The Little Lame Prince
Miss Mulock

Part 4 out of 4

make them grow. But grow as they would, they
never could grow as long as that of Prince Wish.
When he was old enough his tutor taught him
history; and whenever any great king or lovely
princess was referred to, the tutor always took
care to mention that he or she had a long nose.
All the royal apartments were filled with pictures
and portraits having this peculiarity, so
that at last Prince Wish began to regard the
length of his nose as his greatest perfection, and
would not have had it an inch less even to save
his crown.

When he was twenty years old his mother and
his people wished him to marry. They procured
for him the likenesses of many princesses, but
the one he preferred was Princess Darling,
daughter of a powerful monarch and heiress to
several kingdoms. Alas! with all her beauty,
this princess had one great misfortune, a little
turned-up nose, which, every one else said made
her only the more bewitching. But here, in the
kingdom of Prince Wish, the courtiers were
thrown by it into the utmost perplexity. They
were in the habit of laughing at all small noses;
but how dared they make fun of the nose of
Princess Darling? Two unfortunate gentlemen,
whom Prince Wish had overheard doing so,
were ignominiously banished from the court and

After this, the courtiers became alarmed, and
tried to correct their habit of speech; but they
would have found themselves in constant difficulties,
had not one clever person struck out a
bright idea. He said that though it was
indispensably necessary for a man to have a great
nose, women were very different; and that a
learned man had discovered in a very old manuscript
that the celebrated Cleopatra, Queen of
Egypt, the beauty of the ancient world, had a
turned-up nose. At this information Prince
Wish was so delighted that he made the courtier
a very handsome present, and immediately sent
off ambassadors to demand Princess Darling in

She accepted his offer at once, and returned
with the ambassadors. He made all haste to
meet and welcome her, but when she was only
three leagues distant from his capital, before he
had time even to kiss her hand, the magician
who had once assumed the shape of his mother's
cat, Minon, appeared in the air and carried her
off before the lover's very eyes.

Prince Wish, almost beside himself with grief,
declared that nothing should induce him to return
to his throne and kingdom till he had found
Darling. He would suffer none of his courtiers
or attendants to follow him; but bidding them
all adieu, mounted a good horse, laid the reins on
the animal's neck, and let him take him wherever
he would.

The horse entered a wide-extended plain, and
trotted on steadily the whole day without finding
a single house. Master and beast began almost
to faint with hunger; and Prince Wish might
have wished himself at home again, had he not
discovered, just at dusk, a cavern, where there
sat, beside a bright lantern, a little woman who
might have been more than a hundred years old.

She put on her spectacles the better to look
at the stranger, and he noticed that her nose was
so small that the spectacles would hardly stay
on; then the prince and the fairy--for she was a
fairy--burst into laughter.

"What a funny nose!" cried the one.

"Not so funny as yours, madam," returned
the other. "But pray let us leave our noses
alone, and be good enough to give me something
to eat, for I am dying with hunger, and so is my
poor horse."

"With all my heart," answered the fairy.
"Although your nose is ridiculously long, you
are no less the son of one of my best friends. I
loved your father like a brother; he had a very
handsome nose."

"What is wanting to my nose?" asked Wish
rather savagely.

"Oh! nothing at all. On the contrary, there is
a great deal too much of it; but never mind, one
may be a very honest man, and yet have too big
a nose. As I said, I was a great friend of your
father's; he came often to see me. I was very
pretty then, and oftentimes he used to say to me,
`My sister----' "

"I will hear the rest, madam, with pleasure,
when I have supped; but will you condescend to
remember that I have tasted nothing all day?"

"Poor boy," said the fairy, "I will give you
some supper directly; and while you eat it I will
tell you my history in six words, for I hate
much talking. A long tongue is as insupportable
as a long nose; and I remember when I was
young how much I used to be admired because I
was not a talker; indeed, some one said to the
queen my mother--for poor as you see me now,
I am the daughter of a great king, who

"Ate when he was hungry, I hope,"
interrupted the prince, whose patience was fast

"You are right," said the imperturbable old
fairy; "and I will bring you your supper
directly, only I wish first just to say that the king
my father----"

"Hang the king your father!" Prince Wish
was about to exclaim, but he stopped himself,
and only observed that however the pleasure of
her conversation might make him forget his
hunger, it could not have the same effect upon
his horse, who was really starving.

