have cause to repent it ! 
I am a king like yourself : I rule over a fair land, I have 
robes and crowns and treasure in plenty. I pledge my all 
to the truth of what I say. You must be joking to talk of 
hanging us of what have we robbed you ? ' 

The King of the Peacocks hardly knew what to make of 
this bold and confident challenge. He was almost of a 
mind to spare their lives and let them take their sister away. 
But his Chancellor, an arrant flatterer, egged him on, whis- 
pering that if he did not avenge himself, he would be the 
laughing-stock of the whole world, and would be looked 
upon as a mere twopenny-halfpenny monarch. Thus in- 
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Princess Rosette 

fluenced, he vowed he would not pardon them, and ordered 
their trial to take place. 

This did not take long, for it was only necessary to 
compare side by side the portrait of the true Princess Rosette 
with the actual person who had come in her place and 
claimed identity with her. The prisoners were forthwith 
condemned to have their heads cut off as a penalty for 
lying, in that they brought the king an ugly little peasant 
girl after promising a beautiful princess. 

The sentence was read with great ceremony at the prison, 
but the victims protested that they had spoken the truth, that 
their sister was indeed a princess, and that there was something 
at the back of all this which they did not understand. They 
asked for a respite of seven days, that they might have an 
opportunity of establishing their innocence ; and though the 
King of the Peacock's wrath was such that he had great 
difficulty in granting this concession, he agreed to it at length. 

Something must now be told of what was happening 
to poor Princess Rosette while all these events were taking 
place at the Court. 

Great was her astonishment, and Frillikin's also, to find 
herself, when day came, in mid-ocean without boat or any 
means of assistance. She fell to weeping, and cried so long 
and bitterly that all the fishes were moved to compassion. 
She knew not what to do, nor what would become of her. 

' There is no doubt,' she said, ' that I have been thrown 
into the sea by order of the King of the Peacocks. He 
has regretted his promise to marry me, and to be rid of me 
without fuss he has had me drowned. A strange way for 
a man to behave ! And I should have loved him so much, 
and we should have been so happy together ! ' 

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Old-Time Stories 

These thoughts made her weep the more, for she could 
not dispel her fancy for him. 

For two days she floated hither and thither over the 
sea, soaked to the skin, nigh dead with cold, and so nearly 




' She floated hither and thither ' 

benumbed that but for little Frillikin, who snuggled to 
her bosom, and kept a little warmth in her, she must have 
perished a hundred times. She was famished with hunger, 
but on seeing some oysters in their shells she took and ate 
as many as would appease her. Frillikin did the same, 
but only to keep himself alive, for he did not like them. 
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Princess Rosette 

When night fell Rosette was filled with terror. ' Bark, 
Frillikin,' she said to her dog ; ' keep on barking, or the 
soles will come and eat us ! ' So Frillikin barked all night. 

When morning came the bed was not far off the shore. 
Hereabouts there lived, all alone, a kindly old man. His 
home was a little hut where no one ever came, and as he 
had no desire for worldly goods he was very poor. He was 
astonished when he heard the barking of Frillikin, for no 
dogs ever came that way ; and supposing that some travellers 




' A kindly old man ' 

must have missed their road, he went out with the good- 
natured intention of putting them right. Suddenly he saw 
the princess and Frillikin floating out at sea. The princess 
caught sight of him, and stretching out her arms to him, cried : 

' Save me, kind old man, or I shall perish ; two whole 
days have I been floating thus.' 

He was filled with pity when he heard her speak thus 
dolefully, and went to his house to fetch a big crook. He 
waded out till the water was up to his neck, and after being 

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Old-Time Stories 

nearly drowned two or three times he succeeded in grappling 
the bed and drawing it to the shore. 

Rosette and Frillikin were delighted to find themselves 
once more on land. Rosette thanked the good man warmly. 
She accepted the offer of his cloak, and having wrapped 
herself in it walked barefoot to his hut. There he lit a little 
fire of dry straw, and took from a chest his dead wife's best 
dress, with a pair of stockings and shoes, which the princess put 
on. Clad thus in peasant's attire, with Frillikin gambolling 
round her to amuse her, she looked as beautiful as ever. 

The old man saw plainly that Rosette was a great lady, 
for the coverlets of her bed were of gold and silver, and 
her mattress of satin. He begged her to tell him her story, 
promising not to repeat a word if she so desired. She 
related everything from beginning to end not without 
tears, for she still believed that the King of the Peacocks 
had meant her to be drowned. 

' What are we to do, my child ? ' said the old man. 
' A great lady like you is accustomed to live on dainties, 
and I have only black bread and radishes very poor fare 
for you. But I will go, if you will let me, and tell the King 
of the Peacocks that you are here. There is not the least 
doubt he will marry you, once he has seen you.' 

