But when the ogress came home, and was going to cook her pottage, she found that some one had been at the parsley, and said, "Ill luck to me but I'll catch this long-fingered rogue, and make him repent it, and teach him to his cost that every one should eat off his own platter, and not meddle with other folks' cups."
The poor woman went again and again down into the garden, until one morning the ogress met her, and in a furious rage exclaimed, "Have I caught you at last, you thief, you rogue? Prithee do you pay the rent of the garden, that you come in this impudent way and steal my plants? By my faith, but I'll make you do penance!"
Poor Pascadozzia, in a terrible fright, began to make excuses, saying that neither from gluttony nor the craving of hunger had she been tempted by the devil to commit this fault, but fear she had lest the child should be born with a crop of parsley on its face; and she added that the ogress ought rather to thank her, for not having given her sore eyes.
"Words are but wind," answered the ogress; "I am not to be caught with such prattle; you have closed the balance sheet of life, unless you promise to give me the child you bring forth, girl or boy, whichever it may be."
Poor Pascadozzia, in order to escape the peril in which she found herself, swore with one hand upon another to keep the promise. So the ogress let her go free. But when her time was come, Pascadozzia gave birth to a little girl, so beautiful that she was a joy to look upon, who, from having a fine sprig of parsley on her bosom, was named Parsley.
And the little girl grew from day to day, until when she was seven years old her mother sent her to school; and every time she went along the street and met the ogress, the old woman said to her, "Tell your mother to remember her promise."
And she went on repeating this message so often, that the poor mother, having no longer patience to listen to the same tale, said one day to Parsley, "If you meet the old woman as usual, and she reminds you of the hateful promise, answer her, 'Take it!'"
When Parsley, who dreamt of no ill, met the ogress again, and heard her repeat the same words, she answered innocently as her mother had told her; whereupon the ogress, seizing her by her hair, carried her off to a wood, which the sun never entered. Then she put the poor girl into a tower, which she caused to arise by her art, and which had neither gate nor ladder, but only a little window, through which she ascended and descended by means of Parsley's hair, which was very long, as the sailor is used to run up and down the mast of a ship.
Now it happened one day, when the ogress had left the tower, that Parsley put her head out of the little window, and let loose her tresses in the sun; and the son of a prince passing by saw these two golden banners, which invited all souls to enlist under the standard of love; and beholding with amazement in the midst of those gleaming waves a siren's face, that enchanted all hearts, he fell desperately in love with such wonderful beauty; and sending her a memorial of sighs, she decreed to receive him into favor.
Matters went on so well with the prince, that there was soon a nodding of heads and kissing of hands, thanks and offerings, hopes and promises, soft words and compliments. And when this had continued for several days, Parsley and the prince became so intimate that they made an appointment to meet, and agreed that it should be at night, and that Parsley should give the ogress some poppy juice, and draw up the prince with her tresses. So when the appointed hour came, the prince went to the tower, where Parsley, letting fall her hair at a given signal, he seized it with both his hands, and cried, "Draw up!" And when he was drawn up, he crept through the little window into the chamber.
The next morning early, the prince descended by the same golden ladder, to go his way home. And having repeated these visits many times, a gossip of the ogress, who was for ever prying into things that did not concern her, and poking her nose into every corner, got to find out the secret, and told the ogress to be upon the lookout, for that Parsley was courted by a youth.
The ogress thanked the gossip for the information, and said she would take good care to stop up the road; and as to Parsley, it was impossible for her to escape, as she had laid a spell upon her, so that, unless she had in her hand the three gallnuts which were in a rafter in the kitchen, it would be labor lost to attempt to get away.
Whilst they were talking thus together, Parsley, who stood with her ears wide open, and had some suspicion of the gossip, overheard all that passed. And when night had spread out her black garments, and the prince had come as usual, she made him climb onto the rafters and find the gallnuts, knowing well what effect they would have, as she had been enchanted by the ogress. Then, having made a rope ladder, they both descended to the ground, took to their heels, and scampered off towards the city.
