The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES
Animal Sketches And Stories
Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS
CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES
FABLES FOR CHILDREN
FABLES FROM INDIA
FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS
FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
For Classes Ii. And Iii.
For Classes Iv. And V.
For Kindergarten And Class I.
FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
Good Little Henry
JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]
Jean De La Fontaine
King Alexander's Adventures
KINGS AND WARRIORS
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Lessons From Nature
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MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED
MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES
MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES
Myths And Legends
NEGLECT THE FIRE
ON POPULAR EDUCATION
PLACES AND FAMILIES
Poems Of Nature
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"
RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE
ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
Selections From The Bible
SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES
Some Children's Poets
Songs Of Life
STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
STORIES FROM BOTANY
STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
STORIES FROM IRELAND
STORIES FROM PHYSICS
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STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers
The Little Grey Mouse
THE OLD FAIRY TALES
The Princess Rosette
THE THREE HERMITS
THE TWO OLD MEN
UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES
VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES
WHAT MEN LIVE BY
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO
Prince Little Boy
from Boys And Girls Bookshelf
- STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
BY S. WEIR MITCHELL
A great many children live on the borders of Fairy-land and never visit
it at all, and really there are people who grow up and are not very
unhappy who will not believe they have lived near to it all their lives.
But if once you have been in that pleasant country you never quite
forget it, and when some stupid man says, "It is all stuff and
nonsense," you do not say much, even if you yourself have come to be an
old fellow with hair of two colors, but you feel proud to know how much
more you have seen of the world than he has. Children are the best
travelers in Fairy-land, and there also is another kingdom which is easy
for them to reach and hard for some older folks.
Once upon a time there was a small boy who lived so near to Fairy-land
that he sometimes got over the fence and inside of that lovely country,
but, being a little afraid, never went very far, and was quick to run
home if he saw Blue Beard or an Ogre or even Goody Two-Shoes. Once or
twice he went a little farther, and saw things which may be seen but can
never be written.
Sometimes he told his father that he had been into Fairy-land; but his
father, who was a brick-maker and lived in the wood, only laughed, and
cried aloud; "Next time you go, be sure to fetch back some fairy money."
One day the small boy, whose real name was Little Boy, told his father
that he had gone a mile into Fairy-land, and that there the people were
born old and grew younger all the time, and that on this account the
hands of their clocks went backward. When his father heard this, he said
that boy was only fit to sing songs and be in the sun, and would never
make bricks worth a penny. Then he added, sharply, that his son must get
to work at once and stop going over the fence to Fairy-land. So, after
that, Little Boy was set to dig clay and make bricks for a palace which
the King was building. He made a great many bricks of all colors, and
did seem to work so very hard that his father began to think he might in
time come to make the best of bricks. But if you are making bricks you
must not even be thinking of fairies, because something is sure to get
into the bricks and spoil them for building anything except a Spanish
castle or a palace of Aladdin.
I am sorry to say that while Little Boy made bricks and patted them well
and helped to bake them hard he was forever thinking of a Fairy who had
kissed him one day in the wood. This was a very strange Fairy, large,
with white limbs, and eyes which were full of joy for a child, but to
such as being old looked upon them, were, as the poet says, "lakes of
sadness." Perhaps, being little, you who read can understand this. I
cannot; but whoever has once seen this Fairy loves the sun and the woods
and all living creatures, and knows things without being taught, and
what men will say before they say it. Yet, while he knows all these
strange things, and what birds talk about, and what songs the winds sing
to the trees, he can never make good bricks.
And this was why Little Boy's bricks were badly made; on account of
which the King's palace, having many poor bricks in it, fell down one
fine day and cracked the crowns of twenty-three courtiers and had like
to have killed the King himself. This made the King very angry, so he
put on his crown and said wicked words, and told everybody he would give
one hundred pieces of gold to whoever would find the person who had made
the bad bricks. When Little Boy's father heard this, he knew it must
have been his son who was to blame. So he told his son that he had been
very careless, and that surely the King would kill him, and that the
best thing he could do would be to run away and hide in Fairy-land.
