|The Fairy Book|
|by Dinah Maria Mulock|
|One of the earliest collections of fairy tales from different countries, first published in 1863. Carefully selected and rendered anew in language close to the oral tradition. Includes old English tales, such as Jack the Giant-killer and Tom Thumb, as well as German stories from Grimm, and French tales of Perrault and Madame d'Aulnoy, and many other delightful and time-honored fairy tales. Numerous black and white illustrations by Louis Rhead complement the text. Ages 6-9 |
THE WOODCUTTER'S DAUGHTER
HERE was once a poor woodcutter, very miserable, though
prudent and industrious; he had a wife and three grown-up sons,
yet their united labours scarcely sufficed for bread. No hope appeared
of improving his lot, when he was one day
fortunate enough to save the life of his master
when attacked by robbers in the forest.
This master was not ungrateful; he desired the woodcutter to repair
to him on the following day in order to receive a reward.
The poor man did not fail, hoping to gain two or three crowns;
for it appeared so natural to defend an unarmed man
that he attached little value to his services, considering
his own danger not worth a thought. He put on his best
array, shaved, and made many reverences to the porter and the
numerous lackeys previous to an introduction to the
master, who was much more polite than the valets.
"Well, Thomas," said he, "how can I recompense what
you have done for me? Without your assistance I should
have perished; and as my life is a very happy one, I
value it accordingly."
Poor Thomas was at a loss how to reply; he stammered out,
"My Lord—your Grace," but could get no further.
 The master, in order to relieve the poor man,
interrupted him thus: "I understand better than
yourself, perhaps, what would suit you; I would
not wish to draw you from your native condition,
for I believe that none is more truly happy; but
I present to you and your children's children, in
perpetuity, the cottage which you inhabit in the
forest. You and they shall have the power of
cutting as much wood every year as you can use;
you shall work for yourself; and if your sons
like to hunt, all the game which they kill shall
be for their own use. I only exact that you sell
nothing, and that while possessing every comfort,
you seek not to quit your peaceful obscurity."
Thomas was so astonished that he could find
no words to express his gratitude. He came
home to his wife, who heartily shared his joy.
The sons immediately set off for a large supply
of faggots, and made a great fire; but when they
had been thoroughly warmed, Mother Thomas
began to say what a pity it was they could make
no use of all the wood which was not burned.
"An idea has just struck me," replied the husband;
"our master gives us all we can use;
these are his own words,—very well; I shall be
able to use enough to bring us in a pretty little
"How?" said his wife.
"When I was a boy," rejoined the woodcutter,
"my father taught me to make wooden shoes;
and I made them so light and so neat, that they
were everywhere sought for. What need now
prevent me from exercising this trade? James
 shall cut wood in the forest, Peter shall kill game
for dinner, and Paul, who has not the least brains
of the three, shall go to sell my merchandise at
the neighbouring town. This will be a public
benefit, by enabling the poor about us to dress
with more decency and comfort, and it will also
serve to furnish our own cottage, of which we
shall make a little palace."
The boys, who were present, highly relished
this idea. Mother Thomas, who was rather inclined
to gluttony, made the most of the game
which Peter provided. A little labour, good
cheer, a blazing fire, and perfect family concord,
rendered this family the happiest in the world.
The master came to the cottage, and seeing them
so united and industrious, encouraged the trade
of the wooden shoes, which increased their comforts
without exposing them to the vices attendant
on avarice and luxury.
But happiness such as this seldom remains permanent.
A flock of furious wolves appeared in
the forest; every day they devoured either helpless
children or travellers; they tore up the roots
of the trees, attacking even each other, while
their wild howlings were heard night and day
in the cottage of the woodcutter.
Mother Thomas would no longer suffer her boys
to leave home; and when they did go in spite of her,
she remained watching at the door,
refusing either to eat or drink until they returned.
Such a situation was deplorable; when at
length the young men, who were very brave, resolved
to deliver themselves and their master.
