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
LAND AND WATER FAIRIES
Lessons From Nature
LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG
MODERN FAIRY TALES
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
STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA
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
The Enchanted Ring
from The Green Fairy Book
Once upon a time there lived a young man named Rosimond, who was
as good and handsome as his elder brother Bramintho was ugly and
wicked. Their mother detested her eldest son, and had only eyes
for the youngest. This excited Bramintho's jealousy, and he
invented a horrible story in order to ruin his brother. He told
his father that Rosimond was in the habit of visiting a neighbour
who was an enemy of the family, and betraying to him all that went
on in the house, and was plotting with him to poison their father.
The father flew into a rage, and flogged his son till the blood
came. Then he threw him into prison and kept him for three days
without food, and after that he turned him out of the house, and
threatened to kill him if he ever came back. The mother was
miserable, and did nothing but weep, but she dared not say
The youth left his home with tears in his eyes, not knowing where
to go, and wandered about for many hours till he came to a thick
wood. Night overtook him at the foot of a great rock, and he fell
asleep on a bank of moss, lulled by the music of a little brook.
It was dawn when he woke, and he saw before him a beautiful woman
seated on a grey horse, with trappings of gold, who looked as if
she were preparing for the hunt.
'Have you seen a stag and some deerhounds go by?' she asked.
'No, madam,' he replied.
Then she added, 'You look unhappy; is there anything the matter?
Take this ring, which will make you the happiest and most powerful
of men, provided you never make a bad use of it. If you turn the
diamond inside, you will become invisible. If you turn it outside,
you will become visible again. If you place it on your little
finger, you will take the shape of the King's son, followed by a
splendid court. If you put it on your fourth finger, you will take
your own shape.'
Then the young man understood that it was a Fairy who was speaking
to him, and when she had finished she plunged into the woods. The
youth was very impatient to try the ring, and returned home
immediately. He found that the Fairy had spoken the truth, and
that he could see and hear everything, while he himself was
unseen. It lay with him to revenge himself, if he chose, on his
brother, without the slightest danger to himself, and he told no
one but his mother of all the strange things that had befallen
him. He afterwards put the enchanted ring on his little finger,
and appeared as the King's son, followed by a hundred fine horses,
and a guard of officers all richly dressed.
His father was much surprised to see the King's son in his quiet
little house, and he felt rather embarrassed, not knowing what was
the proper way to behave on such a grand occasion. Then Rosimond
asked him how many sons he had.
'Two,' replied he.
'I wish to see them,' said Rosimond. 'Send for them at once. I
desire to take them both to Court, in order to make their
The father hesitated, then answered: 'Here is the eldest, whom I
have the honour to present to your Highness.'
'But where is the youngest? I wish to see him too,' persisted
'He is not here,' said the father. 'I had to punish him for a
fault, and he has run away.'
Then Rosimond replied, 'You should have shown him what was right,
but not have punished him. However, let the elder come with me,
and as for you, follow these two guards, who will escort you to a
place that I will point out to them.'
Then the two guards led off the father, and the Fairy of whom you
have heard found him in the forest, and beat him with a golden
birch rod, and cast him into a cave that was very deep and dark,
where he lay enchanted. 'Lie there,' she said, 'till your son
comes to take you out again.'
Meanwhile the son went to the King's palace, and arrived just when
the real prince was absent. He had sailed away to make war on a
distant island, but the winds had been contrary, and he had been
shipwrecked on unknown shores, and taken captive by a savage
people. Rosimond made his appearance at Court in the character of
the Prince, whom everyone wept for as lost, and told them that he
had been rescued when at the point of death by some merchants. His
return was the signal for great public rejoicings, and the King
was so overcome that he became quite speechless, and did nothing
but embrace his son. The Queen was even more delighted, and fetes
were ordered over the whole kingdom.
One day the false Prince said to his real brother, 'Bramintho, you
know that I brought you here from your native village in order to
make your fortune; but I have found out that you are a liar, and
that by your deceit you have been the cause of all the troubles of
your brother Rosimond. He is in hiding here, and I desire that you
shall speak to him, and listen to his reproaches.'
