Here is the story of the princess of the enchanted palace. There was once a king of France whose ancestors had reigned in this country for nine generations. He had never visited Lower Brittany. One day, the fancy took him to come there, with a large following. He had a beautiful carriage decked out and set off.
The Princess of the Enchanted Palace
He was well received by the King of Brittany, he and his retinue, and we went hunting every day in the great forests of the country. One day, the King of France was so eager to pursue a wild boar that his people could not follow him and he got lost. He is very embarrassed. Night came and he climbed a tree to wait for daylight, for the forest abounded in wild beasts of all kinds. He saw a small light, which did not seem far away. He climbed down from the tree and walked towards the light. He came to a poor woodcutter's hut and asked for shelter for the night and something to eat.
“We are poor people,” said the woodcutter to him, “and our hospitality will doubtless seem very mediocre to a lord like you; in any case, it is with a good heart that we will share with you the little that we have.
Then, addressing his wife:
"We must get ready, Ples, the hare I brought you yesterday."
- A hare ? said the king; what if the guards knew and told the king?
"And how would they know?" It won't be by you, probably? Besides, the woodcutter is master in his hut, I think, as the king is in his palace.
"Assuredly, my good man," answered the king.
The woodcutter's wife dressed the hare in her own way, and we sat down and ate heartily, chatting about this and that.
Good ! But then the woodcutter's wife gave birth during the night to a fat boy. The king offered to be its godfather. But, where to find a godmother of quality as was appropriate for such a lord?
"Go and ask for the young lady of the chateau, my man," said the woodcutter to her husband.
And the woodcutter put on his Sunday clothes and took the road to the castle. He told the chatelaine the subject of his visit. The young lady, who was near her mother, immediately exclaimed with disdain:
"I serve as godmother to the son of a woodcutter, and with a coal-burner for godfather, perhaps!" Look elsewhere for people of your condition!
And she got up to leave.
'The godfather,' said the woodcutter, 'is a handsome and rich lord, and I thought it best to choose a kind and pretty gossip for him.
"A rich and handsome lord? Who is he?" asked the young lady, intrigued.
'I really cannot tell you who he is or where he comes from; but he is very richly dressed, he is handsome and generous and I would not be surprised if he were a prince, the son of some powerful monarch perhaps. He got lost while hunting in the forest, he came knocking at our door, he spent the night in our hut, he was present when my wife gave birth and offered himself to be godfather.
'If that's the way it is,' said the young lady, 'I really want to be your child's godmother and I'm going to get ready to go to your house.
The woodcutter returned home, very happy, and the young chatelaine also arrived, shortly after, in a beautiful carriage and dressed in all her finery. We went to the village for the baptism. When they arrived at the presbytery, they found the vicar beating flax, the priest grinding it and the servant girl combing it, which greatly astonished the king.
"Come and baptize my child, Monsieur le Curé," said the woodcutter to the priest.
"We'll go right away," replied the latter.
And the priest and his curate shook off the dust with which they were covered, put on their cassocks, which they had taken off, and went to church.
When the cure came to receive the child in the porch, he recognized the king, whom he had seen on a trip to Paris, and threw himself at his feet.
"Get up, Monsieur le Cure," said the monarch to him, "one should kneel only before God."
The child was baptized and given the name Efflam. Hearing the bells ringing at full speed, the king's pages and the lords of his retinue, who had been looking for him since the day before, exclaimed: "It is for the king, no doubt, that the bell is being rung." so!
And they ran to the village and their joy was great to find their king alive and without harm.
On taking leave of the woodcutter, the king gave him a handful of gold coins, then, presenting him with a ring adorned with a large diamond, he said to him:
"When my godson has reached the age of fourteen, you will tell him to come and see me in Paris, and you will give him this ring, which will make me recognize him."
The King of Brittany celebrated his guest's return with a great feast, and shortly afterwards the King of France took leave of him and returned to Paris.
The woodcutter bought land and built a fine house with the money given to him by Efflam's godfather, and he was now one of the richest bourgeois in the country. He sent his son to school, in the nearest town, and, as the child was intelligent, he made rapid progress.