But the gossip happening to see them come out, set up a loud halloo, and began to shout and make such a noise that the ogress awoke; and seeing that Parsley had fled, she descended by the same ladder, which was fastened to the window, and set off running after the lovers, who, when they saw her coming at their heels faster than a horse let loose, gave themselves up for lost. But Parsley, recollecting the gallnuts, quickly threw one on the ground, and lo! instantly a Corsican bulldog started up, -- a terrible beast! -- which with open jaws and barking loud flew at the ogress as if to swallow her at a mouthful. But the old woman, who was more cunning and spiteful than the devil, put her hand into her pocket, and pulling out a piece of bread, gave it to the dog, which made him hang his tail and allay his fury.
Then she turned to run after the fugitives again; but Parsley, seeing her approach, threw the second gallnut on the ground, and lo! a fierce lion arose, who, lashing the earth with his tail, and shaking his mane, and opening wide his jaws a yard apart, was just preparing to make a slaughter of the ogress; when, turning quickly back, she stripped the skin off an ass that was grazing in the middle of a meadow, and ran at the lion, who, fancying it a real jackass, was so frightened that he bounded away as fast as he could.
The ogress, having leaped over this second ditch, turned again to pursue the poor lovers, who, hearing the clatter of her heels and seeing the cloud of dust that rose up to the sky, conjectured that she was coming again. But the old woman, who was every moment in dread lest the lion should pursue her, had not taken off the ass's skin; and when Parsley now threw down the third gallnut, there sprang up a wolf, who, without giving the ogress time to play any new trick, gobbled her up just as she was, in the shape of a jackass.
So the lovers, being now freed from danger, went their way leisurely and quietly to the kingdom of the prince, where, with his father's free consent, he took Parsley to wife; and thus, after all these storms of fate, they experienced the truth, that
One hour in port, the sailor freed from fearsZeza's story was listened to with such delight to the end, that, had it even continued for an hour longer, the time would have appeared only a moment.
Forgets the tempests of a hundred years.
Then she resolved the third day to remain in the garden herself. In the middle of it was a hole, in which she hid and covered herself with leaves and branches, leaving only one of her long ears sticking out. The seven neighbors once more went into the garden and began picking jujubes, when one of them noticed the witch's ear sticking out of the leaves and thought it was a mushroom and tried to pick it. Then the witch jumped out of the hole and ran after the women, all of whom escaped but one.
The witch was going to eat her, but she begged hard for pardon and promised never to enter the garden again. The witch finally forgave her on the condition that she would give her her child, yet unborn, whether a boy or girl, when it was seven years old. The poor woman promised in her distress, and the witch let her go.
Some time after the woman had a beautiful little girl whom she named Angiola. When Angiola was six years old, her mother sent her to school to learn to sew and knit. On her way to school she had to pass the garden where the witch lived. One day, when she was almost seven, she saw the witch standing in front of her garden.
She beckoned to Angiola and gave her some fine fruits and said, "You see, fair Angiola, I am your aunt. Tell your mother you have seen your aunt, and she sends her word not to forget her promise."
Angiola went home and told her mother, who was frightened and said to herself, "Ah! the time has come when I must give up my Angiola."
Then she said to the child, "When your aunt asks you tomorrow for an answer, tell her you forgot her errand."
The next day she told the witch as she was directed.
"Very well," she replied, "tell her today, but don't forget."
Thus several days passed; the witch was constantly on the watch for Angiola when she went to school, and wanted to know her mother's answer, but Angiola always declared that she had forgotten to ask her.
One day, however, the witch became angry and said, "Since you are so forgetful, I must give you some token to remind you of your errand."
Then she bit Angiola's little finger so hard that she bit a piece out. Angiola went home in tears and showed her mother her finger.
