Crystal castle

Here is the story of the Crystal Castle. There was once two poor people, husband and wife, with seven children, six boys and a girl. The youngest of the boys, Yvon, and the girl Yvonne, were a little poor in spirit, or at least seemed so, and their brothers caused them all kinds of misery. Poor Yvonne was very sad about it, and hardly ever laughed.

Crystal castle

Crystal castle

Every morning, her brothers sent her to keep the cows and the sheep, on a large moor, with a piece of barley bread or a buckwheat pancake for all food, and she did not return until the evening, at sunset. Sun. One morning when, as usual, she was leading her cows and sheep to pasture, she met on her way a young man so handsome and so brilliant that she thought she saw the sun in person.

And the young man came up to her and asked her:
- Would you like to marry me, young lady?
Here is Yvonne, astonished and embarrassed to know what to answer.
"I don't know," she said, lowering her eyes; they make me pretty bad life at home.
- Well ! Think about it, and tomorrow morning at the same time, I'll meet up here, when you pass, to get your answer.

And the handsome young man disappeared, then. All day long, the young girl only dreamed of him. At sunset, she came home, chasing her flock before her and singing merrily. Everyone was amazed, and we wondered:
- What happened to Yvonne, to sing like that?

When she had returned her cows and sheep to the stable, she went to her mother, and told her about her adventure and asked what she was to answer the next day.
- Poor fool! Said his mother, what story are you telling me? And then, why think of getting married, to be unhappy?
- I will never be more than now, my mother. Her mother shrugged, and turned her back to her.

The next morning, as soon as the sun had risen, Yvonne went, as usual, to Great Iceland, with her cows and sheep. She met the handsome young man at the same place as the day before, who asked her again:
- Well ! My child, do you want to be my wife?
"I don't mind," she replied, blushing.
- So, I will accompany you to your parents, to ask for their consent.

And he went with her to her parents. Father and mother and brothers too were astonished to see such a handsome prince, and so richly adorned, wanting to marry the poor shepherdess, and no one thought of saying no.
- But who are you too? asked the mother, however.
"You will find out on the wedding day," replied the prince.

A day was fixed for the ceremony and the prince left, leaving everyone in astonishment, and the preparations for the wedding were taken care of.

On the appointed day, the prince came, with a best man almost as handsome as himself. They were mounted on a beautiful golden chariot, drawn by four magnificent white horses; and they were so adorned and so brilliant, they and their chariot and their horses, that they lighted up everything in their path like the sun.

The wedding was celebrated with much pomp and solemnity, and, rising from the table, the prince told the new bride to get on his chariot, so that he could take her to her palace. Yvonne asked for a little respite, in order to take some clothes.

- It is useless, said the prince to him, you will find it at will, in my palace.
And she got into the chariot beside her husband. When it was time to leave, his brothers asked:
- When we want to visit our sister, where can we see her?
"At Crystal Castle, on the other side of the Black Sea," replied the prince. And he left immediately.

About a year later, as the six brothers had no news of their sister, and they were curious to know how she was with her husband, they resolved to go looking for her. The five eldest therefore mounted beautiful horses and set off. Their young brother Yvon also wanted to accompany them, but they forced him to stay at home.

They walked, they walked, always on the side of the rising sun, and everywhere asking for news of the Crystal Castle. But, no one knew where the Crystal Castle was. Finally, after having traversed many countries, they arrived one day on the edge of a large forest, which was at least fifty leagues in circumference. They asked an old lumberjack they met if he couldn't show them the way to Crystal Castle.

The woodcutter answered them: - There is a large alley in the forest called the alley of the Crystal Castle, and perhaps it leads to the castle you are talking about, because I have never been there.

The five brothers entered the forest. They had not gone far, when they heard a great noise above their heads, like a thunderstorm passing over the treetops, with thunder and lightning. They were frightened by it, and their horses too, to the point where they had great difficulty in maintaining them. But, the noise and the lightning soon ceased, and they continued on their way.

Night was approaching, and they were worried, for the forest abounded in beasts of all kinds. One of them climbed a tree, to see if he could see the Crystal Castle, or some other habitation.
- What do you see ? His brothers asked him from below.
- I only see wood, wood…. on all sides, far away, far away! ...

He came down from the tree, and they started walking again. But, night came, and they could no longer see to go into the forest. One of them climbed a tree again.
- What do you see ? His brothers asked him.
- I see a big fire over there!
- Throw your hat in the direction of the fire, and go downstairs.

