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Herein are 23 old fashioned fairy tales retold by C. C. Burton Harrison and illustrated by Rosina Emmet. The volume is introduced with the poem Fairy Days by that great of English literature, William Makepeace Thackeray. Here you will find stories like: The Princess Eglantine, Dame Martha's Step-Daughter, Or, The Grandmother Of The Gnomes, The Magic Coffee-Mill, The Fairies And The Fiddler, Ethelinda, Or, The Ice King's Bride, Deep-Sea Violets, Blondina, The Leperhaun: A Legend Of The Emerald Isle and more. You will also find five Romances of the Middle Ages, namely: The Trials Of Sir Isumbras, who is featured on the cover, Bisclaveret, Roswal And Lilian, Eliduc And Guilliadun, The Falcon-King, and finally; Sir Eglamour And Crystabell. These stories are simply and naturally told and easy for children to read and understand. The volume is aimed at children aged seven to twelve years old. As with all children’s stories, they have originated in a place where good wishes come true: where the poor and the lonely are rich and live in castles and have friends: and where sorrowful folk are happy. Here you will hear the birds singing and children laughing, all day long. The trees are full of blossoms and fruit. The sky is always blue, the grass green and soft. Under the trees dwell the fairies, and against the blue sky you will sometimes see the sheen of angels’ wings as they flit by. So, we invite you to curl up with this unique sliver of Fairy culture not seen in print for over a century; and immerse yourself in the tales and fables of yesteryear. 10% of the net sale will be donated to charities by the publisher. ---------------------------- KEYWORDS/TAGS: fairy tales, folklore, myths, legends, children’s stories, children’s stories, bygone era, fairydom, fairy land, classic stories, children’s bedtime stories, happy place, happiness, top of the morning, Princess, Eglantine, Dame Martha's Step-Daughter, Grandmother, Gnomes, Adventures, Ha'penny, hapenny, Dwarf, Witch, Magic Slippers, Sybilla, Myrtillo, Furioso, Annette, Magic Coffee-Mill, Juliet, Little White Mouse, Fairies, Fiddler, Ethelinda, Ice King's Bride, Deep-Sea Violets, Wild, Woodsman, Frozen, Hearth, Rosy, Stay-at-Home, Party, Parties, Blondina, Turkey, Queen, Timid, Agnes, Ogress, Cook, Peggy, Frog, Leperhaun, Leprechaun, Legend of the Emerald Isle, Romances, Middle Ages, Trials, Sir Isumbras, Bisclaveret, Roswal, Lilian, Eliduc, Guilliadun, Falcon King, Sir Eglamour, Crystabell
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Mrs. Burton Harrison
Miss Rosina Emmet
Originally Published By
Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, And Rivington, London [ Late 1890’s]
Abela Publishing, London
The Old-Fashioned Fairy Book
Typographical arrangement of this edition
© Abela Publishing
This book may not be reproduced in its current
format in any manner in any media, or transmitted by
any means whatsoever, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic
tape, or mechanical
(including photocopy, file or video recording,
internet web sites, blogs, wikis, or any other
information storage and retrieval system)
except as permitted by law without the prior written
permission of the publisher.
Sir Isumbras at the FordSir John Everett Millais - 1857
Fairfax, Frank and Archy
ABELA PUBLISHING acknowledges the work that
MRS. BURTON HARRISON
MISS ROSINA EMMET
did in writing, illustrating and publishingthis work in a time well before electronic media was in use.
The Princess Eglantine
Dame Martha's Step-Daughter; or,
The Grandmother of the Gnomes
The Adventures of Ha'penny; or,
The Dwarf, the Witch, and the Magic Slippers
Sybilla, Myrtillo, and Furioso
Annette; or, The Magic Coffee-Mill
Juliet; or, The Little White Mouse
The Fairies and the Fiddler
Ethelinda; or, The Ice King's Bride
The Wild Woodsman
The Frozen Hearth-Fairy
Rosy's Stay-at-Home Parties
Blondina; or, The Turkey-Queen
The Ogress and the Cook
Miss Peggy and the Frog
The Leperhaun: A Legend of the Emerald Isle
Romances of the Middle Ages
The Trials of Sir Isumbras
Roswal and Lilian
Eliduc and Guilliadun
Sir Eglamour and Crystabell
Beside the old hall-fire
upon my nurse's knee,
Of happy fairy-days
what tales were told to me!
