: For Classes Ii. And Iii.
: Children Stories To Tell

Once there was a beautiful palace, which had a great wood at one side. The

king and his courtiers hunted in the wood near the palace, and there it

was kept open, free from underbrush. But farther away it grew wilder and

wilder, till at last it was so thick that nobody knew what was there. It

was a very great wood indeed.

In the wood lived eight fairies. Seven of them were good fairies, who had

lived there
always; the eighth was a bad fairy, who had just come. And the

worst of it was that nobody but the other fairies knew she _was_ a fairy;

people thought she was just an ugly old witch. The good fairies lived in

the dearest little houses! One lived in a hollow silver birch, one in a

little moss cottage, and so on. But the bad fairy lived in a horrid mud

house in the middle of a dark swamp.

Now when the first baby was born to the king and queen, her father and

mother decided to name her "Daylight," because she was so bright and

sweet. And of course they had a christening party. And of _course_ they

invited the fairies, because the good fairies had always been at the

christening party when a princess was born in the palace, and everybody

knew that they brought good gifts.

But, alas, no one knew about the swamp fairy, and she was not

invited,--which really pleased her, because it gave her an excuse for

doing something mean.

The good fairies came to the christening party, and, one after another,

five of them gave little Daylight good gifts. The other two stood among

the guests, so that no one noticed them. The swamp fairy thought there

were no more of them; so she stepped forward, just as the archbishop was

handing the baby back to the lady-in-waiting.

"I am just a little deaf," she said, mumbling a laugh with her toothless

gums. "Will your reverence tell me the baby's name again?"

"Certainly, my good woman," said the bishop; "the infant is little


"And little Daylight it shall be, forsooth," cried the bad fairy. "I

decree that she shall sleep all day." Then she laughed a horrid shrieking

laugh, "He, he, hi, hi!"

Everyone looked at everyone else in despair, but out stepped the sixth

good fairy, who by arrangement with her sisters had remained in the

background to undo what she could of any evil that the swamp fairy might


"Then at least she shall wake all night," she said, sadly.

"Ah!" screamed the swamp fairy, "you spoke before I had finished, which is

against the law, and gives me another chance." All the fairies started at

once to say, "I beg your pardon!" But the bad fairy said, "I had only

laughed 'he, he!' and 'hi, hi!' I had still 'ho, ho!' and 'hu, hu!' to


The fairies could not gainsay this, and the bad fairy had her other

chance. She said,--

"Since she is to wake all night, I decree that she shall wax and wane with

the moon! Ho, ho, hu, hu!"

Out stepped the seventh good fairy. "Until a prince shall kiss her without

knowing who she is," she said, quickly.

The swamp fairy had been prepared for the trick of keeping back one good

fairy, but she had not suspected it of two, and she could not say a word,

for she had laughed "ho, ho!" and "hu, hu!"

The poor king and queen looked sad enough. "We don't know what you mean,"

they said to the good fairy who had spoken last. But the good fairy

smiled. "The meaning of the thing will come with the thing," she said.

That was the end of the party, but it was only the beginning of the

trouble. Can you imagine what a queer household it would be, where the

baby laughed and crowed all night, and slept all day? Little Daylight was

as merry and bright all night as any baby in the world, but with the first

sign of dawn she fell asleep, and slept like a little dormouse till dark.

Nothing could waken her while day lasted. Still, the royal family got used

to this; but the rest of the bad fairy's gift was a great deal

worse,--that about waxing and waning with the moon. You know how the moon

grows bigger and brighter each night, from the time it is a curly silver

thread low in the sky till it is round and golden, flooding the whole sky

with light? That is the waxing moon. Then, you know, it wanes; it grows

smaller and paler again, night by night, till at last it disappears for a

while, altogether. Well, poor little Daylight waxed and waned with it. She

was the rosiest, plumpest, merriest baby in the world when the moon was at

the full; but as it began to wane her little cheeks grew paler, her tiny

hands thinner, with every night, till she lay in her cradle like a

shadow-baby, without sound or motion. At first they thought she was dead,

when the moon disappeared, but after some months they got used to this

too, and only waited eagerly for the new moon, to see her revive. When it

shone again, faint and silver, on the horizon, the baby stirred weakly,

and then they fed her gently; each night she grew a little better, and

when the moon was near the full again, she was again a lively, rosy,

lovely child.

