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 Wonderful Sheep
from The Blue Fairy Book
Once upon a time--in the days when the fairies lived--there
was a king who had three daughters, who were all
young, and clever, and beautiful; but the youngest of the
three, who was called Miranda, was the prettiest and
the most beloved.
The King, her father, gave her more dresses and jewels
in a month than he gave the others in a year; but she was
so generous that she shared everything with her sisters,
and they were all as happy and as fond of one another as
they could be.
Now, the King had some quarrelsome neighbors, who,
tired of leaving him in peace, began to make war upon
him so fiercely that he feared he would be altogether
beaten if he did not make an effort to defend himself.
So he collected a great army and set off to fight them,
leaving the Princesses with their governess in a castle
where news of the war was brought every day--sometimes
that the King had taken a town, or won a battle,
and, at last, that he had altogether overcome his enemies
and chased them out of his kingdom, and was coming
back to the castle as quickly as possible, to see his dear
little Miranda whom he loved so much.
The three Princesses put on dresses of satin, which they
had had made on purpose for this great occasion, one
green, one blue, and the third white; their jewels were
the same colors. The eldest wore emeralds, the second
turquoises, and the youngest diamonds, and thus adorned
they went to meet the King, singing verses which they
had composed about his victories.
When he saw them all so beautiful and so gay he
embraced them tenderly, but gave Miranda more kisses than
either of the others.
Presently a splendid banquet was served, and the King
and his daughters sat down to it, and as he always
thought that there was some special meaning in everything,
he said to the eldest:
"Tell me why you have chosen a green dress."
"Sire," she answered, "having heard of your victories
I thought that green would signify my joy and the hope
of your speedy return."
"That is a very good answer," said the King; "and you,
my daughter," he continued, "why did you take a blue
"Sire," said the Princess, "to show that we constantly
hoped for your success, and that the sight of you is as
welcome to me as the sky with its most beautiful stars."
"Why," said the King, "your wise answers astonish
me, and you, Miranda. What made you dress yourself
all in white?
"Because, sire," she answered, "white suits me better
than anything else."
"What!" said the King angrily, "was that all you
thought of, vain child?"
"I thought you would be pleased with me," said the
Princess; "that was all."
The King, who loved her, was satisfied with this, and
even pretended to be pleased that she had not told him
all her reasons at first.
"And now," said he, "as I have supped well, and it is
not time yet to go to bed, tell me what you dreamed last
The eldest said she had dreamed that he brought her a
dress, and the precious stones and gold embroidery on
it were brighter than the sun.
The dream of the second was that the King had brought
her a spinning wheel and a distaff, that she might spin
him some shirts.
But the youngest said: "I dreamed that my second
sister was to be married, and on her wedding-day, you,
father, held a golden ewer and said: 'Come, Miranda,
and I will hold the water that you may dip your hands
The King was very angry indeed when he heard this
dream, and frowned horribly; indeed, he made such an
ugly face that everyone knew how angry he was, and he
got up and went off to bed in a great hurry; but he could
not forget his daughter's dream.
"Does the proud girl wish to make me her slave?" he
said to himself. "I am not surprised at her choosing to
dress herself in white satin without a thought of me.
She does not think me worthy of her consideration! But
I will soon put an end to her pretensions!"
He rose in a fury, and although it was not yet
daylight, he sent for the Captain of his Bodyguard, and said
"You have heard the Princess Miranda's dream? I
consider that it means strange things against me, therefore
I order you to take her away into the forest and kill
her, and, that I may be sure it is done, you must bring
me her heart and her tongue. If you attempt to deceive
me you shall be put to death!"
The Captain of the Guard was very much astonished
when he heard this barbarous order, but he did not dare
to contradict the King for fear of making him still more
angry, or causing him to send someone else, so he
answered that he would fetch the Princess and do as the
King had said. When he went to her room they would
hardly let him in, it was so early, but he said that the
King had sent for Miranda, and she got up quickly and
came out; a little black girl called Patypata held up her
train, and her pet monkey and her little dog ran after
her. The monkey was called Grabugeon, and the little
The Captain of the Guard begged Miranda to come
down into the garden where the King was enjoying the
fresh air, and when they got there, he pretended to search
for him, but as he was not to be found, he said:
"No doubt his Majesty has strolled into the forest,"
and he opened the little door that led to it and they went
By this time the daylight had begun to appear, and
the Princess, looking at her conductor, saw that he had
tears in his eyes and seemed too sad to speak.
