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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

If she is not--"

'Here she broke off with a significant look, and mounting my enemy the unicorn, speedily disappeared.

'Then the King and Queen, turning to me, asked me what I could do.

'"Nothing at all, I assure you," I replied in a tone which really ought to have convinced them, but they went on to describe various employments, and tried to discover which of them would be most to my taste. However, at last I persuaded them that to do nothing whatever would be the only thing that would suit me, and that if they really wanted to be kind to me, they would let me go to bed and to sleep, and not tease me about doing anything. To my great joy, they not only permitted this, but actually, when they had their own meals, the Queen brought my portion up to me. But early the next morning she appeared at my bedside, saying, with an apologetic air:

'"My pretty child, I am afraid you must really make up your mind to get up to-day. I know quite well how delightful it is to be thoroughly idle, for when my husband and I were King and Queen we did nothing at all from morning to night, and I sincerely hope that it will not be long before those happy days will come again for us. But at present we have not reached them, nor have you, and you know from what the Fairy said that perhaps worse things may happen to us if she is not obeyed. Make haste, I beg of you, and come down to breakfast, for I have put by some delicious cream for you."

'It was really very tiresome, but as there was no help for it I went down!

'But the instant breakfast was over they began again their cuckoo- cry of "What will you do?" In vain did I answer--

'"Nothing at all, if it please you, madam."

'The Queen at last gave me a spindle and about four pounds of hemp upon a distaff, and sent me out to keep the sheep, assuring me that there could not be a pleasanter occupation, and that I could take my ease as much as I pleased. I was forced to set out, very unwillingly, as you may imagine, but I had not walked far before I came to a shady bank in what seemed to me a charming place.

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