This is the story of the Prince Turkish Frimelgus. There was once a young girl who lived with her father and mother, who had a good farm and lived comfortably. This girl, named Marguerite, was very pretty, and all the young people of the country, who were a little rich, would have considered themselves happy to have her as their wife.
Turkish Prince Frimelgus
But, if Marguerite was pretty, she was also coquettish and proud, and she disdained the sons of peasants who wanted to court her, even the most beautiful and the richest. His father and mother saw this with difficulty, and they sometimes said to him:
- Who do you pretend to have for a husband, that you can not find anybody to your liking?
"A prince," she replied; I only want to marry a king's son.
She had two brothers in the army, two horsemen, two handsome men, who had told her about the son of the Emperor of Turkey, whom they had seen somewhere, and since then she had had the mind continually occupied with this prince. .
Here one day there arrived at the farm a lord mounted on a beautiful horse, and who was not dressed in the manner of the country. No one knew him. He asked to see Marguerite. As soon as he saw her and talked a little with her, he exclaimed: "This will be my wife!" "
"Save your grace, Monseigneur," replied the young girl, "I will only marry the son of an emperor or a king."
- Well ! I am the son of an emperor, and one of the most powerful on earth; my father is the emperor of Turkey, and his name is Frimelgus. I have been traveling for a long time, looking for a suitable woman, and nowhere have I found one that I like like you. I repeat: I will never have another wife but you.
He gave her rich sets of pearls and diamonds, and then he also gave his father and mother handfuls of gold and silver, so that they were all content and happy. The engagement took place the next day, the wedding in the week, and there were great feasts, dances and games for several days.
When the feasts were over, Prince Frimelgus got his wife into a beautiful golden coach, and left with her for his country.
Marguerite lived happily and carefree with her husband for six months. Everything she wanted she got at once, fine clothes, rich fabrics, pearl and diamond adornments; and, every day, music, dances and games of all kinds.
At the end of six months, she felt pregnant, and felt great joy. Her husband, on the contrary, far from showing any satisfaction at this news, received it with dissatisfaction. He became sad and worried and nothing could distract him anymore.
One day, he told his wife that he had to undertake a long journey, to go see another prince of his friends, I do not know in what distant country. Before leaving, he handed her all the keys to the castle (there was a large bunch of them) and told her that she could have fun and be entertained, as she saw fit, while waiting for her return, and go everywhere in the castle, with the exception of a cabinet which he showed her, the key of which was nevertheless with the others, in the bunch.
- If you open this cabinet, he added, you will soon regret. Take a stroll in the gardens, visit, as you wish, all the bedrooms, and the halls, from the cellar to the attics, but, I repeat, be careful not to open the door of this cabinet.
She promised not to open the door, and Frimelgus left.
Marguerite then began to walk through the castle, which was very large, and to visit the rooms and bedrooms where she had never entered until then. She walked from astonishment to astonishment, for the halls and rooms were each more beautiful than the next, and full of gold, silver, and rich adornments of all kinds. Her bunch of keys in her hand, she opened all the doors, went in everywhere and saw everything, with the exception, however, of the forbidden cabinet.
Every time she passed by, she said to herself: - What can there be in there? And this preoccupied her greatly and greatly excited her curiosity. She looked more than once through the keyhole, and saw nothing; she even inserted the key ... but then her husband's words came to her memory, and she was afraid, and walked away. It was eight days since the prince had left, when one day, unable to resist the temptation any longer, she again inserted the key in the lock, turned it, all trembling with emotion, and opened the door a crack. slowly….
But at the first glance which she threw into the interior of the study, she uttered a cry of terror and recoiled in horror. Seven women were there, each hanging from a rope attached to a nail in a beam, and mirrored in a pool of blood! These were the seven women whom Prince Frimelgus had married, before Marguerite, and whom he had all hanged in this closet, when they had become pregnant.
Marguerite had fallen unconscious on the threshold. When she came to herself, she picked up her bunch of keys, which had spilled in the blood, then closed the cabinet door. She first washed her keys with cold water, and the blood which soiled them disappeared on all of them, except that of the forbidden cabinet.
