Fairy Tale For Kids - The Serpent Queen

 The Serpent Queen

One day, when a certain King Peter was out hunting in the forest, he saw a beautiful deer, which had garlands of flowers and jewels on its head and round its body. It was such a strange sight that the king put away his bow and arrows and started to hurry after it. He ran as fast as he could, but the swift-footed deer was not to be caught and it vanished from sight. Puzzled, and hoping to see the deer again, King Peter searched for it until evening time. He came to the bank of a river, very tired, and was about to stretch himself on the bank to sleep when he heard a voice coming from the water. "Throw yourself into the river, King Peter," said the voice.

The King looked down into the clear water. At the bottom he could see the faint sheep of the deer, looking up as though calling to him. "Throw yourself into the river, King Peter," said the voice again. "Do as I say and you need not be afraid of coming to any harm." "It at least knows my name," said the King. "I will do as it says." At once he dived deep into the water and began to swim down towards the bottom, where he found ahead of him a great palace made of glass and glittering diamonds. He went inside, crossed a big room covered by carpets of pure golden thread, and entered a farther room where, surrounded by young women, was a princess of rare beauty. Struck by her beauty, the young king asked her to marry him. "Yes, I will marry you," agreed the princess, who was a fairy named Christina, "but first you must keep a promise." "Gladly," said King Peter. "This is the promise you must make and keep, that whatever happens, you must not try to find out who I am or anything about me." 

"I promise," said the young king, and they were married at once. Years passed by and they had two lovely and graceful children. There seemed to be nothing to disturb their happiness, except for King Peter's increasing curiosity about his wife. He became so curious, in fact, that he could no longer resist breaking his promise, and one day, when his wife was not there, he searched her apartment to see what he could find. Before he found anything, however, the queen returned and caught him. "You have broken the promise you made," she told him, "and because of that, I can no longer live with you. Now you must overcome some great tests, but, as you try to overcome them, you must not curse me or you will lose me forever. Suddenly a whirlpool appeared and into it the queen and the children vanished, leaving the king standing alone in the middle of a desert. Poor Peter started to shout and cry but there was nobody to hear him. Ashamed of himself, the young king wandered around for many days, without rest, food or anybody to talk to, calling his wife and two children to come back to him. "If only Christina and my two children would come back to me, I would make and keep any promise asked of me," he sighed, wandering on and on, searching the desert with his tired eyes for any sign of life. At last, one evening, the queen and the two children came towards him. Overjoyed, King Peter was hurrying to embrace them, when all of a sudden his wife picked up the children and threw them into a huge cauldron of fire, which had appeared before them. Forgetting what he had been told, the young king was so shocked that he shouted at the top of his voice, cursing the queen for what she had done. A great rumble of thunder shook the air and a goddess, in a coach pulled by white birds came swooping down from the sky. "You foolish man," she told him, looking at Peter with flashing eyes. "What you have done has lost you the wife you love. She is really the fairy of the river and when you saw her like a deer and hunted her she wanted to marry you.

I did not wish this to happen, because a fairy should never marry a mortal, even if he is a king. You broke two promises, but as I do not wish your wife to be deeply hurt, I will give back your children alive and well." The goddess made a sign and the two children appeared, quite safe and sound, but at the same moment, the goddess touched the queen with a magic wand and changed her into a large and horrible serpent, which slid away and vanished into a hole in the ground. "Break that magic spell if you can, O King," said the goddess as she soared into the sky in the coach and went from view behind the clouds. Very sad, King Peter returned to his castle with the two children. He was so unhappy without his wife that he called a wise man to him and asked what he should do to get her back. "Your Majesty, only you can get her back by performing a brave task," said the wise man. "I warn you that it will be very dangerous. Come with me and I will show you."

The wise man led King Peter to the foot of a hill, in which there was a great stone door. He gave him a wooden club and told him to strike the door. Peter obeyed. The door crashed wide open and out of the cave in the hill came a huge bull, with fire coming from its mouth. The bull charged to attack and a tremendous fight between man and beast ended up with the king being the winner. Though he could see that the king was almost too tired to move, the wise man told him to strike the door again with the club. This time a giant came out of the hill. The fight between King and giant was terrible to watch, but again the king won. "Now for the last task," said the wise man. "Strike the door again and promise to kiss whatever comes out of it." The King obeyed and from out of the hillside slithered an enormous, slimy serpent. Although shuddering at the sight of it, King Peter went forward and kissed the serpent. There was a tremendous shaking of the earth, the sky went black for a few moments and the ugly serpent disappeared. In its place stood Queen Christina, even more, beautiful than ever. At last, the magic spells had been overcome and there was nothing more to stop King Peter and his queen from living happily ever after.     

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