Little Boy was very badly scared, and was well pleased when his mother
had put some cakes and apples in a bag and slung it over his shoulder
and told him to run quickly away; and this he was glad to do, because he
saw the King's soldiers coming over the hill to take him. When they came
to his father's house his father told them that it was his son who had
made the bad bricks. After hearing this, they let the man go, and went
after Little Boy. As their legs were long and his were short, they soon
got very near to him, and he had just time to scramble over the fence
into Fairy-land. Then the soldiers began to get over the fence, too; but
at this moment the giant Fee-Faw-Fum came out of the wood, and said, in
a voice that was as loud as the roar of the winds of a winter night:
"What do you want here?" This gave them such a fright that they all sat
there in a row on top of the fence like sparrows, and could not move for
a week. You may be sure Little Boy did not stop to look at them, but ran
away, far away into Fairy-land. Of course, he soon got lost, because in
the geographies there is not a word about Fairy-land, and nobody knows
even what bounds it on the north.
It is sad to be lost, but not in Fairy-land. The sooner you lose
yourself, the happier you are. And then such queer things chance to
you--things no one could dream would happen. Mostly it is the children
for whom they occur, and the grown-up person who is quite happy in this
joyous land is not often to be met with. Perhaps you think I will tell
you all about the fairy country. Not I, indeed. I have been there in my
time; but my travels there I cannot write, or else I might never be
allowed to return again.
By-and-by Little Boy grew tired and went into a deep wood and there sat
down and ate a cake, and saw very soon that the squirrels were throwing
him nuts from the trees. Of course, as he was in Fairy-land, this was
just what one might have expected. He tried to crack the nuts with his
teeth, but could not, and this troubled the squirrels so much that
presently nine of them came down and sat around him and began to crack
nuts for him and to laugh.
When Little Boy had finished his meal, he lay down and tried to go to
sleep, for it was pleasant and warm, and the moss was soft to lie upon,
and strange birds came and went and sang love-songs. But just as he was
almost asleep he was shaken quite roughly, and when he looked up saw a
"Ho! ho!" said the Prince, "I heard you getting ready to snore. A moment
more and I should have been too late."
"How is that?" said Little Boy, "and who are you?"
"Sir, I am Fine Ear, and before things happen I hear them. Do not you
know, Fair Sir" (this is the way fairies speak), "that if you fall
asleep the first day that you are in Fairy-land, it is years before you
wake? Some people don't wake."
Little Boy felt that he was in high society, so he said, politely:
"Gracious Prince, a million thanks; but how can I keep awake?"
"It is only for one night, young sir. Come with me. My sister, Goody
Two-Shoes, lives close by, and she may help us."
So they went along through the twilight and walked far, until Little Boy
was ready to drop. At last Fine Ear said that as he heard his sister
breathing, she could not be more than three miles away. As they climbed
a great hill, it became dark, and Little Boy grew more and more sleepy,
and could not see his way, and tumbled about so much that at last the
Prince stood still and said: "My dear fellow, this won't do; you will be
in Dream-land before I can pinch you." Then he whistled, and a little
silver star--a shining white light--fell out of the fairy sky and rolled
beside them, making all the road as bright as day, and quite waking up
After this they walked on, and the Prince said he would ask Jack the
Giant-killer to supper. Little Boy replied that he would be proud to
meet him. Just as they came near to the house, which was built of pearls
and rubies, the Prince said: "Alas! here comes that tiresome fool,
Humpty Dumpty." When Little Boy looked, he saw a short man very crooked
in the back, and with a head all to one side, not having been well
mended by the doctors, as you may recall. Also his mouth was very large,
which was a pity, because when he stopped before them and bowed in a
polite way, all of a sudden he opened this great mouth and gaped; and
when poor, sleepy Little Boy saw this, what could he do but gape for
company, and at once fall down sound asleep before the kind Prince could
"Alas! fool," said Fine Ear, "why must you gape at a mortal? You knew
what would happen. It was lucky you did not sneeze."
Meanwhile, there lay Little Boy sound asleep, and what was to be done?
At last he was carried into the house of Goody Two-Shoes and put on a
bed. Every one knew that he could not be waked up, and so they put fairy
food in his mouth twice a day, and just let him alone, so that for
several years he slept soundly, and by reason of being fed with fairy
food grew tall and beautiful; what was more strange, his clothes grew
At the end of seven years a great Sayer of Sooth came by on his way to
visit his fairy godmother, and when he heard about Little Boy's sleep he
stood still and uttered a loud Sooth. When Goody Two-Shoes heard it she
was sorry, because it was told her that Little Boy would never wake
until he was carried back to the country of mortals, when he would wake
up at once. Now by this time she had come to love him very much, and was
sorry to part with him, because in seven years he had never spoken one
But Sooths must be obeyed; so she sent for a gentle Giant, and told him
to carry Little Boy to the Queen's tailor and to dress him like a fairy
Prince, and to set him down on the roadside near his father's house.
