The Blond Princess

Here is the story of Princess Blondine. There was once in ancient times a wealthy lord who had three sons. The eldest was called Cado, the second, Méliau, and the youngest, Yvon.

Princess Blondine

Princess Blondine

One day, when the three of them were together hunting and in the woods, they met a little old woman, who was unknown to them and carried on her head a jug full of water, which she had drawn from the fountain.
- Would you guys be able, Cado asked his brothers, to break this little old woman's pitcher with an arrow without touching it?
- We don't want to try it, replied Méliau and Yvon, for fear of hurting the good woman.
- Well, I will; you'll see. And he bent his bow and aimed. The arrow went off and broke the jug. The water wet the little old woman, who got angry and said to the skillful shooter:
- You failed, Cado, and I will repay you for that! From that very moment you will tremble with all your limbs, like the leaves of an aspen, stirred by the north wind, and that, until you find Princess Blondine.
And, indeed, Cado was instantly seized with a general tremor.
The three brothers came home and told their father what had happened to them.
- Alas! My poor son, you have failed, said the old lord to his eldest son. Now you will have to travel until you have found Princess Blondine, as the fairy told you, for that little old woman was a fairy. There is only one in the world who can heal you. I do not know what country she lives in, but, I will give you a letter for my brother the hermit, who lives in the middle of a forest, more than twenty leagues from here, and maybe he can provide you with some useful information.
Cado took the letter and set off.
He walked and walked, and by dint of putting one foot in front of the other, he reached the hermitage of his uncle the hermit. The old man was in prayer, kneeling on the threshold of his hut, built at the corner of two rocks, his hands and eyes raised to the sky and as if delighted in ecstasy. Cado waited until he was finished, then he walked up to him and said:
- Hello, uncle the hermit.
- You call me your uncle, my child?
- Read this letter, and you will see who I am and know the reason for my visit.
The hermit took the letter, read it, then said:
- It's true, you are my nephew. But ? Alas! My poor child, you are far from being at the end of your journey and your pains. I will consult my books, to see what I can do for you. In the meantime, as you must be hungry, nibble on this crust of bread, which has been my only food for twenty years. When I'm hungry, I nibble it a little, and yet it doesn't diminish.

And Cado began to munch on the old crust, which was hard as a stone, while the hermit consulted his books. But in vain he leafed through them, all night long, he found nothing concerning Princess Blondine. The next morning he said to his nephew:
"Here, my child, is a letter for a hermit brother whom I have in another forest, twenty leagues from here." This one commands all the birds, and perhaps he will be able to give you some good indication, for, for me, neither my science nor my books tell me anything about Princess Blondine. Here is another ivory ball, which will roll of itself before you; all you have to do is follow her, and she will lead you to the threshold of my brother's hermitage.
Cado took the letter and the ivory ball. He put it on the ground, and it rolled over by itself in front of him. He followed her. At sunset he was at the door of the second hermit's hut of branches and rushes of the marshes.
"Hello, uncle," he said, approaching her.
- Your uncle ? replied the old man.
- Yes ; read this letter, and you will know who I am and why I am coming to you.
The hermit took the letter, read it, then said; - Yes, it's true, you are indeed my nephew. And are you looking for Princess Blondine, my child?
- Yes, uncle; see what state I am in! And my father told me that only Princess Blondine can heal me. But neither my father nor my other hermit uncle could tell me where I could find her.
- Neither do I, my poor child, I cannot tell you. But, God has made me master over all the birds: I will blow a silver whistle that I have here, and immediately you will see them coming, from all sides, large and small, and maybe someone. Can one of them give us news of Princess Blondine?
The old man whistled on his silver whistle, and immediately clouds of birds of all sizes and colors descended on the forest, uttering all kinds of cries. The air was darkened. The hermit called them all, by name, one after the other, and asked them if they had not seen Princess Blondine during their travels. None of them had ever seen her, or had even heard of her.
All the birds had answered the call except the eagle.
- Where did the eagle stay? said the hermit. And he blew harder on his whistle. The eagle came too in a bad mood and said:
- Why do you make me come here, to starve, when I was so well where I was?
- Where were you?
- I was at Princess Blondine's castle, where I lacked nothing, because we are there for parties and feasts, every day.
- It's wonderful and you are free to return, but, on condition that you carry my nephew here on your back.
- I want it, if you give me food, at will.
- Don't worry about it; we will provide you with food as you wish, gluttonous that you are.
The hermit then went to find the lord of a neighboring castle, and begged him to kill an ox, one of his best, and to have it brought to his cabin, butchered in pieces; The lord hastened to give orders to please the hermit, and the ox, butchered in pieces, was carried to the solitary's hut. We loaded the meat on the eagle's back, Cado sat on it, and off they went over the woods, flip! flip! flip!
