There was, once, on the water of the Léguer, a miller, who one day took his rifle to go and shoot swans and wild ducks on the mill pond. Here is the story of the Shining Star Princess.
The shining star princess
It was December, and it was cold and the land was all covered with snow.
Arriving on the causeway of the pond, he saw a duck frolicking on the water. He aimed at her, fired and was astonished to see beside him, as soon as the blow started, a beautiful princess, come he did not know where or how, and who spoke to him like this:
- Thank you, my good man! I've been around here for a long time, held enchanted in the form of a wild duck, by three demons, which leave me no rest. You have brought me back to human form, and you can deliver me completely, with a little courage and perseverance.
- What should be done about it? asked the miller, astonished.
- Spend three nights in a row in the old ruined mansion you see up there.
- And what's there? The devil maybe?
- Alas! It is not just one devil, but, twelve devils, who will torment you. They'll throw you across the Mansion's Great Hall multiple times and even throw you into the fire. Don't be afraid no matter what may happen to you, and trust me, for I have an ointment that will keep you alive and heal you, even though all your limbs are broken and crushed. Were you even killed, that I would resuscitate you. If you can suffer, for me, during these three nights, without complaining or uttering a single word, you will not regret your pain, later. Under the hearthstone, in the old manor house, there are three golden barrels and three silver barrels, and all of these will belong to you, and myself on top of that, if you like. Do you feel the courage to take the test?
"And when there are a hundred devils, instead of twelve, I'll try the test," replied the miller.
And immediately the princess disappeared, and he returned to his mill, thinking of what he had just seen and heard.
At night, he went to the old mansion and took some wood, to make fire, cider and tobacco to drink and smoke, while warming himself.
About midnight he heard a great noise in the fireplace, and although he was not timid, he hid himself under an old bed, and from there he saw eleven devils coming down by the fireplace. They were astonished to find a fire lit in the hearth.
- "What does this mean?" They wondered.
- Where did the Lame Devil stay? He's always late, said another devil, who appeared to be the leader of the gang.
"Here he is," said a third.
And the Lame Devil arrived, by the same path as the others, that is to say by the chimney, and asked:
- What's new around here, comrades?
- Nothing, they replied.
- Nothing?… Well, I claim that the miller of the Pont-Léguer mill is here, somewhere, and that he has come to try to take the princess away from us: let's find him.
And we looked everywhere. The Lame Devil looked under the bed and, seeing the miller, who was huddling there, he cried:
- Here it is, under the bed!
And he took him by one foot and pulled him towards him.
- Ah! Miller, nice miller, he said with a sneer, do you want to take the princess away from us? You like pretty girls, it seems?
We are going to play a game first, my friend, which you will probably not like, but which will cure you of the temptation to want to kidnap princesses.
And they threw it at each other and threw it back like a bullet from one end of the room to the other. Yet the poor miller said nothing. Seeing what they threw out the window into the courtyard, and as he neither complained nor moved, they believed him to be dead.
The rooster crowed at that moment, announcing the day, and they went away immediately, as they had come, that is to say, by the fireplace.
The princess then came, holding in her hand a small jar of ointment, and she rubbed the miller with it, who got up and found himself as well and as ready as in front.
"You have suffered greatly, my friend," said the princess to him.
"Yes, I have suffered a lot, princess," he replied.
- You still have two similar nights to pass, to deliver me from these wicked devils.
- It's not nice to deliver princesses, from what I see, but I will go all the way.
At nightfall, he went for the second time to the old mansion and hid himself under a pile of bundles at the bottom of the room. At midnight, the twelve devils descended, as on the previous day, by the fireplace.
- I smell like a Christian! said the Lame Devil.
And they are still looking for and discovering the miller, among the bundles.
- Ah! It's you again, miller! How didn't you die after the game last night? But, rest assured, we'll be done with you this time, and it won't be long.
And they threw it into a great pot filled with oil, which they then boiled sooty on fire.
The rooster crowed to herald the day, and the devils departed again.
The princess came immediately and removed the miller from the boiler. He was done and his flesh was falling apart. And yet she resuscitated him again, with his ointment.
The third night, the devils were again astonished to find the miller alive:
- It's the last night, and if we don't finish with him, this time we'll lose everything.
He must be protected by some magician. What to do ?
Everyone gives their opinion, and the Lame Devil says:
- You have to build a good fire, roast the sucker on a spit, then eat it.
- That's it, said the others, let's roast it, then we'll eat it.
But their deliberation and their preparations had taken too long, and just as they were about to skewer the miller to put it on fire, the rooster crowed, and they had to leave at once, and they knocked down the pinion. the house, going away, with a terrible uproar.
