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The Three Citrons

There he took a larger vessel and sailed for the Indies, seeking everywhere, from kingdom to kingdom, from province to province, from country to country, from street to street, from house to house, in every hole and corner, whether he could find the original likeness of that beautiful image which he had pictured to his heart. And he wandered about and about until at length he came to the Island of the Ogresses, where he cast anchor and landed. There he found an old, old woman, withered and shrivelled up, and with a hideous face, to whom he related the reason that had brought him to the country. The old woman was beside herself with amazement when she heard the strange whim and the fancy of the Prince, and the toils and perils he had gone through to satisfy himself; then she said to him, "Hasten away, my son! for if my three daughters meet you I would not give a farthing for your life; half-alive and half-roasted, a frying-pan would be your bier and a belly your grave. But away with you as fast as a hare, and you will not go far before you find what you are seeking!"

When the Prince heard this, frightened, terrified, and aghast, he set off running at full speed, and ran till he came to another country, where he again met an old woman, more ugly even than the first, to whom he told all his story. Then the old woman said to him in like manner, "Away with you! unless you wish to serve as a breakfast to the little ogresses my daughters; but go straight on, and you will soon find what you want."

The Prince, hearing this, set off running as fast as a dog with a kettle at its tail; and he went on and on, until he met another old woman, who was sitting upon a wheel, with a basket full of little pies and sweetmeats on her arm, and feeding a number of jackasses, which thereupon began leaping about on the bank of a river and kicking at some poor swans. When the Prince came up to the old woman, after making a hundred salaams, he related to her the story of his wanderings; whereupon the old woman, comforting him with kind words, gave him such a good breakfast that he licked his fingers after it.

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