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Rags & Tatters

So the brother plucked a rose, threw it out in the street, and asked the sentry to watch who should pick it up. By and by, a rich merchant came along, a grave, serious, solid and dignified man. He saw the rose, looked at it as if it were a pity such a pretty thing should be wasted, picked it up, and stopped to place it neatly in the button-hole of his fine cloth doublet.

"The king desires to speak with you," said the sentry, stepping forward.

"A great honor, indeed," replied the citizen. "I will attend his majesty without delay." And he entered the palace and heard what the king had to say to him. "But I am not even a nobleman," the citizen objected. "The princess might surely marry a much greater man than I."

"It was her father's wish," said the king; and the matter was settled.

The princess grumbled at first. A mere merchant, indeed! "But at least," she thought, "he is rich and honest and not at all bad-looking. I might have fared worse." So the second princess married the merchant and went to his new home.

At last came the turn of Julietta, the youngest princess. For her the king did as for the others. He plucked the rose, threw it into the street, and told the sentry to watch who should pick it up, and send him in. Now, who should come by but a poor lame water-carrier! Such an ugly, dirty little man! He saw the rose, picked it up, and put it to his lips.

The sentry stepped forward. He said to the water-carrier, "The king desires to speak with you."

The water-carrier sadly looked at his tattered clothes and ragged sandals. To be seen before the the king in such rags! But when the king commands . . . He slunk up the marble steps and entered the palace.

"You picked up the rose?" said the king, eyeing him with dismay.

"Yes, sire! But if you please, sire! I meant no harm by it."

"Then you must marry my youngest sister, Julietta.

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