"Ah!" thought her mother, "there is no help for it. I must give my poor child to the witch, or else she will eat her up in her anger."
The next morning as Angiola was going to school, her mother said to her, "Tell your aunt to do with you as she thinks best."
Angiola did so, and the witch said, "Very well, then come with me, for you are mine."
So the witch took the fair Angiola with her and led her away to a tower which had no door and but one small window. There Angiola lived with the witch, who treated her very kindly, for she loved her as her own child.
When the witch came home after her excursions, she stood under the window and cried, "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your pretty tresses and pull me up!"
Now Angiola had beautiful long hair, which she let down and with which she pulled the witch up.
Now it happened one day when Angiola had grown to be a large and beautiful maiden, that the king's son went hunting and chanced to come where the tower was. He was astonished at seeing the house without any door, and wondered how the people got in.
Just then the old witch returned home, stood under the window, and called, "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your beautiful tresses and pull me up."
Immediately the beautiful tresses fell down, and the witch climbed up by them. This pleased the prince greatly, and he hid himself near by until the witch went away again.
Then he went and stood under the window and called, "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your beautiful tresses and pull me up."
Then Angiola let down her tresses and drew up the prince, for she believed it was the witch. When she saw the prince, she was much frightened at first, but he addressed her in a friendly manner and begged her to fly with him and become his wife.
She finally consented, and in order that the witch should not know where she had gone she gave all the chairs, tables, and cupboards in the house something to eat; for they were all living beings and might betray her. The broom, however, stood behind the door, so she did not notice it, and gave it nothing to eat. Then she took from the witch's chamber three magic balls of yarn, and fled with the prince. The witch had a little dog that loved the fair Angiola so dearly that it followed her.
Soon after they had fled, the witch came back, and called, "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your beautiful tresses and draw me up."
But the tresses were not let down for all she called, and at last she had to get a long ladder and climb in at the window. When she could not find Angiola, she asked the tables and chairs and cupboards, "Where has she fled?"
But they answered, "We do not know."
The broom, however, called out from the corner, "The fair Angiola has fled with the king's son, who is going to marry her."
Then the witch started in pursuit of them and nearly overtook them. But Angiola threw down behind her one of the magic balls of yarn, and there arose a great mountain of soap. When the witch tried to climb it she slipped back, but she persevered until at last she succeeded in getting over it, and hastened after the fugitives.
Then Angiola threw down the second ball of yarn, and there arose a great mountain covered all over with nails small and large. Again the witch had to struggle hard to cross it; when she did she was almost flayed.
When Angiola saw that the witch had almost overtaken them again, she threw down the third ball, and there arose a mighty torrent. The witch tried to swim across it, but the stream kept increasing in size until she had at last to turn back.
Then in her anger she cursed the fair Angiola, saying, "May your beautiful face be turned into the face of a dog!" and instantly Angiola's face became a dog's face.
The prince was very sorrowful and said, "How can I take you home to my parents? They would never allow me to marry a maiden with a dog's face."
So he took her to a little house, where she was to live until the enchantment was removed. He himself returned to his parents; but whenever he went hunting he visited poor Angiola.
She often wept bitterly over her misfortunes, until one day the little dog that had followed her from the witch's said, "Do not weep, fair Angiola. I will go to the witch and beg her to remove the enchantment." Then the little dog started off and returned to the witch and sprang up on her and caressed her.
"Are you here again, you ungrateful beast?" cried the witch, and pushed the dog away. "Did you leave me to follow the ungrateful Angiola?"
But the little dog caressed her until she grew friendly again and took him up on her lap. "Mother," said the little dog," Angiola sends you greeting; she is very sad, for she cannot go to the palace with her dog's face and cannot marry the prince."
"That serves her right," said the witch." Why did she deceive me? She can keep her dog's face now!"
