- On the advice of his father, Guyon (Fleur épine) becomes a rider - The daughter of the King of France takes him as a page - Fleur épine is summoned by the king to find one of his daughters who was made kidnap - At the Russian court, a daughter of the emperor takes him as a page - He leaves the Russian court to go to the Devil, after having promised to help treat one of the princesses who is ill - At the court from England recur the same circumstances as in Russia
- He leaves it again, promising to find the remedy for the current water shortage - An old woman indicates to him the giant's castle which is holding the daughter of the King of France - He enters and takes the princess out, after having obtained from the giant the remedies for England and Russia - In thanks, the King of England and the Emperor of Russia offer him the hand of one of their daughter, whom Fleur épine declines - Back in France, he returns his daughter to the king, with whom he marries.
Once upon a time there was a man, a farmer Breton, living modestly from the produce of a small farm. He was a widower. He died shortly after his wife, leaving three sons. Before giving up his soul to God, he called his children near his bed, gave them some advice and recommended the youngest, named Guyon, to become a soldier and go to war, while his two eldest would run the farm. .
Let us follow Guyon, and let the other two sow and harvest their fields, in due course.
He therefore enlisted, according to his father's recommendation, and became a rider.
After two years of apprenticeship, he had become an accomplished horseman, and he was sent to Paris in garrison. As he had a good figure, his captain often commanded him on guard at the gate of the king's palace.
One of the king's daughters noticed him and found him so well that she only dreamed of him. One day she said to her maid:
- There, on guard, at the gate of the palace, a soldier who has a very fine figure; have you not noticed it?
- Yes, really, answered the maid.
- I would like to talk to him; go tell her to come talk to me in my room.
The maid went to find the soldier and said:
- Young soldier, please follow me; my mistress, the king's daughter, wishes to speak to you.
Guyon, who was not used to talking to princesses, was surprised and confused at first and hesitated a little. He nevertheless followed the maid and appeared before the princess. She asked him if he wanted to be her page. He replied in the affirmative.
"Well, I'll talk to my father about it today," she said.
Her father left her free to do as she liked on this subject, and the next day Guyon appeared at court as a page of the princesses. There were three of them, and he had nothing else to do every day than accompany them on their walks, in the gardens and woods which surrounded the castle.
Soon the three princesses fell in love with the young page, so much so that another page, who had accompanied them until then and whose place he had taken, developed a violent jealousy of him.
One day, when Guyon was, as usual, with the princesses, in the palace gardens, a cloud suddenly descended at their feet, and a giant who emerged from it took one of them, the eldest, carried her to the bosom of the cloud, then rose with it into the air.
The old king was inconsolable at the loss of his daughter. He promised a huge sum of money to whoever returned it to him. But, no one offered to try the adventure.
The page who had succeeded Guyon with the princesses went, one day, to find the monarch and told him that Fleur-d'Épine (this is the name that the princesses had given to Guyon) had boasted of being able to find the princess. kidnapped by the giant and bring her back to her father.
"Tell him to come and talk to me now," replied the king.
The young page appeared before the king, all trembling, for he already suspected some perfidy on the part of his rival.
- How? 'Or' What ! Fleur-d'Épine, said the monarch to him, did you boast that you could give me back my daughter, who was kidnapped by a magician?
- I never said anything like it, sire.
- You said it, and you have to do it, or there is only death for you.
- At least, will you provide me with everything I will need to attempt such a perilous enterprise?
- We will provide you with everything you need.
- Well, I need a good horse, with its load of gold and silver.
"You will have it," replied the king. Fleur-d'Épine took the best horse from the king's stables, loaded it with bags of gold and silver, and set off, by the grace of God. He also took a small dog, which followed him everywhere. He goes, he goes, always straight ahead, never stopping, neither day nor night, so that he ends up in Russia. Arrived in the capital city, he goes straight to the palace of the emperor and asks the porter if one does not need a good servant, for some work that it is.
One of the Emperor's daughters, who was at the moment at her bedroom window, saw her, admired her beautiful figure and good looks, and bade her come in. She took him to his father, recommended him to him, and Fleur-d'Épine was charged, at the court of the Emperor of Russia, as at that of the King of France, to accompany the princesses on their walks. There were also three of them, but the youngest was ill and kept in bed since the day of her first communion. The eldest, as soon as she saw him, sent her maid to ask her name.
"I really dare not tell you," he replied.
- Why is that ? Say boldly and fear not.
- Well, my name is the Devil's Messenger and the Carillon d'Enfer.
- Jesus! What are you saying there?
- It's my name.
And the maid to run towards her mistress, quite frightened, and to say to her:
- What a name, my mistress! ...
- Well ! Which name ?
- He told me his name was the Devil's Messenger and the Carillon d'Enfer!
