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The Two Princesses

In it they found heaps and heaps of rich clothes and jewels, gold and silver, which the Ogres had taken from people they had murdered, and all around the house were folds for the flocks and sheds for the herds of cattle which the Ogres owned. Every morning the youngest princess used to drive out the flocks and herds to pasture and return home with them every night, while the elder one stayed at home, cooked the dinner, and kept the house.

The younger princess, who was the wise one, would often say to her sister in the morning, "Take care that if you see any stranger (be it a man, woman, or child) come by the house, to hide, if possible, that nobody may know that we live here. If anyone should call out and ask for a drink of water, or any poor beggar ask for food, before you give it to them be sure you put on ragged clothes and cover your face with charcoal and make yourself as ugly-looking as possible. Otherwise, seeing how fair you are, they might steal you away and we would never meet again."

"Very well," her older sister would answer, "I will do as you advise."

But a long time passed, and no one ever came by that way. At last one day, after the younger princess had gone out, an old Ranee (queen), the wife of a neighboring Rajah, who had been traveling for many days with her attendants, came near the place when searching for water (for she and her people had been seeking all through the jungle for a stream, but could find none). When the Ranee saw the fine palace, standing all by itself in the middle of the jungle, she was very much astonished and said, "It is a strange thing that anyone should have built such a house as this in the depths of the forest. Let us go in; the owners will doubtless give us a drink of water."

"No, no, do not go," cried her attendants. "This is most assuredly the house of an Ogre."

"I should scarcely think anything very terrible lives here for there is not a sound stirring, nor a living creature to be seen.

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