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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

What does your majesty think Avenant says


style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER XI

THE FAIR ONE WITH THE GOLDEN LOCKS

There was once a most beautiful and amiable princess who was called "The Fair One with Locks of Gold," for her hair shone brighter than gold, and flowed in curls down to her feet, her head was always encircled by a wreath of beautiful flowers, and pearls and diamonds.

A handsome, rich, young prince, whose territories joined to hers, was deeply in love with the reports he heard of her, and sent to demand her in marriage. The ambassador sent with proposals was most sumptuously attired, and surrounded by lackeys on beautiful horses, as well as charged with every kind of compliment, from the anxious prince, who hoped he would bring the princess back with him; but whether it was that she was not that day in a good humour, or that she did not like the speeches made by the ambassador, I don't know, but she returned thanks to his master for the honour he intended her, and said she had no inclination to marry. When the ambassador arrived at the king's chief city, where he was expected with great impatience, the people were extremely afflicted to see him return without the Fair One with the Locks of Gold; and the king wept like a child. There was a youth at court whose beauty outshone the sun, the gracefulness of whose person was not to be equalled, and for his gracefulness and wit, he was called Avenant: the

king loved him, and indeed every body except the envious. Avenant being one day in company with some persons, inconsiderately said, "If the king had sent me to the Fair One with Locks of Gold, I dare say I could have prevailed on her to return with me." These enviers of Avenant's prosperity immediately ran open mouthed to the king, saying, "Sir sir, what does your majesty think Avenant says? He boasts that if you had sent him to the Fair One with the Golden Hair, he could have brought her with him; which shows he is so vain as to think himself handsomer than your majesty and that her love for him would have made her follow him wherever he went." This put the king into a violent rage. "What!" said he, "does this youngster make a jest at my misfortune, and pretend to set himself above me? Go and put him immediately in my great tower, and there let him starve to death." The king's guards went and seized Avenant who thought no more of what he had said, dragged him to prison, and used him in the most cruel manner.

One day when he was almost quite spent, he said to himself, fetching a deep sigh, "Wherein can I have offended the king? He has not a more faithful subject than myself; nor have I ever done any thing to displease him." The king happened at that time to pass by the tower; and stopped to hear him, notwithstanding the persuasions of those that were with him; "Hold your peace," replied the king, "and let me hear him out." Which having done, and being greatly moved by his sufferings, he opened the door of the tower, and called him by his name. Upon which Avenant came forth in a sad condition, and, throwing himself at the king's feet, "What have I done, sir," said he, "that your majesty should use me thus severely?" "Thou hast ridiculed me and my ambassador," replied the king; "and hast said, that if I had sent thee to the Fair One with Locks of Gold, thou couldst have brought her with thee." "It is true, sir," replied Avenant, "for I would have so thoroughly convinced her of your transcending qualities, that it should not have been in her power to have denied me; and this, surely, I said in the name of your majesty." The king found in reality he had done no injury; so, he took him away with him, repenting heartily of the wrong he had done him. After having given him an excellent supper, the king sent for him into his cabinet. "Avenant," said he, "I still love the Fair One with Locks of Gold; I have a mind to send thee to her, to try whether thou canst succeed," Avenant replied, he was ready to obey his majesty in all things, and would depart the very next morning. "Hold," said the king, "I will provide thee first with a most sumptuous equipage." "There is no necessity for that," answered Avenant; "I need only a good horse and your letters of credence." Upon this the king embraced him; being overjoyed to see him so soon ready.


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