The fairy Aurora
Once upon a time something happened. If it hadn't happened, it wouldn't be told.
There was once a great and mighty emperor, whose kingdom was so large that no one knew where it began and where it ended. Some believed it was boundless, others said that they dimly remembered having heard from very old people that the emperor had formerly engaged in war with his neighbors, some of whom had proved greater and more powerful, others smaller and weaker than he. One piece of news about this emperor went all through the wide world—that he always laughed with his right eye and wept with the left. People vainly asked the reason that the emperor's eyes could not agree, and even differed so entirely. When great heroes went to the emperor to question him, he smiled evasively and made no reply. So the enmity between the monarch's eyes remained a profound mystery, whose cause nobody knew except the emperor himself. Then the emperor's sons grew up. Ah, what princes they were! Three princes in one country, like three morning stars in the sky! Florea, the oldest, was a fathom tall, with shoulders more than four span broad. Costan was very different, short, strongly built, with a muscular arm and a stout fist. The third and youngest prince was named Petru—a tall, slender fellow, more like a girl than a boy. Petru did not talk much, he laughed and sang, sang and laughed, from morning till night. Only he was often seen in a graver mood, when he pushed back the curling locks from his forehead and looked like one of the old wiseacres who belonged to the emperor's council.
"Come, Florea, you are grown up, go to our father and ask him why one of his eyes always weeps and the other always laughs," said Petru, one fine morning to his brother Florea. But Florea would not go; he knew by experience that the emperor was always vexed if any one asked him that question.
Petru fared just the same when he went to his brother Costan.
"Very well, if nobody else dares, I'll venture it!" he said at last.
The woman with three hundred and sixty-six children
Category: Dutch folktales
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