Bramintho trembled at these words, and, flinging himself at the
Prince's feet, confessed his crime.
'That is not enough,' said Rosimond. 'It is to your brother that
you must confess, and I desire that you shall ask his forgiveness.
He will be very generous if he grants it, and it will be more than
you deserve. He is in my ante-room, where you shall see him at
once. I myself will retire into another apartment, so as to leave
you alone with him.'
Bramintho entered, as he was told, into the anteroom. Then
Rosimond changed the ring, and passed into the room by another
Bramintho was filled with shame as soon as he saw his brother's
face. He implored his pardon, and promised to atone for all his
faults. Rosimond embraced him with tears, and at once forgave him,
adding, 'I am in great favour with the King. It rests with me to
have your head cut off, or to condemn you to pass the remainder of
your life in prison; but I desire to be as good to you as you have
been wicked to me.' Bramintho, confused and ashamed, listened to
his words without daring to lift his eyes or to remind Rosimond
that he was his brother. After this, Rosimond gave out that he was
going to make a secret voyage, to marry a Princess who lived in a
neighbouring kingdom; but in reality he only went to see his
mother, whom he told all that had happened at the Court, giving
her at the same time some money that she needed, for the King
allowed him to take exactly what he liked, though he was always
careful not to abuse this permission. Just then a furious war
broke out between the King his master and the Sovereign of the
adjoining country, who was a bad man and one that never kept his
word. Rosimond went straight to the palace of the wicked King, and
by means of his ring was able to be present at all the councils,
and learnt all their schemes, so that he was able to forestall
them and bring them to naught. He took the command of the army
which was brought against the wicked King, and defeated him in a
glorious battle, so that peace was at once concluded on conditions
that were just to everyone.
Henceforth the King's one idea was to marry the young man to a
Princess who was the heiress to a neighbouring kingdom, and,
besides that, was as lovely as the day. But one morning, while
Rosimond was hunting in the forest where for the first time he had
seen the Fairy, his benefactress suddenly appeared before him.
'Take heed,' she said to him in severe tones, 'that you do not
marry anybody who believes you to be a Prince. You must never
deceive anyone. The real Prince, whom the whole nation thinks you
are, will have to succeed his father, for that is just and right.
Go and seek him in some distant island, and I will send winds that
will swell your sails and bring you to him. Hasten to render this
service to your master, although it is against your own ambition,
and prepare, like an honest man, to return to your natural state.
If you do not do this, you will become wicked and unhappy, and I
will abandon you to all your former troubles.'
Rosimond took these wise counsels to heart. He gave out that he
had undertaken a secret mission to a neighbouring state, and
embarked on board a vessel, the winds carrying him straight to the
island where the Fairy had told him he would find the real Prince.
This unfortunate youth had been taken captive by a savage people,
who had kept him to guard their sheep. Rosimond, becoming
invisible, went to seek him amongst the pastures, where he kept
his flock, and, covering him with his mantle, he delivered him out
of the hands of his cruel masters, and bore him back to the ship.
Other winds sent by the Fairy swelled the sails, and together the
two young men entered the King's presence.
Rosimond spoke first and said, 'You have believed me to be your
son. I am not he, but I have brought him back to you.' The King,
filled with astonishment, turned to his real son and asked, 'Was
it not you, my son, who conquered my enemies and won such a
glorious peace? Or is it true that you have been shipwrecked and
taken captive, and that Rosimond has set you free?'
'Yes, my father,' replied the Prince. 'It is he who sought me out
in my captivity and set me free, and to him I owe the happiness of
seeing you once more. It was he, not I, who gained the victory.'
The King could hardly believe his ears; but Rosimond, turning the
ring, appeared before him in the likeness of the Prince, and the
King gazed distractedly at the two youths who seemed both to be
his son. Then he offered Rosimond immense rewards for his
services, which were refused, and the only favour the young man
would accept was that one of his posts at Court should be
conferred on his brother Bramintho. For he feared for himself the
changes of fortune, the envy of mankind and his own weakness. His
desire was to go back to his mother and his native village, and to
spend his time in cultivating the land.
