There was, once upon a time, a little boy, who, living in the time when Genies and Fairies used now and then to appear, had all the advantage of occasionally seeing wonderful sights, and all the disadvantage of being occasionally dreadfully frightened. This little boy was one day walking alone by the sea side, for he lived in a fishing town, and as he was watching the tide, he perceived a bottle driven ashore by one of the big waves. He rushed forward to catch it before the wave sucked it back again, and succeeded. Now then he was quite delighted, but he could not get the cork out, for it was fastened down with rosin, and there was a seal on the top. So being very impatient, he took a stone and knocked the neck of the bottle off.
What was his surprize to find himself instantly suffocated with a smoke that made his eyes smart and his nose sneeze, just as much as if a quantity of Scotch snuff had been thrown over him! He jumped about and puffed a good deal, and was just beginning to cry, as a matter of course for a little boy when he is annoyed; when lo! and behold! he saw before him such an immense Genie, with black eyes and a long beard, that he forgot all about crying and began to shake with fear.
The Genie told him he need not be afraid, and desired him not to shake; for, said he, “You have been of great use to me; a Genie, stronger than myself, had fastened me up in yonder bottle in a fit of ill humour, and as he had put his seal at the top, nobody could draw the cork. Luckily for me, you broke the neck of the bottle, and I am free. Tell me therefore, good little boy, what shall I do for you to show my gratitude?”
But now, before I go on with this, I must tell you that the day before the little boy’s adventure with the bottle and the Genie, the King of that country had come to the fishing town I spoke of, in a gold chariot drawn by twelve beautiful jet black horses, and attended by a large train of officers and followers. A herald went before announcing that the King was visiting the towns of his dominions, for the sole purpose of doing justice and exercising acts of charity and kindness. And all people in trouble and distress were invited to come and lay their complaints before him. And accordingly they did so, and the good King, though quite a youth, devoted the whole day to the benevolent purpose he proposed; and it is impossible to describe the amount of good he accomplished in that short time. Among others who benefited was our little boy’s Mother, a widow who had been much injured and oppressed. He redressed her grievances, and in addition to this, bestowed valuable and useful presents upon her. “Look what an example the young King sets,” was the cry on every side! “Oh, my son, imitate him!” exclaimed our poor Widow, as in a transport of joy and emotion, she threw her arms around her boy’s neck. “I wish I could imitate him and be like him!” murmured little Joachim: (such was the child’s name). “My