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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The Magic Swan"

The Magic Swan

When Peter had gone on for a bit with his captives, they met a chimney sweep, who laughed loudly over the extraordinary troop, and asked the girl what she was doing.

'Oh, dearest John,' replied the girl, 'give me your hand and set me free from this cursed young man.'

'Most certainly I will, if that's all you want,' replied the sweep, and gave the girl his hand. The bird screamed.

'Swan, hold fast,' said Peter, and the black man was added to their number.

They soon came to a village where a fair was being held. A travelling circus was giving a performance, and the clown was just doing his tricks. He opened his eyes wide with amazement when he saw the remarkable trio fastened on to the swan's tail.

'Have you gone raving mad, Blackie?' he asked as well as he could for laughing.

'It's no laughing matter,' the sweep replied. 'This wench has got so tight hold of me that I feel as if I were glued to her. Do set me free, like a good clown, and I'll do you a good turn some day.'

Without a moment's hesitation the clown grasped the black outstretched hand. The bird screamed.

'Swan, hold fast,' called out Peter, and the clown became the fourth of the party.

Now in the front row of the spectators sat the respected and popular Mayor of the village, who was much put out by what he considered nothing but a foolish trick. So much annoyed was he that he seized the clown by the hand and tried to tear him away, in order to hand him over to the police.

Then the bird screamed, and Peter called out, 'Swan, hold fast,' and the dignified Mayor shared the fate of his predecessors.

The Mayoress, a long thin stick of a woman, enraged at the insult done to her husband, seized his free arm and tore at it with all her might, with the only result that she too was forced to swell the procession. After this no one else had any wish to join them.

Soon Peter saw the towers of the capital in front of him. Just before entering it, a glittering carriage came out to meet him, in which was seated a young lady as beautiful as the day, but with a very solemn and serious expression.

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