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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

The princess who accompanied the youngest


"I

resolved to find some means of escaping from my tower with the engaging prince I had seen. I was not long in devising a means for the execution of my project. I begged the fairies to bring me a netting-needle, a mesh and some cord, saying I wished to make some nets to amuse myself with catching birds at my window. This they readily complied with, and in a short time I completed a ladder long enough to reach the ground. I now sent my parrot to the prince, to beg he would come to his usual place, as I wished to speak with him. He did not fail, and finding the ladder, mounted it, and quickly entered my tower. This at first alarmed me; but the charms of his conversation had restored me to tranquillity, when all at once the window opened, and the fairy Violent, mounted on the dragon's back, rushed into the tower. My beloved prince thought of nothing but how to defend me from their fury; for I had had time to relate to him my story, previous to this cruel interruption; but their numbers overpowered him, and the fairy Violent had the barbarity to command the dragon to devour my prince before my eyes. In my despair, I would have thrown myself also into the mouth of the horrible monster, but this they took care to prevent, saying my life should be preserved for greater punishment. The fairy then touched me with her wand, and I instantly became a white cat. She next conducted me to this palace, which belonged to my father, and gave me a train of cats for my attendants, together with the
twelve hands which waited on your highness. She then informed me of my birth, and the death of my parents, and pronounced upon me what she imagined the greatest of maledictions: That I should not be restored to my natural figure till a young prince, the perfect resemblance of him I had lost, should cut off my head and tail. You are that perfect resemblance; and, accordingly, you have ended the enchantment. I need not add, that I already love you more than my life. Let us therefore hasten to the palace of the king your father, and obtain his approbation to our marriage."

The prince and princess accordingly set out side by side, in a car of still greater splendour than before, and reached the palace just as the two brothers had arrived with two beautiful princesses. The king, hearing that each of his sons had succeeded in finding what he had required, again began to think of some new expedient to delay the time of his resigning his crown; but when the whole court were with the king assembled to pass judgment, the princess who accompanied the youngest, perceiving his thoughts by his countenance, stepped majestically forward, and thus addressed him: "What pity that your majesty, who is so capable of governing, should think of resigning the crown! I am fortunate enough to have six kingdoms in my possession; permit me to bestow one on each of the eldest princes, and to enjoy the remaining four in the society of the youngest. And may it please your majesty to keep your own kingdom, and make no decision concerning the beauty of three princesses, who, without such a proof of your majesty's preference, will no doubt live happily together!" The air resounded with the applauses of the assembly. The young prince and princess embraced the king, and next their brothers and sisters; the three weddings immediately took place; and the kingdoms were divided as the princess had proposed.


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