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Yellow Dwarf


A certain queen had a daughter named All-Fair, of incomparable beauty. One day the queen went to consult the Desert-Fairy, but, being weary, lay down to rest, and fell asleep. On waking she saw two lions approaching, and was greatly terrified. At this juncture the Yellow Dwarf arrested her attention, and promised to save her from the lions if she would consent to give him All-Fair for his bride. The queen made the promise, and an orange-tree opened, into which the queen entered, and escaped the lions. The queen now sickened, and All-Fair went to consult the Desert-Fairy, but, like her mother, was threatened by the lions, and promised to be the dwarf’s bride if he would contrive her escape. Next morning she awoke in her own room, and found on her finger a ring made of a single red hair, which could not be got off. The princess now sickened, and the States resolved to give her in marriage to the powerful king of the Gold Mines. On the day of espousals the Yellow Dwarf came to claim his bride, carried her off on his Spanish cat, and confined her in Steel Castle. In the meantime the Desert-Fairy made the king of the Gold Mines her captive. One day a mermaid appeared to the captive king, carried him to Steel Castle, and gave him a sword made of one entire diamond. Thus armed, the king went in, and was first encountered by four sphinxes, then by six dragons, then by twenty-four nymphs. All these he slew with the syren sword, and then came to the princess. Here he dropped his sword, which the Yellow Dwarf took possession of. The Yellow Dwarf now made the king his captive, and asked if he would give up the princess. “No,” said the king; whereupon the dwarf stabbed him to the heart; and the princess, seeing him fall, threw herself upon the dead body and died also. (Countess DʹAulnoy: Fairy Tales.)

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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