- Really?… It's a strange name; but, whatever the name, after all; I like it and that's enough. Tell him to come talk to me.
The maid returned to Fleur-d'Épine, and immediately returned with him.
"I like your demeanor and good looks," said the princess to her, "and I sent for you to ask if you would like to replace the page who left yesterday with me and my sisters."
'Certainly, princess,' he replied, 'and I shall be greatly honored.
So there he is installed at the court of the Emperor of Russia, having nothing else to do every day than accompany the princesses on their walks. They soon fell in love with him, so much so that he made them both mothers. He was worried about it and thought it prudent to leave, before the Emperor was informed of what had happened.
He therefore announced to the princesses that he had undertaken to make a long and perilous journey, and that he was obliged to leave them, so as not to break his word. They started to cry when they heard this, and begged him to stay. But, he did not listen to them.
He went to take leave of the Emperor. The latter inquired about the reason for such an unexpected departure and told him that he regretted it, but that he would not oppose it, since he was bound by a promise. He added :
- Well, since you are going to see the Devil, because it is undoubtedly he who kidnapped the daughter of the King of France, ask him what should be done to restore health to my youngest daughter, who is ill. on his bed, since the day of his first communion.
"I will not fail to do so, sire, and I will bring you his answer when I come back this way, on my way back to France."
He then left, taking his horse and dog. He walked and walked, and eventually got to London. He went straight to the king's palace. There again, thanks to his beautiful figure and his good looks, he became the page and the guardian of the three princesses, daughters of the King of England, and behaved with them as at the court of Russia.
When he went to take leave of the king, the latter also said to him:
- You know that water has been lacking for several months in all the city's wells; well, since you are going to the Devil, ask him what is the cause and what to do to have water, as before, because he must know it.
"I will not fail to do so, sire," he replied, "and I will report his answer to you when I come back this way."
And he left, taking his horse and dog again. Toward evening, exhausted with fatigue and hunger, he arrived in a large wood crossed by a river. He noticed at the water's edge a poor hut made of earth and branches. He hastened to get there. A little old woman, with a wobbly head and long black teeth, offered herself to her alone.
"Hello, grandmother," he said to her from the threshold of the hut.
"Good morning, my son," replied the old woman, astonished; what do you want ?
- Something to eat, for God's sake, because I'm starving.
- Alas! You address yourself badly, my child; I only have a piece of barley bread there, all moldy, and even your dog wouldn't want it.
- Can you at least get me food for money?
- Yes, with money I'll find some.
And Fleur-d'Épine gave him a handful of gold, without counting, saying:
- Go get me something to eat, and hurry.
- You give me way too much gold.
- Go quickly, I tell you, and keep everything.
The old woman left and returned without delay, accompanied by three men who brought provisions of all kinds. Fleur-d'Épine and the old woman ate with a great appetite; the dog was also not forgotten, and as for the horse, he found grass at will in the wood. Fleur-d'Épine spent the night in the old woman's hut and told her the purpose of her trip.
- You approach, she said to him, the giant castle which holds captive the daughter of the king of France, and there you will also be able to learn the answers to the various questions which were put to you by the emperor of Russia and the king of England. Starting from here, you will soon arrive at the edge of a river, where there is no bridge;
»But, you will find a ferryman, who will pass you on his boat and will also charge you with a question for the giant. Across the river you'll see an old castle, and that's where the princess you're looking for is located. She will teach you how you should go about getting her back to her father.
The next morning Fleur-d'Épine set off again, leaving the old woman with her dog and her horse, until she returned. He soon arrived at the edge of the river. The ferryman was waiting for passers-by, lying under a willow tree at the edge of the water. He took him in his boat and asked him, while rowing:
- Your name, please, my good man?
"The Devil's Messenger and the Carillon de l'Enfer," replied Fleur-d'Épine.
- So you are at the service of the Devil?
- Well, and me too, and since you are going to his place, ask him why he is keeping me here for so long. For four hundred years I have taken travelers from one side of the river to the other, and I am weary of this profession and would like to be replaced, as soon as possible, on my boat. and, on my return, if I ever return, I will let you know his answer.
Once on the other side of the water, Fleur-d'Épine saw the giant's castle, at the top of a steep rock, and he went straight there. The castle was surrounded on all sides by high walls. He knocked on the door, with great difficulty lifting the heavy bronze hammer. The door opened, and on entering the courtyard he noticed the princess at her window. She recognized him, and hurried downstairs and threw herself into his arms, weeping for joy and saying:
- How happy I am to see you again, Fleur-d'Épine! But, my poor friend, you came here to seek your death; yet I will do my best to save you and run away with you. The giant has been away for six months, but he returns tomorrow and will arrive at sunset.
They agreed on the means to deceive the giant and to escape, then they ate and drank and went to sleep together.
