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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 116 pages of information about The Fairy Godmothers and Other Tales.

Four or five of the christenings were to take place the next day, and the Fairies who were going were discussing with each other what gifts they should bestow, and as their only object was to ensure the happiness of the children for whom they were interested, they naturally fell into a discourse as to what gifts were most likely to have so charming an effect.  “Your Godchild is a girl too, I believe,” said Euphrosyne to Ianthe [Fairies are privileged, you know, to have romantic names] “what do you think of bestowing upon her?” “Why,” answered Ianthe, “the old story, I suppose—­beauty:  at least such was my intention, but if you can any of you show me I am wrong in supposing it a cause of happiness to the mortal race, why, I suppose I must give her ugliness instead.”

“Sister, I hope you will do no such thing,” murmured a young Fairy who lay near twining seaweeds into a wreath.  “I never until this evening heard a doubt upon the subject, and to tell you the truth the only time I ever envy a mortal is when I see a regular beauty enter a large assembly.  Oh, the triumph of that moment!  Every eye turned upon her; murmurs of admiration, not unmixed with envy, greeting her as she sweeps along; everyone courting her acquaintance; a word, a smile of hers more valued than a pearl or a ruby.  A sort of queen of Nature’s own making, reigning royally in undisputed sway, let her circumstances of life be what they may!  Look how mean the richest woman who is ugly looks by the side of her!  No no, dear Ianthe, make your little lady handsome, and you have done the best that Fairy can do for her.  I declare I envy her beforehand!  Here where we are all so beautiful together there is no interest or excitement about it—­it is quite flat.”  And so saying the young fairy Leila laid herself down to her wreath again.  “Why, Leila, you are absolutely eloquent!” observed Ianthe, “Beauty it certainly must be.”

“Oh, I declare,” pursued Ianthe, rousing up again, “I have sometimes really wished myself ugly, that I might some day have the pleasure of suddenly finding myself beautiful!”

“Oh, but then,” said a Fairy from behind, “is there no danger of your regular beauty, as you call her, getting as tired of being beautiful as you are, and wishing herself ugly too?”

“Certainly, not,” answered Ianthe, “for, for an earthly beauty there would always be the excitement of being envied.”

“Come, come,” persisted the former speaker, “then the gift of being envied would be the best thing to bestow, at all events a necessary addition.”

“Oh,” cried Leila, stopping her ears, “I can’t argue, I never could—­I can’t hear any more, I am quite satisfied that I am right; you can’t argue away the pleasure of being a beauty in a ball-room.  Ask any of them themselves.”

“Well,” said Ianthe, “we need pursue the subject no further.  I am resolved.  My baby is to be beautiful, beautiful as the dawn of the morning; they shall call her Aurora!”

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