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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The Snuff-Box"

The Snuff-Box

As often happens in this world, there was once a young man who spent all his time in travelling. One day, as he was walking along, he picked up a snuff-box. He opened it, and the snuff-box said to him in the Spanish language, 'What do you want?' He was very much frightened, but, luckily, instead of throwing the box away, he only shut it tight, and put it in his pocket. Then he went on, away, away, away, and as he went he said to himself, 'If it says to me again "What do you want?" I shall know better what to say this time.' So he took out the snuff-box and opened it, and again it asked 'What do you want?' 'My hat full of gold,' answered the youth, and immediately it was full.

Our young man was enchanted. Henceforth he should never be in need of anything. So on he travelled, away, away, away, through thick forests, till at last he came to a beautiful castle. In the castle there lived a King. The young man walked round and round the castle, not caring who saw him, till the King noticed him, and asked what he was doing there. 'I was just looking at your castle.' 'You would like to have one like it, wouldn't you?' The young man did not reply, but when it grew dark he took his snuff- box and opened the lid. 'What do you want?' 'Build me a castle with laths of gold and tiles of diamond, and the furniture all of silver and gold.' He had scarcely finished speaking when there stood in front of him, exactly opposite the King's palace, a castle built precisely as he had ordered. When the King awoke he was struck dumb at the sight of the magnificent house shining in the rays of the sun. The servants could not do their work for stopping to stare at it. Then the King dressed himself, and went to see the young man. And he told him plainly that he was a very powerful Prince; and that he hoped that they might all live together in one house or the other, and that the King would give him his daughter to wife. So it all turned out just as the King wished. The young man married the Princess, and they lived happily in the palace of gold.

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Category: Scotland folktales
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