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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The Enchanted Canary"

The Enchanted Canary

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II

Some time afterwards, it happened that the Prior of the Abbey of Saint Amand sent to the Lord of Avesnes a basket of oranges, with a beautifully-written letter saying that these golden fruit, then unknown in Flanders, came straight from a land where the sun always shone.

That evening Tubby and his son ate the golden apples at supper, and thought them delicious.

Next morning as the day dawned, Desire went down to the stable and saddled his pretty white horse. Then he went, all dressed for a journey, to the bedside of Tubby, and found him smoking his first pipe.

`Father,' he said gravely, `I have come to bid you farewell. Last night I dreamed that I was walking in a wood, where the trees were covered with golden apples. I gathered one of them, and when I opened it there came out a lovely princess with a golden skin. That is the wife I want, and I am going to look for her.'

The Lord of Avesnes was so much astonished that he let his pipe fall to the ground; then he became so diverted at the notion of his son marrying a yellow woman, and a woman shut up inside an orange, that he burst into fits of laughter.

Desire waited to bid him good-bye until he was quiet again; but as his father went on laughing and showed no signs of stopping, the young man took his hand, kissed it tenderly, opened the door, and in the twinkling of an eye was as at the bottom of the staircase. He jumped lightly on his horse, and was a mile from home before Tubby had ceased laughing.

`A yellow wife! He must be mad! fit for a strait waistcoat!' cried the good man, when he was able to speak. `Here! quick! bring him back to me.'

The servants mounted their horses and rode after the Prince; but as they did not know which road he had taken, they went all ways except the right one, and instead of bringing him back they returned themselves when it grew dark, with their horses worn out and covered with dust.

III

When Desire thought they could no longer catch him, he pulled his horse into a walk, like a prudent man who knows he has far to go.

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