I thought the world was once
all peopled with princésses,
And my heart would beat to hear
their loves and their distresses;
And many a quiet night
in slumber sweet and deep,
The pretty fairy people
would visit me in sleep.
I saw them in my dreams
come flying east and west,
With wondrous fairy gifts
the new-born babe they bless'd;
One has brought a jewel
and one a crown of gold,
And one has brought a curse
but she is wrinkled and old.
The gentle queen turns pale
to hear those words of sin,
But the king he only laughs
and bids the dance begin.
The babe has grown to be
the fairest of the land,
And rides the forest green
a hawk upon her hand,
An ambling palfrey white
a golden robe and crown;
I've seen her in my dreams
riding up and down:
And heard the ogre laugh
as she fell into his snare,
At the little tender creature
who wept and tore her hair!
But ever when it seemed
her need was at the sorest,
A prince—in shining mail
comes prancing through the forest,
A waving ostrich-plume
a buckler burnished bright;
I've seen him in my dreams
good sooth! a gallant knight.
His lips are coral red
beneath a dark moustache;
See how he waves his hand
and how his blue eyes flash!
"Come forth, thou Paynim knight!"
he shouts in accents clear.
The giant and the maid
both tremble his voice to hear.
Saint Mary guard him well!
He draws his falchion keen,
The giant and the knight
are fighting on the green;
I see them in my dreams
his blade gives stroke on stroke,
The giant pants and reels
and tumbles like an oak!
With what a blushing grace
he falls upon his knee
And takes the lady's hand
"You are free!"
Ah! happy childish tales
of knight and faërie!
I waken from my dreams
but there's ne'er a knight for me;
I waken from my dreams
and wish that I could be
A child by the old hall-fire
upon my nurse's knee!
W. M. Thackeray.
The Faithful Comrades.
To my Young Readers.
OT long ago two little boys, who shall be nameless here, came to their mother's side at that pleasant hour of the twenty-four called by the English "blind-man's holiday," and by the French, "between dog and wolf." The lamps had not been lighted, and the room was full of shadows; but a strip of western sky, seen through the bay window, hung like a pink veil behind which a few pale stars were beginning to show above the dark line of hills. All that bright summer's day long, four little busy feet had been in motion. Directly after breakfast they had raced down the meadow-path, pursued by Colin Clout, their faithful Scotch collie, between grass and daisies so tall that little could be seen of the dog and his younger master, beyond a brown back and white-tipped tail curveting around a scarlet fez that bobbed up and down like a buoy upon the water. Soon the three companions had reappeared for a moment under a low arch of fringy boughs at the entrance to the grove, and then had descended a bank to the edge of a babbling brook, where, on the grassy margin, the children played every day for hours, inventing a hundred devices of boats and dams and waterfalls, whilst Colin lay at ease among the ferns, and from time to time emitted a bark of pure good fellowship. For them this shallow streamlet has a charm hardly to be resisted, even for a summons to drive "over the hills and far away" through the lovely country-side, or to assist in the delights of the season when their pretty meadow grasses are laid low, tossed into fragrant piles, and carted away by merry haying-folk—though sometimes these water-elves pause to forage the neighboring woods for "hocky" sticks and sling-shot crotches, to "shin up" the tall forest trees, or pluck wild strawberries from the sunny slopes beyond their favorite haunt.
On the especial evening of which I write, the faithful comrades had returned, tired, and scratched by the briers of this work-a-day world, from a tramp of some miles in search of live bait for a fishing excursion projected with their father at Lily Pond upon the morrow. The doomed little fishes had been put into a bath-tub full of water, where they were expected to suppose themselves still in their native pool. The boys had been washed and fed—an astonishing supper, even for those cormorants!—and now had elected to seek rest and refreshment at the maternal knee. Colin, observing that everybody else was satisfactorily adjusted in affectionate attitudes, had retired under the fringe of a table-cover close at hand, and lay where only his loving eyes and open mouth could be seen, breathing in short quick pants, or, as the boys called it, "ha-ha-ha-ing at the company."