The next day, around sunset, the princess hid Fleur-d'Épine in the enormous heap of ashes which had been piling up in the hearth for four hundred years, and put a straw blowtorch in her mouth, to that he could breathe.
The giant arrived soon after, shouting: - I'm hungry! I am very hungry! - Then, having sniffed the air: - There is a Christian around here, and I want to eat him!
"Where do you want Christians to be here," replied the princess; you still only dream of Christians to eat; look for the rest and see if you can find any.
The giant searched and found nothing. He then began to eat greedily. When he was sated he said to the princess:
- Let's go to sleep now.
And they retired to their room at the other end of the castle.
Fleur-d'Épine then came out from under the ashes, where he was uncomfortable.
The giant fell asleep as soon as he got into bed. When the princess heard him snore, she woke him up and said:
- If you only knew the dream I just had?
- What did you dream?
- I dreamed that a man from my father's court was on his way to come and take me from here and bring me back to Paris, to my father's.
- What madness ! It was well worth waking up for so little!
- Why then could it not happen?
- For that to happen, your father would have to have an oven built, the mouth of which would be where the bottom usually is. How do you expect him to ever notice such a thing? Let me sleep peacefully.
And he fell asleep again. But, a moment later, the princess woke him up again.
- Why are you waking me up? he asked impatiently.
- I had a dream again.
- What dream then?
- I thought that the Emperor of Russia has the youngest of his sick daughters since the day of his first communion, and that all the doctors of the empire do not understand her illness.
- It's true ; but, how could you dream of this?
- I do not know ; but, tell me what should be done to restore health to the princess?
- She took Communion, without being well prepared, and, in the night which followed, she vomited and rejected the holy Host. Immediately, a toad came out from under his bed and swallowed the Host, then he returned to his hole, where it still is. To restore health to the princess, it would be necessary to take the toad, boil it in water and make the princess drink this water. But who will ever think of doing this? Let me sleep, because I am tired and I will still have to go on my way, tomorrow morning.
And the giant fell asleep again. But, soon the princess woke him up, for the third time.
- What else do you need? he asked moodily.
- I really do not know what I have this night; I still had a singular dream.
- What ? Say quickly.
- I dreamed that in the city of London, water ran out, in all the fountains and all the wells, and that the inhabitants are about to die of thirst.
- Why do I wake up for so little? The King of England is a fool, and, if he was not, there would be no shortage of water in the fountains and wells of London. All he has to do is remove a pebble which blocks the mother spring, which passes under the tower of his palace, and immediately water will flow in abundance in the fountains and wells of his capital; but, he is too ignorant to know that.
- Well, so as not to wake you up again, explain to me another dream that I had again.
- Say it quickly, because I really need to sleep.
- I dreamed that there is, on a river, not far from here, a ferryman who, for four hundred years, has brought travelers from one bank to the other bank and who is very tired of this profession and would like to be replaced, on his boat.
- Another fool, that one! When the travelers pass, he presents them with a wick to light their pipes. He would only have to not take the wick back, and the one in whose hands he left it would be obliged to take his place; but, I repeat it to you, do not wake me up any more and let me sleep peacefully, because, tomorrow, I have to leave again for a long trip.
The princess, having nothing more to learn, let the giant sleep, without further disturbing his sleep.
The next day he left early. The princess immediately went to Fleur-d'Épine, and told her everything the giant had revealed to her.
'That's good,' he said, 'I'm going to go back now to my country and tell everyone what interests them.
- Yes, go back to your country, passing through London and Russia, and don't forget anything I told you. As soon as my father has had an oven built, under the right conditions, the giant will be obliged to bring me back, safe and sound, to where he took me, and then we will marry together.
They laughed at each other tender farewells, and Fleur-d'Épine left. Arriving at the river, he entered the ferryman's boat, who presented him with the lit fuse, as was his custom. He took it, lit his pipe and immediately returned it to her.
- Well, then asked the man in the boat, what did my master say to you, and does he intend to leave me here a long time?
- I'll tell you when I'm on the other side.
And, when Fleur-d'Épine had jumped to the ground:
"Now let me know the master's answer," he said to her.
- Nothing is easier for you, my good man, than to have you delivered by the first traveler to whom you will pass the water. When you have presented the wick to him and he has held it in his hand, do not take it again, and he will be obliged to take your place on the boat.
- If I had known that earlier, you would be here now in my place, but, alas! I hardly see more than one traveler every hundred years!
Fleur-d'Épine then went to the old woman's hut. She waited impatiently for him and was happy to see him again, for she was not without concern for his fate.
'Well, my son,' she asked him, 'you have succeeded, then, in your perilous journey?
- Yes, grandmother, quite well, thank God and to you too.
He spent the night in the hut again, then the next morning he set off for England with his horse and dog.
