|The Fairy Book|
|by Dinah Maria Mulock|
|One of the earliest collections of fairy tales from different countries, first published in 1863. Carefully selected and rendered anew in language close to the oral tradition. Includes old English tales, such as Jack the Giant-killer and Tom Thumb, as well as German stories from Grimm, and French tales of Perrault and Madame d'Aulnoy, and many other delightful and time-honored fairy tales. Numerous black and white illustrations by Louis Rhead complement the text. Ages 6-9 |
ONG ago there lived a monarch, who was such a very
honest man that his subjects entitled him the Good
King. One day, when he was out hunting, a little white
rabbit which had been half killed by his hounds, leaped
right into his majesty's arms. Said he, caressing it:
"This poor creature has put itself under my protection,
and I will allow no one to injure it." So he carried it to
his palace, had prepared for it a neat little
rabbit-hutch, with abundance of the daintiest food,
such as rabbits love, and there he left it.
The same night, when he was alone in his chamber, there
appeared to him a beautiful lady. She was dressed
neither in gold, nor silver, nor brocade; but her
flowing robes were white as snow, and she wore a
garland of white roses on her head. The Good King was
greatly astonished at the sight; for his door was
locked, and he wondered how so dazzling a lady could
possibly enter; but she soon removed his doubts.
"I am the Fairy Candide," said she, with a smiling and
gracious air. "Passing through the wood, where you were
hunting, I took a desire to know if you were as good as
men say you are. I therefore changed myself into a
white rabbit, and took refuge in your arms. You
me; and now I know that those who are merciful to dumb
beasts will be ten times more so to human beings. You
merit the name your subjects give you: you are the Good
King. I thank you for your protection, and shall be
always one of your best friends. You have but to say
what you most desire, and I promise you your wish shall
"Madam," replied the king, "if you are a fairy, you
must know, without my telling you, the wish of my
heart. I have one well-beloved son, Prince Cherry:
whatever kindly feeling you have towards me, extend it
"Willingly," said Candide. "I will make him the
handsomest, richest, or most powerful prince in the
world: choose whichever you desire for him."
"None of the three," returned the father. "I only wish
him to be good—the best prince in the whole world. Of
what use would riches, power, or beauty be to him if he
were a bad man?"
"You are right," said the fairy; "but I cannot make him
good: he must do that himself. I can only change his
external fortunes; for his personal character, the
utmost I can promise is to give him good counsel,
reprove him for his faults, and even punish him, if he
will not punish himself. You mortals can but do the
same with your children."
"Ah, yes!" said the king, sighing. Still, he felt that
the kindness of a fairy was something gained for his
son, and died not long after, content and at peace.
 Prince Cherry mourned deeply, for he dearly loved his
father, and would have gladly given all his kingdoms
and treasures to keep him in life a little longer. Two
days after the Good King was no more, Prince Cherry was
sleeping in his chamber, when he saw the same dazzling
vision of the Fairy Candide.
"I promised your father," said she, "to be your best
friend, and in pledge of this take what I now give
you;" and she placed a small gold ring upon his finger.
"Poor as it looks, it is more precious than diamonds;
for whenever you do ill it will prick your finger. If,
after that warning, you still continue in evil, you
will lose my friendship, and I shall become your direst
So saying, she disappeared, leaving Cherry in such
amazement, that he would have believed it all a dream,
save for the ring on his finger.
He was for a long time so good that the ring never
pricked him at all; and this made him so cheerful and
pleasant in his humour that everybody called him,
"Happy Prince Cherry." But, one unlucky day, he was out
hunting and found no sport, which vexed him so much
that he showed his ill temper by his looks and ways. He
fancied his ring felt very tight and uncomfortable, but
as it did not prick him, he took no heed of this:
until, re-entering his palace, his little pet dog,
Bibi, jumped up upon him, and was sharply told to get
away. The creature, accustomed to nothing but caresses,
tried to attract his attention by pulling at his
 when Prince Cherry turned and gave it a
severe kick. At this moment he felt in his finger a
prick like a pin.