 Taking arms, in case they should be attacked,
they went into the forest and digged deep pits,
covering them with a little earth, laid over some
branches of trees; and during this heavy labour,
which lasted several days, they lighted great
fires around them, in order to hinder the wolves
Success crowned their enterprise, for in returning
to the spot at sunrise, they perceived that one
of the pits had been broken into during the night,
and that it was now quite uncovered. They
charged their muskets, and each were disputing
the honour of first firing, when they heard issue
from the depths below, a mild and supplicating
voice imploring assistance.
"What shall we do?" said Peter; "assuredly
that is not the roaring of a wolf; it is, perhaps,
some unfortunate little wandering child. How
lucky that we did not draw the trigger!"
They approached, and distinguished a beautiful
lady richly dressed, wearing on her head a
cluster of diamonds, which shone like a star.
She appeared very young, and was trembling
with cold. Much rain had fallen during the
night, and her robe, of silver gauze, was dabbled
in mud and water; her fair and tender hands
were all dirty, which seemed to vex her even
more than the dangers she had experienced. She
continued, however, to struggle and to make
signs for relief, when three enormous wolves appeared
at a distance. The brothers looked at
each other expressively, like people who feel that
all is lost, but who resolve to do their duty.
 They had a cord about them, which Peter fastened
round his body, and let himself down into
the pit. He took the beautiful lady on his shoulders,
while his brothers assisted in drawing them
up. They then stretched her on the grass, for
she had fainted; and now the wolves had just
reached them,—when, lo! these beasts of prey
were instantly turned into three little lambs, and
licked the feet of the lady, who slowly returned
"My good lads," said she to the woodcutters,
"fear nothing. From henceforth no more dangerous
animals than these shall trouble you. But
I owe you a still greater recompense; lead me to
your father; I wish to felicitate him on the generosity
and bravery of his sons."
The poor youths were so astonished by this
adventure, that they felt unable to reply; but
they respectfully lifted her long train from the
ground, it having now recovered all its splendour.
The three lambs followed, skipping and frolicking
before them—they seemed to know the
way; and Mother Thomas, who sat at the door
looking out for her children, was not a little surprised
to behold their companion.
She had, however, presence of mind to invite
her noble guest to enter and rest; much ashamed
of having nothing better to offer than a straw
chair, and some spring-water, which was in a
very clean pitcher on the dresser.
"I shall willingly rest an hour with you," said
the lady. "Although you now see me for the
 first time, I am one of your best friends, of which
I shall give you a proof. I accept a glass of
water, on condition that your husband and children
will also pledge me."
A glance of Mother Thomas's eye directed her
family; they each sought their ordinary drinking-cup,
which was of wood, and then bent the neck
of the pitcher; but what was their astonishment
to perceive the vessel turn into wrought-silver in
their hands, and to taste, instead of water, a
liquor so delicious, that when the woodcutter
and his wife had drunk, they felt themselves ten
years younger than before!
They threw themselves at the feet of the beautiful
lady, in terror; for a natural instinct made
them feel that great power is always more or less
to be dreaded, even when employed in acts of
beneficence. The lady meanwhile kindly raised
them, and having spoken of the courage and
generosity of their sons, who exposed themselves
to the fury of wolves rather than take flight and
abandon her, she said that her name was the
Fairy Coquette, and that she would willingly relate
"Previously, madam," said the woodcutter,
"will you have the goodness to tell me, what is
a fairy? During thirty years that I have inhabited
this forest, I have heard of the devil, of the
Were wolf, of the monster of Gévaudan, but
never have I heard of fairies."
"We exist, notwithstanding," replied Coquette,
"but not in all ages, nor in all countries.
We are supernatural beings, to whom has been
 imparted a portion of supernatural power, which
we make use of for good or evil, according to our
natural disposition; in that alone consists our resemblance
The woodcutter, who was very simple, understood
little of this explanation; but, like many
others, had a profound respect for what he could
not comprehend. He bowed down to the ground,
and only requested the fairy to inform him, why
a supernatural being, so highly gifted, could have
fallen into a pit prepared for wolves.