' He is a bad man,' said Rosette ; ' he wanted me to die. 
If only you can supply me with a small basket to fasten on 
my dog's neck, it will be exceedingly bad luck if he does 
not bring us back something to eat.' 

The old man handed a basket to the princess, and she 

hung it round Frillikin 's neck with these words : ' Find 

the best stew-pot in the town, and bring me back whatever 

is inside it.' Off went Frillikin to the town, and as he 

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Princess Rosette 

could think of no better stew-pot than the king's, he made 
his way into the royal kitchen. Having found the stew-pot, 
he cleverly extricated its contents and returned to the house. 

' Now go back to the larder,' said Rosette, ' and bring 
the best that you can find there.' 

Away went Frillikin to the larder and took some white 
bread, some choice wine, and an assortment of fruit and 
sweets. In fact, he took as much as he could carry. 

When the King of the Peacocks should have dined 
there was nothing in the stew-pot and nothing in the larder. 
Everybody gazed blankly at everybody else, and the king 
flew into a terrible rage. ' Oh, very good,' said he ; 'it 
seems I am to have no dinner ! Well, put the spits to the 
fire, and see to it that some good roast joints are ready for 
me this evening ! ' 

When evening came the princess said to Frillikin : 
' Find the best kitchen in the town and bring me a nice 
roast joint.' Off went Frillikin to carry out this order from 
his mistress. Thinking there could be no better kitchen 
than the king's, he slipped in quietly when the cooks' backs 
were turned, and took off the spit a roast joint, which looked 
so good that the mere sight of it gave one an appetite. 
His basket was full when he brought it back to the princess, 
but she sent him off again to the larder, and from there he 
carried away all the king's sweetmeats and dessert. 

The king was exceedingly hungry, having had no dinner, 
and ordered supper betimes. But there was nothing to 
eat, and he went to bed in a frightful temper. Next day 
at dinner and supper it was just the same. For three days 
the king had nothing to eat or drink, for every time he sat 
down at table it was found that everything had been stolen. 

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Old-Time Stories 

The Chancellor, being very much afraid that the king 
would die, went and hid in a corner of the kitchen, whence 
he could keep the stew-pot on the fire constantly in view. 
To his astonishment he saw a little green dog, with only 
one ear, creep in stealthily, take the lid off the pot, and 
transfer the meat to his basket. He followed it in order to 
find out where it went, and saw it leave the town. Still 
pursuing, he came to the house of the good old man. He 
went immediately to the king and told him that it was to 
a poor peasant's house that every morning and evening his 
dinner and supper vanished. 

The king was mightily astonished, and ordered investi- 
gations to be made. The Chancellor, to curry favour, 
volunteered to go himself, and took with him a posse of 
archers. They found the old man at dinner with the 
princess, and the pair of them eating the king's provisions. 
They seized and bound them with strong ropes, not for- 
getting to deal in like manner with Frillikin. 

' To-morrow,' said the king, when he was told that the 
prisoners had arrived, ' the seven days' grace expires which 
I granted to those miscreants who insulted me. They 
shall go to execution with the stealers of my dinner.' 

When the King of the Peacocks entered the court of 
justice the old man flung himself on his knees, and declared 
that he would narrate all that had happened. As he told 
his story the king eyed the beautiful princess, and was 
touched by her weeping. When presently the good man 
declared that her name was the Princess Rosette, and that 
she had been thrown into the sea, he bounded three times 
into the air, despite the weak state in which he was after 
going so long without food, and ran to embrace her. As 
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Princess Rosette 

he undid the cords which bound her he cried out that he 
loved her with all his heart. 

A guard had been sent for the princes, who approached 
just then. They came sadly with bowed heads, for they 
believed the hour of their execution had come. The nurse 
and her daughter were brought in at the same moment. 




Recognition was instant on all sides. Rosette flung herself 
into her brothers' arms, while the nurse and her daughter, 
with the boatman, fell on their knees and prayed for clem- 
ency. So joyous was the occasion that the king and the 
princess pardoned them. The good old man was hand- 
somely rewarded, and given quarters at the palace for the 
rest of his life. 

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Old -Time Stories 



Finally, the King of the Peacocks made all amends in 
his power to the royal brothers, expressing his deep regret 
at having ill-treated them. The nurse delivered up to 
Rosette her beautiful dresses and the bushel of golden 
crowns, and the wedding festivities lasted for fifteen days. 
Every one was happy, not excepting Frillikin, who ate nothing 
but partridge wings for the rest of his life. 




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Edinburgh : Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE LTD.