"What nonsense!" said he to himself. "The fairy must be
making game of me. Why, what great evil have I done? I,
the master of a great empire, cannot I kick my own
A voice replied, or else Prince Cherry imagined it,
"No, sire; the master of a great empire has a right to
do good, but not evil. I—a fairy—am as much above
you as you are above your dog. I might punish you, kill
you, if I chose; but I prefer leaving you to amend your
ways. You have been guilty of three faults to-day—bad
temper, passion, cruelty: do better to-morrow."
The prince promised, and kept his word awhile; but he
had been brought up by a foolish nurse, who indulged
him in every way, and was always telling him that he
would be a king one day, when he might do as he liked
in all things. He found out now that even a king cannot
always do that; it vexed him, and made him angry. His
ring began to prick him so often that his little finger
was continually bleeding. He disliked this, as was
natural; and soon began to consider whether it would
not be easier to throw the ring away altogether than to
be constantly annoyed by it. It was such a queer thing
for a king to have always a spot of blood on his
finger! At last, unable to put up with it any more, he
took his ring off, and hid it where he would never see
it; and believed himself the
 happiest of men, for he
could now do exactly what he liked. He did it, and
became every day more and more miserable.
One day he saw a young girl, so beautiful that, being
always accustomed to have his own way, he immediately
determined to espouse her. He never doubted that she
would be only too glad to be made a queen, for she was
very poor. But Zelia—that was her name—answered, to
his great astonishment, that she would rather not marry
"Do I displease you?" asked the prince, into whose mind
it had never entered that he could displease anybody.
"Not at all, my prince," said the honest
peasant-maiden. "You are very handsome, very charming;
but you are not like your father the Good King. I will
not be your queen, for you would make me miserable."
At these words the prince's love seemed all to turn to
hatred: he gave orders to his guards to convey Zelia to
a prison near the palace; and then took counsel with
his foster-brother, the one of all his ill companions
who most incited him to do wrong.
"Sir," said this man, "if I were in your majesty's
place, I would never vex myself about a poor silly
girl. Feed her on bread and water till she comes to her
senses; and if she still refuses you, let her die in
torment, as a warning to your other subjects should
they venture to dispute your will. You will be
disgraced should you suffer yourself to be conquered by
a simple girl."
 "But," said Prince Cherry, "shall I not be disgraced if
I harm a creature so perfectly innocent?"
"No one is innocent who disputes your majesty's
authority," said the courtier, bowing; "and it is
better to commit an injustice than allow it to be
supposed you can ever be contradicted with impunity."
This touched Cherry on his weak point—his good
impulses faded; he resolved once more to ask Zelia if
she would marry him, and, if she again refused, to sell
her as a slave. Arrived at the cell in which she was
confined, what was his astonishment to find her gone!
He knew not who to accuse, for he had kept the key in
his pocket the whole time. At last, the foster-brother
suggested that the escape of Zelia might have been
contrived by an old man, Suliman by name, the prince's
former tutor, who was the only one who now ventured to
blame him for any thing that he did. Cherry sent
immediately, and ordered his old friend to be brought
to him, loaded heavily with irons. Then, full of fury,
he went and shut himself up in his own chamber, where
he went raging to and fro, till startled by a noise
like a clap of thunder. The Fairy Candide stood before
"Prince," said she, in a severe voice, "I promised your
father to give you good counsels, and to punish you if
you refused to follow them. My counsels were forgotten,
my punishments despised. Under the figure of a man, you
have been no better than the beasts you chase: like a
lion in fury,
 a wolf in gluttony, a serpent in revenge,
and a bull in brutality. Take, therefore, in your new
form the likeness of all these animals."
Scarcely had Prince Cherry heard these words, than to
his horror he found himself transformed into what the
fairy had named. He was a creature with the head of a
lion, the horns of a bull, the feet of a wolf, and the
tail of a serpent. At the same time he felt himself
transported to a distant forest, where, standing on the
bank of a stream, he saw reflected in the water his own
frightful shape, and heard a voice saying:
"Look at thyself, and know thy soul has become a
thousand times uglier even than thy body."