While cutting through the air, the bird gave its instructions to Cado; he said to him:
- When we get to the castle, which is on an island, in the middle of the sea, you will first see a fountain on the shore. Above this fountain is a beautiful tree whose branches cover it. At midday, the princess comes every day with her maid to rest in the shade of the tree, and comb her blond hair, mirroring herself in the water of the fountain. You will advance towards her, without fear. As soon as she sees you, she will recognize you and welcome you. She will give you a jar of ointment which you will rub on and which will heal you quickly, then you will offer to take it off and marry her, as a price for the service she will have rendered you. She will accept. You will call me, then; the two of you will ride on my back, and we will leave immediately. The father of this princess, who is a magician, will soon be in pursuit of us; but, it will be too late.
The eagle, exhausted by the length of the journey, often asked for food:
- Give me something to eat, because I'm weakening. And Cado gave him beef, and they went again. They hovered for a long time above the sea, seeing only the sky and the water. Finally, they also arrived at the island. The eagle landed on a rock on the shore. Cado came down, and, having taken a few steps, he saw a beautiful tree, the branches of which extended above a fountain. He saw no one under the tree, but it was not yet noon. He hid behind a bush and soon saw a princess arrive, beautiful as day, with long blond hair, which came down to her heels, like a cloak. She was accompanied by a servant, who was also very beautiful. They both walked towards the tree, and the princess began to comb her beautiful hair, mirroring herself in the water of the fountain. Cado then came out from behind his bush; he advanced to the edge of the fountain, and the princess, seeing her shadow there, turned towards him and cried:
- Ah! Poor Cado, is that you? What state has the ugly fairy put you in! But, take heart, my poor friend, I will restore your health, in spite of herself.
So the princess and her maid began to pick herbs and flowers around the fountain, then they composed an ointment, which they gave to Cado, saying to him:
- Rub all the limbs with this ointment, and at the end of twenty-four hours you will be cured; then we'll see what to do.
- Ah! If you cure me of this dreadful illness, Princess, I will prove my gratitude to you by taking you from here, if you agree to follow me, and by marrying you.
- I do not ask for better, because I would very much like to leave this island, and to see the country.
Cado took the ointment, rubbed it all over his body several times, and after twenty-four hours he was completely healed; his limbs were no longer trembling.
The princess then said to him: - Tomorrow, we will be leaving, at noon precisely, while my father is sleeping; every day he takes a nap at noon. The three of us will ride the eagle, because my next one will also come with us. When my father wakes up, he will immediately notice my flight. He will then go to his stable, get on his dromedary, which is faster than the wind, and will pursue us. But, we will have a good lead over him, and he will not be able to reach us. Stay there, under the tree, until tomorrow. The two of us are going back to the castle to spend the night there. We will also have an ox killed and butchered, to feed the eagle.
The princess and her attendant therefore returned to the castle, and Cado spent the night under the tree, at the edge of the fountain.
The next day, at noon precisely, the two women came to join him. He called his eagle, which immediately arrived. We started by placing the butchered ox on its back, then the three of them climbed on it, and the bird rose in the air, rather painfully, for it was heavily loaded.
When the old wizard awoke, he called his daughter, as he used to. But no matter how much he called her, his daughter did not answer him. He got up then, angry; he consulted his books, and saw there that the princess and her attendant had left the castle with an adventurer. He ran to his stable, got on his dromedary, which was traveling seven leagues an hour, and set out in pursuit of them. However, the eagle, too loaded, was beginning to weaken, and it was not going so fast. The princess was worried, and she often looked away, to see if her father was approaching. She saw him coming, furious, and, as the eagle was passing over a river at this moment, she said:
- I'll throw some of my ointment in the river, and immediately the water will swell and overflow like the sea, and my father will not be able to go further.
She threw a little of her ointment into the river, and immediately the water swelled, like milk on the fire; it overflowed in the distance, and there was the old magician stopped and unable to go further. He was foaming with rage. But what to do ? He began to drink the water, in the hope of drying out the bed of the river. He drank so much of it that he burst out.
However, the eagle had exhausted all the supply of meat, and he was weakening and threatening to throw Cado and his two companions down.
- Give me food ! He shouted at Cado.
- There is nothing left, my poor beast, replied the latter, but, take heart, we are approaching
- Give me something to eat, or I'll drop you to the ground.
And Cado cut off one of his buttocks, and gave it to the eagle.
- It's good, he said, but it's very little.
And, a moment later, he was still saying:
- Give me something to eat, I can't take any more.
- I have nothing left, my poor beast. Courage ! A few more wings flaps and we are there.
- Give me something to eat, I tell you, or I'll throw you down.
