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Age Rating 8 Plus.
Lily and the lion.by The Brothers Grimm.
Start of Story
A merchant, who had three daughters, was once setting out upon a
journey; but before he went he asked each daughter what gift he should
bring back for her. The eldest wished for pearls; the second for jewels;
but the third, who was called Lily, said, 'Dear father, bring me a
rose.' Now it was no easy task to find a rose, for it was the middle
of winter; yet as she was his prettiest daughter, and was very fond of
flowers, her father said he would try what he could do. So he kissed all
three, and bid them goodbye.
And when the time came for him to go home, he had bought pearls and
jewels for the two eldest, but he had sought everywhere in vain for the
rose; and when he went into any garden and asked for such a thing, the
people laughed at him, and asked him whether he thought roses grew in
snow. This grieved him very much, for Lily was his dearest child; and as
he was journeying home, thinking what he should bring her, he came to a
fine castle; and around the castle was a garden, in one half of which it
seemed to be summer-time and in the other half winter. On one side the
finest flowers were in full bloom, and on the other everything looked
dreary and buried in the snow. 'A lucky hit!' said he, as he called to
his servant, and told him to go to a beautiful bed of roses that was
there, and bring him away one of the finest flowers.
This done, they were riding away well pleased, when up sprang a fierce
lion, and roared out, 'Whoever has stolen my roses shall be eaten up
alive!' Then the man said, 'I knew not that the garden belonged to you;
can nothing save my life?' 'No!' said the lion, 'nothing, unless you
undertake to give me whatever meets you on your return home; if you
agree to this, I will give you your life, and the rose too for your
daughter.' But the man was unwilling to do so and said, 'It may be my
youngest daughter, who loves me most, and always runs to meet me when
I go home.' Then the servant was greatly frightened, and said, 'It may
perhaps be only a cat or a dog.' And at last the man yielded with a
heavy heart, and took the rose; and said he would give the lion whatever
should meet him first on his return.
And as he came near home, it was Lily, his youngest and dearest
daughter, that met him; she came running, and kissed him, and welcomed
him home; and when she saw that he had brought her the rose, she was
still more glad. But her father began to be very sorrowful, and to weep,
saying, 'Alas, my dearest child! I have bought this flower at a high
price, for I have said I would give you to a wild lion; and when he has
you, he will tear you in pieces, and eat you.' Then he told her all that
had happened, and said she should not go, let what would happen.
But she comforted him, and said, 'Dear father, the word you have given
must be kept; I will go to the lion, and soothe him: perhaps he will let
me come safe home again.'
The next morning she asked the way she was to go, and took leave of her
father, and went forth with a bold heart into the wood. But the lion was
an enchanted prince. By day he and all his court were lions, but in the
evening they took their right forms again. And when Lily came to the
castle, he welcomed her so courteously that she agreed to marry him. The
wedding-feast was held, and they lived happily together a long time. The
prince was only to be seen as soon as evening came, and then he held his
court; but every morning he left his bride, and went away by himself,
she knew not whither, till the night came again.
After some time he said to her, 'Tomorrow there will be a great feast in
your father's house, for your eldest sister is to be married; and if
you wish to go and visit her my lions shall lead you thither.' Then she
rejoiced much at the thoughts of seeing her father once more, and set
out with the lions; and everyone was overjoyed to see her, for they had
thought her dead long since. But she told them how happy she was, and
stayed till the feast was over, and then went back to the wood.
Her second sister was soon after married, and when Lily was asked to
go to the wedding, she said to the prince, 'I will not go alone this
time--you must go with me.' But he would not, and said that it would be
a very hazardous thing; for if the least ray of the torch-light should
fall upon him his enchantment would become still worse, for he should be
changed into a dove, and be forced to wander about the world for seven
long years. However, she gave him no rest, and said she would take care
no light should fall upon him. So at last they set out together, and
took with them their little child; and she chose a large hall with thick
walls for him to sit in while the wedding-torches were lighted; but,
unluckily, no one saw that there was a crack in the door.