Cherry recognised the voice of Candide, and in his rage
would have sprung upon her and devoured her; but he saw
nothing, and the same voice said behind him:
feeble fury, and learn to conquer thy pride by being in
submission to thine own subjects."
Hearing no more, he soon quitted the stream, hoping at
least to get rid of the sight of himself; but he had
scarcely gone twenty paces when he tumbled into a
pitfall that was laid to catch bears; the bear-hunters,
descending from some trees hard by, caught him, chained
him, and, only too delighted to get hold of such a
curious-looking animal, led him along with them to the
capital of his own kingdom.
There great rejoicings were taking place, and the
bear-hunters, asking what it was all about,
 were told
that it was because Prince Cherry, the torment of his
subjects, had just been struck dead by a thunderbolt—just
punishment of all his crimes. Four courtiers, his
wicked companions, had wished to divide his throne
between them; but the people had risen up against them,
and offered the crown to Suliman, the old tutor whom
Cherry had ordered to be arrested.
All this the poor monster heard. He even saw Suliman
sitting upon his own throne, and trying to calm the
populace by representing to them that it was not
certain Prince Cherry was dead; that he might return
one day to re-assume with honour the crown which
Suliman only consented to wear as a sort of viceroy.
"I know his heart," said the honest and faithful old
man; "it is tainted, but not corrupt. If alive, he may
reform yet, and be all his father over again to you,
his people, whom he has caused to suffer so much."
These words touched the poor beast so deeply, that he
ceased to beat himself against the iron bars of the
cage in which the hunters carried him about, became
gentle as a lamb, and suffered himself to be taken
quietly to a menagerie, where were kept all sorts of
strange and ferocious animals—a place which he had
himself often visited as a boy, but never thought he
should be shut up there himself.
However, he owned he had deserved it all, and began to
make amends by showing himself very obedient to his
keeper. This man was almost as great a brute as the
animals he had charge of,
 and when he was in ill humour
he used to beat them without rhyme or reason. One day,
while he was sleeping, a tiger broke loose, and leaped
upon him, eager to devour him. Cherry at first felt a
thrill of pleasure at the thought of being revenged;
then, seeing how helpless the man was, he wished
himself free, that he might defend him. Immediately the
doors of his cage opened. The keeper, waking up, saw
the strange beast leap out, and imagined, of course,
that he was going to be slain at once. Instead, he saw
the tiger lying dead, and the strange beast creeping
up, and laying itself at his feet to be caressed. But
as he lifted up his hand to stroke it, a voice was
heard saying, "Good actions never go unrewarded;" and,
instead of the frightful monster, there crouched on the
ground nothing but a pretty little dog.
Cherry, delighted to find himself thus metamorphosed,
caressed the keeper in every possible way, till at last
the man took him up into his arms and carried him to
the king, to whom he related this wonderful story, from
beginning to end. The queen wished to have the charming
little dog; and Cherry would have been exceedingly
happy, could he have forgotten that he was originally a
man and a king. He was lodged most elegantly, had the
richest of collars to adorn his neck, and heard himself
praised continually. But his beauty rather brought him
into trouble, for the queen, afraid lest he might grow
too large for a pet, took advice of dog-doctors, who
ordered that he should be fed entirely upon
 bread, and
that very sparingly; so poor Cherry was sometimes
One day, when they gave him his crust for breakfast, a
fancy seized him to go and eat it in the palace-garden;
so he took the bread in his mouth, and trotted away
towards a stream which he knew, and where he sometimes
stopped to drink. But instead of the stream he saw a
splendid palace, glittering with gold and precious
stones. Entering the doors was a crowd of men and
women, magnificently dressed; and within there was
singing and dancing, and good cheer of all sorts. Yet,
however grandly and gaily the people went in, Cherry
noticed that those who came out were pale, thin,
ragged, half-naked, covered with wounds and sores. Some
of them dropped dead at once; others dragged themselves
on a little way and then lay down, dying of hunger, and
vainly begged a morsel of bread from others who were
entering in—who never took the least notice of them.
