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The Girl-Fish

"No deer ever had eyes like that. It must be an enchanted maiden, and I will marry her and no other." So, turning his horse's head, he rode slowly back to his palace.

The deer reached the giant's castle quite out of breath, and her heart sank as she gazed at the tall, smooth walls which surrounded it. Then she plucked up courage and cried; "An ant, that's what I'd like to be!" And in a moment the soft fur and beautiful shape had vanished, and a tiny brown any, invisible to all who did not look closely, was climbing up the walls.

It was wonderful how fast she went, that little creature! The wall must have appeared miles high in comparison with her own body, yet, in less time than would have seemed possible, she was over the top and down in the courtyard on the other side. Here she paused to consider what had best be done next, and looking about her she saw that one of the walls had a tall tree growing by it, and in this corner was a window very nearly on a level with the highest branches of the tree.

"A monkey, that's what I'd like to be!" cried the ant, and before you could turn around a monkey was swinging herself from the topmost branches into the room where the giant lay snoring.

"Perhaps the giant will be so startled at the sight of a swinging monkey that he may never give me the crown," thought the monkey. "I had better become something else."

Then a pink and gray parrot hopped up to the giant, who by this time was stretching himself and giving yawns which shook the castle. The parrot waited a little, until he was really awake, and then she said boldly that she had been sent to take away the crown, which was not his any longer, now that his daughter the queen was dead.

On hearing these words the giant leapt out of bed with an angry roar, and sprang at the parrot in order to wring her neck with his great hands. But the bird was too quick for him, and flying behind his back, begged the giant to have patience, as her death would be of no use to him.

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