Then when the Giant took him up in his great arms, all sound asleep, she
put around Little Boy's neck a fairy kiss tied fast to a gold chain, and
this was for good luck. After this the Giant walked away, and Goody
Two-Shoes went into the house and cried for two days and a night.
When the Giant came to Common-Folks'-land, he laid Little Boy beside the
high-road and went home. Toward evening, the King's daughter went by,
and seeing Little Boy, who, as I have said, was now grown tall and
dressed all in velvet and jewels, she came and stood by him, and when
she saw the fairy kiss hanging around his neck she knelt down and kissed
him. Then all the old ladies cried, "Fy! for shame!" but you know she
could not help it. As for Little Boy, he kept ever so still, being now
wide awake, but having hopes that she would kiss him again, which she
did, twice. As he still seemed to sleep, he was put in the Princess's
chariot and taken to the King's palace.
At last, when every one had looked at him, they put him on a bed, and
when morning came he opened his eyes, and began to walk around to
stretch his legs. But as he went downstairs he met the King, who said to
him: "Fair Sir, what is the name of thy beautiful self?" To which he
answered: "I am called Prince Little Boy." "Ha! ha!" said the King.
"That was the name of the bad brick-maker. Perchance thou art he." Then
he called his guards, and Little Boy was at once shut up in a huge
tower, for the King was not quite sure, or else he would have put him to
death at once. But after Little Boy had been there three days he put his
head out of a window and saw the Princess in the garden. Then he said:
"Sweet lady, look up."
"Alas!" said she, "they have sent for thy mother, and if she says thou
art Little Boy they will kill thee, and, alas! I love thee."
"Ah!" he cried, "come to this tower at midnight, and cast me kisses a
many through the night; blow a kiss to the north, blow a kiss to the
south, to the east, to the west, from the flower of thy mouth and it may
be that one will float to Fairy-land and fetch us help, for if not, I be
but a dead man."
All this she did because she was brave and loved him. She stood in the
dark and blew kisses to the four winds, and then listened, and by and by
came a noise like great wings, and all the air was filled with strange,
sweet odors, the like of which that Princess never smelled again.
As for Little Boy, he was aware of a Giant who was as tall as the tower.
"Sir," said the Giant, "it is told me that you must keep your eyes shut
until I bid them to open. I have brought the Kiss Queen to pay you a
visit. No man has ever seen her; for if he did he could never, never
kiss or be kissed of any mortal lips."
"Sir," said Little Boy, "the Princess is more sweet than any that kiss
"Prince," said the Giant, "your education has been but slight, or else
you would know that all kisses are made in Fairy-land. But shut your
eyes and stir not."
Then Little Boy did close his two eyes. At once he felt a tiny kiss from
lips that might have been as long as one's fingernail, and once he was
kissed on each cheek and once on his chin, and then he felt faint for a
moment. All was still for a while, until the Giant said: "You are lucky.
Open your eyes, Fair Sir," and went away.
Next day all the people came to see the King try Little Boy. When Little
Boy saw his mother he was almost ready to cry, but he kept still and
waited. Then the King said to her: "Tell me, is this your son? and do
not deceive me, or dreadful things will happen to you and to him."
At this the good woman looked at him with care. "This looks like my
son," she said; "but it is not my son, because this young man has a
dimple on each cheek and one on his chin. Who ever saw any one with
When the King heard this and Little Boy's father declared also that his
lost son had no dimples, the King bade them all go free, and said he had
been now nine years angry about those bricks, and that whoever would
find the bad brick-maker should marry the Princess. When Prince Little
Boy heard this he said that he was the bad boy who had made those
bricks. But the King was as good as his word, and ordered that the
Prince should marry the Princess, and not have his head cut off, because
the Princess did wisely say that a husband with no head wasn't much good
as a husband. Therefore they were married that minute, and I have heard
that they spent their honeymoon in Fairy-land. And this is the end of
the Story of Prince Little Boy.
Next: The Bee-man Of Orn