When Efflam had reached the age of fourteen, his father one day gave him his godfather's ring and told him to go to Paris, ask to see the King of France and show him the ring. The young boy asked for someone to accompany him on such a long journey. He was allowed to take with him a nasty, ugly, nasty young herdsman who was in the house. They were also given two old horses, winded and exhausted, and they set off. The weather was fine, the heat was great, and around noon they got down from their mounts to drink at a fountain by the side of the road. While Efflam was drinking from the palm of his hand, leaning over the basin of the fountain, his companion gave him a shoulder bump and made him fall into the water. Then he took off her ring, mounted the better of the two horses and galloped off. Let's follow him, we'll come back later to the unfortunate Efflam.
Arriving in Paris, he went straight to the king's palace and greeted the old monarch thus:
- Hello, my godfather! I came to see you, as you recommended; I am fourteen years old, for a few days.
"Me, your godfather!" said the king, surprised to hear himself given that name by such a runt.
'Yes,' continued the rogue, 'I am the woodcutter's son, who was born at night [oh you received hospitality in his hut, in the middle of the forest where you had wandered; don't you remember it?
"Yes, yes... I remember," replied the king, looking at him with compassion, he was so badly turned...; you are the son of this brave man?...
- Definitely ; here, don't you recognize this?
And he presented the ring to her.
"Yes, really, it was the ring that I had left to my godson's father, who was to bring it to me," said the king, examining the ring.
The king then received him with kindness, asked him for news of his father and his mother, and had him cleansed and dressed suitably. But no matter how much we washed him, soaped him and covered him with nice clothes, he looked hardly any less bad. The king, who had a good heart, gave orders to treat him well, to give him food and drink as he wished, and to let him walk where he liked, in the gardens and in the the palace. And the abortion made extensive use of permission.
However, poor Efflam, who had managed to get out of the fountain where the other thought he had drowned him, also arrived in Paris a few days later. He went to the king's palace.
"What do you want, my boy?" asked the porter.
“I would like to speak to my godfather,” he replied.
- Your godfather ? But who is your godfather?
"He is the King of France."
“He arrived several days ago, his godson; get out, as soon as possible!
He went. But, the next day, he returned to the charge, and, as the king just happened to pass, he asked what this young man wanted.
"Sire," replied Efflam, who, at the porter's reply the day before, had understood that the scabby had taken his place, "I would like some small employment in your palace, in order to be able to earn my bread honestly, by working."
The king looked at him, thought he looked intelligent, and told the porter to take him to the gardener, who would find employment for him. The gardener employed him to weed his cabbages and weed his flowerbeds.
The king often came to walk in his gardens, and the false godson sometimes accompanied him. One day he said, stopping in front of an old well:
“Here is a well which is so deep that no one has ever been able to reach its bottom; I would like, however, to know its depth and to know what is in it.
The false godson, who had recognized Efflam, thought he had found an opportunity to get rid of him, and he said to the king:
“That young gardener here, my godfather—and he pointed to Efflam—said he's not afraid to go down to the bottom of the well; challenge him to keep his word.
The king called Efflam and said to him:
"You said, my boy, that you would gladly go down to the bottom of the well?"
"I never said such a thing, sire," replied Efflam.
- You lie ! exclaimed the false godson; you said it to me.
"Then you must go down there," resumed the king.
We brought all the ropes we could find, in the stables, stables and elsewhere, tied them end to end, then Efflam entered a large basket to which they tied the rope, and lowered him into the well. It descended, descended, descended still, in great darkness. When he had thus descended, for about twelve hours, he finally saw a faint light, which grew stronger as he descended, and he finally touched the ground and found himself in a beautiful garden full of beautiful flowers. Not far from there, he saw a beautiful palace, in front of which was walking, alone, an old man with a white beard. The old man advanced towards him and spoke to him thus:
- Hello my son. I know who you are and what you are looking for here. You are the godson of the King of France, and your godfather sends you here to find out what is at the bottom of the well by which you descended.
"It's true, grandfather," replied Efflam, astonished.
"I know your whole story, my child, and I know that the false godson of the king, who took your place at court, only made you go down the well to get rid of you, convinced that you wouldn't come back. But, you will return, safe and sound, and his plans will be foiled. However, you are not yet at the end of your troubles and you will be subjected to other tests, each more difficult than the other. Take this whistle (and he gave her a little silver whistle), and whenever you are ordered to do some difficult work and beyond your strength, come secretly to the well, lean over the opening and blow your whistle, and immediately I will come to get you out of trouble, letting you know what you must do. When you return up there, the king will ask you what you saw at the bottom of the well; you will answer him: “It is so beautiful, sire, that it is impossible for me to give you an idea of it; for the rest, go and see for yourself. »
Go up now; do as I have recommended you, trust in me and you will triumph over all the bad will and the snares of your enemies.
