|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 |
THE MAGIC SWAN
NCE upon a time there were three brothers, and the youngest
of them was named Peter. The two bigger boys treated
him very badly. Almost every day they beat him until he
One day as he was crying an old woman passed by. She
felt sorry for the poor boy, and said that she would
help him to become rich and happy.
Peter thanked her, and then the old woman said:
"To-morrow morning, when the sun rises, go to the
cross-roads, and there you will find a large swan tied
to a tree. Untie it and bring it away with you. The
first man that you meet will wish to have a feather
from the swan's tail. You must let him try to take one.
As soon as he touches the swan it will scream. Then you
must say, 'Swan, hold fast,' and the man will be stuck
fast until you touch him with this little stick I will
give you. All the people who try to set the man free
will be held fast in the same way.
"When a number of people have been held fast you must
go to the king's palace. There you will find a poor,
sad princess, who has never been known to laugh. If you
can make her laugh the king will give you a rich
reward, and you will be happy ever after."
Peter thanked the old lady, and at sunrise he went to
the cross-roads, where he found the swan. At once he
untied it, and, putting it under his arm, walked away.
 Soon he met a man who said: "I want a feather
from that swan."
"Take it," cried Peter.
When the man took hold of the swan's tail the bird
screamed and Peter said, "Swan, hold fast!" At once the
man found himself stuck to the swan so tightly that he
could not get free. He pulled his hardest, but all in
A girl who was washing clothes in the brook thought she
would come to the help of the man; but as soon as she
touched him Peter cried, "Swan, hold fast!" Then the
girl was caught, too.
On they went, and soon they met a chimney-sweep. "Come
and help me to get free," cried the girl. The sweep
took hold of the girl, and at once the swan screamed.
"Swan, hold fast!" said Peter, and the sooty man found
that he was stuck fast, too.
Soon they came to a village where a fair was going on.
A clown saw the three people following Peter and the
swan, and began to make fun of them. "Don't laugh at
us," said the sweep, "but help us to get free."
The clown did so; but no sooner had he touched the
sweep that the swan screamed, and Peter said, "Swan,
hold fast!" Then the clown found that he could not get
free and that he was forced to go with the others.
Just then a policeman came up. "What is the matter
here?" he asked, and then he took hold of the clown's
arm, meaning to take him off to prison. Once more the
swan screamed, and once more Peter said, "Swan, hold
fast!" Then the policeman found himself stuck fast to
The policeman's wife, who was looking out of the
window, saw her husband being dragged along. At once
she rushed out and took hold of his hand, and tried to
pull him away; but the swan screamed, and Peter cried,
"Swan, hold fast!" So the policeman's wife had to
follow Peter, too.
 On they went until they came to the king's
palace. Looking out of the window was a beautiful
princess, with the saddest face you could ever see.
When she saw Peter and the people behind him she began
to laugh. At once the servants told the king, and he
was very glad to hear the joyful news.
When he saw the man, the girl, the chimney-sweep, the
clown, the policeman, and the policeman's wife all
struggling to get free, he laughed, too, and could
"Set these people free," said he, "and I will give you
a great reward for making the princess laugh."
Then Peter touched them with his little stick, and away
they ran as fast as they could. At this the princess
and the king laughed louder than ever.
Then the king gave Peter much gold and silver, and made
him a great man in the land. In time the princess
became his wife, and when her father died Peter became
He did not forget the old lady who had told him what to
do that he might become rich and great. He gave her a
house and servants to wait upon her, and she and the
princess and Peter lived happily ever after.
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