"What is the matter?" she said in the kindest way.
"You seem very sorrowful."
"Alas! Princess," he answered, "who would not be
sorrowful who was ordered to do such a terrible thing as
I am? The King has commanded me to kill you here,
and carry your heart and your tongue to him, and if I
disobey I shall lose my life."
The poor Princess was terrified, she grew very pale and
began to cry softly.
Looking up at the Captain of the Guard with her
beautiful eyes, she said gently:
Will you really have the heart to kill me? I have
never done you any harm, and have always spoken well
of you to the King. If I had deserved my father's anger
I would suffer without a murmur, but, alas! he is unjust
to complain of me, when I have always treated him with
love and respect."
"Fear nothing, Princess," said the Captain of the
Guard. "I would far rather die myself than hurt you;
but even if I am killed you will not be safe: we must find
some way of making the King believe that you are dead."
"What can we do?" said Miranda; "unless you take
him my heart and my tongue he will never believe you."
The Princess and the Captain of the Guard were talking
so earnestly that they did not think of Patypata,
but she had overheard all they said, and now came and
threw herself at Miranda's feet.
"Madam," she said, "I offer you my life; let me be
killed, I shall be only too happy to die for such a kind
"Why, Patypata," cried the Princess, kissing her,
"that would never do; your life is as precious to me as
my own, especially after such a proof of your affection
as you have just given me."
"You are right, Princess," said Grabugeon, coming
forward, "to love such a faithful slave as Patypata; she
is of more use to you than I am, I offer you my tongue
and my heart most willingly, especially as I wish to
make a great name for myself in Goblin Land."
"No, no, my little Grabugeon," replied Miranda, "I
cannot bear the thought of taking your life."
"Such a good little dog as I am," cried Tintin, "could
not think of letting either of you die for his mistress. If
anyone is to die for her it must be me."
And then began a great dispute between Patypata,
Grabugeon, and Tintin, and they came to high words,
until at last Grabugeon, who was quicker than the
others, ran up to the very top of the nearest tree, and
let herself fall, head first, to the ground, and there she
The Princess was very sorry, but as Grabugeon was
really dead, she allowed the Captain of the Guard to
take her tongue; but, alas! it was such a little one--not
bigger than the Princess's thumb--that they decided
sorrowfully that it was of no use at all: the King would
not have been taken in by it for a moment!
"Alas! my little monkey," cried the Princess, "I have
lost you, and yet I am no better off than I was before."
"The honor of saving your life is to be mine,"
interrupted Patypata, and, before they could prevent her,
she had picked up a knife and cut her head off in an instant.
But when the Captain of the Guard would have taken
her tongue it turned out to be quite black, so that would
not have deceived the King either.
"Am I not unlucky?" cried the poor Princess; "I lose
everything I love, and am none the better for it."
"If you had accepted my offer," said Tintin, "you
would only have had me to regret, and I should have had
all your gratitude."
Miranda kissed her little dog, crying so bitterly, that
at last she could bear it no longer, and turned away into
the forest. When she looked back the Captain of the
Guard was gone, and she was alone, except for Patypata,
Grabugeon, and Tintin, who lay upon the ground. She
could not leave the place until she had buried them in a
pretty little mossy grave at the foot of a tree, and she
wrote their names upon the bark of the tree, and how
they had all died to save her life. And then she began
to think where she could go for safety--for this forest
was so close to her father's castle that she might be seen
and recognized by the first passer-by, and, besides that,
it was full of lions and wolves, who would have snapped
up a princess just as soon as a stray chicken. So she
began to walk as fast as she could, but the forest was so
large and the sun was so hot that she nearly died of heat
and terror and fatigue; look which way she would there
seemed to be no end to the forest, and she was so frightened
that she fancied every minute that she heard the
King running after her to kill her. You may imagine
how miserable she was, and how she cried as she went
on, not knowing which path to follow, and with the
thorny bushes scratching her dreadfully and tearing her
pretty frock to pieces.
At last she heard the bleating of a sheep, and said to
"No doubt there are shepherds here with their flocks;
they will show me the way to some village where I can
live disguised as a peasant girl. Alas! it is not always
kings and princes who are the happiest people in the
world. Who could have believed that I should ever be
obliged to run away and hide because the King, for no
reason at all, wishes to kill me?"