Efflam thanked the good old man and bade him farewell. Then he entered the basket, blew his whistle, to make it known that he wanted to go up again, and they hoisted him up.
- Well ! my boy, what did you see in there? the king started him, immediately after he came out of the well.
'It's so beautiful, you see, sire, so beautiful, that I could never give you an idea of it in words; you have to go see it yourself.
The king disliked the advice and pouted; the false godson seemed even less satisfied.
A few days later, while walking in the garden, the king stopped to contemplate the sun, which was setting, and said:
— I would like to know why the Sun appears to us in three different colors each day: pink in the morning, white at noon, and red in the evening?
And the false godson hastened to answer him:
— Send the young gardener to the Sun, godfather, to ask him.
- You're right, my godson, I'll send, to see.
And the old king summoned Efflam and said to him:
"You must, my boy, go find the Sun, at his place, in his palace, to ask him why he shows himself to us in three different colors every day, and you will bring me his answer."
"And how can you, sir?...
"You must go there, and immediately," interrupted the king, "or there is only death for you."
In the evening, after sunset, Efflam went secretly to the well in the garden, leaned over it, blew his silver whistle, and the old man with the white beard immediately climbed up to him and asked him:
"What is there for your service, my child?"
"The king has ordered me, on pain of death," replied Efflam, "to go and find the Sun in his palace, and to ask him why he shows himself to us, every day, in three different colors."
- Well ! my child, tell the king to give you, to make this trip, first a carriage harnessed to three fine horses, then gold and silver at discretion. You will then set out, always heading towards the Levant, and fear nothing and have confidence in me, and you will still emerge to your honor from this ordeal.
The old man descended to the bottom of his well, and Efflam went to find the king, who gave him a beautiful carriage, beautiful horses, gold and silver at will, and he then left to go to the Palace of the Sun. . He went, he went, always heading towards the Levant, so much so that he came to an immense plain, where he saw someone running, running, uttering terrible cries.
"Where are you going, my boy?" asked the runner.
— I am going to find the Sun, in his palace, to ask him why he is pink in the morning, white at noon, and red in the evening.
- Well ! ask him also why he has kept me here for two hundred years, running across this immense plain, without giving me a moment's rest.
"I'll ask him," replied Efflam.
"Be careful not to, or I won't let you pass."
“I will, of course.
- Pass, then.
And the runner continued his race and Efflam passed.
Farther on, on both sides of a deep, narrow road, through which he had to pass, he saw two old oak trees which clashed so roughly and fought with such fury, that splinters sprang from them every moment. How to pass by there, without being crushed between the two trees?
"Where are you going, my boy?" asked the oaks.
Efflam was surprised to hear trees talking to him, like men.
- How ! in this country, do the trees speak then? he told them.
- Yes, but, tell us quickly where you're going.
— I am going to find the Sun, in its palace, to ask it why it is pink in the morning, white at noon, and red in the evening.
- Well ! ask him also why he has kept us here for three hundred years, fighting like this, without a moment's rest?
"I would gladly ask him."
- Then we will not hurt you and you can pass.
And Efflam passed without difficulty, and the two trees began to fight again, even more fiercely.
A little further on, he found himself at the edge of an arm of the sea, and he saw there a naked man throwing himself into the water, from the top of a rock, then he came out to throw himself into it. again, without interruption.
"Where are you going, my boy?" this man asked Efflam as soon as he saw him.
— I am going to find the Sun, in his palace, to ask him why he is pink in the morning, white at noon, and red in the evening.
- Well ! ask him also why he has kept me here for five hundred years, doing the job you saw, and I'll get you the water.
"I would gladly ask him."
"Get on my back, then, and I'll pass the water on to you."