"And now, mamma, until your tea is ready, we know what you must do," said the children, in a breath. "Tell us a story—a 'real, truly' fairy tale, about a giant and a dwarf, lots and lots of fairies, a prince and a beautiful princess with hair to her very feet, a champion with a magic sword, a dragon-chariot, a witch dressed in snake-skin—and, if you can, an ogre. Don't punish anybody but the witch and the ogre; and please don't have any moral, only let everybody 'live in peace and die in a pot of grease,' at the end of it."
"To be sure, we know most of mamma's stories by heart," said the sage elder of nine. "If she could only make up some new ones that aren't in any of our books! Or else, mamma, tell us something you heard a little bit of, long, long ago, from your nurse, and then make up the rest. But whatever one you tell, we'll be sure to like it anyhow."
The stories told, the mother fell to musing, and the result is the little book here presented to the judgment of children other than her own—a few new fairy tales, on the old, old pattern!
In every country of the habitable globe are found the same myths, variously dressed and styled. Let the ethnologist frame what theory he will upon this subject, my own private belief is that once upon a time a good fairy who loved mankind put on the wings of a stormy petrel and flew over many lands, carrying in her hand a sieve full of tiny seeds, and shaking it upon those spots where there appeared to be most children. The seeds, falling to earth after this fashion, sprang up and bore many-colored fairy tales, to rejoice all hearts for evermore. Since then, the fables you and I love have been told from father to son among nations living remote from each other and isolated. The Hindoo toiling under the tropic sun, and the Lapp in his smoky hut banked in snow; the English cottar resting in his ivy-covered porch, and the Russian peasant stretched at length upon the stove which forms his bed; the Persian stroking his gray beard beneath the archways of Ispahan, and the Norwegian carving bits of wood under his rafters of illuminated pine—all know and repeat versions of our favorite tales. In France, in Spain, in Germany—mother of myths—in Italy, where they drop red from the wine-press of Boccaccio—are these stories to be heard. The North American Indian weaves them with his beads and wampum; our southern negro croons them over the corn-cake baking in the spider upon his cabin hearth; the poetical Chinese envelops them in the language of flowers; and the distant dweller by the Amazon embalms them in his legendary lore. So much for the fairy with the sieve!
But great as is the enjoyment had in perusing the fairy tales of different nations, to the child of Anglo-Saxon descent can come no such pleasure so deep as that to be derived from the old romances of our mother country. To me this delight was first revealed by a little fat book that used to be found in our nurseries—the one containing Cinderella, immortal maid—unprincipled Puss in Boots—and Jack, the splendid champion!
Of late years, fairy tales seem to have suffered from their increase of dignity at the hands of grave scholars, who have so dressed them in fine language, and hedged them with innumerable notes and references, that the child shuns the fruit for fear of thorns about it. For my own part, I prefer the older specimens of ancient fairy literature known as chap-books. These were odd little yellow pamphlets, sprinkled with abundant capital letters throughout the text, and "Illustrated with many diverting cutts!" They were carried around the country-side in England by peddlers, who sold them (with such other catch-penny wares as ribbons, lace, and trinkets) indifferently at castle gate or cottage lattice; and if you wish to see the sort of fairies your great-grandmothers believed in, look at the three pictures that accompany this preface, copied from a famous chap-book.
There, quaintly depicted, first, appeared Jack in a funny full-bottomed coat, diligently climbing a bean-stalk, where the ogre's castle was perched atop like a bird's nest; lucky Ali-Baba, too; Bluebeard—mighty and pitiless—with Fatima and sister Anne, their back hair down, pleading to him on dislocated knees, their brothers, with drawn swords, galloping to the rescue; and the husband in The Three Wishes, standing agape before his fireside, while his wife danced a jig of rage in her efforts to rid her nose of a pudding little smaller than a feather-bed! There, also, was displayed that pushing suitor, the Yellow Dwarf, who insisted on attaching to his lady-love's finger a ring made of a single red hair, so fastened that she could not get it off. There was the Desert Fairy, guarded by two lions which the wandering queen endeavored to appease with "a cake made of millet, sugar-candy, and crocodile's eggs." (How we children yearned to taste that cake!) And there were the fascinating White Cat, seated side by side with her enamored prince in a fine calash of blue embossed with gold, the Sleeping Beauty, the Babes in the Wood—hapless cherubs—the Girl who dropped pearls and diamonds when she spoke, dear Graciosa and ready Percinet, gallant Riquet-with-the-Tuft, and Goody Two Shoes—the latter a little of a prig, I fear—clever Hop o' my Thumb, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding-hood—the long procession of charmers to whom even now my heart bows in salutation as I write their familiar names!
