Here is the story of Xavier Peau-de-Crapaud. Once upon a time there was a king who had three daughters and who wanted to know one day how much they loved him. The first told him that she loved him as a goat loves a knife, the second as blood loves bread and the third as bread loves salt. The king declared himself very satisfied with the words of his first two daughters; but, irritated by those of the third, he decided to have her killed by four servants, on condition that they bring back her eyes.
At the moment of killing her, the four accomplices took pity on their victim and allowed him to escape, after having asked him to leave the country under pain of being the cause of their own death, because they knew that the king would not would never forgive him for disobeying him. They killed a little dog found on the way and brought her eyes back to the king, who was convinced that his daughter was indeed dead.
The poor child wandered, wandered aimlessly for a long time, then on her way she met a shepherd dressed in rags. Knowing that if she remained dressed as a princess, it would be difficult for her not to be recognized, she proposed to the shepherd to buy her clothes, which he accepted. She put them on immediately and resumed her walk, taking care to take her own finery in a small backpack. She arrived in a palace where they were looking for a turkey herder. She offered herself for this job, which was given to her thanks to the disguise of a man she had donned.
Having become a turkey herder, she drove them to the fields every day, but she was very bored like this, always alone, and one fine day when she had stopped with her flock near a well, she could not resist the pleasure. to put on her beautiful princess dress and contemplate her reflection in the water of the well.
The turkeys, dazzled by her beauty, gazed at her fixedly and as they were very stupid, they even forget to eat, so that every day the oldest died of starvation and every evening our heroine returned to the palace with a dead turkey in the arm.
The king's son, very surprised to see a turkey die every day, thought that the guardian was surely responsible, and he decided to spy on him. One fine day, without telling anyone, he followed the herd and hid behind a tree to see everything without being discovered.
The princess, who suspected nothing, changed her clothes as on other days when she arrived at the well, and appeared to the prince in all her splendor and beauty - which were very impressive, according to all who had seen her. seen. It is therefore not surprising that the prince fell madly in love with her and resolved on the spot to marry her, convinced that he could not survive if she was not by his side.
He returned home overwhelmed with emotion. At night he went up to bed, called the cook, told her that he didn't feel well, that he wasn't hungry, that he only wanted a cup of broth and that he wanted it to be Xavier. toadskin - for that's what the turkey-keeper was called - who rode it to him. The cook was left speechless and suffocating with astonishment.
- It's impossible for Xavier toadskin, who is so dirty, so clumsy, to set foot in your room. He's crawling with so many lice that we have to put him away the night before, so that he doesn't pass his vermin on to us.
It must be said that every evening the princess, who feared being recognized if she stayed too long in the light, began to scratch herself furiously as soon as she sat down with the others around the fireplace, and threw a handful of coarse salt that everyone took for lice, so that everyone pushed it away with disgust:
- Xavier skin-of-toad, go to your corner!
And she went to her corner, where she had less risk of people discovering that she was not a man.
In vain did the cook tell him all that, but the prince would not give in – for, as we know, princes are very stubborn when they have an idea in mind – and the poor woman therefore went back down to her kitchen grumbling and very bad mood. She found Xavier in his corner, as usual. She asked him to adjust a little and bring a cup of broth to the prince.
Xavier resisted as long as he could, but at the insistence of the cook, he took the cup of broth and took it up to the prince's room. This one, seeing, felt much better, he took her by the hand, made her sit down next to him, told her that he had unmasked her and that he had fallen in love with her, that he wanted her. marry no matter what.
Seeing herself discovered and the prince not displeasing to her, the young girl revealed the whole story to him, which enchanted the prince because he thought that it would make it easier for his parents to consent to his marriage.
The wedding was celebrated a few days later in the presence of all the kings of the neighboring kingdoms, not forgetting of course the bride's father so that he could witness her happiness. So he arrived at the palace but did not recognize her, because she had changed a lot, and moreover he was convinced that she was dead.
The princess received him with more respect than the other guests and had a loaf of bread without salt made for him alone. As salt gives all its flavor to bread, the king did not eat it and when the prince questioned him, he replied that he did not like this bread because it was not salty.
- So, monsieur, said the prince to him, how is it, so that I have been told, that you had one of your daughters killed who had said that she loved you as bread loves salt?
- It's true, sir, answered the king very sadly, and it's my remorse, because I realized how long she loved me.
- What would you give for her to come back to life?
- Half of my kingdom.
- Really ?
- Yes sir.
- So thank you, sir, for here is the princess, said the prince, very delighted, pointing to the one he had just taken as his wife.
The king turned around, recognized his daughter, and his joy was so great that he fell dead. The princess and the prince remained happily married for many years.