"It is," replied Coquette, "because I have an
enemy still more powerful than myself, the Enchanter
Barabapatapouf, the most wicked ogre
in the world; he has but three teeth, three hairs,
one eye, and is fifteen feet high. With all these
charms he happened to fall in love with me, and
merely for mischief I affected to accept him. He
then invited his friends to the nuptials; when,
to his great mortification, I took them to witness
that I would never be the wife of such a monster.
Barabapatapouf was deeply incensed, swore to
be revenged, and has never lost an opportunity
of keeping his word. I should have remained
three days in that horrible pit but for the generosity
of your children."
"They have done nothing more than their
duty," replied the woodcutter.
"I must also do mine," said Coquette, "but
my power is limited. I can satisfy but two wishes,
and it is necessary that each of you should
choose freely, unbiassed by the other. You must
separate accordingly, and to-morrow, at early
 dawn, come to inform me what you have all resolved
on during the night."
Mother Thomas was very uneasy in thinking
how she could accommodate the fairy, for neither
her children's beds nor her own were worthy of
offering to such a grand lady; but Coquette desired
her to feel at ease, as she would provide
everything needful. She then drew forth some
grains of sand, which she scattered on the floor.
Instantly there arose on the spot a bed of
rose-leaves three feet high; the bolster was of violets,
heartsease and orange flowers, all breathing delicious
perfumes; and the counterpane, entirely
composed of butterflies' wings, exhibited colours
so brilliant and varied that one could never be
weary of examining it. The three lambs which
had followed the fairy lay down at her feet, and
as the room was rather damp, they gently warmed
it with their breath, with a care and intelligence
almost human. The woodcutter and his
sons felt so surprised at all these wonders, that
they imagined themselves dreaming. Coquette
warned Mother Thomas that if she should speak
once to her husband before she again saw her, the
wishes could not be realized. The strictest injunctions
were indeed necessary, to prevent their
communicating on a subject which interested
both so deeply. When day appeared, Coquette
summoned them to her presence.
The woodcutter first came, and said, with his
usual simplicity, that he never could have believed
it so difficult to form a wish. Till that moment
he had considered himself happy, but now,
 finding it possible to obtain one thing, he desired
a thousand. Wearied with the fatigue of thought,
he had fallen asleep without coming to a determination;
but seeing in his drams five purses
filled with gold, it seemed as if one were for him,
one for his wife, and one for each of his children.
"Well," said the Coquette, "these purses are
apparently your desire; go then to the bin where
you deposit your bread, and you will find them.
Only say how many pounds you wish them to
"Oh, if there were but a hundred pounds in
each," replied Thomas, "that would be sufficient
to extend our little commerce, and send our
wooden shoes to China itself."
"Your wish is accomplished," said the fairy;
"go away, and permit your wife to come in her
The good dame had also passed a sleepless
night, and had never before been so much agitated
or so unhappy; sometimes she wished for
riches, and then thought, riches would not prevent
her from dying—so she had better wish that
she might live a hundred years. Now one idea
filled her mind, now another; it seemed as if the
fairy should have given her at least a month to
deliberate. At last she suddenly said: "Madam
Fairy, I am very old, and what I desire most is
a daughter, to assist me in household management
and to keep me company; my husband
almost lives in the woods and leaves me at break
of day; my sons also go about their business,
we are without neighbours, and I have nobody
to speak to."
 "Be it so," said the fairy; "you shall have the
prettiest daughter imaginable, and she shall speak
from her birth, in order that no time may be lost.
Call your husband and sons; I hope to find all
The little family assembled, but harmony was
not the result of their communications. The
young men thought their father's wish quite pitiful,
and the woodcutter by no means relished the
idea of another child. The fairy, however, provided
an excellent breakfast, and the wine reanimated
"Now I promise," said Coquette, "that you
shall have a daughter, who at the moment of her
birth will be endowed with the figure and the intelligence
of twelve years old. Call her Rose, for
her complexion shall shame the flower which
bears that name."
