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Rags & Tatters


"What? Your majesty is making a mockery of me."

"Not at all! Not at all!" And the beggar was told of the dead king's command.

"But I am miserably poor, as you see -- and my leg is lame -- and I am ugly! Such a match is impossible!"

"I wish it were!" sighed the king. "But this is the way it must be."

"A poor wretch who can scarcely feed her!" cried the poor man. Then he sighed. "Well, if it must be, then please do not send any dowry with her. It would only make it worse for her to have fine things."

The grief of the poor young princess was heartrending. Her brother wept too, and it was a miserable wedding. But it couldn't be helped. So Julietta went away with her water-carrier to his shabby hut on the hill. On the way all the people who saw them cried, "Look! there goes the princess with that Rags-and-Tatters!" Home she went to the miserable place, to live there with her new husband, Rags-and-Tatters, and his old crone of a mother.

"This is no place for such fine clothes," said the old woman. She gave Julietta a rough dress to wear, and wooden shoes, and made her scour and wash and bake and darn, and tend her husband's lame leg. There was only the coarsest food to eat -- and little enough of that.

Poor Julietta wept and wept, and could not be comforted. Rags-and-Tatters, though he did not want so fine a wife, was full of pity for her. But what could he do? The only time she had any joy was when she was asleep. Then she dreamed beautiful dreams. One night she dreamt she was in a grand palace, warm and light and spacious. She wore lovely clothes and jewels in her hair; and the tables were spread with delicious things to eat. She sat down at the table with friends dressed as beautifully as herself, and everyone was having a fine time. When she woke up she told her husband all about it. But Rags-and-Tatters shook his head and said, "A dream is but a dream, my wife.

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