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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
From English Fairy Tales, by Joseph Jacobs (coll. & ed.)
Start of Story
Once upon a time there was a king and a queen, as in many lands have
been. The king had a daughter, Anne, and the queen had one named Kate,
but Anne was far bonnier than the queen's daughter, though they loved
one another like real sisters. The queen was jealous of the king's
daughter being bonnier than her own, and cast about to spoil her
beauty. So she took counsel of the henwife, who told her to send the
lassie to her next morning fasting.
So next morning early, the queen said to Anne, "Go, my dear, to the
henwife in the glen, and ask her for some eggs." So Anne set out, but
as she passed through the kitchen she saw a crust, and she took and
munched it as she went along.
When she came to the henwife's she asked for eggs, as she had been
told to do; the henwife said to her, "Lift the lid off that pot there
and see." The lassie did so, but nothing happened. "Go home to your
minnie and tell her to keep her larder door better locked," said the
henwife. So she went home to the queen and told her what the henwife
The queen knew from this that the lassie had had something
to eat, so watched the next morning and sent her away fasting; but the
princess saw some country-folk picking peas by the roadside, and being
very kind she spoke to them and took a handful of the peas, which she
ate by the way.
When she came to the henwife's, she said, "Lift the lid off the pot
and you'll see." So Anne lifted the lid but nothing happened. Then the
henwife was rare angry and said to Anne, "Tell your minnie the pot
won't boil if the fire's away." So Anne went home and told the queen.
The third day the queen goes along with the girl herself to the
henwife. Now, this time, when Anne lifted the lid off the pot, off
falls her own pretty head, and on jumps a sheep's head.
So the queen was now quite satisfied, and went back home.
Her own daughter, Kate, however, took a fine linen cloth and wrapped
it round her sister's head and took her by the hand and they both went
out to seek their fortune. They went on, and they went on, and they
went on, till they came to a castle.
Kate knocked at the door and
asked for a night's lodging for herself and a sick sister. They went
in and found it was a king's castle, who had two sons, and one of them
was sickening away to death and no one could find out what ailed him.
And the curious thing was that whoever watched him at night was never
seen any more. So the king had offered a peck of silver to anyone who
would stop up with him. Now Katie was a very brave girl, so she
offered to sit up with him.
Till midnight all goes well. As twelve o clock rings, however, the
sick prince rises, dresses himself, and slips downstairs. Kate
followed, but he didn't seem to notice her. The prince went to the
stable, saddled his horse, called his hound, jumped into the saddle,
and Kate leapt lightly up behind him. Away rode the prince and Kate
through the greenwood, Kate, as they pass, plucking nuts from the
trees and filling her apron with them. They rode on and on till they
came to a green hill. The prince here drew bridle and spoke, "Open,
open, green hill, and let the young prince in with his horse and his
hound," and Kate added, "and his lady him behind."