The princess arrived again with her ointment, but she didn't need it this time. She embraced the miller, in the transport of her joy, and said to him:
- Everything is fine ! You delivered me, and the treasure is yours now.
And they moved the stone from the hearth, and found under three barrels of gold and three barrels of silver.
'Take the gold and silver,' said the princess, 'and use them as you please. As for me, I cannot stay with you yet; I must first make a trip, which will last a year and a day, after which we will never leave each other.
And the princess immediately disappeared. The miller regretted her a little, but he consoled himself easily, thinking of his treasure. He gave his mill to his valet and began to travel with a friend, awaiting the return of the princess. They visited distant countries, and, as they were not lacking in money, they refused each other no pleasure.
At the end of eight months of this life, the miller said to his friend:
- Let us return, now, to our country, because we are very far from it and I do not want to miss the appointment which the princess gave me, after a year and a day.
And they set out for their country. On the way, they met, by the side of the road, an old woman, who had beautiful apples in a basket. And the old woman said to them:
- Buy me apples, my handsome gentlemen.
"Don't buy apples from that old woman," said his friend to the miller.
- Why is that ? replied the miller; I would eat an apple with pleasure.
And he bought three apples and ate one right away, and found himself inconvenienced.
When the day came for the princess to arrive, he went to the meeting place, in the woods, accompanied by his friend. As he was biding his time, having come too early, he ate a second apple from those he had bought from the old woman, and immediately found himself sleepy. He sat down on the grass at the foot of a tree and fell asleep.
The princess arrived shortly after in a beautiful coach the color of the stars and drawn by ten horses, also the color of the stars. When she saw that the miller was sleeping, she became sad and asked her friend why he had fallen asleep. - I don't really know, he replied, but he bought apples from an old woman, whom we met, by the side of the road; he has just eaten one, and immediately he fell asleep.
- Alas! That's right, because the old woman from whom he bought apples is a witch, who wants nothing but harm to us. I can't take him with me in this condition, but I'll come back, twice more, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, and if I find him awake, I'll get him into my coach. Here is a golden pear and a handkerchief that you will give him when he wakes up, and you will tell him that I will be back tomorrow at the same time.
And the princess then rose in the air, in her star-colored coach, and disappeared.
The miller also awoke, a moment later, and his friend told him what had happened, while he was asleep, and handed him the pear and the handkerchief, telling him that the princess would come back the next day, and then again. the day after, if he was still asleep.
He was sorry and said: - Tomorrow, I will not sleep!
And as soon as he got home he went to bed, so as not to be sleepy the next day.
The next day he returned to the woods with his friend. But, he inadvertently ate the witch's third apple, which he found in his pocket, and fell asleep again.
The princess came that day in a coach and with horses the color of the sun, and exclaimed on seeing him:
- Alas! He is still sleeping ! Then she said to her friend:
- I'll come back tomorrow, but it will be for the last time. Here is another golden pear and another handkerchief that you will give him, when he wakes up, and you will tell him that if tomorrow I find him still asleep, he will never see me again, unless he crosses looking for me three powers and three seas.
And she climbed back into the air, in her sun-colored coach, and disappeared.
When the miller awoke, his friend told him how the princess, having found him asleep again, had left, saying that she would come back one last time, the next day, and that, if she found him still asleep, he would not let her. would see no more, unless we had to cross three Powers and three seas to get to her. Then he gave her a fruitful pear of gold and a second handkerchief.
The poor miller was inconsolable, and he said to his friend:
- In the name of God, prevent me from sleeping tomorrow; don't stop talking to me, in order to keep me awake.
But, in spite of everything, he was still sleeping the next day, when the princess returned, in a carriage and with horses the color of the moon.
- Alas! You are still sleeping, my poor friend! she cried in pain, and yet I must not come back. - And, addressing the friend: - Tell him that, to see me again, from now on, he must come and look for me in the kingdom of the Shining Star, crossing three powers and three seas to arrive up to me, which he could not do without great difficulty. Here is a third golden pear and a third handkerchief that you will give him and which he will use later.
And she rose in the air, in her chariot, and disappeared.
When the miller woke up and heard that the princess was gone and never returned, he began to cry and tear his hair, in despair. It was pitiful to see. Then he said:
- I will look for her and I will find her, even if I go to hell!
And he set out immediately, in search of the kingdom of the Shining Star. He walks, he walks, further, always further, without stopping, neither day nor night. He enters a large forest, of which he cannot find the end. He had been wandering there randomly for several days and nights, when, one night, having climbed a tree, he saw a little light in the distance. He walked over to that light and found himself in front of a poor hut made of tree branches and dry grass. He pushed open the door, which was ajar, and saw inside a little old man with a long white beard.
