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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "Prince Vivien and the Princess Placida"

Prince Vivien and the Princess Placida

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'It would be better still if you would carry me,' said she sweetly, 'but as I don't like to see people giving themselves trouble, you may carry me, and make that snail carry you.' So saying, she pointed languidly with one tiny foot at what the Prince had taken for a block of stone, but now he saw that it was a huge snail.

'What! I ride a snail!' cried the Prince; 'you are laughing at me, and beside we should not get there for a year.'

'Oh! well then don't do it,' replied the gazelle, 'I am quite willing to stay here. The grass is green, and the water clear. But if I were you I should take the advice that was given me and ride the snail.'

So, though it did not please him at all, the Prince took the gazelle in his arms, and mounted upon the back of the snail, which glided along very peaceably, entirely declining to be hurried by frequent blows from the Prince's heels. In vain did the gazelle represent to him that she was enjoying herself very much, and that this was the easiest mode of conveyance she had ever discovered. Prince Vivien was wild with impatience, and thought that the Green Castle would never be reached. However, at last, they did get there, and everyone who was in it ran to see the Prince dismount from his singular steed.

But what was his surprise, when having at her request set the gazelle gently down upon the steps which led up to the castle, he saw her suddenly change into a charming Princess, and recognized in her his pretty cousin Placida, who greeted him with her usual tranquil sweetness. His delight knew no bounds, and he followed her eagerly up into the castle, impatient to know what strange events had brought her there. But after all he had to wait for the Princess's story, for the inhabitants of the Green Lands, hearing that the Giant was dead, ran to offer the kingdom to his vanquisher, and Prince Vivien had to listen to various complimentary harangues, which took a great deal of time, though he cut them as short as politeness allowed--if not shorter.

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