And they set off again, in the direction where the fire was, convinced that there must be some human habitation there. But, soon they heard again a great noise, above their heads, much louder than the first time. The trees clashed and creaked, and broken branches and splinters of wood were falling to the ground on all sides. And thunder! And lightning!… It was frightening!… Then, all of a sudden, silence was reestablished, and the night became calm and serene again.

They resumed their walk, and came to the fire they were looking for. An old woman, with long, loose teeth, and quite bearded, was supporting him, throwing a lot of wood into it. They came up to her, and the eldest of them spoke to her like this:
- Good evening, grandmother? Could you teach us the way to get to the Crystal Castle?

- Yes really, my children, I know where the Crystal Castle is, answered the old woman; but, wait here until my oldest son comes home, and this one will give you some fresh news from the Crystal Castle, because he goes there every day. He is traveling, for the moment, but it will not be long before he returns. Perhaps you even saw him, in the forest?
'We haven't seen anyone in the forest, grandmother.
- You must have heard it, then, because we usually hear it where it goes, that one…. Here it is: do you hear it?

And they heard, in fact, a noise like the one they had heard twice in the forest, but more frightening still.
"Quickly hide yourself there under the tree branches," said the old woman, "for my son, when he comes home, is always very hungry, and I am afraid he will want to eat you."

The five brothers hid themselves as best they could, and a giant descended from heaven, and as soon as he touched the earth he smelled the air and said:
- There is a Christian smell here, mother, and I must eat it, for I am very hungry!
The old woman took a big stick, and, showing it to the giant: - "You still want to eat everything, you!" But beware of my staff, if you do the least harm to my nephews, my sister's sons, children so kind and so good, who have come to see me. "

The giant trembled with fear, at the threat of the old woman, and promised not to harm his cousins.
So the old woman said to the five brothers that they could show themselves, and introduced them to her son, who said:
- They are very nice, it's true, my cousins, but how small they are, mother!

Finally, as cousins, he was willing not to eat them.
"Not only won't you hurt them, but you also have to do them a favor," her mother said to her.
- What service then must I render them?
- You have to drive them to Crystal Castle, where they want to go see their sister.

- I can't drive them to the Crystal Castle, but, I will gladly lead them a long way, and put them on the right track.
- Thank you, cousin, we do not ask for more, said the five brothers.
- Well ! Lie down there by the fire and sleep, because we have to leave early tomorrow morning. I'll wake you up when the time is right.

The five brothers lay down in their coats around the fire and pretended to sleep; but, they did not sleep, because they did not dare to trust too much the promise of their cousin the giant. The latter then began to supper, and he swallowed a sheep with each bite.

Around midnight, he awakened the five brothers and said to them:
- Let's go ! Stand up, cousins; It's time to go !

He spread a large black sheet on the ground near the fire and told the five brothers to get on it, mounted on their horses. What they did. So the giant entered the fire, and his mother threw a lot of wood into it, to feed it. As the fire increased, the brothers gradually heard a noise like that which they had heard in the forest, coming up, and, little by little, the sheet on which they were was raised from the ground, with them. and their horses.

When the giant's clothes were consumed, he soared into the air, in the form of a huge ball of fire. The black cloth also rose after him, carrying the five brothers and their horses, and here they were traveling together, through the Air. After some time, the black sheet, with the five brothers and their horses, was placed on a large plain.

Half of this plain was arid and scorched, and the other half was fertile and covered with tall, thick grass. In the arid and scorched part of the plain there was a herd of horses, fat, shiny and full of ardor; on the contrary, in the part where the grass was abundant and thick, we saw another herd of thin horses, emaciated and barely supporting themselves on their legs. And they fought and tried to eat each other.

The giant, or the fireball, had continued on his way, after having deposited the brothers on this plain, and he had said to them:

- You are there on the right track to go to the Château de Cristal; try to do your best now, for I cannot take you any further.
Their horses had died touching the ground, so they were now on foot. They first tried to each take one of the beautiful horses they saw in the arid part of the plain; but, they could never overcome it. So they fell back on the thin, gaunt horses, each took one, and rode on it.

 But the horses carried them among the gorse and brush that covered part of the plain, and threw them to the ground, all bruised and bloody. Here they are very embarrassed! What to do ?
"Let's go home, we'll never get to that cursed castle," one of them said.
"It is, indeed, the best thing we have to do," replied the others.

