The Red Fairy Book

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THE RED FAIRY BOOK

Edited by ANDREW LANG

TO MASTER BILLY TREMAYNE MILES A PROFOUND STUDENT YET AN AMIABLE CRITIC

PREFACE

IN a second gleaning of the fields of Fairy Land we cannot expect to find a second Perrault. But there are good stories enough left, and it is hoped that some in the Red Fairy Book may have the attraction of being less familiar than many of the old friends. The tales have been translated, or, in the case of those from Madame d'Aulnoy's long stories, adapted, by Mrs. Hunt from the Norse, by Miss Minnie Wright from Madame d'Aulnoy, by Mrs. Lang and Miss Bruce from other French sources, by Miss May Sellar, Miss Farquharson, and Miss Blackley from the German, while the story of `Sigurd' is condensed by the Editor from Mr. William Morris's prose version of the `Volsunga Saga.' The Editor has to thank his friend, M. Charles Marelles, for permission to reproduce his versions of the `Pied Piper,' of `Drakestail,' and of `Little Golden Hood' from the French, and M. Henri Carnoy for the same privilege in regard to `The Six Sillies' from La Tradition.

Lady Frances Balfour has kindly copied an old version of `Jack and the Beanstalk,' and Messrs. Smith and Elder have permitted the publication of two of Mr. Ralston's versions from the Russian.

A. L.

CONTENTS

The Twelve Dancing Princesses The Princess Mayblossom Soria Moria Castle The Death of Koschei the Deathless The Black Thief and Knight of the Glen The Master Thief Brother and Sister Princess Rosette The Enchanted Pig The Norka The Wonderful Birch Jack and the Beanstalk The Little Good Mouse Graciosa and Percinet The Three Princesses of Whiteland The Voice of Death The Six Sillies Kari Woodengown Drakestail The Ratcatcher The True History of Little Goldenhood The Golden Branch The Three Dwarfs Dapplegrim The Enchanted Canary The Twelve Brothers Rapunzel The Nettle Spinner Farmer Weatherbeard Mother Holle Minnikin Bushy Bride Snowdrop The Golden Goose The Seven Foals The Marvellous Musician The Story of Sigurd

THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES

I

ONCE upon a time there lived in the village of Montignies-sur- Roc a little cow-boy, without either father or mother. His real name was Michael, but he was always called the Star Gazer, because when he drove his cows over the commons to seek for pasture, he went along with his head in the air, gaping at nothing.

As he had a white skin, blue eyes, and hair that curled all over his head, the village girls used to cry after him, `Well, Star Gazer, what are you doing?' and Michael would answer, `Oh, nothing,' and go on his way without even turning to look at them.

The fact was he thought them very ugly, with their sun-burnt necks, their great red hands, their coarse petticoats and their wooden shoes. He had heard that somewhere in the world there were girls whose necks were white and whose hands were small, who were always dressed in the finest silks and laces, and were called princesses, and while his companions round the fire saw nothing in the flames but common everyday fancies, he dreamed that he had the happiness to marry a princess.

II

One morning about the middle of August, just at mid-day when the sun was hottest, Michael ate his dinner of a piece of dry bread, and went to sleep under an oak. And while he slept he dreamt that there appeared before him a beautiful lady, dressed in a robe of cloth of gold, who said to him: `Go to the castle of Beloeil, and there you shall marry a princess.'

That evening the little cow-boy, who had been thinking a great deal about the advice of the lady in the golden dress, told his dream to the farm people. But, as was natural, they only laughed at the Star Gazer.

The next day at the same hour he went to sleep again under the same tree. The lady appeared to him a second time, and said: `Go to the castle of Beloeil, and you shall marry a princess.'

In the evening Michael told his friends that he had dreamed the same dream again, but they only laughed at him more than before. `Never mind,' he thought to himself; `if the lady appears to me a third time, I will do as she tells me.'

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