|The Blue Fairy Book|
|by Andrew Lang|
|A favorite collection of the best-known fairy tales, drawn from the folklore of many nations. It is the first and one of the best volumes in the series of colored fairy books produced by Andrew Lang at the turn of the twentieth century. Like the other volumes in the series, it includes engaging black and white illustrations that enliven the text. Inside you will find such favorites as Cinderella, Jack the Giant Killer, the Princess on the Glass Hill, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, and dozens of others. Ages 8-12 |
TOADS AND DIAMONDS
HERE was once upon a time a widow who had two
daughters. The eldest was so much like her in the face
and humour 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 of temper, 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 off the house,
and bring home a pitcher full 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 so
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 will give you
for gift," continued the Fairy, "that, at 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 pearls and diamonds come out of
the girl's mouth! How happens this, child?"
This was the first time she 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 civilly."
"It would be a very fine sight indeed,"
said this ill-bred minx, "to see me go draw water."
"You shall go, hussey!" said the mother; "and this
 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 now
had 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 at 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 hussey, 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 hereupon told him
the whole story; and so the King's son fell in love with
her, and, considering with 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 the 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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