And Cado cut off his other buttock, and gave it to the eagle. Then he cut off his two calves one after the other, and gave them to her as well.
Finally, they thus arrived at the hermit's hut. It was high time! For the poor eagle couldn't take it any longer, and Cado himself was so weak, so weak, that he looked like he was about to die. But, as soon as they touched the ground, the princess rubbed it with herbs which she gathered in the wood where they went down, and immediately her buttocks, her calves and her strength returned to her.
The three of them spent the night in the hermit's hut, shared his frugal meal, slept on a bed of moss and dry leaves, picked up in the wood, and the next morning they set out, after having done their farewell to the old loner. The latter told them that he hoped to see them again, one day, in paradise, and gave Cado a letter for his father.
They then arrived at the hut of the other hermit, also spent the night with him, and the next morning, at the time of departure, the old man also gave a letter to Cado, for his father.
Cado, however, was approaching his father's castle with his two young companions. As they were passing through a wood, the princess said to her, presenting her with a ring which she had on her finger: - Here is a ring with a diamond, which you will wear on your finger and never give to anyone, otherwise you would lose it. remember me, as if you had never seen me. I'm going to build a castle there, and I'll stay there with my maid, until the time comes for us to get married. So you will come and get me here with your father.
Cado took the ring, put it on his finger and promised never to give it to anyone. Then, not being able to decide the princess to accompany him, in spite of all his entreaties, he went alone towards the castle of his father. When he arrived, everyone was happy to see him come back, completely healed.
"And Princess Blondine," her father asked her, "you haven't taken her away?"
- She stayed in a wood, some distance from here, and she says that she will not come to your castle until you go and fetch her yourself with me, in a fine coach.
The old lord immediately gave the order to harness his two best horses to his finest coach, to go and fetch Princess Blondine.
However, Cado's sister said to him: - Let's go for a walk in the garden, my brother, to see the beautiful things that have been done there since you left. When the coach is harnessed, we will be called.
Cado went to see the garden with his sister. As he was picking a flower, she noticed her diamond on her finger, immediately wanted to possess it and conceived the project of taking it away from her brother, without his noticing it. She led him to a fountain, and they both sat down on the grass, among the grasses and flowers. Cado was tired, and he leaned his head on his sister's lap and soon fell asleep. The young girl took advantage of her slumber to take off her ring and put it on her own finger.
A moment later, the old lord came to tell Cado that the coach was ready.
- Eh ? Cado said, rubbing his eyes.
- Let's go, without wasting time.
- Go… go where?
- But, you know where; to fetch Princess Blondine.
- Princess Blondine?… What is Princess Blondine?
- Are you sleeping ? Shake up and let's go quickly, because the princess might get impatient waiting for us.
- But which princess, father?
"Come on, don't be ignorant of it, and let's go get Princess Blondine quickly."
- I don't know who you mean, father; I don't know Princess Blondine.
And as he seemed to speak seriously and with sincerity, the old lord cried out with pain: - Alas! My poor son has lost his mind! He had to suffer so much on his journey! Ah! I am very unhappy!

And they unhitched the coach.
Cado, however, gave no sign of madness and appeared to enjoy all the fullness and freedom of his intelligence; It was only when they spoke to him of his trip and of the Princess Blondine that he did not understand anything; and yet he had a vague and confused recollection of it, like a dream one tries to remember and which always remains shrouded in clouds and mists.
The three brothers would go hunting in the woods, as before, and Cado was still the most skillful shooter and single-handedly slaughtered as much game as the other two together. One day, they went further into the woods than usual, and they found themselves in front of the castle that Princess Blondine had built there, by her magical art; because she was also a magician. Great was their astonishment at seeing such a beautiful castle, and they stood contemplating it for a long time, in silence.
- What a beautiful castle! they said to each other. But, how is it found there? We've been through here many times, and we haven't seen nothing like it until today. And who can live in there? Some magician, maybe?
Finally, after having admired the marvelous castle for a long time, they resolved to try to enter it, under the pretext of asking for milk or cider to drink, or of asking for directions, like lost people. They knocked on the door, and it opened immediately. The princess herself came to receive them in the courtyard, and she begged them to enter her palace, to which she did them the honors, with much kindness. Cado did not recognize her; she recognized him as soon as she saw him, but did not let him show. The three brothers were charmed by the beauty and friendliness of the lady of the manor. She invited them to supper with her and to spend the night in her castle, and they were careful not to refuse. The meal was full of gaiety, for the three hunters found their hostess' wine excellent. Méliau had his eyes constantly on the princess, and he whispered to Cado, who was near him:
- I'm in love with our hostess.
"Pay him a little court, to see," replied Cado.