Chap-books of ancient date have been recently reproduced in England; from one of them, I have taken the substance of a story I never chanced to see elsewhere, and under the title of "Juliet; or, the Little White Mouse" have given it to you in language of my own.
After the chap-books came other cheap fairy publications, notably those of Mr. Newberry, a good old gentleman who, in the last century, sent out numberless sixpenny booklets, many of them reaching America to give pleasure to the infants of the colonies. Washington Irving goes so far as to say that if George Washington had not read Newberry's publications in his youth, especially "Whittington and his Cat," he would not have been the first and greatest President of the United States! The grave Benjamin Franklin, while a printer in Philadelphia, emulated Newberry in publishing nursery tales, and no doubt devoured them himself with relish.
Many a pen of the great in history or literature has found a theme in these favorites of ours. Of Cinderella, the famous Canning, premier of England, wrote in glowing rhyme:
"Six bobtailed mice transport her to bhe ball,And liveried lizards wait upon her call."
And Thackeray has thrown around fairy lore the rays of his noble genius, not only in the lines already here quoted, but in a Christmas story so enchanting that, if you are unfortunate enough not already to have made acquaintance with Valoroso and Gruffanuff, Bulbo and Angelica, I urge you to try at once the magician's art and coax "The Rose and the Ring" out of the pocket of your nearest relative. By the giant Thackeray, when entangled in the meshes of Fairydom, one is reminded of Gulliver under bonds to the Lilliputians, yet wearing his bonds so easily!
And now, I leave my new-old Fairy Book to you, my little critics. I am sure you will accord a generous welcome to the pictures. What would our benighted great-grandmothers have said to Miss Emmet's charming illustrations?
C. C. H.
CERTAIN queen had twin children, a boy and a girl, both as beautiful as the dawn of a summer morning. As the mother was one day hanging over the double cradle, shaped like two silver lilies growing on one stem, an old aunt of hers, who knew a good deal about magic, arrived from the country to see the babies and to spend the day.
The old lady took the Princess Eglantine in her arms, and kissed her, and joggled her, and clucked at her, after the fashion of all good aunties.
"That's a girl to be proud of, my dear!" she said, handing the baby back to her mamma. "And she looks as good as she is pretty, too."
"They are both wonderful children, nurse says," replied the young queen, modestly. "And the doctor thinks them the finest pair he has ever seen. Only the boy is a little high-tempered. He kicks and snaps at his attendants the whole time he is awake; so take care, aunty dear, and don't disturb him for the world. We always let him sleep as long as he will."
"Hoity-toity!" cried aunty, "as if I came out of the woods to be frightened by an owl. I know how to manage all children!" and the boy opening his eyes at that moment, she lifted him from his crib, and laid him on her lap.
Sad to say, he behaved like an infant tiger. Never was there seen such a tempestuous baby. He wriggled, and howled, and fought, and plunged, until the poor mother and nurses turned red with mortification. But the old aunty held on to him bravely, and examined him from top to toe. Nothing could she find, till she came to the sole of the right foot, and there was a tiny red mark like a burning torch. As soon as aunty saw this she sighed, and whispered a word in the baby's ear, when he became as quiet as any lamb.
Aunty sent away the nurses, and told the poor queen there was no doubt about it; her boy was bewitched, and when he grew up he would try to devour his sister. The only thing was to keep them apart, and this the queen told her husband; and he sent for a wise man, who confirmed what aunty had said. The wise man added that all would go well so long as the princess was kept apart from her brother, and as the brother was the heir of the kingdom, there was nothing left but to banish the unfortunate princess. The king built for his daughter, in the remotest corner of his kingdom, an ivory tower. Around the tower was a crystal moat full of gold and silver fish. Around the moat were lovely flower-beds, and around the flower-beds was a thick and thorny hedge. In this tower there was a room lined with tufted blue satin, like the inside of a bonbon box, and all the furniture was made of fine carved ivory. Here the princess was shut up for life, under the care of an old dame, Madame Véloutine by name, who once had kept a boarding-school for duchesses, and was very respectable indeed. Poor Eglantine was gradually forgotten at court, and her cannibal brother grew up without knowing he had ever had a sister.
