The Red Fairy Book
ONCE upon a time there lived a King and Queen who had two beautiful sons and one
little daughter, who was so pretty that no one who saw her could help loving her. When it
was time for the christening of the Princess, the Queen--as she always did-- sent for all
the fairies to be present at the ceremony, and afterwards invited them to a splendid
When it was over, and they were preparing to go away, the Queen said to them:
`Do not forget your usual good custom. Tell me what is going to happen to Rosette.'
For that was the name they had given the Princess.
But the fairies said they had left their book of magic at home, and they would come
another day and tell her.
`Ah!' said the Queen, `I know very well what that means--you have nothing good to say;
but at least I beg that you will not hide anything from me.'
So, after a great deal of persuasion, they said:
`Madam, we fear that Rosette may be the cause of great misfortunes to her brothers; they
may even meet with their death through her; that is all we have been able to foresee about
your dear little daughter. We are very sorry to have nothing better to tell you.'
Then they went away, leaving the Queen very sad, so sad that the King noticed it, and
asked her what was the matter.
The Queen said that she had been sitting too near the fire, and had burnt all the flax that
was upon her distaff.
`Oh! is that all?' said the King, and he went up into the garret and brought her down more
flax than she could spin in a hundred years. But the Queen still looked sad, and the King
asked her again what was the matter. She answered that she had been walking by the
river and had dropped one of her green satin slippers into the water.
`Oh! if that's all,' said the King, and he sent to all the shoe- makers in his kingdom, and
they very soon made the Queen ten thousand green satin slippers, but still she looked sad.
So the King asked her again what was the matter, and this time she answered that in
eating her porridge too hastily she had swallowed her wedding-ring. But it so happened
that the King knew better, for he had the ring himself, and he said:
`Oh I you are not telling me the truth, for I have your ring here in my purse.'
Then the Queen was very much ashamed, and she saw that the King was vexed with her;
so she told him all that the fairies had predicted about Rosette, and begged him to think
how the misfortunes might be prevented.
Then it was the King's turn to look sad, and at last he said: