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So he mounted his horse, and with
his faithful hound went on seeking further adventures through the
world, and did not come that way again till a year had passed, when he
rode into Middlegard again and alighted at the same inn where he had
stopped before. "How now, hostess," he cried, "last time I was here
the city was all in mourning but now everything is agog with glee;
trumpets are blaring, lads and lasses are dancing round the trees, and
every house has flags and banners flowing from its windows. What is
happening?" "Know you not, sir," said the hostess, "that our princess
marries to-morrow?" "Why, last time," he said, "she was going to be
devoured by the Dragon with Seven Heads." "Nay, but he was slain by
the king's marshal who weds the princess to-morrow as a reward for his
bravery, and every one that wishes may join the wedding feast to-night
in the king's castle."

[Illustration: _The Marshal tells how he killed the Dragon_]

That night George went up to the king's castle and took his place at
the table not far off from where sat the king with the princess on
one side of him and the marshal on the other; and after the banquet
the king called upon the marshal once more to tell how he had slain
the Dragon with the Seven Heads. And the marshal told a long tale of
how he had cut off the seven heads of the dragon, and at the finish he
ordered his squire to bring in a platter on which were the seven
heads. Then up rose George and spoke to the king and said, "And pray,
my lord, how does it happen that the dragon's heads had no tongues?"
And the king said, "That I know not; let us look and see." And the
jaws of the dragon's heads were opened, and behold there were no
tongues in them. Then the king asked the marshal, "Know you aught of
this?" And the marshal had nothing to say. And the princess looked up
and saw her champion again. Then George took out from his doublet the
seven tongues of the dragon, and it was found that they fitted. "What
is the meaning of this, sir," said the king. Then George told the
story of how he had slain the dragon and fallen asleep in the
princess's lap and had awoke and found her gone. And the princess,
when asked by her father, could not but tell of the treachery of the
marshal. "Away with him," cried out the king, "let his head be taken
off and his tongue be taken out, and let his place be taken by this
young stranger."

So George and the princess were married and lived happily, till one
night, looking out of the window of the castle where they lived,
George saw in the distance another castle with windows all lit up and
shining like fire. And he asked the princess, his wife, what that
castle might be. "Go not near that, George," said the princess, "for I
have always heard that none who enters that castle ever comes out
again." The next morning George went with horse and hound to seek the
castle; and when he got near it he found at the gate an old dame with
but one eye; and he asked her to open the gate, and she said she would
but that it was a custom of the castle that who ever entered had to
drink a glass of wine before doing so; and she offered him a goblet
full of wine; but when he had drunk it he and his horse and his dog
were all turned into stone.

Just at the very moment when George was turned to stone Albert, who
had heard nothing of him, saw George's rose in the garden close up and
turn the colour of marble; then he knew that something had happened to
his brother, and he had out his horse and his dog and rode off to find
out what had been George's fate. And he rode, and he rode, till he
came to Middlegard, and as soon as he reached the gate the guard of
the gate said, "Your highness, the princess has been in great anxiety
about you; she will be so happy to know that you have returned safe."
Albert said nothing, but followed the guard until he came to the
princess's chamber, and she ran to him and embraced him and cried
out, "Oh, George, I am so delighted that you have come back safe."
"Why should I not," said Albert. "Because I feared that you had gone
to that castle with flaming windows, from which nobody ever returns
alive," said the princess.

Then Albert guessed what had happened to George, and he soon made an
excuse and went off again to seek the castle which the princess had
pointed out from the window. When Albert got there he found the same
old dame sitting by the gate, and asked if he might go in and see the
castle. She said again that none might enter the castle unless they
had taken a glass of wine and brought out the goblet of wine once
more. Albert was about to drink it up when his faithful dog jumped up
and spilt the wine, which he began to lap up, and as soon as he had
drunk a little of it his body turned to marble, just by the side of
another stone which looked exactly the same. Then Albert guessed what
had happened, and descending from his horse he took out his sword and
threatened the old witch that he would kill her unless she restored
his brother to his proper shape. In fear and trembling the old dame
muttered something over the four stones in front of the castle, and
George and his horse and his hound and Albert's dog became alive again
as they were before. Then George and Albert rode back to the princess
who, when she saw them both so much alike, could not tell which was
which; then she remembered and went up to Albert and parted his hair
on his forehead and saw there the star, and said, "This is my George";
but then George parted his own hair, and she saw the same star there.
At last Albert told her all that had happened, and she knew her own
husband again. And soon after the king died, and George ruled in his
place, and Albert married one of the neighbouring princesses.