It was in vain that she washed it with hot water and scraped it with a knife, and rubbed it with sand, the damn stain did not disappear!
There is Marguerite, sorry. Seeing this blood, she said to herself, my husband will know that I disobeyed him, and that I opened the forbidden cabinet! ...
While she was still busy washing and scrubbing the key, Frimelgus arrived.
- What are you doing here, my wife? he asked, although he already knew the truth.
"Nothing," replied the young woman, quite confused, and trying to hide the keys.
- How nothing ? Show me those keys! And he snatched the bunch of keys from his hands, and taking the key of the forbidden cabinet and examining it:
- Ah! Unhappy woman, he cried, you are no better than the others, and you will have the same fate as them!
- Oh ! Do not kill me ! Do not kill me ! Have mercy on me, please! Cried the poor woman.
- No, no pity!
And Frimelgus threw her to the ground, and seizing her by her long blond hair, he began to drag her to the fatal cabinet, to hang her there, like his seven other wives. Poor Marguerite cried with all her might: Help! Help !…
At this moment the sound of the feet of two galloping horses was heard on the pavement. Two horsemen had indeed just entered. It was Marguerite's two brothers who came to see her. Hearing cries of distress, they quickly dismounted from their horses, and entered the castle.
They saw Frimelgus dragging their sister by the hair, and drawing their sabers, they fell on him and riddled him with wounds. Then, taking Marguerite on their backs, they immediately left the castle, and returned with her to the house, after having, however, filled their pockets with gold and precious stones.
Some time after Marguerite's return to her father, when it was known that she was a widow, new suitors to her hand appeared on all sides, rich merchants and noble lords. But, she had not forgotten the way the cruel Frimelgus had treated her, and she invariably replied to everyone that she had taken an oath never to remarry to a man who lived. This was telling them clearly that she did not want to remarry.
One day, however, came a splendidly dressed lord, mounted on a superb horse, and whom no one knew in the country. He asked to speak to Marguerite. She received him politely and told him, like the others, that she had sworn never to remarry to a man who lived.
- I am not a living man, answered the stranger.
- What, you are not a living man; but who are you then?
- A dead man, and you can marry me, without breaking your oath.
- Could it be possible ?
- Believe me, nothing is more true.
- Well ! if so, I am not saying no.
She was dying to remarry, it has to be believed.
In short, they were promptly engaged and married, and there was a great wedding feast.
As he rose from the table, the newlywed went out into the courtyard with his wife, and mounting his horse, he took her on the back and left at once, at a gallop, without telling anyone where he was going. Everyone was amazed. One of Marguerite's brothers, seeing this, also mounted his horse, and wanted to follow them. But, however good a horseman he was, he could not reach them. He swore, however, that he would not return home, until he knew where his sister had gone.
The horse that carried Marguerite and her new husband was traveling through the air, and he carried them to a magnificent castle. Nothing was lacking in this castle of what can please a young woman, neither rich fabrics of silk and gold, nor diamonds and pearls, nor beautiful gardens filled with flowers with sweet perfumes and delicious fruits. And yet she was not happy there, and she was bored. Why was she bored? Because she was always alone, all day long. Her husband left every morning, early, and did not come home until sunset.
She had often asked him to take her with him on his travels, and he had always refused.
One day when she was walking in the wood which surrounded the castle, she was astonished to see a young horseman coming by the main avenue, for since she had been there, no stranger had yet come to visit her. Her astonishment increased further, when she recognized that this horseman was her younger brother. She ran to him and kissed him and showed him great joy to see him again. Then she drove him to the castle and served him food and drink herself, for he was exhausted and tired from such a long journey.
- Where is also my brother-in-law, dear sister? he asked, after a while.
- He's not at home at the moment, but he will arrive this evening, at sunset.
- You seem to me to be happier here with him than you were with Frimelgus?
- Yes really, my brother, I am quite happy here, and yet I am very bored there.
- How can you be bored, in such a beautiful castle?
- It's because I'm alone, all day long, dear brother; my husband is never with me except at night, and he leaves every morning as soon as the sun rises.
- Where does he go like this every morning?