So saying she advanced toward the place where she
heard the bleating, but what was her surprise when, in a
lovely little glade quite surrounded by trees, she saw a
large sheep; its wool was as white as snow, and its horns
shone like gold; it had a garland of flowers round its
neck, and strings of great pearls about its legs, and a
collar of diamonds; it lay upon a bank of orange-flowers,
under a canopy of cloth of gold which protected it from
the heat of the sun. Nearly a hundred other sheep were
scattered about, not eating the grass, but some drinking
coffee, lemonade, or sherbet, others eating ices,
strawberries and cream, or sweetmeats, while others, again,
were playing games. Many of them wore golden collars
with jewels, flowers, and ribbons.
Miranda stopped short in amazement at this unexpected
sight, and was looking in all directions for the
shepherd of this surprising flock, when the beautiful
sheep came bounding toward her.
"Approach, lovely Princess," he cried; "have no fear
of such gentle and peaceable animals as we are."
"What a marvel!" cried the Princess, starting back a
little. "Here is a sheep that can talk."
"Your monkey and your dog could talk, madam," said
he; "are you more astonished at us than at them?"
"A fairy gave them the power to speak," replied
Miranda. "So I was used to them."
"Perhaps the same thing has happened to us," he said,
smiling sheepishly. "But, Princess, what can have led
"A thousand misfortunes, Sir Sheep," she answered.
"I am the unhappiest princess in the world, and I am
seeking a shelter against my father's anger."
"Come with me, madam," said the Sheep; "I offer you
a hiding-place which you only will know of, and where
you will be mistress of everything you see."
"I really cannot follow you," said Miranda, "for I am
too tired to walk another step."
The Sheep with the golden horns ordered that his
chariot should be fetched, and a moment after appeared
six goats, harnessed to a pumpkin, which was so big that
two people could quite well sit in it, and was all lined
with cushions of velvet and down. The Princess stepped
into it, much amused at such a new kind of carriage, the
King of the Sheep took his place beside her, and the
goats ran away with them at full speed, and only stopped
when they reached a cavern, the entrance to which was
blocked by a great stone. This the King touched with
his foot, and immediately it fell down, and he invited
the Princess to enter without fear. Now, if she had not
been so alarmed by everything that had happened, nothing
could have induced her to go into this frightful cave,
but she was so afraid of what might be behind her that
she would have thrown herself even down a well at this
moment. So, without hesitation, she followed the Sheep,
who went before her, down, down, down, until she
thought they must come out at the other side of the
world--indeed, she was not sure that he wasn't leading
her into Fairyland. At last she saw before her a great
plain, quite covered with all sorts of flowers, the scent of
which seemed to her nicer than anything she had ever
smelled before; a broad river of orange-flower water
flowed round it and fountains of wine of every kind ran
in all directions and made the prettiest little cascades and
brooks. The plain was covered with the strangest trees,
there were whole avenues where partridges, ready
roasted, hung from every branch, or, if you preferred
pheasants, quails, turkeys, or rabbits, you had only to
turn to the right hand or to the left and you were sure to
find them. In places the air was darkened by showers
of lobster-patties, white puddings, sausages, tarts, and
all sorts of sweetmeats, or with pieces of gold and silver,
diamonds and pearls. This unusual kind of rain, and
the pleasantness of the whole place, would, no doubt,
have attracted numbers of people to it, if the King of the
Sheep had been of a more sociable disposition, but from
all accounts it is evident that he was as grave as a judge.
As it was quite the nicest time of the year when
Miranda arrived in this delightful land the only palace she
saw was a long row of orange trees, jasmines, honeysuckles,
and musk-roses, and their interlacing branches
made the prettiest rooms possible, which were hung with
gold and silver gauze, and had great mirrors and
candlesticks, and most beautiful pictures. The Wonderful
Sheep begged that the Princess would consider herself
queen over all that she saw, and assured her that, though
for some years he had been very sad and in great trouble,
she had it in her power to make him forget all his grief.
"You are so kind and generous, noble Sheep," said the
Princess, "that I cannot thank you enough, but I must
confess that all I see here seems to me so extraordinary
that I don't know what to think of it."
As she spoke a band of lovely fairies came up and
offered her amber baskets full of fruit, but when she held
out her hands to them they glided away, and she could
feel nothing when she tried to touch them.
"Oh!" she cried, "what can they be? Whom am I
with?" and she began to cry.
At this instant the King of the Sheep came back to
her, and was so distracted to find her in tears that he
could have torn his wool.
"What is the matter, lovely Princess?" he cried. "Has
anyone failed to treat you with due respect?"