But the dog begged her so earnestly, saying that poor Angiola was sufficiently punished, that at last the witch gave the dog a flask of water, and said, "Take that to her and she will become the fair Angiola again."
The dog thanked her, ran off with the flask, and brought it safely to poor Angiola. As soon as she washed in the water, her dog's face disappeared and she became beautiful again, more beautiful even than she had been before.
The prince, full of joy, took her to the palace, and the king and queen were so pleased with her beauty that they welcomed her, and gave her a splendid wedding, and all remained happy and contented.
Now, the orchard belonged to a witch. One day the witch noticed the child gathering a plum, as she passed along the road. Prunella did it quite innocently, not knowing that she was doing wrong in taking the fruit that hung close to the roadside. But the witch was furious, and next day hid herself behind the hedge, and when Prunella came past, and put out her hand to pluck the fruit, she jumped out and seized her by the arm.
"Ah! you little thief!" she exclaimed. "I have caught you at last. Now you will have to pay for your misdeeds."
The poor child, half dead with fright, implored the old woman to forgive her, assuring her that she did not know she had done wrong, and promising never to do it again. But the witch had no pity, and she dragged Prunella into her house, where she kept her till the time should come when she could have her revenge.
As the years passed Prunella grew up into a very beautiful girl. Now her beauty and goodness, instead of softening the witch's heart, aroused her hatred and jealousy.
One day she called Prunella to her, and said, "Take this basket, go to the well, and bring it back to me filled with water. If you don't I will kill you."
The girl took the basket, went and let it down into the well again and again. But her work was lost labor. Each time, as she drew up the basket, the water streamed out of it. At last, in despair, she gave it up, and leaning against the well she began to cry bitterly, when suddenly she heard a voice at her side saying, "Prunella, why are you crying?"
Turning round she beheld a handsome youth, who looked kindly at her, as if he were sorry for her trouble.
"Who are you," she asked, "and how do you know my name?"
"I am the son of the witch," he replied, "and my name is Bensiabel. I know that she is determined that you shall die, but I promise you that she shall not carry out her wicked plan. Will you give me a kiss, if I fill your basket?"
"No," said Prunella, "I will not give you a kiss, because you are the son of a witch."
"Very well," replied the youth sadly. "Give me your basket and I will fill it for you." And he dipped it into the well, and the water stayed in it. Then the girl returned to the house, carrying the basket filled with water.
When the witch saw it, she became white with rage, and exclaimed, "Bensiabel must have helped you." And Prunella looked down, and said nothing.
"Well, we shall see who will win in the end," said the witch, in a great rage. The following day she called the girl to her and said, "Take this sack of wheat. I am going out for a little; by the time I return I shall expect you to have made it into bread. If you have not done it I will kill you." Having said this she left the room, closing and locking the door behind her.
Poor Prunella did not know what to do. It was impossible for her to grind the wheat, prepare the dough, and bake the bread, all in the short time that the witch would be away. At first she set to work bravely, but when she saw how hopeless her task was, she threw herself on a chair, and began to weep bitterly.
She was roused from her despair by hearing Bensiabel's voice at her side saying. "Prunella, Prunella, do not weep like that. If you will give me a kiss I will make the bread, and you will be saved."
"I will not kiss the son of a witch," replied Prunella. But Bensiabel took the wheat from her, and ground it, and made the dough, and when the witch returned the bread was ready baked in the oven.
Turning to the girl, with fury in her voice, she said. "Bensiabel must have been here and helped you;" and Prunella looked down, and said nothing.
"We shall see who will win in the end," said the witch, and her eyes blazed with anger.
Next day she called the girl to her and said, "Go to my sister, who lives across the mountains. She will give you a casket, which you must bring back to me." This she said knowing that her sister, who was a still more cruel and wicked witch than herself, would never allow the girl to return, but would imprison her and starve her to death. But Prunella did not suspect anything, and set out quite cheerfully. On the way she met Bensiabel.
"Where are you going, Prunella?" he asked.
