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

The Enchanted Canary

He travelled in this way for many weeks, passing by villages, towns, mountains, valleys, and plains, but always pushing south, where every day the sun seemed hotter and more brilliant.

At last one day at sunset Desire felt the sun so warm, that he thought he must now be near the place of his dream. He was at that moment close to the corner of a wood where stood a little hut, before the door of which his horse stopped of his own accord. An old man with a white beard was sitting on the doorstep enjoying the fresh air. The Prince got down from his horse and asked leave to rest.

`Come in, my young friend,' said the old man; `my house is not large, but it is big enough to hold a stranger.'

The traveller entered, and his host put before him a simple meal. When his hunger was satisfied the old man said to him:

`If I do not mistake, you come from far. May I ask where you are going?'

`I will tell you,' answered Desire, `though most likely you will laugh at me. I dreamed that in the land of the sun there was a wood full of orange trees, and that in one of the oranges I should find a beautiful princess who is to be my wife. It is she I am seeking.'

`Why should I laugh?' asked the old man. `Madness in youth is true wisdom. Go, young man, follow your dream, and if you do not find the happiness that you seek, at any rate you will have had the happiness of seeking it.'

IV

The next day the Prince arose early and took leave of his host.

`The wood that you saw in your dream is not far from here,' said the old man. `It is in the depth of the forest, and this road will lead you there. You will come to a vast park surrounded by high walls. In the middle of the park is a castle, where dwells a horrible witch who allows no living being to enter the doors. Behind the castle is the orange grove. Follow the wall till you come to a heavy iron gate. Don't try to press it open, but oil the hinges with this,' and the old man gave him a small bottle.

`The gate will open of itself,' he continued, `and a huge dog which guards the castle will come to you with his mouth wide open, but just throw him this oat cake.

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