|A Child's Book of Stories|
|by Penrhyn W. Coussens|
|A choice collection of favorite fairy tales, to delight children of all ages. The 86 stories selected for this collection include folk tales from England, Norway, and India, as well as the best fairy tales from Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault. The volume also contains a handful of fables from Aesop and several tales from the Arabian Nights. Ages 5-9 |
DIAMONDS AND TOADS
HERE was once upon a time a widow who had two daughters.
The eldest was so much like her in the face and humor
that whoever looked upon the daughter saw the mother.
They were both so disagreeable and so proud that there
was no living with them.
The youngest, who was the very picture of her father
for courtesy and sweetness and humor, was withal one of
the most beautiful girls ever seen. As people
naturally love their own likeness, this mother even
doted on her eldest daughter, and at the same time had
a horrible aversion for the youngest–she made her eat
in the kitchen and work continually.
Among other things, this poor child was forced twice a
day to draw water above a mile and a half away from the
house and bring home a pitcherful of it. One day as
she was at this fountain there came to her a poor
woman, who begged of her to let her drink.
"Oh! ay, with all my heart, Goody," said this pretty
little girl; and rinsing immediately the pitcher, she
took up some water from the clearest place of the
fountain and gave it to her, holding up the pitcher all
the while, that she might drink the easier.
The good woman having drunk said to her:
"You are so very pretty, my dear, so good and mannerly,
that I cannot help giving you a gift." For this was a
fairy who had taken the form of a poor country woman to
see how far the
 civility and good manners of this pretty girl would go.
"I would give you for a gift," continued the fairy,
"that every word you speak there shall come out of your
mouth either a flower or a jewel."
When this pretty girl came home her mother scolded at
her for staying so long at the fountain.
"I beg your pardon, mamma," said the poor girl, for not
making more haste."
And in speaking these words there came out of her mouth
two roses, two pearls, and two diamonds.
"What is it I see there?" said her mother, quite
astonished. "I think I see diamonds and pearls come
out of this girl's mouth! How happens this, child?"
This was the first time she had ever called her child.
The poor creature told her frankly all the matter, not
without dropping out infinite numbers of diamonds.
"In good faith," cried the mother, "I must send my
child thither. Come hither, Fanny. Look what comes
out of thy sister's mouth when she speaks. Wouldst not
thou be glad, my dear, to have the same gift given to
thee? Thou hast nothing else to do but go and draw
water out of the fountain, and when a certain poor
woman asks you to let her drink to give it to her very
"It would be a very fine sight indeed," said this
ill-bred minx, "to see me go draw water."
"You shall go, hussy!" said the mother, "and this
minute." So away she went, but grumbling all the way,
taking with her the best silver tankard in the house.
She was no sooner at the fountain than she saw coming
out of the wood a lady most gloriously dressed who came
up to her and asked to drink. This was, you must know,
the very fairy who appeared to her sister, but had now
taken the air and dress of a princess, to see how far
this girl's rudeness would go.
 "Am I come hither," said the proud, saucy slut, "to
serve you with water, pray? I suppose the silver
tankard was brought purely for your ladyship, was it?
However, you may drink out of it, if you have a fancy."
"You are not over and above mannerly," answered the
fairy, without putting herself in a passion. "Well,
then, since you have so little breeding and are so
disobliging, I give you for gift that every word you
speak there shall come out of your mouth a snake or a
So soon as her mother saw her coming she cried out:
"Well, mother?" answered the pert hussy, throwing out
of her mouth two vipers and two toads.
"Oh! mercy," cried the mother; "what is it I see? Oh!
it is that wretch her sister who has occasioned all
this; but she shall pay for it." And immediately she
ran to beat her. The poor child fled away from her and
went to hide herself in the forest not far from thence.
The king's son, then on his return from hunting, met
her, and seeing her so very pretty, asked her what she
did there alone and why she cried.
"Alas! sir, my mamma has turned me out of doors."
The king's son, who saw five or six pearls and as many
diamonds come out of her mouth, desired her to tell him
how that happened. She thereupon told him the whole
story; and so the king's son fell in love with her, and
considering himself that such a gift was worth more
than any marriage portion, conducted her to the palace
of the king his father and there married her.
As for her sister, she made herself so much hated that
her own mother turned her off and the miserable wretch,
having wandered about a good while without finding
anybody to take her in, went to a corner of the wood
and there died.
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