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The Three Crowns

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The Three Crowns

by Andrew Lang

Genre: Fairy Tale
Setting: Fantasy
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 30 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed

EXCERPT:

There was once a king who had three daughters. The two eldest were very proud and quarrelsome, but the youngest was as good as they were bad. Well, three princes came to court them, and two of them were exactly like the eldest ladies, and one was just as lovable as the youngest. One day they were all walking down to a lake that lay at the bottom of the lawn when they met a poor beggar. The king wouldn’t give him anything, and the eldest princesses wouldn’t give him anything, nor their sweethearts; but the youngest daughter and her true love did give him something, and kind words along with it, and that was better than all.

When they got to the edge of the lake what did they find but the beautifullest boat you ever saw in your life; and says the eldest, ‘I’ll take a sail in this fine boat’; and says the second eldest, ‘I’ll take a sail in this fine boat’; and says the youngest, ‘I won’t take a sail in that fine boat, for I am afraid it’s an enchanted one.’ But the others persuaded her to go in, and her father was just going in after her, when up sprung on the deck a little man only seven inches high, and ordered him to stand back. Well, all the men put their hands to their swords; and if the same swords were only playthings, they weren’t able to draw them, for all strength that was left their arms. Seven Inches loosened the silver chain that fastened the boat, and pushed away, and after grinning at the four men, says he to them. ‘Bid your daughters and your brides farewell for awhile. You,’ says he to the youngest, ‘needn’t fear, you’ll recover your princess all in good time, and you and she will be as happy as the day is long. Bad people, if they were rolling stark naked in gold, would not be rich. Good-bye.’ Away they sailed, and the ladies stretched out their hands, but weren’t able to say a word.

Well, they weren’t crossing the lake while a cat ‘ud be lickin’ her ear, and the poor men couldn’t stir hand or foot to follow them. They saw Seven Inches handing the three princesses out of the boat, and letting them down by a basket into a draw-well, but king nor princes ever saw an opening before in the same place. When the last lady was out of sight, the men found the strength in their arms and legs again. Round the lake they ran, and never drew rein till they came to the well and windlass; and there was the silk rope rolled on the axle, and the nice white basket hanging to it. ‘Let me down,’ says the youngest prince. ‘I’ll die or recover them again.’ ‘No,’ says the second daughter’s sweetheart, ‘it is my turn first.’ And says the other, ‘I am the eldest.’ So they gave way to him, and in he got into the basket, and down they let him. First they lost sight of him, and then, after winding off a hundred perches of the silk rope, it slackened, and they stopped turning. They waited two hours, and then they went to dinner, because there was no pull made at the rope.


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