"And I pronounce that she shall also be as
black as ebony, and become, before the age of
fifteen, the wife of a great king," said a very
strong voice in clear and distinct accents, accompanied
by shouts of laughter, which evidently
proceeded from a great pitcher placed at the corner
of the chimney.
The Fairy Coquette turned pale, and consternation
was general; but the woodcutter, now
merry with wine, joined in the laugh. "Ah! how
droll," said he, "red and black roses! A likely
story, indeed, that a great king would come
a-wooing to a woodcutter's daughter! Only a
pitcher could invent such nonsense, and I shall
teach it to utter no more."
 Thus saying, he gave the pitcher a great kick
and broke it in pieces; when there issued from
it a smoke thick and black, and so stifling that
Coquette was obliged to use two bottles of essence
to dissipate its noxious effects.
"Ah, cruel Barabapatapouf!" cried she, "must
your malignity then extend even to those whom
I wish to benefit? I indeed recognise my enemy,"
said she to the woodcutter; "beware of him, and
believe that it is with no good intention he destines
your daughter for the bride of a king.
Some mystery is here concealed, foreboding evil."
Every one was rendered quite melancholy by
this adventure, and Coquette, beginning to weary
of these poor foresters, opened the window and
A great quarrel then arose between the woodcutter
and his sons, who forgetting that respect
in which they had never before failed, reproached
him for losing an opportunity of rendering them
all happy. "We might," said they, "have purchased
estates, finery of all kinds, and been as
rich and noble as many who now despise us.
One or two millions would have been as easy
said as five hundred pounds; that sum would obtain
a marquisate for my father, and baronies for
each of us. What extraordinary stupidity our
parents have shown!"
"My children," said the woodcutter, "are these
things, then, necessary for happiness? It appeared
to me that you were well satisfied when our
master only made our poverty a little less oppressive;
and now, while you have more gold
 than you ever saw in your lives, one would suppose
that you had been deeply injured, and could
never know contentment more."
As for Mother Thomas, she was wiser, and so
well pleased with the idea of her daughter, that
her imagination roamed no farther. In course
of time she gave birth to an infant; but scarcely
had it seen the light than it glided from her
arms, and started up to the stature of a well-formed
girl of twelve or thirteen years old, who
made a low courtesy to the woodcutter, kissed
the hand of her mother, and offered her brothers
a cordial embrace. But these lads ill-naturedly
repulsed the young stranger; they felt jealous,
fearing that she would now be preferred to them.
Rose, one might say, was born dressed, for
flowing ringlets fell around her shoulders, forming
a complete covering; and with her increase
of size, appeared a little smart petticoat and
brown bodice in peasant fashion. Her delicate
feet were clad in wooden shoes, but both the foot
and the shoe were so shapely, that any lady in
the land might have been proud to exhibit them.
Her little plump hand was so white that it hardly
appeared formed for rustic labours, yet she
immediately prepared to assist in household matters,
and the poor old dame was never weary of
caressing such a charming child.
A bed was prepared for Rose beside her mother.
This good girl arose at dawn to prepare
the young men's breakfast; for she had an excellent
natural disposition, and so much intelligence
that she seemed to know by instinct that
 her birth was displeasing to them, and sought to
gain their regard by good-natured attentions.
Mother Thomas soon rose likewise, and returned
to the kitchen. But what was her horror on
beholding her daughter's face black as ebony,
her hair woolly and crisped like a negro's! As
there was no mirror in the cottage, Rose could
not understand what had so alarmed her mother;
she asked if she had involuntarily had the misfortune
to give offence?
"No, no," said the old dame, weeping;
"shouldst thou remain all thy life as black as ink,
I shall not love thee less; but I cannot without
pain recal thy beauties of yesterday. Thou wilt
be laughed at; and us too. Still, we will keep
thee—thou must never leave us."
Rose readily promised she never would. But
when her brothers returned, they considered the
change in her quite as a matter of course. They
recollected the prediction of the pitcher, and
seemed quite delighted to think that, since it was
fulfilled in the first instance, they might yet become
the brothers of a queen.
