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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

Avenant admired the wit of the crow

It was upon a Monday morning that he took leave of the king and his friends. Being on his journey by break of day, and entering into a spacious meadow, a fine thought came into his head; he alighted immediately, and seated himself by the bank of a little stream that watered one side of the meadow, and wrote the sentiment down in his pocket book. After he had done writing, he looked about him every way, being charmed with the beauties of the place, and suddenly perceived a large gilded carp, which stirred a little, and that was all it could do, for having attempted to catch some little flies, it had leaped so far out of the water, as to throw itself upon the grass, where it was almost dead, not being able to recover its natural element. Avenant took pity on the poor creature, and though it was a fish-day, and he might have carried it away for his dinner, he took it up, and gently put it again into the river, where the carp, feeling the refreshing coolness of the water, began to rejoice, and sunk to the bottom; but soon rising up again, brisk and gay, to the side of the river; "Avenant," said the carp, "I thank you for the kindness you have done me; had it not been for you, I had died; but you have saved my life, and I will reward you." After this short compliment, the carp darted itself to the bottom of the water, leaving Avenant not a little surprised at its wit and great civility.

Another day, as he was pursuing his journey, he saw a crow in great distress: being pursued by a huge eagle, he took his bow, which he always carried abroad with him, and aiming at the eagle, let fly an arrow, which pierced him through the body, so that he fell down dead; which the crow seeing, came in an ecstasy of joy, and perched upon a tree. "Avenant," said the crow, "you have been extremely generous to succour me, who am but a poor wretched crow; but I am not ungrateful and will do you as good a turn." Avenant admired the wit of the crow, and continuing his journey, he entered into a wood so early one morning, that he could scarcely see his way, where he heard an owl crying out like an owl in despair. So looking about every where, he at length came to a place where certain fowlers had spread their nets in the night-time to catch little birds. "What pity 'tis," said he, "men are only made to torment one another, or else to persecute poor animals who never do them any harm!" So saying, he drew his knife, cut the cords, and set the owl at liberty; who, before he took wing, said, "Avenant, the fowlers are coming, I should have been taken, and must have died, without your assistance: I have a grateful heart, and will remember it."

These were the three most remarkable adventures that befell Avenant in his journey; and when he arrived at the end of it, he washed himself, combed and powdered his hair, and put on a suit of cloth of gold: which having done, he put a rich embroidered scarf about his neck, with a small basket, wherein was a little dog which he was very fond of. And Avenant was so amiable, and did every thing with so good a grace, that when he presented himself at the gate of the palace, all the guards paid him great respect, and every one strove who should first give notice to the Fair One with Locks of Gold, that Avenant, the neighbouring king's ambassador, demanded audience. The princess on hearing the name of Avenant, said, "It has a pleasing sound, and I dare say he is agreeable and pleases every body; and she said to her maids of honour, go fetch me my rich embroidered gown of blue satin, dress my hair, and bring my wreaths of fresh flowers: let me have my high shoes, and my fan, and let my audience chamber and throne be clean, and richly adorned; for I would have him every where with truth say, that I am really the Fair One with Locks of Gold." Thus all her women were employed to dress her as a queen should be. At length, she went to her great gallery of looking-glasses, to see if any thing was wanting; after which she ascended her throne of gold, ivory, and ebony, the fragrant smell of which was superior to the choicest balm. She also commanded her maids of honour to take their instruments, and play to their own singing so sweetly that none should be disgusted.

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