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 LONG ago there lived a monarch1, who was such a very, honest man that his subjects entitled him the Good King. One day, when he was out hunting, a little white rabbit, which had been half-killed by his hounds, leaped right into his majesty's arms. Said he, caressing2 it: “This poor creature has put itself under my protection, and I will allow no one to injure it.” So he carried it to his palace, had prepared for it a neat little rabbit-hutch, with abundance of the daintiest food, such as rabbits love, and there he left it.  
The same night, when he was alone in his chamber3, there appeared to him a beautiful lady. She was dressed neither in gold, nor silver, nor brocade; but her flowing robes were white as snow, and she wore a garland of white roses on her head. The Good King was greatly astonished at the sight; for his door was locked, and he wondered how so dazzling a lady could possibly enter; but she soon removed his doubts.
“I am the fairy Candide,” said she, with a smiling and gracious air. “Passing through the wood where you were hunting, I took a desire to know if you were as good as men say you are I therefore changed myself into a white rabbit and took refuge in your arms. You saved me and now I know that those who are merciful to dum beasts will be ten times more so to human beings. You merit the name your subjects give you: you are the Good King. I thank you for your protection, and shall be always one of your best friends. You have but to say what you most desire, and I promise you your wish shall be granted.”
“Madam,” replied the king, “if you are a fairy, you must know, without my telling you, the wish of my heart. I have one well-beloved son, Prince Cherry: whatever kindly4 feeling you have toward me, extend it to him.”
“Willingly,” said Candide. “I will make him the handsomest, richest, or most powerful prince in the world: choose whichever you desire for him.”
“None of the three,” returned the father. “I only wish him to be good—the best prince in the whole world. Of what use would riches, power, or beauty be to him if he were a bad man?”
“You are right,” said the fairy; “but I can not make him good: he must do that himself. I can only change his external fortunes; for his personal character, the utmost I can promise is to give him good counsel, reprove him for his faults, and even punish him, if he will not punish himself. You mortals can do the same with your children.”
“Ah, yes!” said the king, sighing. Still, he felt that the kindness of a fairy was something gained for his son, and died not long after, content and at peace.
Prince Cherry mourned deeply, for he dearly loved his father, and would have gladly given all his kingdoms and treasures to keep him in life a little longer. Two days after the Good King was no more, Prince Cherry was sleeping in his chamber, when he saw the same dazzling vision of the fairy Candide.
“I promised your father,” said she, “to be your best friend, and in pledge of this take what I now give you;” and she placed a small gold ring upon his finger. “Poor as it looks, it is more precious than diamonds; for whenever you do ill it will prick5 your finger. If, after that warning, you still continue in evil, you will lose my friendship, and I shall become your direst enemy.”'
So saying, she disappeared, leaving Cherry in such amazement6 that he would have believed it all a dream, save for the ring on his finger.
He was for a long time so good that the ring never pricked7 him at all; and this made him so cheerful and pleasant in his humor that everybody called him “Happy Prince Cherry.” But one unlucky day he was out hunting and found no sport, which vexed9 him so much that he showed his ill temper by his looks and ways. He fancied his ring felt very tight and uncomfortable, but as it did not prick him he took no heed10 of this: until, re-entering his palace, his little pet dog, Bibi, jumped up upon him and was sharply told to get away. The creature, accustomed to nothing but caresses11, tried to attract his attention by pulling at his garments, when Prince Cherry turned and gave it a severe kick. At this moment he felt in his finger a prick like a pin.
“What nonsense!” said he to himself. “The fairy must be making game of me. Why, what great evil have I done! I, the master of a great empire, cannot I kick my own dog?”
A voice replied, or else Prince Cherry imagined it, “No, sire; the master of a great empire has a right to do good, but not evil. I—a fairy—am as much above you as you are above your dog. I might punish you, kill you, if I chose; but I prefer leaving you to amend12 your ways. You have been guilty of three faults today—bad temper, passion, cruelty: do better to-morrow.”
The prince promised, and kept his word a while; but he had been brought up by a foolish nurse, who indulged him in every way and was always telling him that he would be a king one day, when he might do as he liked in all things. He found out now that even a king cannot always do that; it vexed him and made him angry. His ring began to prick him so often that his little finger was continually bleeding. He disliked this, as was natural, and soon began to consider whether it would not be easier to throw the ring away altogether than to be constantly annoyed by it. It was such a queer thing for a king to have a spot of blood on his finger! At last, unable to put up with it any more, he took his ring off and hid it where he would never see it; and believed himself the happiest of men, for he could now do exactly what he liked. He did it, and became every day more and more miserable13.
One day he saw a young girl, so beautiful that, being always accustomed to have his own way, he immediately determined14 to espouse15 her. He never doubted that she would be only too glad to be made a queen, for she was very poor. But Zelia—that was her name—answered, to his great astonishment16, that she would rather not marry him.
“Do I displease17 you?” asked the prince, into whose mind it had never entered that he could displease anybody.
“Not at all, my prince,” said the honest peasant maiden18. “You are very handsome, very charming; but you are not like your father the Good King. I will not be your queen, for you would make me miserable.”
At these words the prince's love seemed all to turn to hatred19: he gave orders to his guards to convey Zelia to a prison near the palace, and then took counsel with his foster brother, the one of all his ill companions who most incited20 him to do wrong.
“Sir,” said this man, “if I were in your majesty's place, I would never vex8 myself about a poor silly girl. Feed her on bread and water till she comes to her senses; and if she still refuses you, let her die in torment21, as a warning to your other subjects should they venture to dispute your will. You will be disgraced should you suffer yourself to be conquered by a simple girl.”
“But,” said Prince Cherry, “shall I not be disgraced if I harm a creature so perfectly22 innocent?”
“No one is innocent who disputes your majesty's authority,” said the courtier, bowing; “and it is better to commit an injustice23 than allow it to be supposed you can ever be contradicted with impunity24.”
This touched Cherry on his weak point—his good impulses faded; he resolved once more to ask Zelia if she would marry him, and if she again refused, to sell her as a slave. Arrived at the cell in which she was confined, what was his astonishment to find her gone! He knew not whom to accuse, for he had kept the key in his pocket the whole time. At last, the foster-brother suggested that the escape of Zelia might have been contrived25 by an old man, Suliman by name, the prince's former tutor, who was the only one who now ventured to blame him for anything that he did. Cherry sent immediately, and ordered his old friend to be brought to him, loaded heavily with irons. Then, full of fury, he went and shut himself up in his own chamber, where he went raging to and fro, till startled by a noise like a clap of thunder. The fairy Candide stood before him.
“Prince,” said she, in a severe voice, “I promised your father to give you good counsels and to punish you if you refused to follow them. My counsels were forgotten, my punishment despised. Under the figure of a man, you have been no better than the beasts you chase: like a lion in fury, a wolf in gluttony, a serpent in revenge, and a bull in brutality26. Take, therefore, in your new form the likeness27 of all these animals.”
Scarcely had Prince Cherry heard these words than to his horror he found himself transformed into what the Fairy had named. He was a creature with the head of a lion, the horns of a bull, the feet of a wolf, and the tail of a serpent. At the same time he felt himself transported to a distant forest, where, standing28 on the bank of a stream, he saw reflected in the water his own frightful29 shape, and heard a voice saying:
“Look at thyself, and know thy soul has become a thousand times uglier even than thy body.”
Cherry recognized the voice of Candide, and in his rage would have sprung upon her and devoured30 her; but he saw nothing and the same voice said behind him:
“Cease thy feeble fury, and learn to conquer thy pride by being in su............
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