The fairy, pleased at his civility, called her
servants and bade them supply him at once with
all he needed. "And," added she, "I must say
you are very polite and very good-tempered, in
spite of your nose."

"What has the old woman to do with my
nose?" thought the prince. "If I were not so
very hungry, I would soon show her what she is
--a regular old gossip and chatterbox. She to
fancy she talks little, indeed! One must be very
foolish not to know one's own defects. This
comes of being born a princess. Flatterers have
spoiled her and persuaded her that she talks
little. Little, indeed! I never knew anybody
chatter so much."

While the prince thus meditated, the servants
were laying the table, the fairy asking them a
hundred unnecessary questions, simply for the
pleasure of hearing herself talk. "Well,"
thought Wish, "I am delighted that I came
hither, if only to learn how wise I have been in
never listening to flatterers, who hide from us
our faults, or make us believe they are perfections.
But they could never deceive me. I know
all my own weak points, I trust." As truly he
believed he did.

So he went on eating contentedly, nor stopped
till the old fairy began to address him.

"Prince," said she, "will you be kind enough
to turn a little? Your nose casts such a shadow
that I cannot see what is on my plate. And, as
I was saying, your father admired me and always
made me welcome at court. What is the
court etiquette there now? Do the ladies still
go to assemblies, promenades, balls?--I beg your
pardon for laughing, but how very long your
nose is."

"I wish you would cease to speak of my nose,"
said the prince, becoming annoyed. "It is what
it is, and I do not desire it any shorter."

"Oh! I see that I have vexed you," returned
the fairy. "Nevertheless, I am one of your best
friends, and so I shall take the liberty of
always----" She would doubtless have gone on
talking till midnight; but the prince, unable to
bear it any longer, here interrupted her, thanked
her for her hospitality, bade her a hasty adieu,
and rode away.

He traveled for a long time, half over the
world, but he heard no news of Princess Darling.
However, in each place he went to, he
heard one remarkable fact--the great length of
his own nose. The little boys in the streets
jeered at him, the peasants stared at him, and the
more polite ladies and gentlemen whom he met
in society used to try in vain to keep from
laughing, and to get out of his way as soon as they
could. So the poor prince became gradually
quite forlorn and solitary; he thought all the
world was mad, but still he never thought of
there being anything queer about his own nose.
At last the old fairy, who, though she was a
chatterbox, was very good-natured; saw that he
was almost breaking his heart. She felt sorry
for him and wished to help him in spite of
himself, for she knew the enchantment which hid
from him the Princess Darling could never be
broken till he had discovered his own defect.
So she went in search of the princess, and being
more powerful than the magician, since she was
a good fairy and he was an evil magician, she got
her away from him and shut her up in a palace
of crystal, which she placed on the road which
Prince Wish had to pass.

He was riding along, very melancholy, when
he saw the palace; and at its entrance was a
room, made of the purest glass, in which sat his
beloved princess, smiling and beautiful as ever.
He leaped from his horse and ran toward her.
She held out her hand for him to kiss, but he
could not get at it for the glass. Transported
with eagerness and delight, he dashed his sword
through the crystal and succeeded in breaking a
small opening, to which she put up her beautiful
rosy mouth. But it was in vain; Prince Wish
could not approach it. He twisted his neck
about, and turned his head on all sides, till at
length, putting up his hand to his face, he
discovered the impediment.

"It must be confessed,'t exclaimed he, "that
my nose is too long."

That moment the glass walls all split asunder,
and the old fairy appeared, leading Princess

"Avow, prince," said she, "that you are very
much obliged to me, for now the enchantment is
ended. You may marry the object of your
choice. But," added she, smiling, "I fear I
might have talked to you forever on the subject
of your nose, and you would not have believed
me in its length, till it became an obstacle to your
own inclinations. Now behold it!" and she held
up a crystal mirror. "Are you satisfied to be
no different from other people?"

