Here is the story of Princess Troïol. A young lord, having lost his father and his mother, lived with his stepmother. This one, as it happens too often, did not like the son that her husband had had by a first wife, and she made her life hard. The child, having reached the age of fifteen or sixteen, one day left his stepmother and set off on an adventure. His name was Fanch.
“Come what may,” he said to himself, “I'll never be worse off than with my stepmother. "
And off he goes in front of his head - as they say.
He goes, he goes; he lodges in farms, where the night surprises him; sometimes he even sleeps under the stars. But, whatever the case, he does not regret his stepmother's house.
One day, around sunset, he found himself in front of a beautiful castle. The door to the courtyard was open, and he entered. He didn't see anyone. He saw another door open, and he walked in again and found himself in a kitchen. No one yet. But a moment later a goat arrived. The goat motioned for him to follow her. He followed her and found himself in a beautiful garden. The goat then spoke to him like this:
- If you want to stay here, you will not miss anything, only you will have to spend three nights in a room that I will show you.
- How, here the animals speak then? asked the young man, astonished.
"I was not always in the form you see me now," replied the goat; I am held here under a spell, and all my parents are there like me, but in other forms. If you will do exactly as I tell you, you will deliver me and all of mine, and later you will not have to repent.
- Tell me what I will have to do to deliver you, and if I can, I will.
- You will have nothing else to do than sleep three nights in a row in a room in the castle, and not utter a single word, nor even make a complaint, whatever you can see or hear, and whatever you can you do.
- I still want to try. When it was time for supper, they served food and drink at Fanch, in a beautiful room; but, what astonished him the most, it was that he saw only two hands, which put the dishes on the table, and no body! When he had eaten and drunk his fill, another hand took a candlestick with a light, and beckoned him to follow it. He followed the hand and the light, and they led him to a room where there was a bed. The hand put the light on a table, and then disappeared, and not a word.
Fanch was not timid; however, it all seemed very strange to him.
He lay down, and fell asleep without delay. Around midnight, he heard a loud noise in his room, which woke him up.
- Let's play boules, voices said.
"No, let's play another game," said other voices.
And he was looking the best he could, and saw nothing.
- Bah ! Bah ! said a voice, let's take care of whoever is there in the bed first.
- So is there someone in the bed?
- Certainly, come and see.
And they dragged poor Fanch out of bed and threw him from one to the other like a bullet. But no matter what, Fanch didn't breathe a word and always pretended to be asleep.
- So he won't wake up? said a voice.
- Wait, wait, said another voice, I'll know how to wake him up.
And he threw it so violently against the wall that he stuck to it like a baked apple. Then they left, laughing loudly.
Immediately the goat entered the room that Fanch had seen on arriving at the chateau; but, her head was that of a beautiful woman.
- Poor boy ! she said, how you suffered!
And she began to rub it with an ointment that she had, and as she rubbed it, life came back to her body, so that it ended up being as alive and well as ever.
"Everything went well this time," said the goat-woman to him; but, next night, the ordeal will be more painful. Always keep the most absolute silence, no matter what may happen to you, and, later, you will be rewarded.
"I'll do my best," Fanch replied. And the goat left.
Fanch ate a good lunch and dinner, always served by bodiless hands; he spent the day walking through the chateau and the gardens, seeing no one, and after supper the same hand seized a candlestick and led him to the same room. This time he hid under the mattress of the bed.
"Maybe they won't find me here," he said to himself.
Around midnight, he heard the same uproar as the night before.
- I smell like a Christian! said a voice.
- And where the hell? said another voice; you can see that there is no one in the bed; therefore play, and no longer speak to us of Christians.
And he began to play cards. But suddenly the same voice cried again:
- I repeat it to you, comrades, I smell the Christian odor!
And he undid the bed and found poor Fanch.
- When I told you! How do you still live, earthworm? Wait, we're gonna get it over with you!
And they parted it; then they left, laughing loudly.
Immediately the goat came into the room again, and this time she was a woman to the waist.
- Ah! Poor boy, she said, in what a state I find you!
She brought the pieces together, and began to rub them with her ointment.
And little by little, the pieces came together, the body was reconstituted, and soon it found itself complete and full of life.
