This is the story of Magician Ferragio. There was once a count of Poitou. His wife gave birth and gave him a daughter. All known magicians were called to draw his horoscope. It came from all sides, but, they didn't agree. Some predicted that the child, whose name was Marguerite, would marry a king; others claimed it would be a prince, others a duke or a count.
The father was hardly satisfied with this disagreement, and he had the whole kingdom banished that all who knew anything about prediction had only to go to his castle, and they would be well treated and well paid. .
There was at that time, in the mountains of Scrignac, a shepherd renowned throughout the country as a soothsayer and a little sorcerer, and we came to find him from very far away. His name was Gorvel. He heard the banished, one market day, in Morlaix, and immediately set out for Poitou.
Arrived at the castle of the count, they showed him the child. He asked for half a glass of water and half a glass of wine. He mixed the two liquids, observed how the mixture behaved and then said that the child, at the age of twelve, would be abducted by the magician Ferragio and delivered by one of her close relatives. He also predicts that, at the end of a year, the countess would give birth to a son; then he added that if, the times being over, his predictions did not come true, he would consent to be put to death.
The count begged Gorvel to stay with him, and also sent for his wife and children.
The countess gave birth to a son, as he had predicted. He was named Hervé.
As soon as it was born, the child was entrusted to a nurse, who left the castle with him for some time.
However, Marguerite was approaching her twelve years and her father was growing worried and considering how to protect her from the magician Ferragio. He placed guards all around his castle and even on the roof. Unnecessary precautions. When the day came when the young girl was completing her twelfth year, as she was walking with her governess in the garden of the castle, suddenly the sky darkened, thunder was heard, and, from the bosom of a cloud which fell to the ground, lowered the magician, who lifted it and left immediately with it in its cloud.
Great desolation of the father and the mother.
But, let us now take care of the young child whom we saw leaving with his nurse; we will meet again later Marguerite and the magician.
When Hervé was ten years old, he was sent to school in the neighboring town. His comrades only called him penher (only son), and he really believed that he had neither brother nor sister, and his father and mother had never told him that he had any either. However, one of his fellow students having said one day to the others: "That one is not penher, because he has a sister, who was kidnapped, at the age of twelve, by the magician Ferragio" these words produced a singular effect on him. He made a bundle of his books and his notebooks and went straight home. He asked his father if what he had heard was true, namely: that he had a sister, who had been kidnapped, at the age of twelve, by the magician Ferragio. His father confessed to him that it was the truth, and he then said that he wanted to go in search of his sister, and that he would not return home until he had found and delivered her.
He had a ship built for himself to go by water and by land, and he set out taking with him the two sons of Gorvel the soothsayer. He would ask wherever Ferragio the magician's castle was, and no one could tell him. They go, sometimes by land, sometimes by sea, far, far, further still. They approach an island to make water. They find oranges there in abundance and stock them up to take on their ship. They enter a beautiful avenue of orange trees laden with fruit, sandblasted with golden sand and at the end of this avenue they meet a crystal castle with a massive gold door. They hesitate for a moment whether to enter this castle or bypass it. Hervé decides to enter, and his two companions follow him. He knocks on the door, and it is opened to him by an ugly dwarf, who has a beard that goes around his body seven times.
- What are you asking? Said the dwarf, in an insolent tone.
- Visit your castle, Hervé answers.
- For that you have to fight with me and be the strongest.
- Well ! Let's fight, said Hervé quietly.
Hervé overwhelmed him, not without pain, and cut off his head. - But immediately a giant appeared seventeen feet high, who said to him:
- Ah! Earthworm, you killed my brother, but you have to deal with me now.
And the fight began, terrible.
Hervé overcame that one again, and he also cut off his head. But, a second giant, bigger, then appeared and said like the first:
- Ah! Earthworm, you killed my two brothers; but I will swallow you alive.
And he walked up to him, his mouth gaping like the opening of an oven.
