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The Lame Dog

Once upon a time there lived a king, like many others. He had three daughters, who were young and beautiful to such a degree that it would have been difficult to have found handsomer maidens. Yet there was a great difference among them; for the two older sisters were haughty in their thoughts and manners; while the youngest was sweet and friendly, and everyone liked her. Besides, she was fair as the day and delicate as the snow, and far more beautiful than either of her sisters.

One day the king's daughters were sitting together in their room, and their talk happened to turn on their husbands-to-be. The oldest said: "If I ever marry, my husband must have golden hair and a a golden beard!" And the second exclaimed: "And mine must have silver hair and a silver beard!" But the youngest princess held her tongue and said nothing. Then her sisters asked her whether she did not want to wish for a husband. "No," she answered, "but if fate should give me a husband, I will be content to take him as he is, and were he no more than a lame dog." Then the two other princesses laughed and joked about it, and told her the day might easily come when she would change her mind.

But many speak truth and do not know it! Thus it chanced with the king's daughters; since before the year had come to an end, each had the suitor for whom she had wished. A man with golden hair and golden beard sued for the oldest princess and won her consent to his suit. And a man with silver hair and a silver beard sued for the second and she became his bride; but the youngest princess had no other suitor than a lame dog. Then she recalled her talk with her sisters in their room, and thought to herself: "May God aid me in the marriage into which I must enter!" Yet she would not break the word she had once passed; but followed her sisters' example and accepted the dog. The wedding lasted a number of days and was celebrated with great pomp and splendor. But while the guests danced and amused themselves, the youngest princess sat apart and wept, and when the others were laughing, her tears flowed till it made one sad to see them.

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Category: Andersen Hans Christian
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