Meanwhile they lived on better terms with
Rose, hoping that one day she might be of service
to them. Far from listening to the counsels
of their father, they endeavoured to awaken in
her mind the seeds of ambition; and in order to
further views interested and selfish, flattered her
beauty, her talents, and her sense, rendering the
future queen the most respectful homage, which
diverted her exceedingly.
But, strange to say, Rose was not always black;
 every second day she recovered her natural beauty,
from whence it might be concluded, that the
influence of the fairy and the Enchanter Barabapatapouf
operated alternately. The woodcutter's
family grew gradually accustomed to these successions;
and as habit reconciles people to all
things, each colour became indifferent to them.
Thomas was too old to change his mode of life;
he would not hear of going to live in town, although
they had money sufficient for that purpose;
he also still continued the making of wooden
shoes. Those which Rose wore in winter
were trimmed with lamb's-wool, which she
wrought very dexterously; she was clever and
ingenious but, it must be confessed, a little imperious;
and was sometimes surprised sighing
like a person indulging in visionary wishes, and
languishing under some secret chagrin.
A year passed: Rose grew tall, and her brothers,
weary of waiting for an event so uncertain
as her marriage with a king, executed a crime
which they had long meditated. Seeing that
their father had touched but one of the purses,
they easily obtained possession of the rest, and
rising with the dawn, all three departed, saying,
to satisfy their consciences, that these purses must
be finally theirs, and that they would, meanwhile,
turn them to advantage. When they should become
very rich, they would come back to their
parents and take care of their latter days. Each
of them made a belt, in which he concealed his
gold; and with perfect concord, more frequently
found amongst knaves than honest men, they
travelled a hundred leagues in eight days.
 The woodcutter and his wife did not at first
comprehend the extent of their misfortune. They
thought their children must have gone astray in
the forest, and the old man wandered everywhere
in search of them. But when he observed the
loss of the purses, the truth was revealed, and he
felt ready to die with grief. "Cursed gold!"
cried he, "thou hast corrupted my brave and
honest boys; they were poor, but virtuous; they
are now become villains, and will meet punishment
from either man or God!"
Thus saying, he took the remaining purse, and
flung it into the bottom of a well. Mother Thomas
was vexed, but dared not speak, for the unfortunate
man was so much irritated and troubled
that he would have beaten her.
When his reason cleared a little, however, he
felt that he had committed an error in parting
with his money, they being both old and unable
to work as formerly. The dame sold some articles
which had been purchased during their
prosperity. But poverty was nothing; it was
the conduct of their sons which inflicted the bitter
sting. How was this then augmented, when
some officers of justice arrived, and announced
that James, Peter, and Paul had been arrested.
It seemed that while drinking together in a
public-house, they had spread on a table all their
gold. The host surprised them, and not believing
that young peasants, so coarsely clothed and
wearing wooden shoes, could lawfully be in
possession of such a sum, he had given them in
charge. The poor boys, quite terrified, related
 the story of the Fairy Coquette; but as the
magistrate had never seen a fairy, he did not believe
one word of the matter.
Having then no hope but in the kindness of
their father, they sent to summon the woodcutter
and his wife, who confirmed all their assertions.
But as no money was found in the cottage, whose
inhabitants appeared to subsist on their labour,
the officers knew not what to think.
Meantime they arrested the woodcutter for the
purpose of identifying his children. Pale, and
trembling like criminals, the old couple followed
the guards. Mother Thomas was ready to faint
and doubly grieved for leaving poor Rose all
alone, especially as this was her day for being
white and beautiful. She begged her not to
leave the house, but to live on the milk of her
sheep, and to bake cakes of some meal which was
in the bin. Their adieus were heart-rending;
although the soldiers declared that in three days
the forester should be at liberty to return, provided
the innocence of his family was established.
Rose believed them, and endeavoured to take
courage. But more than a month passed, and no
tidings of her parents. She could not then prevent
herself from wandering a little on the highway;
and having walked till sunset, wept so bitterly,
that her beauty indeed must have been a
fairy-gift to remain uninjured.
