From the time that Tom was old enough to handle pick and shovel, he had worked in the tin mines. And very lucky he was, always finding rich lodes of tin, or stumbling on heaps of Cornish diamonds that some unknown hands had piled up to carry off.
One night Tom was working hard in an old mine - a very ancient mine indeed - when he heard sounds like those, of tiny shovels and picks.
"It is the Knockers!" said Tom to himself, and he listened quietly. Then he heard, as if only two or three yards away, little miners doing all sorts of underground work. Some were wheeling barrows, others were shovelling; and he could distinguish even the sounds of boring, swabbing the holes, and blasting.
The noises came nearer and nearer, and Tom heard distinctly many squeaky voices all talking at once, and strange cackling laughter. He grew quite savage listening to all this clatter, and to the squeaking and tee-hee-ing; and being a rash fellow, he struck the wall before him violently with his pick, and threw a handful of stones in the direction where the Knockers seemed to be working.
"Scat!" he shouted, "or I'll beat your brains out, I will, if you don't leave here!" The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when a shower of stones fell all around him, and on him, and frightened him nearly out of his senses.
Late one Hallowe'en an old woman was sitting up spinning. There came a soft knock at the door.
"Who's there?" asked she.
There was no answer, but another knock.
"Who's there?" she asked a second time.
Still no answer, but a third knock. At that the old woman got up in anger.
The Sultan Mahmood, who had a great deal of wit and courage, but whose face was anything but handsome, had heard himself called so often, by his courtiers, Star of the World, Source of Consolation, Delight of the People, Image of the Sun, that when, in their audacity, they went so far as to eulogize his beauty, he finished by believing that he was really handsome.
But one day, when he was walking in a great gallery, he looked by chance upon a mirror, and saw with astonishment that he was everything else.
"Either my courtiers tell me falsehoods," he said, "or this mirror is bad. So many eyes, which find me handsome, cannot however he easily deceived. The fault, beyond a doubt, must be in this mirror."
Long ago there lived a monarch, 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, caressing 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 chamber, 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.
There was a cook whose name was Gretel. She wore shoes with red heels, and whenever she went out wearing them she would turn this way and that way, and she was very cheerful, thinking, "You are a beautiful girl!"
Then after returning home, because she was so happy, she would drink a swallow of wine, and the wine would give her an appetite, so she would taste the best of what she had cooked, until she was quite full, and then she would say, "The cook has to know how the food tastes."
One day her master said to her, "Gretel, this evening a guest is coming. Prepare two chickens for me, the best way that you can."
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Once there were three children, three brothers, who played together in the sunshine about their father's door. Now the youngest of them all was not as large and strong as his brothers; and for that reason they often teased him, saying : "You are not as tall as we. You cannot run as fast. See! we can jump farther and swing higher than you."
If ever they wrestled together, the youngest was the first to be thrown to the ground ; and no matter what he tried to do, the others always laughed, and called out: "Oh! you are so stupid. That is not the way. Let me show you how, you dunny!" So after a while they called him nothing but Dunny.
Accurately relating how a marked advance in material and political prosperity accrued to Abdul Karim, and the part played by a monarch whose philosophy included the immediate advancement of a worthy subject.
A Laboring man named Abdul Karim, with his wife, Zeeba "the beautiful one" lived in a sheltered valley, surrounded by hills, the sides of which were covered with fine gardens, in which the peach, the grape, the mulberry, and other delicious fruits grew in great profusion.
Although his wife's name was Zeeba, as a matter of fact, she was very plain in appearance. But from having been named Zeeba, she really thought she was beautiful, and thus it came about that, moved by vanity, her two children were named, the boy, Yusuf, or Joseph, who as you know, was sold by his brethren into Egypt and became next to the King; and the girl, Fatima, after Fatima, the favorite daughter of Mahomet, and the wife of the famous Ali.
There was once a most beautiful and amiable princess who was called "The Fair One with Locks of Gold," for her hair shone brighter than gold, and flowed in curls down to her feet, her head was always encircled by a wreath of beautiful flowers, and pearls and diamonds.
A handsome, rich, young prince, whose territories joined to hers, was deeply in love with the reports he heard of her, and sent to demand her in marriage.
Long, long ago, in old Japan, the Kingdom of the Sea was governed by a wonderful King. He was called Rin Jin, or the Dragon King of the Sea. His power was immense, for he was the ruler of all sea creatures both great and small, and in his keeping were the Jewels of the Ebb and Flow of the Tide. The Jewel of the Ebbing Tide when thrown into the ocean caused the sea to recede from the land, and the Jewel of the Flowing Tide made the waves to rise mountains high and to flow in upon the shore like a tidal wave.
The Palace of Rin Jin was at the bottom of the sea, and was so beautiful that no one has ever seen anything like it even in dreams. The walls were of coral, the roof of jadestone and chrysoprase, and the floors were of the finest mother-of-pearl. But the Dragon King, in spite of his wide-spreading Kingdom, his beautiful Palace and all its wonders, and his power which none disputed throughout the whole sea, was not at all happy, for he reigned alone.
Once upon a time there was a handsome hen who lived like a great lady in the poultry-yard of a rich farmer, surrounded by a numerous family which clucked about her, and none of which clamored more loudly or picked up the corn faster with his beak than a poor little deformed and crippled chicken.
This was precisely the one that the mother loved best. It is the way with all mothers; the weakest and most unsightly are always their favorites. This misshapen creature had but one eye, one wing, and one leg in good condition; it might have been thought that Solomon had executed his memorable sentence on Coquerico, for that was the name of the wretched chicken, and cut him in two with his famous sword.