"Oh! no," said Miranda; "only I am not used to living
with sprites and with sheep that talk, and everything
here frightens me. It was very kind of you to bring
me to this place, but I shall be even more grateful to you
if you will take me up into the world again."
"Do not be afraid," said the Wonderful Sheep; "I
entreat you to have patience, and listen to the story of
my misfortunes. I was once a king, and my kingdom
was the most splendid in the world. My subjects loved
me, my neighbors envied and feared me. I was respected
by everyone, and it was said that no king ever
deserved it more.
"I was very fond of hunting, and one day, while chasing
a stag, I left my attendants far behind; suddenly I
saw the animal leap into a pool of water, and I rashly
urged my horse to follow it, but before we had gone many
steps I felt an extraordinary heat, instead of the coolness
of the water; the pond dried up, a great gulf opened
before me, out of which flames of fire shot up, and I fell
helplessly to the bottom of a precipice.
"I gave myself up for lost, but presently a voice said:
'Ungrateful Prince, even this fire is hardly enough to
warm your cold heart!'
"'Who complains of my coldness in this dismal place?'
"'An unhappy being who loves you hopelessly,'
replied the voice, and at the same moment the flames began
to flicker and cease to burn, and I saw a fairy, whom I
had known as long as I could remember, and whose ugliness
had always horrified me. She was leaning upon the
arm of a most beautiful young girl, who wore chains of
gold on her wrists and was evidently her slave.
"'Why, Ragotte,' I said, for that was the fairy's name,
'what is the meaning of all this? Is it by your orders
that I am here?'
"'And whose fault is it,' she answered, 'that you have
never understood me until now? Must a powerful fairy
like myself condescend to explain her doings to you who
are no better than an ant by comparison, though you
think yourself a great king?'
"'Call me what you like,' I said impatiently; 'but
what is it that you want--my crown, or my cities, or my
"'Treasures!' said the fairy, disdainfully. 'If I chose
I could make any one of my scullions richer and more
powerful than you. I do not want your treasures, but,'
she added softly, 'if you will give me your heart--if you
will marry me--I will add twenty kingdoms to the one
you have already; you shall have a hundred castles full of
gold and five hundred full of silver, and, in short,
anything you like to ask me for.'
"'Madam Ragotte,' said I, 'when one is at the bottom
of a pit where one has fully expected to be roasted alive,
it is impossible to think of asking such a charming person
as you are to marry one! I beg that you will set me
at liberty, and then I shall hope to answer you fittingly.'
"'Ah!' said she, 'if you really loved me you would not
care where you were--a cave, a wood, a fox-hole, a
desert, would please you equally well. Do not think
that you can deceive me; you fancy you are going to
escape, but I assure you that you are going to stay here
and the first thing I shall give you to do will be to keep my
sheep--they are very good company and speak quite as
well as you do.
"As she spoke she advanced, and led me to this plain
where we now stand, and showed me her flock, but I paid
little attention to it or to her.
"To tell the truth, I was so lost in admiration of her
beautiful slave that I forgot everything else, and the
cruel Ragotte, perceiving this, turned upon her so furious
and terrible a look that she fell lifeless to the ground.
"At this dreadful sight I drew my sword and rushed at
Ragotte, and should certainly have cut off her head had
she not by her magic arts chained me to the spot on
which I stood; all my efforts to move were useless, and
at last, when I threw myself down on the ground in
despair, she said to me, with a scornful smile:
"'I intend to make you feel my power. It seems that
you are a lion at present, I mean you to be a sheep.'
"So saying, she touched me with her wand, and I
became what you see. I did not lose the power of speech,
or of feeling the misery of my present state.
"'For five years,' she said, 'you shall be a sheep, and
lord of this pleasant land, while I, no longer able to see
your face, which I loved so much, shall be better able to
hate you as you deserve to be hated.'
"She disappeared as she finished speaking, and if I had
not been too unhappy to care about anything I should
have been glad that she was gone.