"I am going to the sister of my mistress, from whom I am to fetch a casket."
"Oh poor, poor girl!" said Bensiabel. "You are being sent straight to your death. Give me a kiss, and I will save you."
But again Prunella answered as before, "I will not kiss the son of a witch."
"Nevertheless, I will save your life," said Bensiabel, "for I love you better than myself. Take this flagon of oil, this loaf of bread, this piece of rope, and this broom. When you reach the witch's house, oil the hinges of the door with the contents of the flagon, and throw the loaf of bread to the great fierce mastiff, who will come to meet you. When you have passed the dog, you will see in the courtyard a miserable woman trying in vain to let down a bucket into the well with her plaited hair. You must give her the rope. In the kitchen you will find a still more miserable woman trying to clean the hearth with her tongue; to her you must give the broom. You will see the casket on the top of a cupboard, take it as quickly as you can, and leave the house without a moment's delay. If you do all this exactly as I have told you, you will not be killed."
So Prunella, having listened carefully to his instructions, did just what he had told her. She reached the house, oiled the hinges of the door, threw the loaf to the dog, gave the poor woman at the well the rope, and the woman in the kitchen the broom, caught up the casket from the top of the cupboard, and fled with it out of the house.
But the witch heard her as she ran away, and rushing to the window called out to the woman in the kitchen, "Kill that thief, I tell you!"
But the woman replied, "I will not kill her, for she has given me a broom, whereas you forced me to clean the hearth with my tongue."
Then the witch called out in fury to the woman at the well. "Take the girl, I tell you, and fling her into the water, and drown her!"
But the woman answered, "No, I will not drown her, for she gave me this rope, whereas you forced me to use my hair to let down the bucket to draw water."
Then the witch shouted to the dog to seize the girl and hold her fast; but the dog answered, "No, I will not seize her, for she gave me a loaf of bread, whereas you let me starve with hunger."
The witch was so angry that she nearly choked, as she called out, "Door, bang upon her, and keep her a prisoner." But the door answered, "I won't, for she has oiled my hinges, so that they move quite easily, whereas you left them all rough and rusty."
And so Prunella escaped, and, with the casket under her arm, reached the house of her mistress, who, as you may believe, was as angry as she was surprised to see the girl standing before her, looking more beautiful than ever.
Her eyes flashed, as in furious tones she asked her, "Did you meet Bensiabel?" But Prunella looked down, and said nothing.
"We shall see," said the witch, "who will win in the end. Listen, there are three cocks in the henhouse; one is yellow, one black, and the third is white. If one of them crows during the night you must tell me which one it is. Woe to you if you make a mistake. I will gobble you up in one mouthful."
Now Bensiabel was in the room next to the one where Prunella slept. At midnight she awoke hearing a cock crow.
"Which one was that?" shouted the witch.
Then, trembling, Prunella knocked on the wall and whispered. "Bensiabel, Bensiabel, tell me, which cock crowed?"
"Will you give me a kiss if I tell you?" he whispered back through the wall.
But she answered "No."
Then he whispered back to her. "Nevertheless, I will tell you. It was the yellow cock that crowed."
The witch, who had noticed the delay in Prunella's answer, approached her door calling angrily, "Answer at once, or I will kill you."
So Prunella answered. "It was the yellow cock that crowed."
And the witch stamped her foot and gnashed her teeth.
Soon after another cock crowed. "Tell me now which one it is," called the witch.
And, prompted by Bensiabel, Prunella answered, "That is the black cock."
A few minutes after the crowing was heard again, and the voice of the witch demanding, "Which one was that?
"And again Prunella implored Bensiabel to help her. But this time he hesitated, for he hoped that Prunella might forget that he was a witch's son, and promise to give him a kiss. And as he hesitated he heard an agonized cry from the girl. "Bensiabel, Bensiabel, save me! The witch is coining, she is close to me, I hear the gnashing of her teeth!"