Like all other captive princesses, past, present, and to come, Eglantine was beautiful and accomplished. She could speak in every language, work in silk and crewels, paint china plaques, make mince-pies, sing like a nightingale, and play anything on the piano at sight with her eyes shut! Her skin was milk-white, with a rosy flush on the cheeks, while her glorious golden hair never came out of crimp, but rippled from the roots to her very feet.
THE PRINCESS EGLANTINE.
One day a prince, cantering by upon his palfrey, looked up at the tower window, and there saw this lovely creature, surrounded by a flock of pretty white doves. Prince Charming gazed and gazed, and the longer he stood there, the more enraptured he became. When he heard from the country people that no one knew who or what was this mysterious beauty, excepting that once a year, by night, a grand gentleman and lady visited her, and looked at her while asleep, the ardent young prince made a vow to solve the secret without delay. He engaged his old tutor to make love to Eglantine's governess, and this plan succeeded so well that the tutor was, ere long, invited to take a cup of tea at five o'clock, in the ground floor apartment of the tower where Madame Véloutine kept house. Madame Véloutine was very much fluttered by the attentions of the tutor, a gloomy-looking individual with savage dark mustache and deep-sunken eyes. The poor old thing, who had been reading novels without any intermission for eighteen years, was very sentimental, and the idea of a suitor coming to woo at some period of her existence was never wholly absent from her thoughts. She dressed herself in one of the Princess Eglantine's white robes, put a blue sash around her waist, and covering her little red nose with rice powder, sat in a darkened corner with a guitar upon her knees. The tutor flattered her, and soon she grew confidential and told him the story of her charge. When the tutor took his leave, Madame Véloutine sighed deeply, and pitied the poor man who had fallen a victim to her charms. She did not see the fat purse of gold the prince bestowed on him, upon learning the true state of the case about the enchanting captive!
Prince Charming rode, day and night, till he reached the king's palace. "Give me your daughter for my wife," he said. The king turned pale at hearing that the secret was betrayed. "For pity's sake speak lower, young man," said the anxious father. "Only suppose her brother should hear of it." With that he told the whole story to Prince Charming, who forthwith rode to ask a wise man what he should do to set the princess free, with safety to herself.
"Ride as far as you will, and as fast as you will with her, you may not escape the curse," said the wise man.
The prince went off heavy hearted, and visited a witch he knew. She was knitting a stocking, which ravelled every night as fast as it grew by day.
"I have been knitting this stocking for fifty years," said the witch, taking a pinch of snuff out of the soup-tureenful that she always kept beside her. "I could as soon make it whole in one night as keep away the curse from her."
The prince groaned as he rode away. Across his path was a green bough, half covered by a huge cobweb. In this a tiny being, no bigger than a fly, was entangled, and was making desperate struggles to be free. Travelling toward it, with tremendous strides, came an enormous red spider, with white spots and great protruding eyes. The prince, not without a shudder, for, like most of us, he hated the nasty things, killed the spider with a blow, and set free the pretty captive, who proved to be a fairy. She tidied her iridescent frock, and thanked him very nicely.
"You have saved my life, dear prince," she said. "Pray let me do something in return for it."
"Perhaps you can help me," said the prince, eagerly. "If you can't, never mind," he added, politely, when he had finished telling her the sad story of his doomed princess. "I don't expect much of a person of your size, you know; but really it's the greatest relief to talk about the dear darling!"
"A person of my size!" said the little lady, with a shrill sniff. "I'd have you to know, prince, that I'm the fairy Buz-fuz, the discoverer of the celebrated invisibility powder. It is never known to fail, is made from a fern-seed that I alone can pluck, and is not for sale at any druggist's! As to lifting the spell from that poor young creature, the princess, I can't undertake to do it, on any terms; but with the aid of my powder, one pinch of which sprinkled on an object will make it disappear from sight in a moment, I believe you can manage to keep clear of the cannibal brother."