"Good evening, grandfather," he said to her.
"Good evening, my child," replied the old man, astonished; I am pleased to see you, because in the eighteen hundred years that I have been here, I had not seen any human being, until today. Welcome, come in and tell me a bit about what's going on in the world, because it's been so long since I heard from!
The miller came in and said his name, his country and the purpose of his trip.
- I want to do something for you, my son, said the old man. Here are some enchanted gaiters, which were very useful to me when I was your age; but today they are no longer useful to me. When you have them on your legs, you will be able to walk seven leagues at each step, and you will thus arrive without too much difficulty at the castle of the Shining Star, which is still far, very far from here.
The miller spent the night in the old hermit's hut, and the next day, at sunrise, he put the gaiters on his legs and left.
It was going well now. Nothing stopped him, neither rivers, nor rivers, nor forests, nor mountains. Towards sunset, he noticed another hut, similar to the previous one, on the edge of a forest, and, as he was hungry and was also a little tired, he said to himself: - I must asks for supper and lodgings in this hut; perhaps they will give me some good advice as well.
He pushed open the broom fence, which gave way easily, and saw at the back of the house, squatting among the ashes, on the hearthstone, a little old woman, whose teeth were as long as her arm.
"Good evening, grandmother," he said to her; would you be so kind as to grant me hospitality for the night?
- Alas! My child! 'they find you here, I'm afraid they won't eat you. Go away, I tell you, because they will not be long in arriving.
- So what are your sons called, grandmother?
- Their names are: January, February and March.
- So you are the mother of the winds, then?
- Yes, it is I who am the mother of the winds; but, go away, I tell you, because they will arrive.
- In the name of God, grandmother, give me hospitality and hide me somewhere where they will not find me.
At that moment a loud noise was heard outside.
- Here is my eldest son, Janvier, coming! said the old woman. How to do?… I will say that you are my nephew, a son of my brother, and that you came to visit me and to meet your cousins. Tell them your name is Yves Pharaon, and be very nice to them.
Immediately, a huge giant, with beard and white hair, shivered with cold and said: brrr! brrr! ! ... iou! iou!… I'm hungry, mother, I'm hungry and cold!… brrr!…
"Sit there by the fire, my son," said the old woman, "and I will cook for you."
But, the giant soon saw the miller, huddled in a corner, and asked:
- What is this earthworm, mother? I'm going to swallow it, while I wait for my supper ...
- Be still there, on your stool, my son, and take care not to harm this child; it is little Yves Pharaon, my nephew and your cousin.
"I am very hungry, mother, and I want to eat it," continued the giant, showing his teeth.
- Be still there, I tell you, and do not hurt this child, or park the bag! ...
And she pointed to a large bag hanging from a beam. So the giant was silent and said no more.
The other two sons of the old woman, February and Mars, also arrived, one after the other, with a terrible uproar. Trees creaked and fell, stones flew in the air and wolves howled. It was scary ! The old woman had a hard time defending her protege against the voracity of the giants, and she only succeeded by threatening them with the sack.
Finally, they all sat down to table together, like good friends, and devoured three whole oxen and drank three barrels of wine, in an instant. When the giants were sated, they calmed down and chatted quietly with their so-called cousin. Janvier asked him:
- Tell us, now, cousin, if your trip has no other purpose than to visit us?
- If, my dear cousins, I want to go to the castle of the Princess of the Shining Star, and if you can teach me the way, you will do me a great service.
"I have never heard of the Brilliant Star castle," replied Janvier.
"I've heard of him, but I don't know where he is," Mars said.
- I, said February, I know where he is; I even passed by there yesterday, and I saw great preparations there for the wedding of the princess, which will take place tomorrow. They killed a hundred oxen and calves and sheep and chickens and ducks in quantity - I could not say the number - for the great feasts which are to take place.
- The princess is getting married! cried the miller; I must then get there, before the ceremony; teach me the way, my cousin February.
"I don't ask for better," replied February; I'm going back tomorrow, but you won't be able to follow me.
- Yes ! Yes ! I have gaiters with which I walk seven leagues at every step.
- It's good ; so we will leave tomorrow morning together.
January was the first to set off, with a great noise, around midnight. February left, about an hour later, taking the Miller with him. The latter followed him without difficulty, as far as the sea; but there he had to stop.
"Bring me over this sea, cousin," he said to February.
“It's not just one sea, but three seas that we have to cross,” replied February, “and I'm afraid I can't carry you so far on my back.
- In the name of God, cousin, take me on your back.
- I will carry you as far as I can, but, I warn you that, when I am tired, I will throw you down.
