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COMPREHENSION week 7 Q9

There was once a poor Prince, who had a kingdom. His kingdom was very small, but still quite large enough for someone to want to marry into the family; and he wished to marry.

It was certainly rather brave of him to say to the Emperor’s daughter, “Will you have me?” But so he did; for his name was renowned far and wide; and there were a hundred princesses who would have answered, “Yes!” and “Thank you kindly.” We shall see what this princess said.

Listen!

It happened that where the Prince’s father lay buried, there grew a rose tree—a most beautiful rose tree, which blossomed only once in every five years, and even then bore only one flower, but that was a rose! It smelt so sweet that all cares and sorrows were forgotten by anyone who inhaled its fragrance.

And furthermore, the Prince had a nightingale, who could sing in such a manner that it seemed as though all sweet melodies dwelt in her little throat. So the Princess was to have the rose, and the nightingale; and they were accordingly put into large silver caskets, and sent to her.

The Emperor had them brought into a large hall, where the Princess was playing at “Visiting,” with the ladies of the court; and when she saw the caskets with the presents, she clapped her hands for joy.

“Ah, if it were but a little pussy-cat!” said she; but the rose tree, with its beautiful rose came to view.

“Oh, how prettily it is made!” said all the court ladies.

“It is more than pretty,” said the Emperor, “it is charming!”

But the Princess touched it, and was almost ready to cry.

“Fie, papa!” said she. “It is not made at all, it is natural!”

“Let us see what is in the other casket, before we get into a bad temper,” said the Emperor. So the nightingale came forth and sang so delightfully that at first no one could say anything ill-humoured of her.

“Superbe! Charmant!” exclaimed the ladies; for they all used to chatter French, each one worse than her neighbour.

“How much the bird reminds me of the musical box that belonged to our blessed Empress,” said an old knight. “Oh yes! These are the same tones, the same execution.”

“Yes! yes!” said the Emperor, and he wept like a child at the remembrance.

“I will still hope that it is not a real bird,” said the Princess.

“Yes, it is a real bird,” said those who had brought it. “Well then let the bird fly,” said the Princess; and she positively refused to see the Prince.

However, he was not to be discouraged; he daubed his face over brown and black; pulled his cap over his ears, and knocked at the door.

“Good day to my lord, the Emperor!” said he. “Can I have employment at the palace?”

“Why, yes,” said the Emperor. “I want some one to take care of the pigs, for we have a great many of them.”

 

Text adapted from The Swineherd, by Hans Christian Anderson, which is in the public domain.

 

What do you think the Princess would have wanted more than the presents she was given?