The prince thanked the fairy, took the powder, and galloped off, light-hearted, to his Eglantine. She, poor thing, had thought of nothing but the prince and his beauty, and his kind glances and smiles, since he left her. She wearied of the society of poor old Véloutine, and sighed for change. Véloutine was in despair. To comfort the princess she promised to allow her a single meeting with the prince, should he ever come that way again. "That I am sure he will!" said the princess. "If you had only seen his eyes when he looked at me! They were so kind, so true! Oh! Véloutine! he will come back!"
So Eglantine settled down to her embroidery. This was a gown of white damask with large white satin flowers outlined with real pearls. She had been at work on it for several years, and a few stitches more would finish it. She now wrought busily, until the last stitch was set, and then, with trembling fingers, put it on. Around her neck and waist she wrapped great chains of pearls, and left her long hair rippling to her knees. When her toilet was complete she went to the window. It was the sunset of a summer's day. Around her tower grew vines heavy with deep-red roses; the shining surface of the moat beneath was streaked with color from the western clouds. Along the path beyond the hedge rode a horseman gayly clad in green and gold, who, smiling, doffed a cap with a single long white plume, and bowed to his saddle-bow. Behind him came a splendid cavalcade of courtiers and knights on horseback, surrounding a golden coach in which sat the father and mother of Eglantine, who had given consent to her marriage with the prince. The poor king and queen were dreadfully frightened at the rashness of this proceeding. They had sent the cannibal brother off on a hunting excursion in a distant part of the country, and had come in fear and trembling, bringing with them the most trustworthy of their people. They could not resist Prince Charming, who, in addition to his other attractions, had just lost his father, the old king, and was now the sole owner and ruler of a neighboring kingdom, and just the match for their lovely daughter. He had sworn to them that their child should be kept so securely guarded that her brother could never reach her.
Eglantine came down from her bower, to be introduced to her father, mother, and lover all at once. The marriage took place without delay, and the new king started with his bride for the sea-shore, where they were to embark for his home.
They set sail in a ship of which the sides were plated with beaten gold. The sails were of pink satin, and the ropes golden threads plaited together. The young king and queen sat upon cushions of velvet on the deck, and talked of their happy future, when suddenly the sky was darkened as by a cloud, and, riding upon a vulture, the cannibal brother came after them. He had been hunting, and a wandering breeze carried to him the story of his sister's escape. Although he had never before heard he possessed a sister, the first whisper of such a thing was sufficient to rouse in him the dreadful cannibal instinct to drink her blood. From where the king and queen sat they could distinctly hear him smacking his lips with joy at the prospect of his horrible meal. Queen Eglantine, fearing she knew not what, shuddered from head to foot, and closing her eyes cast herself upon the king's breast for protection.
The king, bidding her be calm, sprinkled the deck of the ship with one of the fairy's powders, which he carried in a little crystal box. At the moment the huge foul bird of prey hovered above them and gave a fierce swoop downward, the ship and all its contents vanished utterly from sight, while the vulture with his rider plunged into the sea.
The cannibal prince was a good swimmer, and although his vulture was immediately drowned, managed to keep up, until he found a dolphin and got astride its back.
"Now, carry me in pursuit of yonder ship, and mind you swim fast and well," he exclaimed.
"Master, I obey," said the dolphin, who recognized in him a magician. "But, look for yourself—blue sky above, blue water below, and not a sail upon the sea."
The prince looked, and in truth there was no ship to be seen; so, ordering the dolphin to convey him to the nearest landing-place, he soon reached the shores of a beautiful country, where flags were flying, and all the inhabitants were dressed in holiday clothes. Over the wharf was an arch of most lovely flowers, and five hundred little girls were strewing the roads with orange blossoms.
"What is taking place?" asked the cannibal brother of the people around the wharf.
"Where have you been, pray?" said they scornfully, "not to know that our king brings home his bride to-day!"