- In paradise, he said.
- In Paradise ? But why doesn't he take you with him, then?
- I often asked him to take me with him, but he does not want to.
- Well ! I will also ask him, me, to allow me to accompany him, because I would like to see paradise.
Soon after, the master of the castle arrived. His wife introduced him to her brother, and he testified to the joy of seeing him again. Then he ate, for he was very hungry. Marguerite's brother then asked her:
- Say, brother-in-law, where are you going like that, every morning, so early, leaving your wife all alone at home, where she is very bored?
- I'm going to heaven, brother-in-law.
- I would also like to see paradise, and if you would consent to take me with you, just once, you would give me great pleasure.
- Well ! Tomorrow morning you can come with me, brother-in-law; but as long as you don't ask me any questions, or even say a single word, during the journey, whatever you may see or hear, otherwise I will abandon you immediately on the way.
- It's agreed, brother-in-law, I won't say a word.
The next morning the master of the castle was up early. He went to knock on his brother-in-law's door, saying:
- Come on, brother-in-law, get up, quickly, it's time to go!
And when he got up and was ready, he said to him again:
— Take them Basque of my coat and hold on!
Marguerite's brother took the basques of his brother-in-law's habit in both hands, and the latter then rose in the air and carried him over the large wood which surrounded the castle, with such rapidity that the swallow could not follow them. They passed over a large meadow, where there were many oxen and cows, and although the grass was plentiful around them, the oxen and cows were lean and gaunt, to the point of having little more than bones and skin.
This greatly astonished Marguerite's brother, and he was about to ask his traveling companion the reason, when he remembered in time that he had promised not to ask her any questions, and he remained silent.
They continued their journey and passed, further on, over a large arid plain and completely covered with sand and stones; and yet on this sand were lying oxen and cows so fat, and who seemed so happy, that it was a pleasure to see them. Marguerite's brother did not say a word yet, although it seemed very strange to him.
Farther on, he saw a flock of crows fighting with so much fierceness and fury that they fell to the earth like a rain of blood. He continued to remain silent. They got off, then, in a place from which three roads started.
One of them was beautiful, united with beautiful fragrant flowers, on both sides; another was beautiful and smooth too, but less than the first, however; finally, the third was difficult to access, rising and crowded with brambles, thorns, nettles and all kinds of hideous and poisonous reptiles. It was this last route that Marguerite's husband took. His brother-in-law, forgetting himself, then said to him:
- Why take this ugly road, since here are two others which are so beautiful!
No sooner had he said these words than the other abandoned him, on this bad road, saying to him:
- Stay there waiting for me, until I turn around tonight.
And he continued on his way.
At sunset, when he came back that way, he picked up his brother-in-law, all broken and all bleeding, and they returned together to the castle. Marguerite's brother noticed, on the way, that the crows were still fighting, that the oxen and the cows were as lean and gaunt as before, in the thick and tall grass, as fat and shiny, in the arid and sandy plain, and, as he could speak now, he demanded an explanation of the extraordinary things he had seen on the journey.
- The oxen and the lean and emaciated cows, in the midst of the abundant and plump grass, answered his brother-in-law, are the rich of the earth, who, with all their goods, are still poor and unhappy, because they are never happy with what they have and always want more; the fat and happy oxen and cows, on the arid and scorched sand, are the poor happy with the position that God has made for them, and who do not complain.
- What about the fiercely fighting crows?
- These are the spouses who cannot get along and live in peace, on earth, and who are always quarreling and fighting.
`` Tell me again, brother-in-law, why you took the upward path filled with brambles, thorns and hideous and poisonous reptiles, when there are there, next to it, two other paths which are so beautiful and so united, and where it must be so pleasant to walk?
- These two paths are, the most beautiful and the widest, the path to hell, and the other, the path to purgatory. The one I followed is difficult, narrow, uphill and strewn with obstacles of all kinds; but, it is the way to paradise.
"Why then, brother-in-law, since you can go to paradise every day, don't you stay there, and don't you take my sister there with you?"
- After my death, God gave me as a penance to come back to earth every day, until I found a woman to marry me, although dead ...