Hervé gutted it, so that his guts fell to the ground, and he also cut off his head. Then he looked around, wondering with concern: - "Are there any more?" Because he couldn't take it anymore. But, there was no other giant or dwarf introduced, and the three of them entered the castle. They found no one in the first room. They passed in a second and saw a beautifully served table, with the food all steaming and smelling good, and no one around the table. They sit and eat and drink at will, served by invisible hands. Then the same hands, taking torches, lead them to beautiful rooms, where they find excellent feather beds. They sleep peacefully, until the next morning, when they are awakened by cries of distress uttered by a woman's voice. They get up hastily, run to the windows, and see with astonishment the bearded dwarf that Hervé thought he had killed, who was dragging a young girl by the hair on the pavement of the courtyard. They come down to help him; but, when they reached the courtyard, they saw nothing more, neither a dwarf nor a young girl.
They spent the day at the castle, feeling well there, lunched, dined, walked in the gardens, which were magnificent, then supped and went to bed again, without having seen or heard any living being.
The next morning, they were awakened by the same cries as the day before and again saw the dwarf dragging the same young girl by the hair. But, when they got to the yard, and the dwarf and the maiden were still missing. They were very upset.
The third night they lay down fully dressed on their beds, got up a little before daylight, and when the cries were still heard, in the morning, they rushed into the courtyard. Alas! They were still too late. They could however see the dwarf lift a large stone slab, by means of an organeau which was sealed to it, and disappear under it with the young girl. They ran to the stone, lifted it with difficulty, and saw a marble staircase, which descended deep underground. Hervé said to his two companions:
- Stay here ; I am going to go down into the underground, and if I do not come back, after a year and a day, you will return to my father.
And he went down into the hole. He went down, went down, in the dark, and finally came to another castle, much more beautiful than the first. He knocked on the door and the dwarf he had seen mistreating the girl came to open it.
- What are you looking for around here, earthworm? Asked the dwarf.
"My sister, you naughty beast," he replied fearlessly.
- Your sister is fine here, and you won't have her.
- I'll get it, whether I want it or not.
And the fight begins immediately.
Hervé also kills the dwarf and cuts off his head.
But immediately a giant twenty-two feet tall emerges from beneath the earth, and the fight begins again. The giant is also killed and beheaded, and immediately another giant twenty-five feet tall takes his place. He has the same fate as his brother.
Hervé then enters the castle. He goes into the dining room, where he finds a good dinner served, and still no one. He was hungry, and he eats and drinks accordingly. When he has finished, an invisible hand takes a torch from the table and, advancing in front of him, it leads him to a bedroom, where he finds an excellent feather bed.
The next morning, when he went downstairs, he found another good breakfast served, and did not give more compliments than the day before to take advantage of it. Then he went for a walk in the gardens. There he noticed a small box, in which stood a little old woman, who had two teeth as long as her arm. He approached her, greeted her politely and said:
- Hello grandmother.
- What are you looking for around here, earthworm? Asked the old woman.
- I'm looking for my sister, he replied, who must be here, somewhere.
- Alas! My poor child, if you knew the danger to which you are exposing yourself, you would go away very quickly; you are here with the great magician Ferragio.
- It is precisely him that I am looking for, grandmother.
- Do you know that Ferragio only has one place in his body where he can be fatally injured? You have to hit him on the forehead. But, his forehead is lined with seven superimposed copper plates, and you have to go through them all to kill him.
- Well ! Grandmother, I will pierce the seven copper plates with my sword and kill Ferragio. And with that he started by killing the old woman, who was the magician's mother.
He then returned to the castle, and visiting the halls and chambers, he met the young girl whom he had seen mistreated by the dwarf, and she said to him: - In three days, the magician Ferragio, who is presently absent, will return. , and you will have to fight against him the next day to get me out of here; but, here is an ointment that you will put on your wounds and which will heal them instantly. I am the daughter of the King of Spain, and I have been kidnapped by the magician, who has held me captive here for several years.
Hervé took the ointment, thanked the princess and asked her for news of his sister.
- Your sister, she said, is not here; it is in the castle of the magician Trubardo, and you will have to do much to tear it from him.