Then the ship came in sight and the rejoicings began. The cannibal brother had no sooner laid eyes upon his sister than a new longing to drink her blood came over him; and he set about plotting how he could get hold of her, no easy matter, since the palace was guarded night and day by twenty white bull-dogs of the fiercest sort, besides the usual soldiers and attendants. So he took service with a butcher near the town, and made a bag full of little meat-balls, each one containing a drop of deadly poison. One day his master sent him to the palace to carry Queen Eglantine's sweetbreads and mutton-chops. "Now," thought the brother, "I shall get inside;" but he was mistaken, for the sweetbreads and mutton-chops were taken from him at the gate, and passed on through twenty different hands till they reached the cook. As no outsider whatever was allowed to penetrate the inner palace walls, behind which the new queen lived surrounded by every luxury, the cannibal brother had to wait many days for an opportunity to get a sight of her. Meantime his appetite was gaining terribly, and he went to the blacksmith and had all his teeth framed in iron, the better to enjoy his horrid meal.
At last King Charming was summoned to meet a neighboring monarch about a right of way for his armies across a certain peninsula; and, with many injunctions to the queen not to admit any stranger during his absence, he reluctantly set out. No sooner was he out of sight than the pretended butcher's boy hastened to assume his own princely clothing, and, ringing boldly at the castle gate, told the servants to announce to the queen that her brother had arrived, bearing messages from her father and mother. He sent in a golden locket containing likenesses of both the king and queen, his parents, which convinced Queen Eglantine that his tale was true. So, joyfully, she ran forth to meet him, and would have cast herself upon his neck, but that the trained bull-dogs rushed between, growling most horribly.
"Come here, pretty fellow, nice fellow," said the cannibal brother, coaxingly; but the dogs only opened their jaws wider than before and growled defiance.
"Give them these little dainties, sister," said the wily prince, producing his poisoned meat-balls. "They are some that I always carry for my own pets."
The innocent queen called the dogs one after another to her side, and fed them with the fatal balls, which they ate, licking her white hand gratefully. At once, as the poison began to work, they all lay down in a row, and became as quiet as they had been before ferocious. The queen led her brother into an inner room, and bade him sit upon her silken couch. The prince laughed to himself, for now, thought he, the hour has come for my coveted meal. But he was seized with the notion to go into another room in order to file his teeth, which were becoming rather dull.
"Will you not play for me upon the piano, sister?" he asked lovingly.
The amiable queen, who never waited to be asked twice, sat down to play, while her brother hid within a closet and began to file his teeth. Up jumped the queen's cat, in great excitement, and sat on her mistress' lap.
"Mistress dear," said the affectionate creature, "fly, fly, as fast as your feet will carry you. Your brother is at this moment getting ready to make a meal of you, and as he is a magician no one in the castle is strong enough to defend you from him. In the stable you will find the king's gray steed. Jump upon his back, and be off, while I play the piano in your stead."
The terrified queen took to her royal heels, weeping as she stumbled over the dead bodies of her faithful dogs, and the clever cat sat playing beautifully so many runs and trills that the prince, admiring his sister's brilliant execution, made no haste to leave his task until it was finished to his entire satisfaction.
And now, mounted upon the good gray steed, away flew Queen Eglantine in search of her beloved spouse. Pretty soon she heard footsteps, and there, swifter than any horse, swifter than wind, on flew the cannibal brother after her.
"What shall I do, dear steed?" said the alarmed queen.
"Drop your cloak into the road," said the gray horse, who was the cat's own cousin.
The queen obeyed, and the cloak became a broad lake, across which the cannibal brother took a long time to swim. The gray horse got a good start, but presently the prince came nearly up with him.
"What shall I do now, dear steed?" said the queen, almost ready to fall fainting from his back.
"Drop the veil from your head," said the horse.
This was done, and the veil became a thick fog, causing the cannibal brother to lose his way and stumble dreadfully. But he got out of it at last, and came nearly up with them.
"What shall I do next, dear steed?" said the queen, trembling in every limb.
"Take your scissors and cut a long lock from your hair, and throw that behind you."
The queen lifted the scissors that hung at her girdle, and in a moment, snip! they went into her beautiful golden hair. The hair became a jungle of tall reeds, and through it the cannibal brother had work indeed to travel. While he was puffing and blowing and struggling in the reeds, oh, joy! the queen saw her king riding swiftly to meet her.
