Contest of the Fairies
Many years ago it became time to elect a new Head of Fairyland. After much discussion, it appeared that the choice lay between two fairies, whose claims to the throne were so equal that it was impossible to prefer one to the other. One of those fairies was called Fairy Flight and the other one, Fairy Constance.
Under the circumstances it was unanimously decided that whichever of the two fairies could show to the world the greatest wonder, that fairy should become Head of Fairyland. But it was to be a special kind of wonder, no moving of mountains or any such common fairy tricks would do.
Fairy Flight decided that she would bring up a Prince who would charm one woman after another but would stay true to no woman. Fairy Constance decided to bring up a princess who was so enchanting that no man could meet her without falling in love. If Fairy Flight's changeable prince could withstand the charms of Fairy Constance's princess, then Fairy Flight would win and become Head of Fairyland. On the other hand, if Fairy Constance's princess could win the heart of the prince and so gain his proposal of marriage, then Fairy Constance would become Head of Fairyland.
Each of the two contenders was allowed to take as much time as she wished. Contests like this could take a very long time. Meanwhile the four oldest fairies were to attend to the affairs of Fairyland.
Now Fairy Constance, who was the one who had decided to raise the princess, had for a long time been very friendly with a certain King and Queen, whose royal court was a model of what a court ought to be. They had one little daughter, whom they had named "Rosanella" because she had a little pink rose printed upon her white throat. From her earliest infancy she had shown the most astonishing intelligence, and the courtiers knew her smart sayings by heart, and repeated them on all occasions.
One dark night, soon after the assembly of the fairies, the Queen woke up with a shriek.
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Category: Arabic folktales
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