With a bound Bensiabel opened his door and flung himself against the witch. He pulled her back with such force that she stumbled, and falling headlong, dropped down dead at the foot of the stairs.
Then, at last, Prunella was touched by Bensiabel's goodness and kindness to her, and she became his wife, and they lived happily ever after.
Then they were told to make a pilgrimage to achieve their wish. They went on this pilgrimage, travelling a long way from home. By the time they returned homeward the woman had become pregnant. On their way they saw a beautiful garden, and in this garden there were magnificent fruits.
The wife said to her husband, "Oh, I would like to eat some of this fruit. I'll pick it myself."
The husband said to her, "What if someone sees us!"
But she said to him, "It doesn't matter. I'll go and get some."
She went to the garden and ate some fruit, then returned to their cart. As she was about to leave, a little woman appeared and asked her why she had taken the fruit. So she told the little woman about her desire for the fruit.
Then the woman said to her, "I will say nothing about your having stolen my fruit, but I want to be the godmother of your child. You will have a girl."
The wife climbed back onto her wagon and said to her husband, "I promised that woman that she could be godmother, but it won't happen."
Finally the day arrived when she delivered the child. She had a daughter, just as the woman had said. They had the child baptized, but did not invite the woman.
The woman summoned her sisters; she had two sisters, and they were fairies.
She said to them, "You know, the woman who stole my fruit gave birth to a child, but did not ask me to be godmother. She must be punished. We must take away her child."
She departed with a large dog. She arrived at the woman's door and rang. No one would open the door. She commanded the dog to open the door, and it opened the door. The dog opened all the doors. She came to where the child was.
She said to the dog, "Bring the child to me!"
Then she said to the mother, "And you, madam, another time you will keep your promises. You shall never again see your daughter."
Then the woman returned to her own home with the child.
Once all the fairies in the country came together, and she was godmother to the child. She named her Parsillette. She gave her the ability to sing such that she could be heard for seven leagues. The others gave her all sorts of gifts; the gift of beauty -- in short, all kinds of gifts.
Then she was given a nursemaid, and the best of everything was made ready for her.
When she grew up, she was so beautiful that all the gentlemen who passed by stopped to look at her. She sang so well that everyone wanted to hear her sweet songs.
The woman saw this and said to her sisters, "We must confine Parsillette in a tower; otherwise she will leave us."
Then she took her to a tower three leagues distant from the house where she was. In this tower she had everything that she needed for her comfort and enjoyment, even a parrot to talk with her.
Then the woman said to her, "Now when I come to bring you something I'll say to you, 'Parsillette, my goddaughter, let down your beautiful hair to me!' Then you are to open the door. That is the password."
Now there was a prince in the vicinity, seven leagues away. He heard the singing from his home.
He said, "Who is singing like that? I need to know."
He asked about the place where the singing came from, and was told that a princess was there, locked in a tower.
He said, "I have to go there and talk to her."
Arriving at the tower, he heard someone say, "Parsillette, my goddaughter, let down your beautiful hair to me!"
He wrote down the password, so that he too could say it. As soon as the woman left, he too said, "Parsillette, my goddaughter, let down your beautiful hair to me!"
The girl, thinking it was her godmother, who had forgotten something, opened the door. Seeing the young man enter, she wanted to run away, but where to?
And he, when he saw her, he fell so in love with her that he did not want to leave. He told her that if she would follow him, he would make her a queen.
She was bored in this tower, always being alone with only her parrot for company. She promised him that she would go away with him; they would leave the next day.
The woman approached, bringing food again. Seeing her godmother arrive, Parsillette hid the young man behind a curtain.
Then the parrot said, "Godmother, a lover is hidden there!"
Then the godmother said to her goddaughter, "What did your parrot say?'
"Oh, godmother, he just said what I told him to."
Then, suspecting nothing, the woman left.
