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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

The merchant received a letter


After

they had lived in this manner about a year, the merchant received a letter, which informed him that one of the richest ships, which he thought was lost, had just come into port. This news made the two eldest sisters almost mad with joy; for they thought they should now leave the cottage, and have all their finery again. When they found that their father must take a journey to the ship, the two eldest begged he would not fail to bring them back some new gowns, caps, rings, and all sorts of trinkets. But Beauty asked for nothing; for she thought in herself that all the ship was worth would hardly buy every thing her sisters wished for. "Beauty," said the merchant, "how comes it about that you ask for nothing; what can I bring you, my child?" "Since you are so kind as to think of me, dear father," she answered, "I should be glad if you would bring me a rose, for we have none in our garden." Now Beauty did not indeed wish for a rose, nor any thing else, but she only said this, that she might not affront her sisters, for else they would have said she wanted her father to praise her for not asking him for any thing. The merchant took his leave of them and set out on his journey; but when he got to the ship, some persons went to law with him about the cargo, and after a deal of trouble, he came back to his cottage as poor as he had gone away. When he was within thirty miles of his home, and thinking of the joy he should have in again meeting his children, his road lay through a thick
forest, and he quite lost himself. It rained and snowed very hard, and besides, the wind was so high as to throw him twice from his horse. Night came on, and he thought to be sure he should die of cold and hunger, or be torn to pieces by the wolves that he heard howling round him. All at once, he now cast his eyes towards a long row of trees, and saw a light at the end of them, but it seemed a great way off. He made the best of his way towards it, and found that it came from a fine palace, lighted all over. He walked faster, and soon reached the gates, which he opened, and was very much surprised that he did not see a single person or creature in any of the yards. His horse had followed him, and finding a stable with the door open, went into it at once; and here the poor beast, being nearly starved, helped himself to a good meal of oats and hay. His master then tied him up, and walked towards the house, which he entered, but still without seeing a living creature. He went on to a large hall, where he found a good fire, and a table covered with some very nice dishes, and only one plate with a knife and fork. As the snow and rain had wetted him to the skin, he went up to the fire to dry himself. "I hope," said he, "the master of the house or his servants will excuse me, for to be sure it will not be long now before I see them." He waited a good time, but still nobody came: at last the clock struck eleven, and the merchant, being quite faint for the want of food, helped himself to a chicken, which he made but two mouthfuls of, and then to a few glasses of wine, yet all the time trembling with fear. He sat till the clock struck twelve, but did not see a single creature. He now took courage, and began to think of looking a little more about him; so he opened a door at the end of the hall, and went through it into a very grand room, In which there was a fine bed; and as he was quite weak and tired, he shut the door, took off his clothes, and got into it.

It was ten o'clock in the morning before he thought of getting up, when he was amazed to see a handsome new suit of clothes laid ready for him, instead of his own, which he had spoiled. "To be sure," said he to himself, "this place belongs to some good fairy, who has taken pity on my ill luck." He looked out of the window, and, instead of snow, he saw the most charming arbours covered with all kinds of


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