One day, when he was wandering through the woods, he met the
Fairy, who showed him the cavern where his father was imprisoned,
and told him what words he must use in order to set him free. He
repeated them joyfully, for he had always longed to bring the old
man back and to make his last days happy. Rosimond thus became the
benefactor of all his family, and had the pleasure of doing good
to those who had wished to do him evil. As for the Court, to whom
he had rendered such services, all he asked was the freedom to
live far from its corruption; and, to crown all, fearing that if
he kept the ring he might be tempted to use it in order to regain
his lost place in the world, he made up his mind to restore it to
the Fairy. For many days he sought her up and down the woods and
at last he found her. 'I want to give you back,' he said, holding
out the ring, 'a gift as dangerous as it is powerful, and which I
fear to use wrongfully. I shall never feel safe till I have made
it impossible for me to leave my solitude and to satisfy my
While Rosimond was seeking to give back the ring to the Fairy,
Bramintho, who had failed to learn any lessons from experience,
gave way to all his desires, and tried to persuade the Prince,
lately become King, to ill-treat Rosimond. But the Fairy, who knew
all about everything, said to Rosimond, when he was imploring her
to accept the ring:
'Your wicked brother is doing his best to poison the mind of the
King towards you, and to ruin you. He deserves to be punished, and
he must die; and in order that he may destroy himself, I shall
give the ring to him.'
Rosimond wept at these words, and then asked:
'What do you mean by giving him the ring as a punishment? He will
only use it to persecute everyone, and to become master.'
'The same things,' answered the Fairy, 'are often a healing
medicine to one person and a deadly poison to another. Prosperity
is the source of all evil to a naturally wicked man. If you wish
to punish a scoundrel, the first thing to do is to give him power.
You will see that with this rope he will soon hang himself.'
Having said this, she disappeared, and went straight to the
Palace, where she showed herself to Bramintho under the disguise
of an old woman covered with rags. She at once addressed him in
'I have taken this ring from the hands of your brother, to whom I
had lent it, and by its help he covered himself with glory. I now
give it to you, and be careful what you do with it.'
Bramintho replied with a laugh:
'I shall certainly not imitate my brother, who was foolish enough
to bring back the Prince instead of reigning in his place,' and he
was as good as his word. The only use he made of the ring was to
find out family secrets and betray them, to commit murders and
every sort of wickedness, and to gain wealth for himself
unlawfully. All these crimes, which could be traced to nobody,
filled the people with astonishment. The King, seeing so many
affairs, public and private, exposed, was at first as puzzled as
anyone, till Bramintho's wonderful prosperity and amazing
insolence made him suspect that the enchanted ring had become his
property. In order to find out the truth he bribed a stranger just
arrived at Court, one of a nation with whom the King was always at
war, and arranged that he was to steal in the night to Bramintho
and to offer him untold honours and rewards if he would betray the
Bramintho promised everything, and accepted at once the first
payment of his crime, boasting that he had a ring which rendered
him invisible, and that by means of it he could penetrate into the
most private places. But his triumph was short. Next day he was
seized by order of the King, and his ring was taken from him. He
was searched, and on him were found papers which proved his
crimes; and, though Rosimond himself came back to the Court to
entreat his pardon, it was refused. So Bramintho was put to death,
and the ring had been even more fatal to him than it had been
useful in the hands of his brother.
To console Rosimond for the fate of Bramintho, the King gave him
back the enchanted ring, as a pearl without price. The unhappy
Rosimond did not look upon it in the same light, and the first
thing he did on his return home was to seek the Fairy in the
'Here,' he said, 'is your ring. My brother's experience has made
me understand many things that I did not know before. Keep it, it
has only led to his destruction. Ah! without it he would be alive
now, and my father and mother would not in their old age be bowed
to the earth with shame and grief! Perhaps he might have been wise
and happy if he had never had the chance of gratifying his wishes!
Oh! how dangerous it is to have more power than the rest of the
world! Take back your ring, and as ill fortune seems to follow all
on whom you bestow it, I will implore you, as a favour to myself,
that you will never give it to anyone who is dear to me.'
Next: The Snuff-box
Previous: Heart Of Ice