'The third night,' the woman-goat then said to him, 'will be the most terrible. But, arm yourselves with courage, and, if you pass it as happily as the other two, your sentences will be over, and mine too, as well as those of all those who are held here with me.
"I don't think it could happen to me worse than being killed, as I have been, twice," Fanch replied.
The third night, to make it short, he went to the same room again, after supper, and hid, this time, under the bed.
Around midnight, the same characters arrived; and they began to play again.
- I can still smell Christian! suddenly said a voice. Isn't that earthworm dead yet?
And they undid the bed; but, they found nothing there. They then looked below:
- Here it is ! Here it is !
And they pulled him out by the feet from under the bed.
- We have to put an end to him this time! They said to each other. What will we do with it?
- You have to cook it, and then eat it.
- That's it ! They all cried at once.
They made a big fire in the fireplace, they put poor Fanch naked, they hung him over the fire, and, when it was well roasted, they ate it, down to the last bit, even the bones.
When the feast was over, they left, and immediately a very beautiful woman entered the room, a magnificent princess, and nothing of the goat this time.
- Alas! she said, I'm afraid they haven't left a piece of it,
And she began to search, first on the table, then under the table. She couldn't find anything. By dint of searching, however, she ended up discovering a fragment of bone in her head.
- Praise be to God! she cried, all is not yet lost!
And she began to rub the bone with her ointment. And, as she rubbed it, it grew, it grew, it filled with flesh, each member returned to its place, so much so that, little by little, the whole body was reconstituted and found itself as alive and well. as healthy as ever.
- Hello ! cried the princess, all is well! Now the giants (or demons) no longer have any power over me or mine, and everything in here is yours, Fanch, down to me!
Immediately we saw a crowd of people of all ranks and conditions arriving from all sides, princes, princesses, dukes, barons, common people, all of whom were held enchanted in this castle. They came out everywhere, and they thanked the one who had delivered them, then they left, each for his country.
"Let us go too," said Fanch to the princess; let's go to your father.
- Not yet, she replied; we have to stay three more days here, and during these three days you will have to go without food or drink, completely on an empty stomach, until the stroke of nine o'clock each morning. If you drink or eat the slightest thing, before this time, you will immediately fall asleep, and never see me again. Every morning I will come and see you at noon, and then you can eat and drink. You will be waiting for me, seated on the stone of the fountain, in the wood, and as soon as noon strikes, I will be near you. But be careful not to eat or drink before this time.
When she had said these words, she disappeared.
The next morning, long before noon, fanch, accompanied by a servant, was waiting for the Princess, seated on the stone of the fountain. He hadn't eaten or drunk anything yet, and he was hungry. As he waited thus, he saw a little old woman approaching him, with a basket full of plums on her arm.
"Good morning to you, young lord," said the old woman.
- To you as well, grandmother.
- Take a plum from me.
- Thank you, I don't like plums.
- One only, to taste them; it costs nothing; see, how beautiful they are!
He took a plum. But as soon as he brought it to his mouth he fell asleep. Noon struck at that moment, and the princess appeared.
- Alas! He is sleeping ! she said, seeing him.
"Yes," said his servant; a little old woman came to offer a plum to my master, and as soon as he brought it to his mouth he fell asleep.
- Well ! When he wakes up, give him this handkerchief, so he will remember me.
And she gave the servant a white handkerchief, then she rose in the air and disappeared. Fanch woke up at this moment, and he could see her for a moment. She was all white, like an angel.
- I had fallen asleep ! He said to himself, tomorrow I have to watch myself better.
The next morning, as he was still seated on the stone of the fountain with his servant, the same little old woman came to him, with a basket of figs on her arm.
- Accept a fig from me, my beautiful lord; see, how beautiful they are!
Fanch accepted another fig from the old woman. He ate it, and fell asleep immediately.
At the stroke of noon, the princess arrived near the fountain.
- Alas! He is still sleeping ! she cried, in pain.
"Yes," said the servant; the little old woman came again, and she gave my master a fig, and as soon as he ate it, he fell asleep.
- Here is a gray handkerchief, which you will give him, when he wakes up, so that he will remember me.