And Efflam mounted on its back and was deposited, safe and sound, on the opposite shore. He continued on his way and soon arrived in front of the Palace of the Sun. It was evening, so he was not blinded by it, but only dazzled. He entered the kitchen of the castle, the door of which he found open, and saw an old woman, with teeth as long as an arm, who was preparing oatmeal porridge in an enormous basin. She was the mother of the Sun.
"Hello, Grandmother," he said to her.
The old woman turned her head and stood dumbfounded at the sight of the young man.
"Isn't this where the Sun dwells?" asked Efflam.
"Yes, really," she replied.
'I would like to speak to him, if possible, Grandmother.
"So what do you have to say to him?"
Efflam told him the purpose of his trip and his misfortunes, so that the old woman took an interest in him and said:
'But, my poor child, I pity you for coming all this way. When my son comes home later, he will be very hungry, as always, and as soon as he sees you, he will throw himself on you and swallow you in one mouthful. So you'd better get out of there, as soon as possible.
"Jesus my God!" cried Efflam, frightened. Then, after thinking:
'After all, Grandmother, being eaten by your son or put to death by the King of France matters little to me; so I want to stay, and if you will take me under your protection...
"You interest me very much," resumed the old woman; so stay, and if my son tries to hurt you, I'll stroke his shoulders with this stick.
And she showed him the big stick with which she was mixing her porridge. Then she hid Efflam in a corner of the room, among a pile of fagots. His son returned immediately, shouting:
“I am hungry, mother; I'm very hungry! I'm starving ! Give me food quickly!
— Yes, my son, I have prepared some good oatmeal for you; I'll serve it to you right now.
But he began to smell the air and said:
- I smell Christian! There's a Christian over here, mother!...
"You always dream of Christians to devour," replied the old woman; eat your porridge and keep quiet.
- Nope ! Nope ! There's a Christian here, and I want to eat him!
- Well ! Yes there is one ; my nephew, my brother's youngest son, who came to see me, and you won't hurt him, I hope, or beware my stick!
And she pointed to her stick, which she had placed in the corner of the hearth; then she brought Efflam out of his hiding place and presented him to her son.
"Here he is, your cousin, and if you do him the slightest harm, beware of the stick, I tell you!"
The Sun bowed its head and said:
'If it's a cousin, mother, I won't hurt him.
And he softened, supped greedily; after which he asked Efflam what was the object of his visit, and if he could be of any use to him. Efflam replied:
"The King of France, cousin, has sent me to ask you why you wear three different colors every day, pink in the morning, white at noon, and red at night when you go to bed?" And I must tell him your answer, otherwise he will kill me.
"I'm willing to tell you that, since you're my cousin, and so that the King of France won't kill you." So you will tell the King of France that I am rosy in the morning, thanks to the brilliance of the Enchanted Princess (the Aurora), who, every morning, stands at the window of her palace, to tell me to see passing, as I rise on the horizon. At noon, I strip myself of these rosy tints and I become white and with a devouring ardour; but, in the evening, I arrive at the end of my daily race, weak, red with fatigue and exhausted. That, cousin, is what you can say to the King of France.
“I thank you very much, cousin; but, before leaving, I would still like to know why you have been tormenting so cruelly, for two hundred years, a poor man whom I met on my way, running and crying, on an immense plain, without ever resting?
"Yes, I'll tell you gladly: I'm keeping that man there to do penance, and he'll stay there as long as the world exists." But don't tell him that until after you've crossed the plain, otherwise he wouldn't let you pass.
"I won't tell him anything until I've crossed the plain, but tell me again, please, why two trees that I saw fighting each other, farther on, on both sides of a sunken road abused so cruelly for three hundred years?
"I will tell you again: they are two spouses who constantly argued and fought when they lived together, and to punish them, I want them to continue fighting until they have crushed a man between them; but it will no doubt still last several thousand years, for not a man passes through there every thousand years. Tell them this only when you have passed, otherwise you will be their victim and they will be delivered. And now, I say goodbye to you, because it is high time for me to start my daily run and people are already waiting for me impatiently.
“One more question, cousin; it will be the last.
- Speak quickly, then, because I'm already late.
"And the man I met next, by the sea, not far from here, and whom you've been keeping there with difficulty, for five hundred years?"
“He also atones for his sins and faults, and he will remain there until another takes his place. But, don't tell him that before he puts you back across the water, otherwise he won't get you through. But, farewell, and not another word, for I am late, and they are expecting me impatiently.