And they retraced their steps; but, they avoided repeating by the place where they had met the old woman who kept the fire, and the giant her son.
They finally arrived home, after much pain and fatigue, and related all that had happened to them on their journey. Their young brother Yvon was, as usual, seated on a round pebble, at the corner of the fireplace, and, when he heard the story of their adventures and all the trouble they had had, without however succeeding in seeing their sister, he says:

- I also want to try the adventure, in my turn, and I will not come home without seeing my sister Yvonne.
- You fool! Said his brothers, shrugging their shoulders.
- Yes, me, and I will see my sister Yvonne, I tell you, wherever she is.

They gave him an old, exhausted horse, a real brush, and he set off, alone.
He followed the same road as his brothers, always heading towards the rising sun, also arrived at the forest and, at the entrance of the avenue du Château de Cristal, he met an old woman who asked him:

- Where are you going like that, my child?
- At the Cristal Castle, grandmother, to see my sister.

- Well ! My child, do not go this way, but this one, until you come to a great plain; then, you will follow the edge of this plain, until you see a road whose earth is black. Take that road, and whatever happens, whatever you can see or hear, even if the path is full of fire, do not be afraid of anything, always walk straight ahead, and you will arrive at the Castle of Crystal, and you will see your sister.

"Thank you, grandmother," replied Yvon, and he started down the path the old woman showed him.

He arrived, without delay, at the plain she had told him about, and walked alongside it all the way, until he saw the road to the black earth. He wanted to take it, following the old woman's advice, but at the entrance it was filled with entwined serpents, so that he was afraid and hesitated for a moment. Even his horse recoiled in horror when he wanted to push him down this path. How to do ? He says to him ; I was however told that it was necessary to go through there!

He thrust his spurs into the sides of his horse, and he entered the road of snakes and black earth. But immediately the snakes wrapped themselves around the animal's legs, bit him, and he fell dead in the square. There is poor Yvon on foot, in the midst of these hideous reptiles, which hissed and rose up menacingly around him. But, he did not lose heart for that; he continued walking, and finally arrived at the other end of the road, without having experienced any harm. He got off with fear.

He found himself, then, at the edge of a large pond, and he saw no boat to pass to the other side, and he could not swim, so that he was still very embarrassed. - " How to do ? He said to himself; I don't want to retrace my steps, however; I'll try to pass, come what may. "

And he resolutely entered the water. He had it first up to his knees, then up to his armpits, then up to his chin, and finally over his head. He continued to advance, despite everything, and finally arrived, without difficulty, on the other side of the pond.

Coming out of the water, he found himself at the entrance of a deep, narrow and dark path filled with thorns and brambles that ran from side to side of the road, and had root in the earth. from both ends. - "I will never be able to go through that," he said to himself. He did not despair, however. He slipped on all fours under the brambles, crawled like a snake and finally passed. In what state, alas!

His body was all torn and bloody, and he had no more shreds of clothing on him. But, he had passed, despite everything.
A little further on, he saw a lean and gaunt horse coming towards him, at a full gallop. The horse, arrived near him, stopped as if to invite him to mount on his back. He then recognized that it was his own horse, which he had believed dead. He showed him great joy to find him alive, and mounted on his back saying: - "A thousand blessings on you, my poor animal, because I am tired." I can't take any more. "

They continued on their way, and then came to a place where there was a large boulder, placed on top of two other large boulders. The horse stamped its foot on the rock from above, which immediately toppled over and revealed the entrance to an underground passage, and he heard a voice coming out of it, and said: - "Get off your horse, and come in." "
He obeyed the voice, dismounted and entered the tunnel. At first he was suffocated by an unbearable smell, the smell of poisonous reptiles of all kinds.

The underground was, moreover, very dark, and he could only move along gropingly. After a few moments, he heard a terrible uproar behind him, as if a legion of demons were advancing on him. You will probably have to die here, he thought. He continued, however, to move forward as best he could. He finally saw a little light dawning in front of him, and it gave him courage. The uproar continued to grow, behind him, and approaching. But, the light also grew, as he approached her. Finally, he came out safe and sound from the underground ...

He then found himself in a crossroads, and he was still embarrassed. Which path to take? He followed the one facing the tunnel, and continued to go straight ahead. There were many barriers on this path, high and difficult to cross. Unable to open them, he climbed on the posts and passed over them. The road was now going downhill, and at the end everything seemed to him to be crystal.

He saw a crystal castle, a crystal sky, a crystal sun, well all he saw was crystal. - "It is in a crystal castle that I have been told that my sister lives, and I am, no doubt, approaching the end of my journey and my troubles, because here is indeed a crystal castle," - he said to himself with joy.