Then the woman began thinking about what the parrot had said. She said, "I think that the parrot told me the truth. I must be sure."
She retraced her steps and arrived back at the tower. She called out, but no one responded. She climbed to the top of the tower. She saw Parsillette, who was clinging to the young man's arm. She struck out with her wand, and Parsillette became as ugly as she had been beautiful. All the gifts that had been given to her disappeared.
The young man, seeing this change, did not know what to say; and Parsillette, seeing this, said to him, "I cannot go any further. Seeing how angry my godmother is, I must return to her and beg her pardon.
The moment she said this, the young man was struck dead. She returned to her godmother and begged her pardon. Then all the gifts came back to her, and her godmother forgave her.
She took Parsillette home with her, not back to the tower. Later Parsillette married a very wealthy prince, and she never knew her parents.
How she grieved, but then she met a fairy who told her not to worry. The fairy would like to the godmother. The lady had a beautiful little girl. She was baptized with the name Blond Beauty and was raised by her godmother. The girl lived in a castle without doors; one had to enter through the windows.
When the godmother arrived she would say, "Blond Beauty, let down your hair, so I can come up."
But one day something different happened. A young king came by.
He said, "Mademoiselle, you are so beautiful. Is there no way for me to come inside? How do you get out?"
"Me, I never go out. When my godmother comes I let down my hair and let her climb up."
"If you would let down your hair, I could climb up and keep you company!"
So she let down her hair, and let him climb up. When the old fairy arrived she hid him in a barrel.
"Blond Beauty, let down your hair, so I can come up."
Then the parrot said over and over, "Her lover is in the barrel!"
"Hey! What are you saying, parrot. Be quiet, you little blabber-mouth."
The next day the young king took Blond Beauty away.
When the fairy arrived, she said, "Blond Beauty, let down your hair, so I can come up."
But Blond Beauty did not let down her hair. The fairy climbed into the castle, but Blond Beauty was not there.
The parrot said, "I told you that her lover was in the barrel!"
"Oh, you poor parrot! You told me so. But now, Blond Beauty, you shall now become as ugly as you were beautiful!"
And Blond Beauty turned into a frog.
Now the king had another son. He said that the one of them who would bring home the most beautiful woman should receive a portion of the kingdom. So Blond Beauty was forced to return to the fairy and beg her to make her beautiful again.
"Oh Blond Beauty, you do not deserve it, but so be it!"
And she became even more beautiful than before, and they won a portion of the kingdom.
And then the king said that whoever should build the most beautiful castle for his wife, he would receive another portion of the kingdom
So they had to find the fairy again. The other son had a castle made of copper, but the fairy made a castle of silver for them, and thus they won another portion of the kingdom.
Ludovico had an extremely lovely daughter by the name of Clotilde. Ever since his arrival at the palace the magician had been passionately in love with her; but his extreme old age and his somewhat haughty bearing were obstacles in his path to success. Whenever he made love to her, she turned aside, and listened instead to the thrilling tales told by some wandering minstrel.
The magician finally succumbed to the infirmities of old age, his life made more burdensome by his repeated disappointments. He left to the king three enchanted winged horses; to the princess, two magic necklaces of exactly the same appearance, of inimitable workmanship and of priceless worth. Nor did the magician fail to wreak vengeance on the cause of his death. Before he expired, he locked Clotilde and the three magic horses in a high tower inaccessible to any human being. She was to remain in this enchanted prison until some man succeeded in setting her free.
Naturally, King Ludovico wanted to see his daughter before the hour of his death, which was fast approaching. He offered large sums of money, together with his crown and Clotilde's hand, to anybody who could set her free. Hundreds of princes tried, but in vain. The stone walls of the tower were of such a height, that very few birds, even, could fly over them. But a deliverer now rose from obscurity and came into prominence. This man was an uneducated but persevering peasant named Juan. He possessed a graceful form, herculean frame, good heart, and unrivalled ingenuity. His two learned older brothers tried to scale the walls of the tower, but fared no better than the others.