He rides on February's back, and here they are over the great sea. They cross one sea, two seas, but, about the middle of the third sea, February says:
- I am tired and cannot carry you further; I'll throw you in the water.
- In the name of God, my dear cousin, do not do that; we approach, I see the earth, one more effort and we are there.
Finally, February arrives on land, with great difficulty, and places its burden at the foot of the city walls where the princess's castle was.
Mars also came to pass, shortly after, and the miller said to him:
- Cousin Mars, cousin Mars, listen a little.
- What do you want, cousin Yves Pharaon? Mars asked him.
- February dropped me off here, at the foot of these high walls, which I cannot cross; take me on your back and put me on the other side.
"Willingly, go upstairs," Mars told him.
And he mounted on the back of Mars, who set him down on the other side of the walls, in the city, and continued on his way.
The miller went down to an inn and afterwards; lunch, he struck up a conversation with the hostess and asked her:
- What's new in your town, hostess?
"We are only talking about the wedding of the Princess of the Shining Star, which is taking place today," she replied.
- Truly ? So she found a husband according to her taste?
- They say that she does not like the prince whom she is going to marry and that she is getting married a little in spite of herself. In a little while, the procession will pass by there, in front of my house, to go to the church.
Then the miller placed the first of the pears and the first of the handkerchiefs that the princess had left her friend on a small table in front of the inn to give them to him, then he waited.
The procession passed, shortly after, with the princess and her fiancé at the head. The princess noticed the pear and the handkerchief and recognized them as well as the miller, who was standing near. She stopped short, said she was suddenly indisposed and asked that the ceremony be postponed until the next day, which was done, without anyone suspecting the reason for this determination.
The procession returned to the palace, and when the princess was in her room, she sent one of her wives to buy her the miller's pear and handkerchief.
The woman brought him the pear and the handkerchief.
The next day, the procession set off again towards the church, by the same path. The miller had also placed a second pear and a second handkerchief on a table in front of the inn. The princess, on seeing them, again simulated a sudden indisposition, and the procession returned to the chateau, as on the previous day. She sent the same woman again to buy her this second pear and this second handkerchief.
Finally, on the third day, things took place as on the previous two days, with the difference, however, that the princess told her messenger to bring her the man with the pears and the handkerchiefs. What was done.
The miller and the princess kissed each other tenderly and wept at the joy they felt at being reunited.
However, the engaged prince said that since the princess was indisposed each time on the way to church the wedding feast would take place anyway, except to go to church later.
The princess procured fine prince's clothes for the miller and told him to wait in her room until she came to fetch him.
Here is everyone at the table, each dressed as richly as possible. A magnificent feast! The princess was so beautiful that she lit the room like the sun. Towards the end of the meal, everyone was cheerful and we talked a lot and we sang and told each other tricks.
The stepfather said to his daughter-in-law:
- Your turn, my beautiful daughter-in-law, to tell us something too.
The princess spoke like this:
- Here is one thing, father-in-law, which embarrasses me a lot, and I would like to have your opinion on this subject: I have a pretty little box, which had a nice little gold key, which I liked very much. I lost this key and had a new one made. But, now I have just found the old key, before having tried the new one. The old one was very good, and I don't know yet what the new one will be. Tell me, please, which of the two should I give preference, old or new?
"You must always have consideration and respect for what is old and ancient," replied the old man; I ask, however, to see the two keys before deciding definitively for one or the other.
- That's right, said the princess, and I will introduce them both to you.
And she rose from the table and went into her room, whence she immediately returned, holding the miller by the hand, and, presenting him to the company, she said:
- Here is the old key, which I had lost and which I have just found; as for the new key, it is the young prince of this house, to whom I am indeed engaged, but the religious ceremony has not taken place, so that I am still free to dispose of my hand as I please. As you have said very well, my lord, what is old and ancient deserves respect and consideration. So I keep my old key, which I found, and leave the new one to you. Now, by the old key I mean this courageous and faithful young man (and she pointed to the miller) who, after having delivered me from the castle where a wicked magician held me captive, came to seek me again so far, at the price of a thousand evils; As for the new key, it is your son, you will understand, whom I was about to marry, and to whom I am releasing his freedom today.
Great was the astonishment of the assistants, as you can imagine, on hearing these words.
The princess and the miller immediately left the room, without anyone trying to oppose it, and went into the courtyard of the castle, where a handsome golden coach awaited them, drawn by four superb horses. They climbed in and galloped off.
When they arrived in Lower Brittany, in Guéodet, where there was then a large and beautiful city, they were married in church, and there were then feasts, public celebrations and feasts like I have never seen before. never seen, - if not in a dream perhaps.