So it went on till she grew up. She grew to be the most beautiful maiden

the moon ever shone on, and everyone loved her so much, for her sweet ways

and her merry heart, that someone was always planning to stay up at night,

to be near her. But she did not like to be watched, especially when she

felt the bad time of waning coming on; so her ladies-in-waiting had to be

very careful. When the moon waned she became shrunken and pale and bent,

like an old, old woman, worn out with sorrow. Only her golden hair and her

blue eyes remained unchanged, and this gave her a terribly strange look.

At last, as the moon disappeared, she faded away to a little, bowed, old

creature, asleep and helpless.

No wonder she liked best to be alone! She got in the way of wandering by

herself in the beautiful wood, playing in the moonlight when she was

well, stealing away in the shadows when she was fading with the moon. Her

father had a lovely little house of roses and vines built for her, there.

It stood at the edge of a most beautiful open glade, inside the wood,

where the moon shone best. There the princess lived with her ladies. And

there she danced when the moon was full. But when the moon waned, her

ladies often lost her altogether, so far did she wander; and sometimes

they found her sleeping under a great tree, and brought her home in their


When the princess was about seventeen years old, there was a rebellion in

a kingdom not far from her father's. Wicked nobles murdered the king of

the country and stole his throne, and would have murdered the young

prince, too, if he had not escaped, dressed in peasant's clothes.

Dressed in his poor rags, the prince wandered about a long time, till one

day he got into a great wood, and lost his way. It was the wood where the

Princess Daylight lived, but of course he did not know anything about that

nor about her. He wandered till night, and then he came to a queer little

house. One of the good fairies lived there, and the minute she saw him she

knew all about everything; but to him she looked only like a kind old

woman. She gave him a good supper and a bed for the night, and told him

to come back to her if he found no better place for the next night. But

the prince said he must get out of the wood at once; so in the morning he

took leave of the fairy.

All day long he walked, and walked; but at nightfall he had not found his

way out of the wood, so he lay down to rest till the moon should rise and

light his path.

When he woke the moon was glorious; it was three days from the full, and

bright as silver. By its light he saw what he thought to be the edge of

the wood, and he hastened toward it. But when he came to it, it was only

an open space, surrounded with trees. It was so very lovely, in the white

moonlight, that the prince stood a minute to look. And as he looked,

something white moved out of the trees on the far side of the open space.

It was something slim and white, that swayed in the dim light like a young


"It must be a moon fairy," thought the prince; and he stepped into the


The moon fairy came nearer and nearer, dancing and swaying in the

moonlight. And as she came, she began to sing a soft, gay little song.

But when she was quite close, the prince saw that she was not a fairy

after all, but a real human maiden,--the loveliest maiden he had ever

seen. Her hair was like yellow corn, and her smile made all the place

merry. Her white gown fluttered as she danced, and her little song sounded

like a bird note.

The prince watched her till she danced out of sight, and then until she

once more came toward him; and she seemed so like a moonbeam herself, as

she lifted her face to the sky, that he was almost afraid to breathe. He

had never seen anything so lovely. By the time she had danced twice round

the circle, he could think of nothing in the world except the hope of

finding out who she was, and staying near her.

But while he was waiting for her to appear the third time, his weariness

overcame him, and he fell asleep. And when he awoke, it was broad day, and

the beautiful maiden had vanished.

He hunted about, hoping to find where she lived, and on the other side of

the glade he came upon a lovely little house, covered with moss and

climbing roses. He thought she must live there, so he went round to the

kitchen door and asked the kind cook for a drink of water, and while he

was drinking it he asked who lived there. She told him it was the house of

the Princess Daylight, but she told him nothing else about her, because

she was not allowed to talk about her mistress. But she gave him a very

good meal and told him other things.

He did not go back to the little old woman who had been so kind to him

first, but wandered all day in the wood, waiting for the moontime. Again

he waited at the edge of the dell, and when the white moon was high in the

heavens, once more he saw the glimmering in the distance, and once more

the lovely maiden floated toward him. He knew her name was the Princess

Daylight, but this time she seemed to him much lovelier than before. She

was all in blue like the blue of the sky in summer. (She really was more

lovely, you know, because the moon was almost at the full.) All night he

watched her, quite forgetting that he ought not to be doing it, till she

disappeared on the opposite side of the glade. Then, very tired, he found

his way to the little old woman's house, had breakfast with her, and fell

fast asleep in the bed she gave him.

The fairy knew well enough by his face that he had seen Daylight, and when

he woke up in the evening and started off again she gave him a strange

little flask and told him to use it if ever he needed it.

