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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

And so resplendently lighted with thousands of lamps


At

length, wandering he knew not whither, he found himself in a forest; night suddenly came on, and with it a violent storm of thunder, lightning, and rain. To add to his perplexity, he lost his path, and could find no way out of the forest. After he had groped about for a long time, he perceived a light, which made him suppose that he was not far from some house: he accordingly pursued his way towards it, and in a short time found himself at the gates of the most magnificent palace he ever beheld. The door that opened into it was made of gold, covered with sapphire stones, which cast so resplendent a brightness over everything around, that scarcely could the strongest eyesight bear to look at it. This was the light the prince had seen from the forest. The walls of the building were of transparent porcelain, variously coloured, and represented the history of all the fairies that had existed from the beginning of the world. The prince coming back to the golden door, observed a deer's foot fastened to a chain of diamonds; he could not help wondering at the magnificence he beheld, and the security in which the inhabitants seemed to live; "for," said he to himself, "nothing can be easier than for thieves to steal this chain, and as many of the sapphire stones as would make their fortunes." He pulled the chain, and heard a bell the sound of which was exquisite. In a few moments the door was opened; but he perceived nothing but twelve hands in the air, each holding a torch. The prince
was so astonished that he durst not move a step; when he felt himself gently pushed on by some other hands from behind him. He walked on, in great perplexity, till he entered a vestibule inlaid with porphyry and lapis-stone. There the most melodious voice he had ever heard chanted the following words:

"Welcome, prince, no danger fear, Mirth and love attend you here; You shall break the magic spell, That on a beauteous lady fell.

"Welcome, prince, no danger fear, Mirth and love attend you here,"

The prince now advanced with confidence, wondering what these words could mean; the hands moved him forward towards a large door of coral, which opened of itself to give him admittance into a splendid apartment built of mother-of-pearl, through which he passed into others so richly adorned with paintings and jewels, and so resplendently lighted with thousands of lamps, girandoles and lustres, that the prince imagined he must be in an enchanted palace. When he had passed through sixty apartments, all equally splendid, he was stopped by the hands, and a large easy-chair advanced of itself towards the chimney; and the hands, which he observed were extremely white and delicate, took off his wet clothes, and supplied their place with the finest linen imaginable, and then added a commodious wrapping-gown, embroidered with the brightest gold, and all over enriched with pearls. The hands next brought him an elegant dressing-table, and combed his hair so very gently that he scarcely felt their touch. They held before him a beautiful basin, filled with perfumes, for him to wash his face and hands, and afterwards took off the wrapping-gown and dressed him in a suit of clothes of still greater splendour. When his dress was complete, they conducted him to an apartment he had not yet seen, and which also was magnificently furnished. There was in it a table spread for a repast, and everything upon it was of the purest gold adorned with jewels. The prince observed there were two covers set, and was wondering who was to be his companion, when his attention was suddenly caught by a small figure not a foot high, which just then entered the room, and advanced towards him. It had on a long black veil, and was supported by two cats dressed in mourning, and with swords by their sides: they were followed by a numerous retinue of cats, some carrying cages full of rats and others mousetraps full of mice.


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