The princess went away on it. At the end of the three days, Ferragio arrived and he asked Hervé, as soon as he saw him:
- What are you looking for around here, runt?
- My sister and the young princess whom I saw mistreated by an ugly dwarf in the castle above.
- You won't get either, unless you win them at the point of your sword.
- That's what I intend to do.
- Really, poor kid! Well ! Find yourself tomorrow morning in the courtyard of the castle and we'll see.
The next day, Hervé was exact at the meeting. The magician sent a bull at him. The animal, furious, rushed towards Hervé, head bowed; but, he knew how to avoid it, by throwing himself aside, and the bull went to give against a wall where its horns sank so deeply that he could no longer withdraw them. So, Hervé killed him easily.
'That's not all,' said the magician, 'we'll have to start over again tomorrow morning.
- See you tomorrow morning, Hervé replied, quietly.
The next day, the magician sent a big, furious horse against him. He also killed the horse. Finally, on the third day, he encountered a serpent covered with yellowish scales and vomiting fire. He also ended up overcoming it, but, with great difficulty, and he killed him like the bull and the horse.
"That's good," said the magician, concealing his anger and his concern; but now you will have to deal with me. Meet up here tomorrow morning and we'll be done with you. And he went on it.
The daughter of the King of Spain came to find Hervé and said:
- You came out happily and without much trouble from these three tests; but, three others will succeed them now, which will be much more difficult; for it is against the magician himself that you will have to fight. Have confidence, however, and good luck, and, thanks to the magic ointment that I gave you, you will still be able to get out of the woods.
The next morning, therefore, he was grappling with the magician himself. The fight was long and terrible. Hervé was often fatally injured; but, he immediately put a little of his ointment on the wound and was healed immediately. He managed to pierce two of the seven copper plates that lined the wizard's forehead, and the wizard felt himself weaken a bit. However, he continued to put on a good countenance. Finally, exhausted and unable to take it any longer, on both sides, they agreed to put off the rest of the fight until the next day, and withdrew, each on his own, to eat and rest.
They started all over again the next day, and if the affair had been hot the day before, that day, it was much more so. We fought until evening, and at sunset, Hervé had pierced three more copper plates; which made five, with the two from the day before.
The magician, who weakened as the plaques on his forehead were pierced, again asked for quarter until the next day, and Hervé, who, for his part, could not take it any longer, hastened to consent.
On the third day, they were still, at sunrise, in the presence of each other, and the fight recommenced, more terrible than ever, because it was necessary to end, that day, with the death of the one or the other of the fighters. Hervé had to have recourse to his ointment often, and the magician, furious to see that he did not fall, however terrible and fatal the blows he dealt him, lost his mind and his blows were no longer so sure. . Towards sunset, Hervé succeeded in piercing the last two plates, and the monster immediately collapsed on itself and fell to the ground, dead dead. To be on the safe side, Hervé cut off her head and threw it into the ditches of the castle.
Immediately, princesses appeared on all sides, each more beautiful than the other, and who came to thank the conqueror by saying to him, one: “Come with me to my father to ask him for my hand; I am the daughter of the Emperor of Türkiye. Another: "I am the daughter of the King of Persian ; a third: "I am the daughter of the King of Naples," and so on. Hervé didn't really know which to hear, they were all pretty and graceful. However, he decided on the daughter of the King of Spain, who had provided him with the magic ointment which was so useful to him in his fights with the magician. All the other princesses left, each on her own, in beautiful carriages drawn by winged horses, which rose into the air and carried them promptly to their countries.
Hervé also left, by the same route, for Spain, with his protectress. But, they weren't far yet, when the sky suddenly darkened, and they saw a black cloud advancing over them, in a threatening way.
- Alas! cried the princess, at this sight it is the giant Trubardo, Ferragio's brother, who pursues us in this form.