And the Sun set out on its daily course. Efflam took leave of the old woman and left immediately to return to Paris. He made known the answers of the Sun to those who were interested in them, on his way, and he arrived safely in Paris.
- Well ! asked the king, as soon as he saw him, have you successfully accomplished your journey and do you bring me the answer of the Sun?
"Yes, sire, my journey has been successfully completed and I bring you the answer of the Sun."
"Then let me know, quickly."
And Efflam let him know the answer of the Sun. From that moment, the old king only dreamed and spoke of the Princess at the Palais-Enchanté. He lost his mind and became seriously ill. The false godson said to him again, one day:
“You should, sire, order the young gardener to fetch you the Princess of the Palais-Enchanté; it is only his presence that can restore your health and your former cheerfulness and strength.
“You are right,” replied the old king; send for the young gardener.
And Efflam was again brought before the king, who ordered him, on pain of death, to bring him the Princess of the Enchanted Palace.
When night came, Efflam went again to the old well in the garden, blew his silver whistle and the old man with the white beard came up immediately and asked him:
"What is there for your service, my friend?"
"The king has ordered me, on pain of death, to bring him the Princess of the Palais-Enchanté."
- Well ! go find the king and tell him that he must first give you a fine carriage to put the Princess on, then the twelve most beautiful horses from his stables to hitch them to the carriage. You will still ask him for gold and silver at discretion, and in addition twelve mules, four of which are loaded with mutton, four loaded with bacon, and the four others loaded with wheat; because you will need it all.
Efflam thanked the old man and went to find the king, who gave him everything he needed. He then set out, and he walked and walked, so much so that he arrived in the kingdom of the Lions. Hungry lions with gaping mouths came running to him from all sides, ready to devour him. He hastened to distribute to them the load of four mules carrying mutton. They devoured the meat and the four mules with it. Then, a lion, the largest and most beautiful of all, advanced towards Efflam and spoke to him thus:
“We were all going to starve, and you saved our lives; but, I'll make it up to you. Here, take this trumpet, and if ever you need me and mine, wherever you are, blow it and we'll arrive immediately.
"Thank you very much, sire," replied Efflam, taking up the trumpet; and he set out again with the eight mules that remained to him.
He then arrived in the kingdom of Snorers and these monsters also came running to him to devour him. But he hastened to distribute to them the bacon with which four of his mules were laden, and they devoured the bacon, then the four mules carrying it; after which, the King of Snores also said to Efflam:
- I am the king of Snores, if ever you need me or mine, blow in this trunk (and he presented him a trunk), and wherever you are, we will arrive immediately.
Efflam took the trumpet, thanked the Snore King, and set off again with the four mules he had left.
He then arrived in the kingdom of Ants, and saw himself surrounded by ants as big as cats, to the point of not being able to move forward. He hastened to empty his sacks of wheat, lest they be devoured by them, for they too seemed hungry, and when they had eaten the wheat, which was soon done, with the four mules carrying it, the Queen of Ants approached him and spoke to him thus:
“We owe you our lives, because we were all going to starve, so great is the famine that reigns among us. But, I'll make it up to you again. Take this little ivory whistle, and, when you need me and mine, blow it, and we will arrive immediately, wherever you are.
Efflam took the whistle, thanked the Ant Queen, and set off again, alone now, since his twelve mules had been devoured by lions, ogres, and ants. He arrived shortly afterwards in front of the Palais-Enchanté. It was a magnificent palace beyond words. He knocked at the door. It was opened to him and he said to the doorman:
“I would like to speak to your mistress.
The doorman led him to a young girl of great beauty. He was so dazzled by it that he remained with his mouth open to look at her, without saying anything. Finally, when he was able to speak, he let her know the subject of his visit.
"I will follow you," replied the princess, "but only when you have accomplished some work by which I wish to test you." Thus, you will first have to spend a night with my lion, in his cage, with a loaf of bread to feed him.
"I'll try, princess," replied Efflam, not very reassured, but not showing it.
When night came, they gave him a loaf of bread and locked him in the lion's cage.
"Give me some of your bread," said the lion.
And with his knife he cut a piece of the pie and threw it to the lion, who swallowed it in one mouthful and said:
"Give me some more of your bread."
