CHILDE ROWLAND

England Fairy Tales

Once upon a time there was a little princess.Her name was Ellen.She lived with her mother the queen in a great house by the sea.She had three brothers.One day, as they were playing ball, one of her brothers threw the ball over the house.Ellen ran to get it, but she did not come back.The three brothers looked for her.They looked and looked, but they could not find her.Day after day went by.

At last the oldest brother went to a wise man and asked what to do.

“The princess is with the elves. She is in the Dark Tower,” said the wise man.

“Where is the Dark Tower?” asked the oldest brother.

“It is far away,” said the wise man. “You cannot find it.”

“I can and I will find it. Tell me where it is,” said the oldest brother.

The wise man told him, and the oldest brother set off at once.The other brothers waited.They waited long, but the oldest brother did not come back.Then the next brother went to the wise man.The wise man told him as he had told the oldest brother.Then the next brother set out to find the Dark Tower.The youngest brother waited.He waited long, but no one came.Now the youngest brother was called Childe Rowland.

At last Childe Rowland went to his mother the queen and said:

“Mother, let me go and find the Dark Tower and bring home Ellen and my brothers.”

“I cannot let you go. You are all that I have, now,” said the queen.

But Childe Rowland asked again and again, till at last the queen said, “Go, my boy.”

Then she gave him his father’s sword, and he set out.He went to the wise man and asked the way.The wise man told him and said:

“I will tell you two things. One thing is for you to do, and one thing is for you not to do.

“The thing to do is this: When you get to the country of the elves, take hold of your father’s sword, pull it out quickly, and cut off the head of any one who speaks to you, till you find the princess Ellen.

“The thing not to do is this: Bite no bit and drink no drop till you come back. Go hungry and thirsty while you are in the country of the elves.”

Childe Rowland said the two things over and over, so that he should not forget.Then he went on his way.He went on and on and on, till he came to some horses with eyes of fire.Then he knew he was in the country of the elves.A man was with the horses.

“Where is the Dark Tower?” asked Childe Rowland.

“I do not know,” said the man. “Ask the man that keeps the cows.”

Childe Rowland thought of what the wise man had told him.He pulled out his father’s sword, and off went the man’s head.Then Childe Rowland went on and on, till he came to some cows with eyes of fire.The man who kept the cows looked at Childe Rowland.

“Where is the Dark Tower?” asked Childe Rowland.

“I cannot tell. Ask the woman that keeps the hens,” said the man.

Childe Rowland took the sword, and off went the man’s head.

Then Childe Rowland went on and on, till he came to some hens with eyes of fire.An old woman was with them.

“Where is the Dark Tower?” asked Childe Rowland.

“Go on and look for a hill,” said the old woman. “Go around the hill three times. Each time you go around say:

‘Open, door! open, door!
Let me come in.’

When you have gone three times around, a door will open. Go in.”

Childe Rowland did not like to cut off the head of the old woman, but he thought of what the wise man had told him.So he took hold of the sword, and off went her head.After this he went on and on and on, till he came to a hill.He went three times around it, and each time he said:

“Open, door! open, door!
Let me come in.”

When he had gone three times around, a door opened. In he went.

The door shut after him, and he was in the dark.

Soon he began to see a dim light.It seemed to come from the walls.He went down a long way, and at last he came to another door.All at once it flew open, and he found himself in a great hall.The walls were of gold and silver, and were hung with diamonds.

How the diamonds shone!

And there sat the princess Ellen in a great chair of gold, with diamonds all about her head.When she saw Childe Rowland, she came to him and said:

“Brother, why are you here? If the king of the elves comes, it will be a sad day for you.”

But this did not frighten Childe Rowland. He sat down and told her all that he had done.She told him that the two brothers were in the tower.The king of the elves had turned them into stone.Soon Childe Rowland began to be very hungry, and asked for something to eat.Ellen went out and soon came back with bread and milk in a golden bowl.Childe Rowland took it and was about to eat.All at once he thought of what the wise man had said.

So he threw the bowl down upon the floor, and said:

“Not a bit will I bite,
Not a drop will I drink,
Till Ellen is free.”

Then they heard a great noise outside, and some one cried out:

“Fee-fi-fo-fum!
I smell the blood
Of an Englishman!”

The door of the hall flew open and the king of the elves came in.Childe Rowland took his sword.They fought and they fought.At last Childe Rowland beat the king of the elves down to the ground.

“Stop!” cried the king of the elves. “I have had enough.”

“I will stop when you set free the princess Ellen and my brothers,” said Childe Rowland.

“I will set them free,” said the king.

He went at once to a cupboard and took out a blood-red bottle.Out of this bottle he let a drop or two fall upon the eyes of the two brothers, and up they jumped.Childe Rowland took the hand of his sister and went out of the door, and up the long way.The two brothers went after them and left the king of the elves alone.Then they came out from the hill and found their way back to their own country.

How glad the queen was!

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