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Main > English folktales > Fairy tale "The Little Bull-Calf"

The Little Bull-Calf

By-and-by, who should come along but the old king, lamenting and weeping, expecting to see nothing of his daughter but the prints of the place where she had been. But he was surprised to find her there alive and safe, and he said: "How came you to be saved?" So she told him how she had been saved, and he took her home to his castle again.

Well, he put it into all the papers to find out who saved his daughter, and who had the dragon's tongue and the princess's diamond ring, and was without his forefinger. Whoever could show these signs should marry his daughter and have his kingdom after his death. Well, any number of gentlemen came from all parts of England, with forefingers cut off, and with diamond rings and all kinds of tongues, wild beasts' tongues and foreign tongues. But they couldn't show any dragons' tongues, so they were turned away.

At last the little boy turned up, looking very ragged and desolated like, and the king's daughter cast her eye on him, till her father grew very angry and ordered them to turn the little beggar boy away. "Father," says she; "I know something of that boy."

Well, still the fine gentlemen came, bringing up their dragons' tongues that weren't dragons' tongues, and at last the little boy came up, dressed a little better. So the old king says: "I see you've got an eye on that boy. If it has to be him it must be him." But all the others were fit to kill him, and cried out: "Pooh, pooh, turn that boy out, it can't be him." But the king said: "Now, my boy, let's see what you have to show." Well, he showed the diamond ring with her name on it, and the fiery dragon's tongue. How the others were thunderstruck when he showed his proofs! But the king told him: "You shall have my daughter and my estate."

So he married the princess, and afterwards got the king's estate. Then his step-father came and wanted to own him, but the young king didn't know such a man.

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