After the meal, Méliau told the princess of his feelings for her, and she seemed to listen to him without displeasure, so that she said: - I will make you sleep in a room next to mine, and, when your brothers will sleep, you will come very slowly to join me.
Méliau was at the height of happiness. At midnight, when everyone was asleep in their bed, he, who was not sleeping, got up and went very gently to knock on the princess's door. She opened the door to him, and received him with all possible kindness. She gave him a cool shirt, which she begged him to put on, before going to bed. Méliau hastened to change his shirt; but, as he passed the one the princess had given him, he felt it becoming hard and cold as ice, and all night he remained thus, arms outstretched and his shirt half-clad, without power or power. put it completely or take it off. No matter how much he begged the princess to come to his aid, she did not answer and let him cry out. He remained in this state all night. When the sun rose, his shirt softened; he could then get rid of it, and immediately he fled and ran to join his brothers.
- Well, are you happy with your night? Cado asked him.
He told them his adventure, point by point. And the other two laughing, please believe it.
The three brothers then said to each other: - We are here with a magician, and it is prudent to get out, as soon as possible. And they left, without taking leave of their hostess.
When they got home, their father, who was worried that they hadn't come home at night, as usual, asked them:
- Where did you spend the night, my children?
And they told their father everything, and added:
- This is where there is a beautiful castle, father! And a beautiful princess!
The old lord thought that it could well be the castle of the Princess Blondine, and he promised himself to clarify the matter, but, he said nothing of it to his children.
However, Cado wanted to marry a princess he had loved before his trip. His homage was accepted, his father gave his consent, and the wedding day was fixed. All the inhabitants of the country, rich and poor, were invited to take part in the feasts and celebrations which were to take place on this occasion. Yvon said to his father:
- It would be good, I think, to also invite the beautiful princess who so graciously received us in her palace.
- You are right, my son, he replied, and I will go and invite him myself, and you will come with me.
The old lord and his youngest son therefore left, one fine morning, in a superb coach, to invite the lady of the forest. They arrived at the marvelous chateau, and were received extremely well. The old man was dumbfounded and speechless when he saw the princess, he found her so beautiful. Finally, when he was able to speak, he said to her: - I have come, incomparable princess, to ask you to do me the honor of kindly attending the wedding of my eldest son, who is getting married in a week to Princess Brunette.
- I accept with the greatest pleasure, replied the princess, and I will arrive on the appointed day.
"I will send you my coach to pick you up," replied the father.
- Do not go to this trouble, lord, because I have my coach too, as you will see.
The old lord was amazed, dazzled by the beauty of the princess, and he could not take his eyes off her. Yvon admired him too, and said nothing. They returned home, silent, and dreaming of her, both.
Finally, the day of the ceremony had come. All the guests had already arrived, in their finest gala attire, except the lord of the woods. Cado was growing impatient, and did not want to wait any longer; but her father said that they would not leave to go to church until the unknown princess had arrived. Finally, she also arrived, in a coach all gilded, so shiny that you could not look at it, and harnessed by four horses, beside which all the others who were there were nothing but real buggers. She was all covered with gold, silk and diamonds, and her blond hair, itself shining like gold, came down to the ground behind her. All the women who were there, seeing themselves eclipsed by this stranger, raged with annoyance. The groom's sister, who had her brother's diamond on her finger, was very proud and glorious.
They went to church with great pomp, and the sun itself was paling before Princess Blondine. We were only occupied with her, and the young bride, also beautiful and graceful, was greatly annoyed.
When we got back from church, we sat down to table. A magnificent feast. Some guest ventured, urged by his wife, to speak to the stranger, and said to her:
- You are probably not from the country, beautiful princess!
- No, she replied, I'm a long way from here.
- And you are not married?
- No I'm not married ; I was indeed engaged, but my word was broken.
Cado was near her at table, and, noticing the beautiful diamond on her finger, he said to her:
- The magnificent diamond you have there, princess!
- Yes, she replied, it is a beautiful diamond. And, pulling the ring from her finger, she presented it to the newlywed, saying:
- Try it; I think it will suit you perfectly.
Cado took the ring, put it on his finger, and immediately, as if he had awakened from a long sleep, he recognized the princess and remembered everything that had happened.
- Hello ! he cried then, instead of a woman, here I have two now! But, the first is always the best and the closest to the heart!
And he gave the stranger his hand, to the astonishment of all the guests, and they went again to church, where Cado was married a second time, on the same day. As for Princess Brunette, her brother Méliau also married her, so as not to leave her without a husband, from the first day of her wedding.
Yvon also fell in love with Princess Blondine's maid, and they had three weddings at the same time.
And there were wonderful feasts, dances and feasts, for a whole month. I myself, who was young then, was there to pluck partridges, chickens and ducks, and never in my life have I seen or will see such a bombing.