At last Juan's turn came. His parents and his older brothers expostulated with him not to go, for what could a man unskilled in the fine arts do? But Juan, in the hope of setting the princess free, paid no attention to their advice. He took as many of the biggest nails as he could find, a very long rope, and a strong hammer. As he lived in a town several miles distant from the capital, he had to make the trip on horseback.
One day Juan set out with all his equipment. On the way he met his disappointed second brother returning after a vain attempt. The older brother tried in every way he could to divert Juan from his purpose. Now, Juan's parents, actuated partly by a sense of shame if he should fail, and partly by a deep-seated hatred, had poisoned his food without his knowledge. When he felt hungry, he suspected them of some evil intention: so before eating he gave his horse some of his provisions. The poor creature died on the road amidst terrible sufferings, and Juan was obliged to finish the journey on foot.
When he arrived at the foot of the tower, he drove a nail into the wall. Then he tied one end of his rope to this spike. In this way he succeeded in making a complete ladder of nails and rope to the top of the tower. He looked for Clotilde, who met him with her eyes flooded with tears. As a reward for his great services to her, she gave him one of the magic necklaces. While they were whispering words of love in each other's ears, they heard a deafening noise at the bottom of the tower.
"Rush for safety to your ladder!" cried Clotilde. "One of the fiendish friends of the magician is going to kill you."
But, alas! some wanton hand had pulled out the nails; and this person was none other then Juan's second brother. "I am a lost man," said Juan.
"Mount one of the winged horses in the chamber adjoining mine," said Clotilde.
So Juan got on one of the animals without knowing where to go. The horse flew from the tower with such velocity, that Juan had to close his eyes. His breath was almost taken away. In a few seconds, however, he was landed in a country entirely strange to his eyes.
After long years of struggle with poverty and starvation, Juan was at last able to make his way back to his native country. He went to live in a town just outside the walls of the capital. A rich old man named Telesforo hired him to work on his farm. Juan's excellent service and irreproachable conduct won the good will of his master, who adopted him as his son.
At about this time King Ludovico gave out proclamations stating that any one who could exactly match his daughter's necklace should be his son-in-law. Thousands tried, but they tried in vain. Even the most dexterous and experienced smiths were baffled in their attempts to produce an exact counterfeit. When word of the royal proclamations was brought to Juan, he decided to try.
One day he pretended to be sick, and he asked Telesforo to go to the palace to get Clotilde's necklace. The old man, who was all ready to serve his adopted son, went that very afternoon and borrowed the necklace, so that he might try to copy it. When he returned with the magic article, Juan jumped from his bed and kissed his father. After supper Juan went to his room and locked himself in. Then he took from his pocket the necklace which Clotilde had given him in the tower, and compared it carefully with the borrowed one. When he saw that they did not differ in any respect, he took a piece of iron and hammered it until midnight.
Early the next morning Juan wrapped the two magic necklaces in a silk handkerchief, and told the old man to take them to the king.
"By the aid of the Lord!" exclaimed Clotilde when her father the king unwrapped the necklaces, "my lover is here again. This necklace," she said, touching the one she had given Juan, "is not a counterfeit: for it is written in the magician's book of black art that no human being shall be able to imitate either of the magic necklaces. -- Where is the owner of this necklace, old man?" she said, turning to Telesforo.
"He is at home," said Telesforo with a bow.
"Go and bring him to the palace," said Clotilde.
Within a quarter of an hour Juan arrived. After paying due respect to the king, Juan embraced Clotilde affectionately. They were married in the afternoon, and the festivities continued for nine days and nine nights. Juan was made crown prince, and on the death of King Ludovico he succeeded to the throne. King Juan and Queen Clotilde lived to extreme old age in peace and perfect happiness.
Revised February 25, 2022.