Just as the cannibal brother, by a desperate effort of magic strength had freed himself from the jungle, and emerged in swift pursuit, he had the mortification of seeing the queen rush into her husband's arms. His dreadful hunger was now increased until it drove him to desperation. With a roar of baffled rage he darted toward the royal couple, swearing that both of them should be his victims; and this no doubt would have been the case—since the monster was endowed with the strength of fifty men—but that the king, bidding his queen have no fear, quickly sprinkled them both, and their steeds, with a pinch of the fairy fern-seed. Immediately they disappeared from sight, and the cannibal brother, coming with full force upon the spot where they had been, beheld only empty space. This disappointment, combined with his now really appalling appetite, made the miserable wretch fall in a fit upon the ground.
The king would have killed him where he lay, but the queen pleaded for her brother's life, so the attendants bore him, insensible, back to the palace. There, the queen's clever cat advised that he should be left to her to deal with. She shut herself up with the patient in a tower bedroom, and during sixty days and nights not a morsel of food passed the sufferer's lips, except the cat's magic castor-oil—a cupful every ten minutes—each tasting more nauseous than the one before! In the morning he was lifted from bed, and put into an ice-cold bath, and then whipped soundly until his circulation was restored. At the end of the second month the cat stopped his bath, whipping, and medicines, offering him instead a handful of parched peas and a dry crust. This diet seemed to him so delicious that never again could he be tempted to vary it. Until he reached a green and virtuous old age this prince was never known to look upon so much as a rare beefsteak without shuddering! His father, mother, sister, and brother-in-law united their tears of joy at this happy reform, and who should the clever cat turn out to be, but aunty, who had taken this means of watching over her favorite Eglantine! The gray steed was aunty's first cousin upon the mother's side; but when peace was restored he preferred to go back to his own country to live, although the grateful King Charming offered him every inducement to remain, in the way of marble stalls and silver mangers, rose-water to quench his thirst, and golden oats to eat. Aunty, too, retired to her own distant castle, and the reformed cannibal lived quiet and happy until the time came to reign in his good father's stead.
As for Eglantine and King Charming, they never again found use for the fern-seed powder. Even the faults of one were invisible to the other.
Nothing occurred to disturb the serenity of their entire reign but a suit for breach-of-promise of marriage, brought against the king's former tutor by the queen's former governess, Madame Véloutine; and this was settled speedily by the tutor announcing that, rather than make any fuss about the matter, he would marry the old lady and be done with it, although he really could not imagine what there had been in his past conduct to put such an idea into her venerable head. So at last Véloutine got a husband, and nobody could be surprised at anything after that.
AME MARTHA lived at the foot of a high mountain. Her cottage was large enough to give shelter only to herself and two young girls, one of them her own child and the other the child of Dame Martha's late husband, who, about six months before this story opens, slipped down a fissure in the rocks and had nevermore been seen. Dame Martha did not bear a very good character in the neighborhood, as she was known to be violent in temper and dishonest in her dealings. While her husband lived, she had quarrelled with him from morning till night, and after he disappeared, people used to hint that Dame Martha knew better than anyone else how the poor man came to his sudden death. But nothing was ever proved upon her, and as the dame's cottage stood in a desolate valley, overshadowed by a frowning cliff on which grew a single lightning-blasted pine-tree, children shunned the lonely spot, and few grown people found anything to attract them in that direction. Margaret, the dame's own daughter, was a handsome haughty lass of about nineteen, so spoiled and self-willed that she bid fair to rival her mother in temper, in the course of time. Hilda, the step-daughter, was a fair and gentle little creature, sixteen years of age, who bore with patient cheerfulness all the unhappiness of her lot. Sometimes, for days together, she would be left alone in the house, while Dame Martha and Margaret dressed themselves up in all their finery, and went off to fairs and merrymakings in the neighboring town. Melancholy were the hours spent in a solitude unbroken save by the rush of the waterfall leaping from cliff to cliff, or the hootings of owls after nightfall, and the unceasing wail of the wind through the forest. But Hilda was at least spared the sound of Margaret's taunting voice and laugh, and the cruel scolding tongue of her step-mother. These two wicked women were heartily tired of Hilda, and cast about in their minds how they could get rid of her, and take possession of a little bag of gold pieces coming to her from her father. Then, thought they, the old house could be shut up and left to the rats and bats, while they might set out on their travels and enjoy life.
One day, when Hilda was bleaching the linen on a patch of grass near the brook, her step-mother called out, "Hilda, the red cow has strayed away, and I hear her bell over by the old stone quarry. Be quick, and you may head her off."
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