Here he is near the castle. He was so beautiful, so resplendent with light, that his eyes were dazzled. He entered the courtyard. How beautiful and brilliant everything was over there! He sees a large number of doors on the castle; but, they are all closed. He manages to slip into a cellar, through a window, then, from there, he goes up and finds himself in a large room, magnificent and resplendent with light. Six doors lead into this room, and they open on their own as soon as he touches them. From this first room, he passes into a second, even more beautiful.

Three other doors are one after the other, leading to three other rooms, each more beautiful than the other. In the last room, he sees his sister asleep on a beautiful bed. He looked at her for some time, motionless in admiration, he found her so beautiful. But, she did not wake up, and evening came. So he hears the sound of someone's footsteps coming and ringing bells at each step. Then he sees a handsome young man enter, who goes straight to the bed Yvonne was lying on, and gives him three resounding bellows. Yet she neither awakens nor moves.

Then the handsome young man also lies down on the bed, next to her. There Yvon is very embarrassed, not knowing if he should go or stay. He decides to stay, because it seems to him that this man treats his sister in a strange way. The young husband also falls asleep next to his wife. What still astonishes Yvon is that he does not hear the slightest noise in the castle, and that it seems that we do not eat there.

He himself, who had arrived with a great appetite, has none at all now. The night passes in the deepest silence. At daybreak, Yvonne's husband wakes up and gives his wife three resounding bellows again. But, she does not seem to notice it, and still does not wake up. Then he leaves immediately.

All this greatly astonished Yvon, still silent in his corner. He feared his sister was dead. He finally decided, to make sure, to give her a kiss. She woke up then, opened her eyes and cried out, seeing her brother near her:

- Oh ! How happy I am to see you again, my darling brother!
And they kissed tenderly. Then Yvon asked Yvonne:
- And your husband, where is he, dear sister?
- He's gone on a trip, dear brother.
- Has it been a while since he's been home?
- No, really, not long ago, dear brother; he just left, just a moment ago.

- How, wouldn't you be happy with him, my poor sister?
- I am very happy with him, dear brother.
- Yet I saw him give you three good bellows, last night, when you arrived, and three more, this morning, before leaving.
- What are you saying, dear brother? Bellows!… He gives me kisses in the evening and in the morning.
- Singular kisses, my faith! But, since you're not complaining, after all ... How, but we never eat here?

- Since I have been here, my darling brother, I have never felt hungry, thirsty, cold, hot, needy, or annoyed. Are you hungry?
- No, really, and that's what surprises me. Is it just you and your husband in this beautiful castle?
- Oh ! There are many of us here, my darling brother. When I arrived, I saw all those who are there; but since then I have never seen them again, because I had spoken to them, although I was forbidden to do so.

They spent the day together, walking by the castle and talking about their parents, their country and other things. In the evening, Yvonne's husband arrived at his usual time. He recognized his brother-in-law, and testified to the joy of seeing him again.

- So you came to see us, brother-in-law? He said to him.
- Yes, brother-in-law, and it is not without a lot of difficulty.
- I believe so, because not everyone can come here; but, you will return home more easily: I will take you down the wrong path.

Yvon stayed a few days with his sister. His brother-in-law left every morning without saying where he was going, and was away all day. Yvon, intrigued by this behavior, asked his sister one day:

- Where does your husband go like this every morning? What profession does he also have?
- I don't know, my dear brother; he never told me anything. It is true that I did not ask him that too.
- Well ! Me, I want to ask him to allow me to accompany him, because I am curious to know where he goes like this, every day.
- Yes, ask him, my dear brother.

The next morning, when Yvonne's husband was about to leave, Yvon said to her:

- Brother-in-law, I want to accompany you, today, on your tour, to see the country, and get some fresh air?
- I don't mind, brother-in-law; but, on the condition that you will do everything as I will tell you.
- I promise you, brother-in-law, to obey you in everything.
- Listen to me carefully, then: first, you must not touch anything and speak only to me alone, whatever you see or hear.
- I promise not to touch anything and only speak to yourself.
- It's good ; let's go, then.

And they left with the company of the Crystal Castle. They first followed a narrow path, where they could not both walk abreast. Yvonne's husband was walking in front, and Yvon was following him closely. They thus arrived at a large sandy plain, arid and scorched. And yet there were fat, shiny oxen and cows there, ruminating quietly, lying on the sand, and looking happy. This greatly astonished Yvon; but, he does not say a word, however.

