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The Pink.By The Brothers Grimm.

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There was once a Queen, who had not been blessed with children. As she walked in her garden, she prayed every morning that a son or daughter might be given to her. Then one day an Angel came, and said to her: 'Be content: you shall have a son, and he shall be endowed with the power of wishing, so that whatsoever he wishes for shall be granted to him.' She hurried to the King, and told him the joyful news; and when the time came a son was born to them, and they were filled with delight. Every morning the Queen used to take her little son into the gardens, where the wild animals were kept, to bathe him in a clear, sparkling fountain. It happened one day, when the child was a little older, that as she sat with him on her lap she fell asleep. The old Cook, who knew that the child had the power of wishing, came by and stole it; he also killed a Chicken, and dropped some of its blood on the Queen's garments. Then he took the child away to a secret place, where he placed it out to be nursed. Then he ran back to the King, and accused the Queen of having allowed her child to be carried off by a wild animal.

When the King saw the blood on the Queen's garments he believed the story, and was overwhelmed with anger. He caused a high tower to be built, into which neither the sun nor the moon could penetrate. Then he ordered his wife to be shut up in it, and the door walled up. She was to stay there for seven years, without eating or drinking, so as gradually to pine away. But two Angels from heaven, in the shape of white doves, came to her, bringing food twice a day till the seven years were ended. Meanwhile the Cook thought, 'If the child really has the power of wishing, and I stay here, I might easily fall into disgrace.' So he left the palace, and went to the boy, who was then old enough to talk, and said to him, 'Wish for a beautiful castle, with a garden, and everything belonging to it.' Hardly had the words passed the boy's lips than all that he had asked for was there. After a time the Cook said, 'It is not good for you to be so much alone; wish for a beautiful Maiden to be your companion.'

The Prince uttered the wish, and immediately a Maiden stood before them, more beautiful than any painter could paint. So they grew very fond of each other, and played together, while the old Cook went out hunting like any grand gentleman. But the idea came to him one day that the Prince might wish to go to his father some time, and he would thereby be placed in a very awkward position. So he took the Maiden aside, and said to her, 'To-night, when the boy is asleep, go and drive this knife into his heart. Then bring me his heart and his tongue. If you fail to do it, you will lose your own life.' Then he went away; but when the next day came the Maiden had not yet obeyed his command, and she said, 'Why should I shed his innocent blood, when he has never done harm to any creature in his life?' The Cook again said, 'If you do not obey me, you will lose your own life.' When he had gone away, she ordered a young hind to be brought and killed; then she cut out its heart and its tongue, and put them on a dish. When she saw the old man coming she said to the boy, 'Get into bed, and cover yourself right over.'

The old scoundrel came in and said, 'Where are the tongue and the heart of the boy?' The Maiden gave him the dish; but the Prince threw off the coverings, and said, 'You old sinner, why did you want to kill me? Now hear your sentence. You shall be turned into a black Poodle, with a gold chain round your neck, and you shall be made to eat live coals, so that flames of fire may come out of your mouth.' As he said the words, the old man was changed into a black Poodle, with a gold chain round his neck; and the scullions brought live coals, which he had to eat till the flames poured out of his mouth. The Prince stayed on at the castle for a time, thinking of his mother, and wondering if she were still alive. At last he said to the Maiden, 'I am going into my own country. If you like you can go with me; I will take you.' She answered: 'Alas! it is so far off, and what should I do in a strange country where I know no one?' As she did not wish to go, and yet they could not bear to be parted, he changed her into a beautiful Pink, which he took with him.


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