"Perfectly," said Prince Wish, who found
his nose had shrunk to an ordinary length. And
taking the Princess Darling by the hand, he
kissed her courteously, affectionately, and
satisfactorily. Then they departed to their own
country, and lived very happily all their days.


IN times of yore, when wishes were both
heard and granted, lived a king whose
daughters were all beautiful but the youngest
was so lovely that the sun himself, who
has seen so much, wondered at her beauty every
time he looked in her face. Now, near the king's
castle was a large dark forest; and in the forest,
under an old linden tree, was a deep well. When
the day was very hot, the king's daughter used
to go to the wood and seat herself at the edge of
the cool well; and when she became wearied, she
would take a golden ball, throw it up in the air,
and catch it again. This was her favorite amusement.
Once it happened that her golden ball,
instead of falling back into the little hand that
she stretched out for it, dropped on the ground,
and immediately rolled away into the water.
The king's daughter followed it with her eyes,
but the ball had vanished, and the well was so
deep that no one could see down to the bottom.
Then she began to weep, wept louder and louder
every minute, and could not console herself at

While she was thus lamenting some one called
to her: "What is the matter with you, king's
daughter? You weep so that you would touch
the heart of a stone."

She looked around to see whence the voice
came, and saw a frog stretching his thick ugly
head out of the water.

"Ah! it is you, old water-paddler!" said she.
"I am crying for my golden ball, which has
fallen into the well."

"Be content," answered the frog; "I dare say
I can give you some good advice; but what will
you give me if I bring back your plaything to

"Whatever you like, dear frog," said she,
"my clothes, my pearls and jewels, even the
golden crown I wear."

The frog answered, "Your clothes, your
pearls and jewels, even your golden crown, I do
not care for; but if you will love me, and let me
be your companion and play-fellow, sit near you
at your little table, eat from your little golden
plate, drink from your little cup, and sleep in
your little bed--if you will promise me this,
then I will bring you back your golden ball from
the bottom of the well."

"Oh, yes!" said she; "I promise you every-
thing, if you will only bring me back my golden

She thought to herself, meanwhile: "What
nonsense the silly frog talks! He sits in the
water with the other frogs, and croaks, and cannot
be anybody's playfellow!"

But the frog, as soon as he had received the
promise dipped his head under the water and
sank down. In a little while up he came again
with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the
grass. The king's daughter was overjoyed when
she beheld her pretty plaything again, picked it
up, and ran away with it.

"Wait! wait!" cried the frog; "take me with
you. I cannot run as fast as you."

Alas! of what use was it that he croaked after
her as loud as he could. She would not listen to
him, but hastened home, and soon forgot the poor
frog, who was obliged to plunge again to the
bottom of his well.

The next day, when she was sitting at dinner
with the king and all the courtiers, eating from
her little gold plate, there came a sound of
something creeping up the marble staircase--splish,
splash; and when it had reached the top, it
knocked at the door and cried, "Youngest king's
daughter, open to me."

She ran, wishing to see who was outside; but
when she opened the door and there sat the frog,
she flung it hastily to again and sat down at
table, feeling very, very uncomfortable. The
king saw that her heart was beating violently,
and said, "How, my child, why are you afraid?
Is a giant standing outside the door to carry you

"Oh, no!" answered she, "it is no giant, but a
nasty frog, who yesterday, when I was playing
in the wood near the well, fetched my golden ball
out of the water. For this I promised him he
should be my companion, but I never thought he
could come out of his well. Now he is at the door,
and wants to come in."

Again, the second time there was a knock, and
a voice cried:

"Youngest king's daughter,
Open to me;
Know you what yesterday
You promised me,
By the cool water?
Youngest king's daughter,
Open to me."

Then said the king, "What you promised you
must perform. Go and open the door."

She went and opened the door; the frog
hopped in, always following and following her
till he came up to her chair. There he sat and
cried out, "Lift me up to you on the table."

She refused, till the king, her father,
commanded her to do it. When the frog was on the
table, he said, "Now push your little golden plate
nearer to me, that we may eat together." She
did as he desired, but one could easily see that
she did it unwillingly. The frog seemed to enjoy
his dinner very much, but every morsel she ate
stuck in the throat of the poor little princess.