One evening, being more worn out than usual,
she seated herself at the foot of a tree and fell
asleep. A slight noise awoke her, and, on looking
up, she perceived a young gentleman richly
 dressed, who was contemplating her with evident
astonishment. "Art thou a goddess, or a simple
mortal?" cried he.
"Sir," replied Rose, "I am the daughter of a
poor woodcutter, who lives in the forest;—it
is late, and I beg you will not detain me."
"You are a wayward beauty, indeed!" replied
the prince, for so he was; "but as my way lies
in that direction, I hope you will permit me to
see you home."
"It is not in my power to prevent you," said
Rose, without raising her eyes.
The prince at this moment remarked that she
had been weeping, and, delighted to have an opportunity
of offering sympathy and consolation,
entreated her to impart her grief to him. "I
am not actuated by her curiosity," added he;
"I never can behold a woman in tears without
feeling moved to the bottom of my soul! Tell
me your distress, and I will neither sleep nor
eat till I have aided you."
Rose timidly raised her lovely blue eyes, to
see whether the countenance of the prince harmonised
with his discourse; but although he was
not actually ugly, his features wore an expression
too stern and hypocritical to invite her confidence.
She therefore walked silently forward,
and when near the cottage felt so uneasy, that
for the first time, she invented a lie in order to
get rid of him. "You seem to compassionate
my sorrows," said she; "meanwhile you only
increase them. When my mother sees me accompanied
by a great gentleman like you, she
 will beat me, and not believe that you have followed
me against my will."
This reasoning appeared so just to the prince,
who felt himself affected by a passion such as he
had never before experienced, that he consented
to retire, entreating Rose to meet him the next
evening at the same hour. She refused to give
a decisive answer, and returned home much dejected;
recalling all the words of the stranger,
and almost reproaching herself for having behaved
so harshly to him.
The following day Rose took mechanically the
same route, going always in the path by which
her parents might be expected. Her provisions
being nearly exhausted, she feared to die of
hunger, and began to think that this gentleman,
who had been repulsed so rudely, could, perhaps
obtain news of her family. Suddenly beholding
him leaning against a tree, looking very melancholy
and dejected, she threw herself at his feet,
bathed in tears, and said—
"Sir, a wretch who has lost everything dear,
supplicates your compassion. You are so kind—so
"What does the vile creature want!" exclaimed
the prince, with a savage expression. "How
dare you have the impertinence to address me?
I wonder what prevents me from shooting you.
I lost my sport all yesterday in following a pretty
girl; here is game of a new description."
Rose started up, overwhelmed with terror,
while the prince laughed most brutally. It was
not till that moment she recollected that this
 was her black day, which accounted for his not
recognising her. "Ah!" thought she, "this is
humane man who could not behold a woman
weep; because my colour displeases him, he is
ready to take my life. No hope now remains
for me—my misfortunes are at their height!"
Rose wept all night; yet she could not prevent
herself from returning to the same spot
on the following day; she felt irresistibly led
thither, dreading, and yet wishing, to meet the
He had been already waiting above an hour,
and accosted her with a degree of respect quite
unusual for him; but he was in love, and love
makes the worst of people better for the time.
"Cruel beauty!" said he, in a courtier-like
style, to which Rose was little accustomed,
"what have I not suffered during your absence!
I even remained all night in the wood, in expectation
of you, and the queen my mother despatched
messengers everywhere, fearing some accident
had befallen me."
"The queen, your mother!" exclaimed Rose.
"Are you, then, the son of a queen?"
"I have betrayed myself!" said the prince,
striking his forehead in a theatrical manner.
"Yes, it is true, I have that misfortune. You
will now fear me; and what we fear, we never
"The wicked alone are to be feared," answered
Rose. "I am very glad to hear that you are
a king, for I know that you will be my husband."
 The prince, who little guessed the enchanter's
communication, was confounded by the unembarrassed
freedom of her manner; but it was
far from displeasing to him. "You are ambitious,"
said he, smiling; "but there is nothing
to which beauty may not pretend. Tell me only
how I can have the happiness of serving you,
and you shall see that everything is possible to
Rose sat down on the grass, and related in
very simple terms the story of the purse; confessed
that she had deceived him, and that, so
far from being severely treated at home, she was
now weeping her mother's loss; that the king
must take measures for the discovery and liberation
of her family, before he could hope to win
her affections, or pretend to her hand.
