Linda Branca and her Mask
Long ago there lived a girl who was so pretty she grew tired of being beautiful and longed to be ugly. She was so attractive that all the young men in the whole city wanted to marry her. Every night the street in front of her house was full of youths who came to sing beneath her balcony.
Linda Branca, that was the girl's name, grew tired of being kept awake nights. It is well enough for a little while to hear songs about one's pearly teeth and snowy arms, one's flashing eyes and waving hair, one's rosebud mouth and fairylike feet; but a steady diet of it becomes decidedly wearing.
"I wish I were as homely as that girl who is passing by," she remarked one day. "Then I could sleep nights." "If I were as ugly looking as that I'd have a chance to select a really good husband perhaps. With so many to choose from it is terribly confusing. I'll never be able to make any choice at all as things are now. I'm afraid I'll die unwedded," she added as she carefully surveyed the girl's coarse hair, her large feet and hands, her ugly big mouth and ears and small red-lidded eyes. "That girl has a much better chance of a successful marriage than I have, with all this tiresome crowd of suitors to drive me distracted!"
The girl in the street heard her words and looked up. When she saw how lovely Linda Branca was she was amazed indeed at the words she had heard. She thought that she must have made a mistake and asked Linda Branca to say it all over again.
"You can be exactly as homely as I am," declared the girl when at last she had sufficiently recovered from her surprise to find her tongue. "I am an artist. I can prepare a mask for you which will make you just as ugly as I am."
"Go on and make it as soon as you can!" cried Linda Branca, clapping her little hands in joy.
That evening the suitors in the street under the balcony thought that the lovely Linda Branca had become very gracious. She was frequently to be seen on the balcony looking eagerly up and down the street as if she were expecting some one.