Then said the frog, "I have eaten enough, and
am tired; carry me to your little room, and make
your little silken bed smooth, and we will lay
ourselves down to sleep together."

At this the daughter of the king began to
weep; for she was afraid of the cold frog, who
wanted to sleep in her pretty clean bed.

But the king looked angrily at her, and said
again: "What you have promised you must perform.
The frog is your companion."

It was no use to complain; whether she liked
it or not, she was obliged to take the frog with
her up to her little bed. So she picked him up
with two fingers, hating him bitterly the while,
and carried him upstairs: but when she got into
bed, instead of lifting him up to her, she threw
him with all her strength against the wall, saying,
"Now you nasty frog, there will be an end
of you."

But what fell down from the wall was not a
dead frog, but a living young prince, with beautiful
and loving eyes, who at once became, by her
own promise and her father's will, her dear
companion and husband. He told her how he
had been cursed by a wicked sorceress, and that
no one but the king's youngest daughter could
release him from his enchantment and take him
out of the well.

The next day a carriage drove up to the palace
gates with eight white horses, having white
feathers on their heads and golden reins. Behind
it stood the servant of the young prince,
called the faithful Henry. This faithful Henry
had been so grieved when his master was changed
into a frog that he had been compelled to have
three iron bands fastened round his heart, lest
it should break. Now the carriage came to convey
the prince to his kingdom, so the faithful
Henry lifted in the bride and bridegroom and
mounted behind, full of joy at his lord's release.
But when they had gone a short distance, the
prince heard behind him a noise as if something
was breaking. He cried out, "Henry, the carriage
is breaking!"

But Henry replied: "No, sir, it is not the
carriage but one of the bands from my heart, with
which I was forced to bind it up, or it would have
broken with grief while you sat as a frog at the
bottom of the well."

Twice again this happened, and the prince
always thought the carriage was breaking; but it
was only the bands breaking off from the heart
of the faithful Henry, out of joy that his lord,
the frog-prince, was a frog no more.


ONCE upon a time there was a man who
had a daughter who was called
"Clever Alice," and when she was
grown up, her father said, "We must
see about her marrying."

"Yes," replied her mother, "whenever a
young man shall appear who is worthy of her."

At last a certain youth, by name Hans, came
from a distance to make a proposal of marriage;
but he required one condition, that the clever
Alice should be very prudent.

"Oh," said her father, "no fear of that! she
has got a head full of brains;" and the mother
added, "ah, she can see the wind blow up the
street, and hear the flies cough!"

"Very well," replied Hans; "but remember,
if she is not very prudent, I will not take her."
Soon afterward they sat down to dinner, and her
mother said, "Alice, go down into the cellar and
draw some beer."

So Clever Alice took the jug down from the
wall, and went into the cellar, jerking the lid
up and down on her way, to pass away the time.
As soon as she got downstairs she drew a stool
and placed it before the cask, in order that she
might not have to stoop, for she thought stooping
might in some way injure her back and give it
an undesirable bend. Then she placed the can
before her and turned the tap, and while the beer
was running, as she did not wish her eyes to be
idle, she looked about upon the wall above and
below. Presently she perceived, after much
peeping into this corner and that corner, a
hatchet, which the bricklayers had left behind?
sticking out of the ceiling right above her head.
At the sight of this Clever Alice began to cry,
saying, "Oh! if I marry Hans, and we have a
child, and he grows up, and we send him into the
cellar to draw beer, the hatchet will fall upon his
head and kill him," and so she sat there weeping
with all her might over the impending misfortune.

Meanwhile the good folks upstairs were waiting
for the beer, but as Clever Alice did not
come, her mother told the maid to go and see
what she was stopping for. The maid went
down into the cellar and found Alice sitting before
the cask crying heartily, and she asked,
"Alice, what are you weeping about?"

"Ah," she replied, "have I not cause? If I
marry Hans, and we have a child, and he grows
up, and we send him here to draw beer, that
hatchet will fall upon his head and kill him."