Arriving in London, he went straight to the king's palace, disguised as a farmhand. He asked if we didn't need a stable hand. He happened to have left one the day before, and he was taken to replace him. The water shortage continued to rage, stronger than ever; it was a public calamity.
One day, while chatting with the other valets, Fleur-d'Épine said that he was able to return the water to the fountains and wells of the city. This was reported to the king, who summoned him.
- How? 'Or' What ! He said, without recognizing it, you boasted of being able to return water to the fountains and wells of the city?
'Yes, sire,' he replied, 'and I do not deny myself.
- I give you the hand of whatever you want from my three daughters, if you do that.
Fleur-d'Épine called for workers with pickaxes and shovels, then, in the presence of the whole assembled court, he pointed out to them a point near the walls of the palace and said to them: - Dig there.
The workers set to work and soon discovered a large round pebble. The pebble was removed, and a large copper basin was found underneath. The copper basin was also removed, and immediately the water gushed up to the roofs, and everyone began to drink greedily, as if it were wine. The water had returned at the same time to all the fountains and all the wells of the city, and the joy was general.
The king said to Fleur-d'Épine, in the presence of the whole court:
- I promised you the hand of one of my daughters, at your choice, and I want to keep my word. There they are, all three; choose.
- I am very grateful to you, sire, for so much kindness, but, unfortunately, I cannot answer as I would like, for the moment; I have to finish my trip first, then we'll see.
- That's right, replied the king.
The princesses all three had their eyes on him, and pouted oddly at such an unexpected response.
Fleur-d'Épine set out again the next morning with his horse and dog, and headed for Russia. There again, he presented himself to the emperor's palace, under the disguise of a farmhand, and he was taken, as in London, to look after the horses.
Having heard, one day, cries and curses coming from a room in the palace, he asked what it meant. He was told that it was the youngest of the princesses who, since the day of her first communion, had been possessed by the demon, and that no one could free her from it, neither doctor nor priest.
- Well, he answered, I answer to do what neither the doctors nor the priests can do.
These words were immediately reported to the emperor, who summoned Fleur-d'Épine and said to him:
- Is it true, young man, that you boasted of being able to cure my daughter of the terrible disease which makes us all desolate?
- I said it, sire, and I do not deny it.
- If you do that, I will give you anything you ask of me, even the hand of one of my daughters, at your choice, if you want it.
- Your daughter, sire, made her first communion not being sufficiently prepared; she hid a great sin from her confessor. The night which followed, she was ill, vomited the holy Host, and a toad, coming out immediately from under her bed, swallowed it and hid itself again in a hole under the bed. You have to take the toad, boil it in water and give this water to the princess to drink, and immediately she will be as well as she ever was.
The bed was moved and the toad was discovered. Fleur-d'Épine took it and put it in water, which was boiling on the fire, in a boiler. Already the patient felt relieved; but, when she had drunk the boiled water on the toad, she was completely healed.
The king was so happy and so happy that he wanted Fleur-d'Épine to immediately marry one of his daughters, as he chose.
"Excuse me, sire," replied Fleur-d'Épine, "but you will no doubt find it appropriate that I first end the journey I have undertaken."
"That's right," replied the king; but hurry. Fleur-d'Épine resumed the road to France, still with her horse and her dog.
When he arrived in Paris, he went straight to court. The old king had little confidence in the outcome of his journey; however, as soon as he heard of his return, he hastened to meet him, and the first word he addressed to him was:
- What about my daughter?
'She did not come with me, sire, but you have only to do as I tell you, and she will arrive without delay.
- What ? Say quickly.
- Let the masons come first, in large numbers, and then I will tell you what to do.
They sent for masons, and many came with their hammers and trowels. Then Fleur-d'Épine said to them:
- You have to build here (and he was showing them the place) an oven, but not an oven like the others, because his mouth will have to be on his ass. Don't ask me why, and get to work quickly!
The masons smiled, looking at each other in astonishment, and wondering if they were not dealing with a madman. But it didn't matter to them, after all, since they were paid well. So they set to work, and the oven was moving quickly. When it was finished and nothing was missing, suddenly the day was seen to darken, a great cloud fell to the ground and a beautiful princess emerged.
- It's my daughter ! cried the king, at the height of joy, and he kissed her tenderly.
Turning then to Fleur-d'Épine:
- You gave me back my daughter, whose loss made me unhappy, and, for your reward, I give you her hand, if she consents.
The princess did not say no, and the wedding was celebrated in the fortnight.
On this occasion there were feasts, games and magnificent feasts, for a whole month. I was also around there, somewhere, and I could see and hear everything, and this is how I was able to tell you the adventures of Fleur-d'Épine, faithfully and without any lie, if so. maybe just a word or two.