The enamoured monarch vowed he would not
lose a moment; and although she behaved with
much dignity, her every word and look was
adorable in his eyes. Rose thought all night of
the fine fortune of being a queen; she would
then no longer wear wooden shoes; and, above
all, might have an opportunity of being useful
to her dear parents.
These meetings continued every alternate day
during a week; and the queen dowager was
informed that her son neglected all business, and
thought of nothing but making love. She was
in despair. This prince was surnamed the Terrible,
by reason of his ferocity to women: till
that moment he had never loved, but he had frequently
made pretence of it, and when
success-  ful it was not unusual with him to cut out the
poor ladies' tongues, put out their eyes, or even
throw them into the sea. The least pretext sufficed
for this; and the queen, who was of a kind
disposition, lamented that yet another victim
was preparing. The courtiers begged her to
be tranquil; said it was nothing more than the
daughter of a poor woodcutter whom his majesty
now admired, and that if he did kill her, it
would be of little consequence.
But the courtiers, and the queen dowager herself,
were altogether bewildered when the king,
having liberated the woodcutter and his family,
brought Rose to the palace as his wife. She was
not at all abashed or out of countenance; she
behaved with the utmost respect to the queen,
and with affability to all. It was universally remarked:
"The king has committed a folly, but
that charming girl is his excuse, and no man
would have been wiser under similar circumstances."
A grand ball was given in the evening. Rose
danced well enough for a queen; and she yielded
herself up entirely to the enchantment of
such a happy day. The prince, ever eager to be
near her, was figuring away in a quadrille, when
twelve o'clock struck: great, then, was his astonishment,
while gazing passionately on his
partner, he beheld—a negress!
"What metamorphosis is this?" cried he,
rudely seizing her arm; "where is the princess
I married to-day?"
Rose bent her head in confusion; it still bore
 her diamonds, and her crown,—no doubt could
exist of her identity.
"Wretched, hideous black, thou shalt surely
die!" cried the king; "none shall deceive me
with impunity." He then drew a poniard, and
was preparing to take instant vengeance, when,
recollecting himself—"I do thee too much honour,"
said he; "rather let my cooks cut thee in
pieces to make a hash for my hounds."
The old queen, as humane as her son was
cruel, knew there was but one means of saving
the unfortunate victim; this was to appear still
more enraged than the king.
"I truly feel this injury," said she; "sometimes
you have reproached my weakness, but
now behold a proof that I also can avenge.
Your orders must be strictly fulfilled—I myself
shall witness the execution." She then signed
to the guards to lay hold of the unfortunate
Rose, who was dragged away by an iron chain
fastened round her neck. She gave herself up
for lost, and uttering the most heart-rending
cries, was led away to a pigeon-house at the end
of the palace, furnished with some clean straw;
where, however, the queen promised to come on
the following day.
Her majesty kept her word. Much affected
by the sweetness of the hapless bride, she promised
to mitigate, as far as possible, her melancholy
Rose, very grateful, supplicated her benefactress
to inform the woodcutter's family that she
was still alive, knowing what they would suffer
 should the story reach them of the black Rose
having breakfasted the king's hounds. The
queen promised to employ a confidential domestic;
and Rose, who had still preserved her wooden
shoes, sent one, that her father might recognise
A few days afterwards a young peasant arrived
from the cottage; he brought some cakes
and cheese, made by Mother Thomas, which
Rose preferred to all the delicacies of the palace.
This young peasant, who was named Mirto,
related to Rose everything concerning her dear
parents, and took back very loving messages
from her to them.