Cherry perceived one woman, who was trying feebly to
gather and eat some green herbs. "Poor thing!" said he
to himself; "I know what it is to be hungry, and I want
my breakfast badly enough; but still it will not kill
me to wait till dinner-time, and my crust may save the
life of this poor woman."
So the little dog ran up to her, and dropped his bread
at her feet; she picked it up, and ate it with avidity.
Soon she looked quite recovered, and Cherry, delighted,
was trotting back again to his kennel, when he heard
loud cries, and saw
 a young girl dragged by four men to
the door of the palace, which they were trying to
compel her to enter. Oh, how he wished himself a
monster again, as when he slew the tiger!—for the
young girl was no other than his beloved Zelia. Alas!
what could a poor little dog do to defend her? But he
ran forward and barked at the men, and bit their heels,
until at last they chased him away with heavy blows.
And then he lay down outside the palace-door,
determined to watch and see what had become of Zelia.
Conscience pricked him now. "What!" thought he, "I am
furious against these wicked men, who are carrying her
away; and did I not do the same myself? Did I not cast
her into prison, and intend to sell her as a slave? Who
knows how much more wickedness I might not have done to
her and others, if heaven's justice had not stopped me
While he lay thinking and repenting, he heard a window
open, and saw Zelia throw out of it a bit of dainty
meat. Cherry, who felt hungry enough by this time, was
just about to eat it, when the woman to whom he had
given his crust snatched him up in her arms.
"Poor little beast!" cried she, patting him, "every bit
of food in that palace is poisoned: you shall not touch
And at the same time the voice in the air repeated
again, "Good actions never go unrewarded;" and Cherry
found himself changed into a beautiful little white
pigeon. He remembered with joy that white was the
colour of the Fairy
 Candide, and began to hope that she
was taking him into favour again.
So he stretched his wings, delighted that he might now
have a chance of approaching his fair Zelia. He flew up
to the palace-windows, and, finding one of them open,
entered and sought everywhere, but he could not find
Zelia. Then, in despair, he flew out again, resolved to
go over the world until he beheld her once more.
He took flight at once, and traversed many countries,
swiftly as a bird can, but found no trace of his
beloved. At length in a desert, sitting beside an old
hermit in his cave, and partaking with him his frugal
repast, Cherry saw a poor peasant-girl, and recognised
Zelia. Transported with joy, he flew in, perched on her
shoulder, and expressed his delight and affection by a
She, charmed with the pretty little
pigeon, caressed it in her turn, and promised it that,
if it would stay with her, she would love it always.
"What have you done, Zelia?" said the hermit, smiling;
and while he spoke the white pigeon vanished, and there
stood Prince Cherry in his own natural form. "Your
enchantment ended, prince, when Zelia promised to love
you. Indeed, she has loved you always, but your many
faults constrained her to hide her love. These are now
amended, and you may both live happy if you will,
because your union is founded upon mutual esteem."
Cherry and Zelia threw themselves at the feet of the
hermit, whose form also began to change.
 His soiled
garments became of dazzling whiteness, and his long
beard and withered face grew into the flowing hair and
lovely countenance of the Fairy Candide.
"Rise up, my children," said she; "I must now transport
you to your palace, and restore to Prince Cherry his
father's crown, of which he is now worthy."
She had scarcely ceased speaking when they found
themselves in the chamber of Suliman, who, delighted to
find again his beloved pupil and master, willingly
resigned the throne, and became the most faithful of
King Cherry and Queen Zelia reigned together for many
years, and it is said that the former was so blameless
and strict in all his duties, that though he constantly
wore the ring which Candide had restored to him it
never once pricked his finger enough to make it bleed.
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