The Fairiespage 1 / 3
Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters. The elder was often mistaken for her mother, so like her was she both in nature and in looks. Both of them were so disagreeable and arrogant that no one could live with them.
The younger girl, who was a true likeness of her father in the gentleness and sweetness of her disposition, was also one of the most beautiful girls imaginable. The mother doted on the elder daughter naturally enough, since she resembled her so closely; and she disliked the younger one just as intensely. She made her eat all her meals in the kitchen and work from morning till night.
One of the poor child's many duties was to go twice a day and draw water from a spring a good half mile away, bringing it back in a large pitcher. One day when she was at the spring an old woman came up and begged for a drink.
"Why, certainly, good mother," said the beautiful girl. Rinsing the pitcher, she drew some water from the cleanest part of the spring and handed it to her, lifting up the pitcher so that she might drink more easily.
Now this old woman was a fairy, who had taken the form of a poor peasant woman to see just how far the girl's good nature would go. "You are so beautiful," she said, when she had finished drinking, "and so polite, that I am determined to bestow a gift upon you. I grant you," the fairy continued, "that with every word you speak, a flower or a precious stone shall fall from your mouth."
When the beautiful girl arrived at home, her mother scolded her for staying so long at the spring.
"I beg your pardon, mother," said the poor child, "for having taken so long," and as she spoke these words, two roses, two pearls, and two large diamonds fell from her mouth.
"What am I seeing?" cried her mother. "I do believe that I saw pearls and diamonds dropping out of your mouth? What have you been doing, my daughter?" (This was the first time she had ever called her her daughter.)