Farther on they came to another plain where the grass was plentiful, tall, and thick, and yet there were lean and gaunt cows and oxen there, and they fought and howled in pity. Yvon found it all very strange again, and he asked his brother-in-law:

- What does this mean, brother-in-law? Never have I seen such a thing: cows and oxen of good appearance and glistening with fat, where there is only sand and stones, while, in this beautiful meadow, where they are in the grass to the belly, cows and oxen are pitifully thin, and seem on the verge of starving.

- Here's what that means, brother-in-law. The fat and shiny cows and oxen, in the arid and sandy plain, it is the poor who, content with their lot and the condition God has made them, do not covet the good of others; and the lean cows and oxen, in the meadow where they have grass up to their stomachs, and who fight continually and seem to die of hunger, these are the rich, who are never satisfied with what they have and still seek to amass good, at the expense of others, constantly quarreling and fighting.

Farther on, they saw two trees on the edge of a river, which were knocking against each other and fighting so fiercely that fragments of bark and splinters of wood sprang from them in the distance. Yvon had a stick in his hand, and when he was near the two trees, he placed his stick between the two combatants, saying to them:

- What do you have to mistreat yourself in this way? Stop hurting yourself, and live in peace.

No sooner had he said these words than he was astonished to see the two trees change into two men, husband and wife, who spoke to him thus:

- Our blessing on you! It has been three hundred years since we fought so fiercely, and no one had pity on us, nor deigned to speak to us. We are two spouses who quarreled and fought constantly, when we were on earth, and, as our punishment, God had condemned us to continue fighting again here, until some charitable soul had mercy on us, and addressed us a good word. You ended our torment, acting and speaking as you did, and we are now going to Heaven, where we hope to see you again, one day.

And the two spouses immediately disappeared.
Then Yvon heard a terrible uproar, cries, curses, howls, gnashing of teeth, the sound of chains… It was bloodcurdling in the veins.

- What does this mean? he asked his brother-in-law.
- Here we are at the entrance to hell; but, we cannot go any further together, for you have disobeyed me. I had recommended that you do not touch or speak to anyone other than me, during our trip, and you spoke and touched the two trees which were fighting, by the river. Go back to your sister, and I will continue my journey. I'll be home at my regular time, and then I'll put you on the right path back home. "

And Yvon returned to the Château de Cristal, alone and quite confused, while his brother-in-law continued on his way.
When his sister saw him come back:
- Are you back already, my dear brother? She told him.
- Yes, my dear sister, he replied, very sad.
- And you come back alone?
- Yes, I'm coming back alone.

- You will have, without doubt, disobeyed my husband in something?
- Yes, I spoke and touched two trees which were fighting fiercely, by a river, and then your husband told me I had to go back to the castle.
- And like that, you don't know where he's going?
- No, I don't know where he's going.

Towards evening, Yvonne's husband came home at his usual time and said to Yvon:
- You disobeyed me, brother-in-law; you have spoken and touched, in spite of my recommendation and in spite of your promise not to do so, and now you have to go back a bit to your country to see your parents; you will come back here, without delay, and then it will be forever.

Yvon said goodbye to his sister. His brother-in-law then put him on the right path to return to his country, and said to him:

- Go now, fearlessly, and goodbye, because you will come back, without delay.
Yvon walks along the road where his brother-in-law put him, a little sad to be going away like this, and nothing upsets him during his trip. What amazes him the most is that he is neither hungry, nor thirsty, nor want to sleep. By dint of walking, never stopping, day or night, - for he did not get tired either - he finally arrived in his country. He goes to the place where he expects to find his father's house, and is astonished to find there a meadow with beeches and very old oaks.

"Yet it is here, or I am greatly mistaken," he said to himself.
He enters a house, not far from there, and asks where Youenn Dagorn, his father, lives.

- Youenn Dagorn? ... There is no one by that name around here, he is answered.
However, an old man, who was sitting in the hearth, said:
- I heard my grandfather speak of a Youenn Dagorn; but, he has been dead a long time ago, and his children and his children's children are also all dead, and there is no more Dagorn in the land.

Poor Yvon could not have been more astonished at all he heard, and, as he no longer knew anyone in the country and no one knew him, he said to himself that he had nothing more to do there. , and that the best thing was to follow his parents where they had been. So he went to the cemetery and saw their graves there, some of which were already three hundred years old.

So he entered the church, prayed there from the bottom of his heart, then died in the square, and no doubt went to join his sister at the Crystal Castle.