"Oh," said the maid, "what a clever Alice we
have!" And sitting down, she began to weep,
too, for the misfortune that was to happen.

After a while, when the servant did not
return, the good folks above began to feel very
thirsty; so the husband told the boy to go down
into the cellar and see what had become of Alice
and the maid. The boy went down, and there sat
Clever Alice and the maid both crying, so he
asked the reason; and Alice told him the same
tale, of the hatchet that was to fall on her child,
if she married Hans, and if they had a child.
When she had finished, the boy exclaimed,
"What a clever Alice we have!" and fell weeping
and howling with the others.

Upstairs they were still waiting, and the
husband said, when the boy did not return, "Do you
go down, wife, into the cellar and see why Alice
stays so long." So she went down, and finding
all three sitting there crying, asked the reason,
and Alice told her about the hatchet which must
inevitably fall upon the head of her son. Then
the mother likewise exclaimed, "Oh, what a
clever Alice we have!" and, sitting down, began
to weep as much as any of the rest.

Meanwhile the husband waited for his wife's
return; but at last he felt so very thirsty that he
said, "I must go myself down into the cellar and
see what is keeping our Alice." As soon as he
entered the cellar, there he found the four sitting
and crying together, and when he heard the
reason, he also exclaimed, "Oh, what a clever
Alice we have!" and sat down to cry with the
whole strength of his lungs.

All this time the bridegroom above sat waiting,
but when nobody returned, he thought they
must be waiting for him, and so he went down to
see what was the matter. When he entered,
there sat the five crying and groaning, each one
in a louder key than his neighbor.

"What misfortune has happened?" he asked.

"Ah, dear Hans!" cried Alice, "if you and I
should marry one another, and have a child,
and he grew up, and we, perhaps, send him down
to this cellar to tap the beer, the hatchet which
has been left sticking up there may fall on his
head, and so kill him; and do you not think this
is enough to weep about?"

"Now," said Hans, "more prudence than this
is not necessary for my housekeeping; because
you are such a clever Alice, I will have you for
my wife." And, taking her hand, he led her
home, and celebrated the wedding directly.

After they had been married a little while,
Hans, said one morning, "Wife, I will go out to
work and earn some money; do you go into the
field and gather some corn wherewith to make

"Yes," she answered, "I will do so, dear
Hans." And when he was gone, she cooked herself
a nice mess of pottage to take with her. As
she came to the field, she said to herself, "What
shall I do? Shall I cut first, or eat first? Aye,
I will eat first!" Then she ate up the contents of
her pot, and when it was finished, she thought to
herself, "Now, shall I reap first or sleep first?
Well, I think I will have a nap!" and so she laid
herself down among the corn, and went to sleep.

Meanwhile Hans returned home, but Alice did
not come, and so he said, "Oh, what a prudent
Alice I have! She is so industrious that she does
not even come home to eat anything." By and
by, however, evening came on, and still she did
not return; so Hans went out to see how much
she had reaped; but, behold, nothing at all, and
there lay Alice fast asleep among the corn! So
home he ran very fast, and brought a net with
little bells hanging on it, which he threw over
her head while she still slept on. When he had
done this, he went back again and shut to the
house door, and, seating himself on his stool,
began working very industriously.

At last, when it was nearly dark, the clever
Alice awoke, and as soon as she stood up, the net
fell all over her hair, and the bells jingled at
every step she took. This quite frightened her,
and she began to doubt whether she were really
Clever Alice, and said to herself, "Am I she, or
am I not?" This was a question she could not
answer, and she stood still a long while considering
about it. At last she thought she would go
home and ask whether she was really herself--
supposing somebody would be able to tell her.

When she came up to the house door it was
shut; so she tapped at the window, and asked,
"Hans, is Alice within?" "Yes," he replied,
"she is." At which answer she became really
terrified, and exclaiming, "Ah, heaven, then I
am not Alice!" she ran up to another house,
intending to ask the same question. But as soon as
the folks within heard the jingling of the bells
in her net, they refused to open their doors, and
nobody would receive her. So she ran straight
away from the village, and no one has ever seen
her since.


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