[Illustration: Scissors]

SCISSORS


Once upon a time, though it was not in my time nor in your time nor in
anybody else's time, there lived a cobbler named Tom and his wife
named Joan. And they lived fairly happily together, except that
whatever Tom did Joan did the opposite, and whatever Joan thought Tom
thought quite contrary-wise. When Tom wanted beef for dinner Joan
liked pork, and if Joan wanted to have chicken Tom would like to have
duck. And so it went on all the time.

Now it happened that one day Joan was cleaning up the kitchen and,
turning suddenly, she knocked two or three pots and pans together and
broke them all. So Tom, who was working in the front room, came and
asked Joan, "What's all this? What have you been doing?" Now Joan had
got the pair of scissors in her hand, and sooner than tell him what
had really happened she said, "I cut these pots and pans into pieces
with my scissors."

"What," said Tom, "cut pottery with your scissors, you nonsensical
woman; you can't do it!"

"I tell you I did with my scissors!"

"You couldn't."

"I did."

"You couldn't."

"I did."

"Couldn't."

"Did."

"Couldn't."

"Did."

"Couldn't."

"Did."

At last Tom got so angry that he seized Joan by the shoulders and
shoved her out of the house and said, "If you don't tell me how you
broke those pots and pans I'll throw you into the river." But Joan
kept on saying, "It was with the scissors"; and Tom got so enraged
that at last he took her to the bank of the river and said, "Now for
the last time, will you tell me the truth; how did you break those
pots and pans?"

"With the scissors."

And with that he threw her into the river, and she sank once, and she
sank twice, and just before she was about to sink for the third time
she put her hand up into the air, out of the water, and made a motion
with her first and middle finger as if she were moving the scissors.
So Tom saw it was no use to try to persuade her to do anything but
what she wanted. So he rushed up the stream and met a neighbour who
said, "Tom, Tom, what are you running for?"

"Oh, I want to find Joan; she fell into the river just in front of our
house, and I am afraid she is going to be drowned."

"But," said the neighbour, "you're running up stream."

"Well," said Tom, "Joan always went contrary-wise whatever happened."
And so he never found her in time to save her.

[Illustration]




BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


There was once a merchant that had three daughters, and he loved them
better than himself. Now it happened that he had to go a long journey
to buy some goods, and when he was just starting he said to them,
"What shall I bring you back, my dears?" And the eldest daughter asked
to have a necklace; and the second daughter wished to have a gold
chain; but the youngest daughter said, "Bring back yourself, Papa, and
that is what I want the most." "Nonsense, child," said her father,
"you must say something that I may remember to bring back for you."
"So," she said, "then bring me back a rose, father."

Well, the merchant went on his journey and did his business and bought
a pearl necklace for his eldest daughter, and a gold chain for his
second daughter; but he knew it was no use getting a rose for the
youngest while he was so far away because it would fade before he got
home. So he made up his mind he would get a rose for her the day he
got near his house.

When all his merchanting was done he rode off home and forgot all
about the rose till he was near his house; then he suddenly remembered
what he had promised his youngest daughter, and looked about to see if
he could find a rose. Near where he had stopped he saw a great garden,
and getting off his horse he wandered about in it till he found a
lovely rose-bush; and he plucked the most beautiful rose he could see
on it. At that moment he heard a crash like thunder, and looking
around he saw a huge monster--two tusks in his mouth and fiery eyes
surrounded by bristles, and horns coming out of its head and spreading
over its back.

"Mortal," said the Beast, "who told thee thou mightest pluck my
roses?"

"Please, sir," said the merchant in fear and terror for his life, "I
promised my daughter to bring her home a rose and forgot about it till
the last moment, and then I saw your beautiful garden and thought you
would not miss a single rose, or else I would have asked your
permission."

"Thieving is thieving," said the Beast, "whether it be a rose or a
diamond; thy life is forfeit."

The merchant fell on his knees and begged for his life for the sake of
his three daughters who had none but him to support them.

"Well, mortal, well," said the Beast, "I grant thy life on one
condition: Seven days from now thou must bring this youngest daughter
of thine, for whose sake thou hast broken into my garden, and leave
her here in thy stead.



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