And she rose in the air again, moaning.
Fanch woke up at the same time, and he saw her still rising towards the sky. This time she was wearing a gray dress.
- My God, he said, I fell asleep again! And what makes me sleep like this?
- I think, my master, - said his servant, - that it is the fruit the little old woman gives you that makes you sleep like this.
- Bah ! It cannot be that; but, tomorrow, I will watch myself better and make sure I don't fall asleep.
The servant gave him the second handkerchief, which was gray, as he had given him the first, which was white.
The next morning, as they were still waiting by the fountain, the little old woman also arrived, and this time she had a basket full of beautiful oranges on her arm.
"Accept an orange from me, my beautiful lord," she said to Fanch; see how beautiful they are!
The servant really wanted to tell his master not to accept; but, he did not dare, and Fanch took an orange, ate it and fell asleep again. Noon struck at the same time, and the princess arrived; Seeing him still asleep, she uttered a cry of pain, and said:
- Ah! The unfortunate one, he is still sleeping!
"It's the little old woman who's the cause," said the servant. She came again, and offered an orange to my master, who accepted it and ate it, and immediately he fell asleep.
- Here is a third handkerchief, which you will give him when he wakes up, and you will bid him my last farewells, for, alas! I won't see him again.
And she rose again to the sky, uttering a touching moan.
Fanch woke up instantly, and saw the hem of her dress and her feet. O pain! This time it was all black. Black was also the third handkerchief she had left with her servant, to be returned to him.
- Alas! I had fallen asleep again! he cried, in pain.
- Yes, unfortunately, my poor master. The princess, before disappearing, left me this third handkerchief to give it to you, and she recommended that I bid you farewell, because you will never see her again.
Great was Fanch's pain on hearing this. He was crying and tearing his hair, and shouting:
- Yes ! Yes ! I will see her again, because I will not stop looking for her everywhere, and walking, night and day, until I find her!
And he immediately set out, taking only a loaf of bread for all provisions.
Towards evening, he sat down on the grass, by the side of the road, to rest and have a bite to eat. A little old woman came by at this moment, who said to her:
- Bon appétit, my son.
- Thank you, grandmother. If you want to do like me, I will share with you gladly.
- A thousand blessings, my son! I've been around here for eighteen hundred years, and no one has offered me bread before.
And she hastened to accept her share of Fanch's frugal meal, then she said to him: - To thank you, my son, here is a napkin that I am giving you and which may be of use to you. When you feel the need to eat or drink, lay it out on the ground, or on a table, depending on where you are, and immediately whatever you want will be served on it. Here is another white wand, for traveling, and each time you strike it on the earth, you will travel a hundred leagues.
- Ah! well yes, you will, perhaps, eat a cousin of yours, who came to see me, and who brought a roast beef for each of you; don't you see them there?
So the old woman took Fanch out of the safe, and he and his cousin quickly found themselves good friends.
Soon we heard another loud noise in the fireplace and: wow! wow! wow! wow! And the second son of the old woman, or the second wind, (for it was the mother of the winds), came down, and seeing Fanch:
- A Christian ! he cried, I want to eat it now!
- I would like to see! Said the old woman; a cousin of yours, who came to see me, and who brought a roast beef for each of you! Sit there by the fire and be good, or watch out for my staff!
And he sat down on a stool by the fire, opposite his brother, and said no more.
A moment later a terrible uproar was heard again. The trees creaked and shattered around the hut: it was scary!
- Here is my eldest son coming! said the old woman.
And he went down by the fireplace and swept all the fire from the hearth to the bottom of the house. He was shouting :
- I'm very hungry! My poor mother; I am very hungry!
- It's good ; shut up, supper is ready.
But, when he saw Fanch:
- A Christian ! he cried; and he was going to rush at him, and swallow him. But the old woman took a young abalone, which she had pulled from her garden, and began to beat it, with all her arms:
- Ah! you want to eat your cousin, my sister's son, a charming child, who came to see me, and who brought an ox and a barrel of wine for each of you! And do you think I'll suffer it?
And she knocked, she knocked without pity; and the great wind cried:
- Easy, my poor mother; don't hit so hard; I won't hurt our cousin, since he brought an ox and a barrel of wine for each of us!