And no sooner had she said these words, than Trubardo, who was also a magician, descended from the cloud, in the form of the crescent moon, and took it away. As for Hervé, he was thrown to the ground and fell into a quarry. When he got up from there, all bruised, he didn't know where he was, or which way he should go. He went at random, by the grace of God, and arrived in the city of Constantinople. He immediately went to the emperor's palace and demanded occupation. He was taken as a shepherd, and he was advised not to approach with his flock the castle of the magician Trubardo, who lived in the neighborhood and made the whole town tremble.
When he heard that, he was happy and thought only of taking the Spanish princess back from the magician. But unfortunately ! He had no weapons, and he was very upset about it.
One day, when he was with his flock on a large moor, he met an old man with a beard long and white as snow and who asked him if he was not yet tired of keeping the flocks in Turkey, and s 'he did not want to return to his country.
"I would gladly go back to my father," he replied; but, I would like to find my sister beforehand and also the daughter of the King of Spain, whom the magician Trubardo holds captive.
- Then you have to go get them from the magician Trubardo.
- Yes, but I would need weapons for that.
- Well ! Here is a sword and a spear; the sword is the one with which Saint Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, and the lance is the one which pierced the left side of Our Savior on the cross. With these weapons you can fearlessly march against the magician. He has a black dot in the palm of his left hand, and that's where you have to hit him; because that's the only place in his body where he's vulnerable.
- That's fine, but who will look after my herd in my absence?
- Me, don't worry about it,
And Hervé took the sword and the spear and went to the magician's castle.
He knocked at the door. It opened immediately and he found himself in the presence of a giant eighteen feet tall, who asked him:
- What are you looking for around here, earthworm?
"The daughter of the King of Spain," he replied, "and my sister, the daughter of the Count of Poitou."
- They are indeed here, indeed; but, you won't get them, unless you kill me first and the magician Trubardo then.
- Well ! I will kill you and the magician Trubardo too.
And the fight began immediately, and the giant was soon slain, with a blow of the holy lance.
Hervé then entered the castle, and seeing a well-served table, he sat down there and ate and drank at will. When he had finished, an invisible hand took a torch from the table and led him to a bedroom, where he slept peacefully, in an excellent feather bed.
The next morning, he saw the door to his room open and the daughter of the King of Spain entered and said to him:
- You did kill the giant who guards Trubardo Castle, in his absence; but, to deny getting out of here, you still have to kill the magician himself.
- I will kill him; where is he ?
- Is absent.
- When will he be back?
- I do not know.
- Can't we hasten his return?
- Yes, all you have to do is strike a hammer on a brass ball which is near the castle gate, and it will happen immediately.
- In that case, I'll bring him back right away.
And Hervé went down and discharged a vigorous blow on the brass ball, which made a resounding sound.
A great noise was immediately heard in the air, and the magician descended into the courtyard, from the bosom of a black cloud.
- What's new around here? he asked.
Give me back the daughter of the King of Spain and my sister, the daughter of the Count of Poitou, Hervé told him.
- You won't have either, replied the magician, unless you take my life.
- Well ! I'll take your life, then.
And the fight began immediately; but, it was not long, because with the third blow, the sword of Hervé reached the magician in the black point which he had on the palm of the left hand, and he immediately fell and expired.
So, we still saw beautiful princesses appear on all sides and come to thank Hervé for having delivered them, and to ask him to accompany them to their fathers to ask for their hand. But, he remained insensitive to all their advances and seductions and returned with his sister and the Spanish princess to the moor where he had left his flock, under the care of the old man who had provided him with arms. But the old man was no longer there, and he had brought the herd back to the stable. Seeing this, they set off for Poitou.
But, what became of Hervé's two companions, the sons of the soothsayer of Scrignac, whom he had left in the castle of Ferragio, when he went down into the underground?
When the year and the day were completed, seeing that Hervé was not returning, they went to their ship, weighed anchor, and also returned to Poitou, but not without taking great treasures from the magician's castle.
Hervé married the Spanish princess, his sister married a brother of the latter, and the two weddings were made on the same day, and there were great feasts, feasts and public celebrations. Hervé became, shortly after, King of Spain, on the death of his father-in-law.