Mirto found so much pleasure in conversing
with the fair prisoner, and had so often cakes to
carry, that they were seldom asunder. He said
he was an orphan, and having some work to do
in the prison where Thomas had been confined,
there formed a friendship with the family. In
return for some little services then rendered
them, he desired to learn the trade of the wooden
shoes; being very ingenious, he became a valuable
acquisition. He never had felt so happy
before. In truth, he was not aware that this
happiness received its date from the hour in
which he first saw Rose.
Alas! the poor Rose was only too sensible of
his affection, and feeling the duty of struggling
against it, found herself still more miserable than
"Whatever may be the conduct of Prince
Terrible," said she to herself, "I have married
 him. It is certainly very hard to love a husband
who wished to kill me, but still I should not permit
myself to love another."
For a whole month following she had sufficient
resolution to see Mirto no more, and was
becoming sick with chagrin and weariness. The
queen visited her frequently, bringing all sorts
of sweetmeats, and a singing-bird, to divert her
captivity. She brought no finery; indeed, that
would have been quite thrown away on the
At length, one day Rose heard a great noise
in the palace. People kept running to and fro—all
the bells were rung, and all the cannons fired.
The poor prisoner mounted up to one of the
pigeon-holes, and peeping through, perceived the
palace hung with black. She knew not what
to think. But some one of the queen's officers
appeared, and conducted her in due form to the
court. Rose, all trembling, inquired what had
"Your majesty is a widow," replied the officer;
"the king has been killed in hunting; here
are your weeds, of which the queen begs your
Rose was much agitated, but she followed the
officer in silence, with a sad and serious aspect,
as a dignified personage should do when informed
of the death of a husband.
The queen was a tender mother, and although
fully conscious of the ferocious disposition of
her son, she deeply lamented him, and wept bitterly
on embracing her daughter-in-law. "Your
 husband is no more," said she; "forget his
errors, my dear child; the remainder of my life
shall be devoted to making atonement for them."
The princess threw herself at her benefactress'
feet, and declared all was forgotten. "If your
majesty deigns to permit me to speak candidly,"
added she, "and will bestow a moment's attention,
I shall confess the dearest wishes of my heart!"
"Speak," said the queen; "nothing now can
assuage my grief, save an opportunity of proving
to you my friendship."
"I was not born for a queen," continued Rose.
"My mother is a poor forester, but she has been
a tender parent, and weeps incessantly for my
"Let her be conducted hither," replied the
"This is not all, madam," continued Rose; "I
confess that I love a young peasant, who has
assisted my father to make wooden shoes. If I
were the wife of Mirto, and your majesty would
have the goodness to give some assistance to my
family, my old father might be freed from labour,
and I the happiest woman in the world."
The queen embraced Rose, and promised all
she wished. She then conducted her to the forest;
and just as they had reached its boundary,
they perceived in the air a mahogany car, mounted
on wheels of mother-o'-pearl; two pretty
white lambs were yoked to it, which Rose immediately
recognised as those of the Fairy Coquette.
 The car descended, and the fairy alighting,
thus addressed the queen: "Madam, I come to
seek my child, and am delighted to find you
willing to part with her, for she has a lover
whom I approve;—who loves her faithfully,
though hopelessly, which is a thing more rare
than all the treasures of your majesty's crown."
The fairy then addressing herself to Rose, related
that her enemy, the Enchanter Barabapatapouf,
had just been killed in combat with another
giant. "Now," added Coquette, "I have
full power to render you happy;" and passing
her fair hand over Rose's face, the negro colour
and features vanished—to reappear no more.
The queen, convinced that her daughter-in-law
required nothing further, offered only her portrait,
as a token of esteem and friendship. Rose
received it with grateful respect, then ascended
the fairy's car, and was in a few minutes surrounded
by the foresters, who never wearied of
caressing her. Poor Mirto drew back, trembling,
not knowing whether to hope or fear;
but Coquette, perceiving their mutual embarrassment,
declared that she had ordained this marriage
from the very beginning. She blessed
them, gave them a flock of beautiful white sheep,
a cottage covered with honeysuckles and roses,
a lovely garden abounding with fruits and flowers,
and a moderate sum of money; endowing
them also with life for a hundred years, uninterrupted
health, and constant love.
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