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Main > Spain folktales > Fairy tale "The Girl-Fish"

The Girl-Fish

"That is true," answered the giant, "but I am not so foolish as to give you that crown for nothing. Let me think what I will have in exchange!" And he scratched his huge head for several minutes, for giants' minds always move slowly.

"Ah, yes!" he exclaimed at last, his face brightening. "You shall have the crown if you bring me a collar of blue stones from the Great Arch.

Now when the parrot had been a girl she had often heard of this wonderful arch and the precious stones and marbles that had been let into it. It sounded as if it would be a very hard thing to get them away from the stone structure of which they formed a part, but all had gone well with her so far, and at any rate she could but try. So she bowed to the giant, and made her way back to the window where the giant could not see her. Then she called quickly, "An eagle, that's what I'd like to be!"

Before she had even reached the tree she felt herself borne up on strong wings ready to carry her to the clouds if she wished to go there, and seeming a mere speck in the sky, she was swept along until she beheld the Great Arch far below, with the rays of the sun shining on it. Then she swooped down and, hiding herself behind a buttress so that she could not be detected from below, she set herself to dig out the nearest blue stones with her beak. It was even harder work than she expected, but at last it was done, and hope arose in her heart. She next drew out a piece of string that she had found hanging from a tree, and sitting down to rest strung the stones together. When the necklace was finished she hung it round her neck, and called, "A parrot, that's what I'd like to be!" So she quickly flew back, and a little later the pink and gray parrot stood before the giant.

"Here is the necklace you asked for," said the parrot. And the eyes of the giant glistened as he took the heap of blue stones in his hand. But for all that he was not minded to give up the crown.

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