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The Blue Fairy Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 414 pages of information about The Blue Fairy Book.

Having thus prepared all things as well as I was able, I set sail.  When I had made twenty-four leagues, by my reckoning, from the island of Blefuscu, I saw a sail steering to the northeast.  I hailed her, but could get no answer; yet I found I gained upon her, for the wind slackened; and in half an hour she spied me, and discharged a gun.  I came up with her between five and six in the evening, Sept. 26, 1701; but my heart leaped within me to see her English colors.  I put my cows and sheep into my coat pockets, and got on board with all my little cargo.  The captain received me with kindness, and asked me to tell him what place I came from last; but at my answer he thought I was raving.  However, I took my black cattle and sheep out of my pocket, which, after great astonishment, clearly convinced him.

We arrived in England on the 13th of April, 1702.  I stayed two months with my wife and family; but my eager desire to see foreign countries would suffer me to remain no longer.  However, while in England I made great profit by showing my cattle to persons of quality and others; and before I began my second voyage I sold them for 600l.  I left 1500l. with my wife, and fixed her in a good house; then taking leave of her and my boy and girl, with tears on both sides, I sailed on board the “Adventure."[1]

[1] Swift.

THE PRINCESS ON THE GLASS HILL

Once upon a time there was a man who had a meadow which lay on the side of a mountain, and in the meadow there was a barn in which he stored hay.  But there had not been much hay in the barn for the last two years, for every St. John’s eve, when the grass was in the height of its vigor, it was all eaten clean up, just as if a whole flock of sheep had gnawed it down to the ground during the night.  This happened once, and it happened twice, but then the man got tired of losing his crop, and said to his sons—­he had three of them, and the third was called Cinderlad—­that one of them must go and sleep in the barn on St. John’s night, for it was absurd to let the grass be eaten up again, blade and stalk, as it had been the last two years, and the one who went to watch must keep a sharp look-out, the man said.

The eldest was quite willing to go to the meadow; he would watch the grass, he said, and he would do it so well that neither man, nor beast, nor even the devil himself should have any of it.  So when evening came he went to the barn, and lay down to sleep, but when night was drawing near there was such a rumbling and such an earthquake that the walls and roof shook again, and the lad jumped up and took to his heels as fast as he could, and never even looked back, and the barn remained empty that year just as it had been for the last two.

Next St. John’s eve the man again said that he could not go on in this way, losing all the grass in the outlying field year after year, and that one of his sons must just go there and watch it, and watch well too.  So the next oldest son was willing to show what he could do.  He went to the barn and lay down to sleep, as his brother had done; but when night was drawing near there was a great rumbling, and then an earthquake, which was even worse than that on the former St. John’s night, and when the youth heard it he was terrified, and went off, running as if for a wager.

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