"The talking sheep received me as their king, and told
me that they, too, were unfortunate princes who had, in
different ways, offended the revengeful fairy, and had
been added to her flock for a certain number of years;
some more, some less. From time to time, indeed, one
regains his own proper form and goes back again to his
place in the upper world; but the other beings whom you
saw are the rivals or the enemies of Ragotte, whom she has
imprisoned for a hundred years or so; though even they
will go back at last. The young slave of whom I told
you about is one of these; I have seen her often, and it
has been a great pleasure to me. She never speaks to
me, and if I were nearer to her I know I should find her
only a shadow, which would be very annoying. However,
I noticed that one of my companions in misfortune
was also very attentive to this little sprite, and I found out
that he had been her lover, whom the cruel Ragotte had
taken away from her long before; since then I have cared
for, and thought of, nothing but how I might regain my
freedom. I have often been in the forest; that is where
I have seen you, lovely Princess, sometimes driving your
chariot, which you did with all the grace and skill in the
world; sometimes riding to the chase on so spirited a
horse that it seemed as if no one but yourself could have
managed it, and sometimes running races on the plain
with the Princesses of your Court--running so lightly
that it was you always who won the prize. Oh! Princess,
I have loved you so long, and yet how dare I tell you of
my love! what hope can there be for an unhappy sheep
Miranda was so surprised and confused by all that she
had heard that she hardly knew what answer to give to
the King of the Sheep, but she managed to make some
kind of little speech, which certainly did not forbid him
to hope, and said that she should not be afraid of the
shadows now she knew that they would some day come
to life again. "Alas!" she continued, "if my poor
Patypata, my dear Grabugeon, and pretty little Tintin, who
all died for my sake, were equally well off, I should have
nothing left to wish for here!"
Prisoner though he was, the King of the Sheep had
still some powers and privileges.
"Go," said he to his Master of the Horse, "go and
seek the shadows of the little black girl, the monkey, and
the dog: they will amuse our Princess."
And an instant afterward Miranda saw them coming
toward her, and their presence gave her the greatest
pleasure, though they did not come near enough for her
to touch them.
The King of the Sheep was so kind and amusing, and
loved Miranda so dearly, that at last she began to love
him too. Such a handsome sheep, who was so polite
and considerate, could hardly fail to please, especially
if one knew that he was really a king, and that his strange
imprisonment would soon come to an end. So the Princess's
days passed very gaily while she waited for the
happy time to come. The King of the Sheep, with the
help of all the flock, got up balls, concerts, and hunting
parties, and even the shadows joined in all the fun, and
came, making believe to be their own real selves.
One evening, when the couriers arrived (for the King
sent most carefully for news--and they always brought
the very best kinds), it was announced that the sister of
the Princess Miranda was going to be married to a great
Prince, and that nothing could be more splendid than all
the preparations for the wedding.
"Ah!" cried the young Princess, "how unlucky I am
to miss the sight of so many pretty things! Here am I
imprisoned under the earth, with no company but sheep
and shadows, while my sister is to be adorned like a
queen and surrounded by all who love and admire her,
and everyone but myself can go to wish her joy!"
"Why do you complain, Princess?" said the King of
the Sheep. "Did I say that you were not to go to the
wedding? Set out as soon as you please; only promise
me that you will come back, for I love you too much to
be able to live without you."
Miranda was very grateful to him, and promised
faithfully that nothing in the world should keep her from
coming back. The King caused an escort suitable to her
rank to be got ready for her, and she dressed herself
splendidly, not forgetting anything that could make her
more beautiful. Her chariot was of mother-of-pearl,
drawn by six dun-colored griffins just brought from the
other side of the world, and she was attended by a
number of guards in splendid uniforms, who were all at least
eight feet high and had come from far and near to ride
in the Princess's train.
Miranda reached her father's palace just as the
wedding ceremony began, and everyone, as soon as she came
in, was struck with surprise at her beauty and the
splendor of her jewels. She heard exclamations of
admiration on all sides; and the King her father looked at
her so attentively that she was afraid he must recognize
her; but he was so sure that she was dead that the idea
never occurred to him.
However, the fear of not getting away made her leave
before the marriage was over. She went out hastily,
leaving behind her a little coral casket set with emeralds.
On it was written in diamond letters: "Jewels for the
Bride," and when they opened it, which they did as soon
as it was found, there seemed to be no end to the pretty
things it contained. The King, who had hoped to join
the unknown Princess and find out who she was, was
dreadfully disappointed when she disappeared so
suddenly, and gave orders that if she ever came again the
doors were to be shut that she might not get away so
easily. Short as Miranda's absence had been, it had
seemed like a hundred years to the King of the Sheep.
He was waiting for her by a fountain in the thickest part
of the forest, and the ground was strewn with splendid
presents which he had prepared for her to show his joy
and gratitude at her coming back.
