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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know.
her was—­that she was awfully clever.  In fact, she was a witch; and when she bewitched anybody, he very soon had enough of it; for she beat all the wicked fairies in wickedness, and all the clever ones in cleverness.  She despised all the modes we read of in history, in which offended fairies and witches have taken their revenges; and therefore, after waiting and waiting in vain for an invitation, she made up her mind at last to go without one, and make the whole family miserable, like a princess as she was.

So she put on her best gown, went to the palace, was kindly received by the happy monarch, who forgot that he had forgotten her, and took her place in the procession to the royal chapel.  When they were all gathered about the font, she contrived to get next to it, and throw something into the water; after which she maintained a very respectful demeanour till the water was applied to the child’s face.  But at that moment she turned round in her place three times, and muttered the following words, loud enough for those beside her to hear: 

  “Light of spirit, by my charms,
    Light of body, every part,
   Never weary human arms—­
    Only crush thy parents’ heart!”

They all thought she had lost her wits, and was repeating some foolish nursery rhyme; but a shudder went through the whole of them notwithstanding.  The baby, on the contrary, began to laugh and crow; while the nurse gave a start and a smothered cry, for, she thought she was struck with paralysis:  she could not feel the baby in her arms.  But she clasped it tight and said nothing.

The mischief was done.

III

She Can’t Be Ours!

Her atrocious aunt had deprived the child of all her gravity.  If you ask me how this was effected, I answer, “In the easiest way in the world.  She had only to destroy gravitation.”  For the princess was a philosopher, and knew all the ins and outs of the laws of gravitation as well as the ins and outs of her boot-lace.  And being a witch as well, she could abrogate those laws in a moment; or at least so clog their wheels and rust their bearings that they would not work at all.  But we have more to do with what followed than with how it was done.

The first awkwardness that resulted from this unhappy privation was, that the moment the nurse began to float the baby up and down, she flew from her arms towards the ceiling.  Happily, the resistance of the air brought her ascending career to a close within a foot of it.  There she remained, horizontal as when she left her nurse’s arms, kicking and laughing amazingly.  The nurse in terror flew to the bell, and begged the footman, who answered it, to bring up the house-steps directly.  Trembling in every limb, she climbed upon the steps, and had to stand upon the very top, and reach up, before she could catch the floating tail of the baby’s long clothes.

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