Efflam threw him a second piece, then a third, a fourth, until he had none left.
"Now he's going to devour me, for sure," he thought. But, he remembered at that moment that the King of Lions had promised to come to his aid, and had given him a trumpet to call him. He hurriedly blew his trumpet, and the King of Lions immediately came running like a hurricane and tore the princess's lion to pieces.
The next morning, Efflam came out safe and sound from the cage and appeared before the princess, surprised to see him still alive, and said to her:
“I spent the night with your lion in his cage, and here I am; will you come with me now, princess?
"Yes," she replied, "when you've spent another night with my Ronfle, in his den."
When night came, he was taken to the Ronfle's lair and locked up there with the monster. This one rushed on him, to devour him. But he had time to blow his trunk, and the King of Snores arrived immediately, like a hurricane, and tore the princess's Snore to pieces.
The next morning, Efflam appeared again before the princess, more and more astonished to see him alive again, and said to her:
"I hope you'll come with me now, princess?"
"I have one last test to propose to you, before following you," she answered; I have there, in my attic, a large pile of grain, of three kinds mixed together, wheat, barley and rye, and you will have to sort it and put each kind of grain in a separate pile, without making the mistake of a single grain, and that before sunrise tomorrow morning.
When night came, Efflam went up to the attic to pick the grain. He had no other light than the light of the moon, penetrating through a skylight. His embarrassment was great. Luckily he remembered the Ant Queen's offers of service. He blew the ivory whistle she had given him, and immediately the ants arrived by the millions. And here they are to get to work, without wasting time. They did so much so that, for the appointed hour, each kind of grain had been put in a separate pile, without the slightest mixture.
At sunrise, Efflam appeared again before the princess and said to her:
"For once, princess, you'll come with me, won't you?"
- Is the job done? she asked.
“The job is done,” Efflam replied quietly.
“I have to see this.
And she went up to the attic, examined the three heaps of grain, took some in her hand, several times, and found nothing to complain about; which surprised him greatly.
"What do you say, princess, is it good?" asked Efflam.
"That's perfect," she replied.
"And are you going to come with me now?"
"I am not the Princess at the Palais-Enchanté," she replied; but I'm going to have you taken to another palace, more beautiful than mine, not far from here, and there you'll hear from her.
Efflam therefore set out for the other palace, under the guidance of a guide given to him. There he found another princess, more beautiful than the first, and greeted her in these terms:
Hello, beautiful princess
From the Enchanted Palace!
And the Princess replied:
Is on the other side.
And she opened the door of a room for him, where he saw another princess, more beautiful than the first two, and whom he greeted in these terms:
Hello, beautiful princess
From the Enchanted Palace!
And she replied like the other:
Is on the other side.
And she also introduced him to a third room, where he greeted another princess, much more beautiful than the preceding ones, in these terms:
Hello, beautiful princess
From the Enchanted Palace!
And she replied:
Hail, Prince full of youth
And courage and kindness!
"Will you come with me to the court of the King of France?"
"I'll gladly follow you wherever you want."
And they set off immediately, in a beautiful golden carriage, harnessed to fine winged steeds, which rose into the air and were not long in reaching Paris.
The old king was so dazzled and charmed by the beauty of the Princess, that he felt very cheered up and wanted to marry her on the spot.
“Easy, sire,” she said to him; if you were only twenty or twenty-five, well; but, old and decrepit as you are, it would be folly of me to marry you.
And here is the inconsolable king.
'Is there no way of giving me back my past youth?' he asked the Princess.
- There would be one, she replied, but I do not know if you would agree to try the test.
"What is it?" I want to try it, whatever it is; say, quick!
'You must first be killed; then, with a marvelous water that I possess, I will call you back to life and restore to you your vigor and your beauty of twenty years.
"Hurry up, hurry up!...
And the old king let his throat be cut, without hesitation. But, the princess then said to Efflam:
"Since he is dead, he remains dead, and he who has had all the trouble also receives the reward."
And she put her hand in Efflam's hand. Then she said again, pointing to the false godson, who was quite pale and about to die of vexation:
"As for this demon, heat a blind oven and throw him in alive!"
What was done.
The nuptials of Efflam and the Princess of the Palais-Enchanté were then celebrated, and there were, on this occasion, for eight full days, great feasts and the finest parties in the world.