As soon as she was in sight he rushed to meet her,
leaping and bounding like a real sheep. He caressed her
tenderly, throwing himself at her feet and kissing her
hands, and told her how uneasy he had been in her
absence, and how impatient for her return, with an
eloquence which charmed her.
After some time came the news that the King's second
daughter was going to be married. When Miranda heard
it she begged the King of the Sheep to allow her to go and
see the wedding as before. This request made him feel
very sad, as if some misfortune must surely come of it,
but his love for the Princess being stronger than anything
else he did not like to refuse her.
"You wish to leave me, Princess," said he; "it is my
unhappy fate--you are not to blame. I consent to your
going, but, believe me, I can give you no stronger proof
of my love than by so doing."
The Princess assured him that she would only stay a
very short time, as she had done before, and begged him
not to be uneasy, as she would be quite as much grieved
if anything detained her as he could possibly be.
So, with the same escort, she set out, and reached the
palace as the marriage ceremony began. Everybody was
delighted to see her; she was so pretty that they thought
she must be some fairy princess, and the Princes who were
there could not take their eyes off her.
The King was more glad than anyone else that she had
come again, and gave orders that the doors should all be
shut and bolted that very minute. When the wedding
was all but over the Princess got up quickly, hoping to
slip away unnoticed among the crowd, but, to her great
dismay, she found every door fastened.
She felt more at ease when the King came up to her, and
with the greatest respect begged her not to run away so
soon, but at least to honor him by staying for the splendid
feast which was prepared for the Princes and Princesses.
He led her into a magnificent hall, where all the Court was
assembled, and himself taking up the golden bowl full of
water, he offered it to her that she might dip her pretty
fingers into it.
At this the Princess could no longer contain herself;
throwing herself at the King's feet, she cried out:
"My dream has come true after all--you have offered
me water to wash my hands on my sister's wedding day,
and it has not vexed you to do it."
The King recognized her at once--indeed, he had
already thought several times how much like his poor little
Miranda she was.
"Oh! my dear daughter," he cried, kissing her, "can you
ever forget my cruelty? I ordered you to be put to death
because I thought your dream portended the loss of my
crown. And so it did," he added, "for now your sisters
are both married and have kingdoms of their own--and
mine shall be for you." So saying he put his crown on the
Princess's head and cried:
"Long live Queen Miranda!"
All the Court cried: "Long live Queen Miranda!" after him,
and the young Queen's two sisters came running up, and
threw their arms round her neck, and kissed her a thousand
times, and then there was such a laughing and crying,
talking and kissing, all at once, and Miranda thanked her
father, and began to ask after everyone--particularly the
Captain of the Guard, to whom she owed so much; but, to
her great sorrow, she heard that he was dead. Presently
they sat down to the banquet, and the King asked Miranda
to tell them all that had happened to her since the
terrible morning when he had sent the Captain of the
Guard to fetch her. This she did with so much spirit
that all the guests listened with breathless interest.
But while she was thus enjoying herself with the King
and her sisters, the King of the Sheep was waiting
impatiently for the time of her return, and when it
came and went, and no Princess appeared, his anxiety
became so great that he could bear it no longer.
"She is not coming back any more," he cried. "My
miserable sheep's face displeases her, and without
Miranda what is left to me, wretched creature that I am!
Oh! cruel Ragotte; my punishment is complete."
For a long time he bewailed his sad fate like this, and
then, seeing that it was growing dark, and that still there
was no sign of the Princess, he set out as fast as he could
in the direction of the town. When he reached the palace
he asked for Miranda, but by this time everyone had
heard the story of her adventures, and did not want her
to go back again to the King of the Sheep, so they refused
sternly to let him see her. In vain he begged and prayed
them to let him in; though his entreaties might have
melted hearts of stone they did not move the guards of
the palace, and at last, quite broken-hearted, he fell dead
at their feet.
In the meantime the King, who had not the least idea
of the sad thing that was happening outside the gate of his
palace, proposed to Miranda that she should be driven in
her chariot all round the town, which was to be illuminated
with thousands and thousands of torches, placed in
windows and balconies, and in all the grand squares.
But what a sight met her eyes at the very entrance of the
palace! There lay her dear, kind sheep, silent and motionless,
upon the pavement!
She threw herself out of the chariot and ran to him,
crying bitterly, for she realized that her broken promise
had cost him his life, and for a long, long time she was so
unhappy that they thought she would have died too.
So you see that even a princess is not always happy--especially
if she forgets to keep her word; and the greatest
misfortunes often happen to people just as they think they
have obtained their heart's desires!
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