The Blue Fairy Book
Prince Hyacinth And The Dear Little
Once upon a time there lived a king who was deeply in love with a princess, but
she could not marry anyone, because she was under an enchantment. So the
King set out to seek a fairy, and asked what he could do to win the Princess's
love. The Fairy said to him:
"You know that the Princess has a great cat which she is very fond of. Whoever
is clever enough to tread on that cat's tail is the man she is destined to marry."
The King said to himself that this would not be very difficult, and he left the Fairy,
determined to grind the cat's tail to powder rather than not tread on it at all.
You may imagine that it was not long before he went to see the Princess, and
puss, as usual, marched in before him, arching his back. The King took a long
step, and quite thought he had the tail under his foot, but the cat turned round so
sharply that he only trod on air. And so it went on for eight days, till the King
began to think that this fatal tail must be full of quicksilver--it was never still for a
At last, however, he was lucky enough to come upon puss fast asleep and with
his tail conveniently spread out. So the King, without losing a moment, set his
foot upon it heavily.
With one terrific yell the cat sprang up and instantly changed into a tall man, who,
fixing his angry eyes upon the King, said:
"You shall marry the Princess because you have been able to break the
enchantment, but I will have my revenge. You shall have a son, who will never be
happy until he finds out that his nose is too long, and if you ever tell anyone what