Then the old woman stopped knocking, and they all sat down to table; but they were so gluttonous, especially the strong wind, that Fanch was obliged to have recourse to his towel three times. Finally, when they were satisfied, which lasted a long time, they went to sit down and talk, near the fire, like old friends.
- Where are you going too, cousin? the breeze asked Fanch.
- Look for Princess Troïol; do you know where she lives
- No really ; I never even heard of it.
- And you, cousin? he asked of the second wind.
- I have heard of her; but, I don't know where she lives.
- And you, big cousin? he asked to the strong wind.
- I know where she lives; I have just come back from there, and I have to go back tomorrow.
- Do you want to take me with you?
- I am willing, if you can follow me; but, let's go to bed now, because tomorrow we'll have a long way to go.
The next morning, each of the winds set off on their own.
"Follow me, if you can," said the strong wind to Fanch.
And here he is. Frrrrr! or or, or, or! viiiii !! And Fanch after! And to strike the ground with his white wand, which made him a hundred leagues at each stroke. When the great wind turned his head, to see where he had remained, he was astonished to see him on his heels. They arrived at the seaside.
"I can't go any further, unless you pick me up on your back," Fanch said to the wind.
- I'll take you on my back, if you feed me, when I ask.
- It is understood, as much as you want.
And Fanch rode on the back of the strong wind, and off they went! At every moment, the strong wind demanded food. Fanch had his briefcase, and gave him whatever he asked for. They were going, they were going! frrrrr! viiii! or or ! They finally saw the castle of Princess Troïol. The strong wind deposited Fanch in the middle of the courtyard. Fanch tied the princess's three handkerchiefs, white, gray and black, to the end of his staff, then planted it in the ground, in the middle of the courtyard. A moment later, the princess passed, at the arm of the master of the castle, on her way to the church, for their wedding. She saw Fanch, recognized her three handkerchiefs, and immediately said to her maid:
- Go ask this man how much he wants to sell me one of his handkerchiefs.
The maid immediately went to Fanch.
- How much do you want to sell me one of your handkerchiefs, for my mistress?
- Tell your mistress that she is not rich enough to buy one of these handkerchiefs.
The maid returned to her mistress.
- Well ! What did he say to you?
- He replied that you are not rich enough to buy one of his handkerchiefs.
The princess, at this answer, pretended to be indisposed, and the ceremony was postponed until the next day.
The next morning, she sent her maid again to ask Fanch how much two of her handkerchiefs would cost her.
"Tell your mistress," Fanch replied again, "that she is not rich enough to buy neither one nor two of my handkerchiefs."
The woman returned to bring the answer to her mistress.
- Well ! Go back, and tell him to come talk to me.
She returned to Fanch, and said to him:
- My mistress is asking you to come and talk to her.
- Tell your mistress to come and find me herself, if she wants to talk to me.
The princess then went to Fanch.
"Come with me for a moment, to my room," she said to him.
And Fanch followed her to her room, and they threw themselves into each other's arms, weeping for joy.
The princess then dispatched her maid to the master of the castle, to tell him that she was still indisposed and that she begged him to wait until the next day, to go to church. She added that we could nevertheless have the wedding feast the same day, since all the guests had arrived.
So we did. The meal was magnificent. Towards the end, everyone was cheerful and happy, and everyone was telling some pleasant little story. The young bride was asked to tell something too. She got up, then, and spoke thus:
- I had a small box, with a pretty little gold key. I lost the key, and had another made. But, some time later, I found my old key. Here I am embarrassed, and I ask you which of the two keys I should use now, the old or the new?
"I think we should prefer the old one," replied the master of the castle.
"That is also my opinion," resumed the princess. I'll show you the old key I'm talking about.
And she got up from the table, went into a nearby closet, and immediately returned, holding Fanch by the hand, dressed as a prince; and, addressing the Lord and all the guests:
- Here is ! I had chosen him first, and it is he who will be my husband, and not someone else!
And the wedding was celebrated the next day, and there were magnificent feasts, as I have never seen, except in a dream, and they remained in this beautiful castle, for the master immediately disappeared and no one ever knew what had become of him.