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HERE were a king and queen, once upon a time, who had two
fine boys. After a while the queen had a beautiful little girl, who was so pretty that it was impossible to see her without loving her. The queen, having royally entertained all the fairies who came to see her on the occasion, said to them at their departure, “ Pray do not forget your usual custom, but tell me what will happen to Rosetta.” For such was the name of the little princess. The fairies told her that they had forgotten to bring their conjuring books.“Ah!” said the queen,
that forebodes no good. You do not wish to afflict me by telling me her bad fate. But
pray do not conceal anything from me; but tell me all.” They tried hard to excuse themselves, but this only made the queen more anxious to know what was to happen. At last the chief fairy said to her, “ We fear, madam, that Rosetta will bring great misery upon her brothers; that they may even be put to death on her account. This is all that we can foretell of this beautiful little girl, and we are very sorry that we have not better news to offer you.” They then left her; and the queen became so sorrowful that the king noticed it, and asked her what was the matter. So she told him what the fairies had predicted of the little Rosetta; and begged, that if he knew any means of preventing it, he would tell her. The king, much grieved at this, replied, “My dear, I know of no other means of saving the lives of our two sons than by putting Rosetta to death while she is yet in her cradle.” But the queen declared she would rather suffer death herself than consent to such cruelty; and begged him to find out some other
While the king and queen were still meditating on this subject, the queen was told that in a large wood near the town there lived an old hermit, in a hollow tree, who was consulted by people far and near. Then she said, “I too must go and consult him ; the fairies warned me of the evil, but they forgot to tell me how to re
So the next morning the queen rose early, mounted a pretty white mule, whose shoes were of gold, and left the palace, accompanied by two of her maids of honour on beautiful steeds. When they reached the wood, the queen and her maidens alighted and sought the tree where the hermit lived. He did not like to see women; but when he perceived that it was the queen, he said to her, “Madam, you are welcome; what do you wish to know ?” She told him what the fairies had said about Rosetta, and asked his advice. He directed her to shut the princess in a tower and never allow her to leave it. The queen thanked him, rewarded him liberally, and rode home to tell the king.
The king upon hearing this caused a large tower to be erected, and when it was finished shut his daughter up in it; but, that she might not be lonely, he, the queen, and the two young princes, Prince Royal and Prince Orİando, visited her every day. They both loved their sister passionately, for she was the fairest and most sweettempered girl that ever was seen.
When she was fifteen years old, the king and queen were taken very ill, and died nearly about the same day. Everybody was full of grief and went into mourning; and the bells were tolled throughout the kingdom. As for Rosetta, she was inconsolable at the death of her kind papa and
After the king and queen were buried, the nobles of the kingdom