The Red Fairy Book HTML version

The Enchanted Pig
ONCE upon a time there lived a King who had three daughters. Now it happened that he
had to go out to battle, so he called his daughters and said to them:
`My dear children, I am obliged to go to the wars. The enemy is approaching us with a
large army. It is a great grief to me to leave you all. During my absence take care of
yourselves and be good girls; behave well and look after everything in the house. You
may walk in the garden, and you may go into all the rooms in the palace, except the room
at the back in the right-hand corner; into that you must not enter, for harm would befall
`You may keep your mind easy, father,' they replied. `We have never been disobedient to
you. Go in peace, and may heaven give you a glorious victory!'
When everything was ready for his departure, the King gave them the keys of all the
rooms and reminded them once more of what he had said. His daughters kissed his hands
with tears in their eyes, and wished him prosperity, and he gave the eldest the keys.
Now when the girls found themselves alone they felt so sad and dull that they did not
know what to do. So, to pass the time, they decided to work for part of the day, to read
for part of the day, and to enjoy themselves in the garden for part of the day. As long as
they did this all went well with them. But this happy state of things did not last long.
Every day they grew more and more curious, and you will see what the end of that was.
`Sisters,' said the eldest Princess, `all day long we sew, spin, and read. We have been
several days quite alone, and there is no corner of the garden that we have not explored.
We have been in all the rooms of our father's palace, and have admired the rich and
beautiful furniture: why should not we go into the room that our father forbad us to
Sister,' said the youngest, `I cannot think how you can tempt us to break our father's
command. When he told us not to go into that room he must have known what he was
saying, and have had a good reason for saying it.'
`Surely the sky won't fall about our heads if we DO go in,' said the second Princess.
`Dragons and such like monsters that would devour us will not be hidden in the room.
And how will our father ever find out that we have gone in?'
While they were speaking thus, encouraging each other, they had reached the room; the
eldest fitted the key into the lock, and snap! the door stood open.
The three girls entered, and what do you think they saw?
The room was quite empty, and without any ornament, but in the middle stood a large
table, with a gorgeous cloth, and on it lay a big open book.
Now the Princesses were curious to know what was written in the book, especially the
eldest, and this is what she read: