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The White Snake
"A long time ago there lived a King whose wisdom was noised abroad in all the country. Nothing remained long unknown to him. However, he had one curious custom. Every day at dinner, after the table had been cleared and every one gone away, a trusty servant had to bring in one other dish. But it was covered up, and the servant himself did not know what was in it, and no one else knew, for the King waited until he was quite alone before he uncovered the dish."
"At last there came a day when the servant could restrain his curiosity no longer, so as he was carrying the dish away he took it into his room. As soon as he had fastened the door securely, he lifted the cover, and there he saw a white snake lying on the dish. After seeing it he could not resist the desire to taste it, so he cut off a small piece and put it in his mouth. As soon as it touched his tongue he heard a strange chorus of voices. He went and listened, and found that it was the animals talking."
"One day the Queen lost her most splendid ring, and suspicion fell upon the trusty servant, who had the general superintendence, and he was accused of stealing it. The King summoned him to his presence, and after many reproaches told him that if by the next day he was not able to name the thief he should be considered guilty, and punished. It was in vain that he protested his innocence; he could get no better sentence. In his uneasiness and anxiety he went out into the courtyard."
"The poor young ravens lay on the ground, fluttering, and beating the air with their pinions. Then the kind young man dismounted, killed his horse with his dagger, and left it to the young ravens for food. They came hopping up, feasted away at it, and cried, 'We will remember, and reward you!'"
"There sat the ducks by the running water and held a comfortable chat. One of them said pitifully, 'Something lies very heavy in my craw- it is the ring that was lying under the Queen’s window.' Then the servant seized her by the neck, took her into the kitchen, and said to the cook, 'Kill this one, she is quite ready for cooking.' 'Yes,' said the cook; 'there will be no trouble of fattening this one- it has been ready ever so long.' 'She then slit up its neck, and the Queen’s ring was found in its craw."
"The servant could now clearly prove his innocence, and in order to make up for the injustice he had suffered the King permitted him to ask some favor for himself, and also promised him the place of greatest honor in the royal household. But the servant refused it, and only asked for a horse and money for traveling, for he had a fancy to see the world, and look about him a little. So his request was granted, and he set out on his way"
One day he came to a pool of water, by which he saw three fishes who had got entangled in the rushes, and were panting for water. put the three fishes back again into the water. They quivered all over with joy, stretched out their heads, and called out to him, “We will remember and reward you, because you have delivered us.' He rode on to find an ant-king was complaining, 'If only these men would keep off, with their great awkward beasts! Here comes this stupid horse treading down my people with his hard hoofs!' The man then turned his horse to the side-path, and the ant-king called out to him, 'We will remember and reward you!'
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