This night the princess did not appear in the dell until midnight, at the

very full of the moon. But when she came, she was so lovely that she took

the prince's breath away. Just think!--she was dressed in a gown that

looked as if it were made of fireflies' wings, embroidered in gold. She

danced around and around, singing, swaying, and flitting like a beam of

sunlight, till the prince grew quite dazzled.

But while he had been watching her, he had not noticed that the sky was

growing dark and the wind was rising. Suddenly there was a clap of

thunder. The princess danced on. But another clap came louder, and then a

sudden great flash of lightning that lit up the sky from end to end. The

prince couldn't help shutting his eyes, but he opened them quickly to see

if Daylight was hurt. Alas, she was lying on the ground. The prince ran to

her, but she was already up again.

"Who are you?" she said.

"I thought," stammered the prince, "you might be hurt."

"There is nothing the matter. Go away."

The prince went sadly.

"Come back," said the princess. The prince came. "I like you, you do as

you are told. Are you good?"

"Not so good as I should like to be," said the prince.

"Then go and grow better," said the princess.

The prince went, more sadly.

"Come back," said the princess. The prince came. "I think you must be a

prince," she said.

"Why?" said the prince.

"Because you do as you are told, and you tell the truth. Will you tell me

what the sun looks like?"

"Why, everybody knows that," said the prince.

"I am different from everybody," said the princess,--"I don't know."

"But," said the prince, "do you not look when you wake up in the morning?"

"That's just it," said the princess, "I never do wake up in the morning. I

never can wake up until--" Then the princess remembered that she was

talking to a prince, and putting her hands over her face she walked

swiftly away. The prince followed her, but she turned and put up her hand

to tell him not to. And like the gentleman prince that he was, he obeyed

her at once.

Now all this time, the wicked swamp fairy had not known a word about what

was going on. But now she found out, and she was furious, for fear that

little Daylight should be delivered from her spell. So she cast her spells

to keep the prince from finding Daylight again. Night after night the poor

prince wandered and wandered, and never could find the little dell. And

when daytime came, of course, there was no princess to be seen. Finally,

at the time that the moon was almost gone, the swamp fairy stopped her

spells, because she knew that by this time Daylight would be so changed

and ugly that the prince would never know her if he did see her. She said

to herself with a wicked laugh:--

"No fear of his wanting to kiss her now!"

That night the prince did find the dell, but no princess came. A little

after midnight he passed near the lovely little house where she lived, and

there he overheard her waiting-women talking about her. They seemed in

great distress. They were saying that the princess had wandered into the

woods and was lost. The prince didn't know, of course, what it meant, but

he did understand that the princess was lost somewhere, and he started off

to find her. After he had gone a long way without finding her, he came to

a big old tree, and there he thought he would light a fire to show her the

way if she should happen to see it.

As the blaze flared up, he suddenly saw a little black heap on the other

side of the tree. Somebody was lying there. He ran to the spot, his heart

beating with hope. But when he lifted the cloak which was huddled about

the form, he saw at once that it was not Daylight. A pinched, withered,

white, little old woman's face shone out at him. The hood was drawn close

down over her forehead, the eyes were closed, and as the prince lifted

the cloak, the old woman's lips moaned faintly.

"Oh, poor mother," said the prince, "what is the matter?" The old woman

only moaned again. The prince lifted her and carried her over to the warm

fire, and rubbed her hands, trying to find out what was the matter. But

she only moaned, and her face was so terribly strange and white that the

prince's tender heart ached for her. Remembering his little flask, he

poured some of his liquid between her lips, and then he thought the best

thing he could do was to carry her to the princess's house, where she

could be taken care of.

As he lifted the poor little form in his arms, two great tears stole out

from the old woman's closed eyes and ran down her wrinkled cheeks.

"Oh, poor, poor mother," said the prince pityingly; and he stooped and

kissed her withered lips.

As he walked through the forest with the old woman in his arms, it seemed

to him that she grew heavier and heavier; he could hardly carry her at

all; and then she stirred, and at last he was obliged to set her down, to

rest. He meant to lay her on the ground. But the old woman stood upon her


And then the hood fell back from her face. As she looked up at the prince,

the first, long, yellow ray of the rising sun struck full upon her,--and

it was the Princess Daylight! Her hair was golden as the sun itself, and

her eyes as blue as the flower that grows in the corn.

The prince fell on his knees before her. But she gave him her hand and

made him rise.

"You kissed me when I was an old woman," said the princess, "I'll kiss you

now that I am a young princess." And she did.

And then she turned her face toward the dawn.

"Dear Prince," she said, "is that the sun?"