The Journey And Arrival

: Good Little Henry
: Old French Fairy Tales

The journey of Blondine lasted, as the Tortoise had said, six months.

They were three months passing through the forest. At the end of that

time she found herself on an arid plain which it required six weeks to

cross. Then Blondine perceived a castle which reminded her of that of

Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon. They were a full month passing through the

avenue to this castle.

Blondine burned with impatience.
ould she indeed learn the fate of her

dear friends at the palace? In spite of her extreme anxiety, she dared

not ask a single question. If she could have descended from the back of

the Tortoise, ten minutes would have sufficed for her to reach the

castle. But, alas! the Tortoise crept on slowly and Blondine remembered

that she had been forbidden to alight or to utter a word. She resolved,

therefore, to control her impatience. The Tortoise seemed rather to

relax than to increase her speed. She consumed fourteen days still in

passing through this avenue. They seemed fourteen centuries to Blondine.

She never, however, lost sight of the castle or of the door. The place

seemed deserted; she heard no noise, she saw no sign of life.

At last, after twenty-four days' journey, the Tortoise paused, and said

to Blondine:--

"Now, princess, descend. By your courage and obedience you have earned

the recompense I promised. Enter the little door which you see before

you. The first person you will meet will be the fairy Bienveillante and

she will make known to you the fate of your friends."

Blondine sprang lightly to the earth. She had been immovable so long she

feared her limbs would be cramped but on the contrary she was as light

and active as when she had lived so happily with her dear Bonne-Biche

and Beau-Minon and ran joyously and gracefully gathering flowers and

chasing butterflies.

After having thanked the Tortoise most warmly she opened the door which

had been pointed out to her and found herself before a young person

clothed in white, who asked in a sweet voice, whom she desired to see?

"I wish to see the fairy Bienveillante. Tell her, I pray you, miss,

that the princess Blondine begs earnestly to see her without delay."

"Follow me, princess", replied the young girl.

Blondine followed in great agitation. She passed through several

beautiful rooms and met many young girls clothed in white, like her

guide. They looked at her as if they recognized her and smiled


At last Blondine arrived in a room in every respect resembling that of

Bonne-Biche in the Forest of Lilacs. The remembrances which this

recalled were so painful that she did not perceive the disappearance of

her fair young guide.

Blondine gazed sadly at the furniture of the room. She saw but one piece

which had not adorned the apartment of Bonne-Biche in the Forest of

Lilacs. This was a wardrobe in gold and ivory, exquisitely carved. It

was closed. Blondine felt herself drawn towards it in an inexplicable

manner. She was gazing at it intently, not having indeed the power to

turn her eyes away, when a door opened and a young and beautiful woman,

magnificently dressed, entered and drew near Blondine.

"What do you wish, my child?" said she, in a sweet, caressing voice.

"Oh, madam!" said Blondine, throwing herself at her feet, "I have been

assured that you could give me news of my dear, kind friends,

Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon. You know, madam, without doubt by what

heedless disobedience I gave them up to destruction and that I wept for

them a long time, believing them to be dead but the Tortoise, who

conducted me here, has given me reason to hope I may one day see them

again. Tell me, madam, tell me if they yet live and if I may dare hope

for the happiness of rejoining them?"

"Blondine", replied the fairy Bienveillante, sadly, "you are now about

to know the fate of your friends, but no matter what you see or hear, do

not lose courage or hope."

Saying these words, she seized the trembling Blondine and conducted her

in front of the wardrobe which had already so forcibly attracted her


"Blondine, here is the key to this wardrobe. Open it, and be brave!"

She handed Blondine a gold key. With a trembling hand the princess

opened the wardrobe. What was her anguish when she saw the skins of

Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon fastened to the wardrobe with diamond nails!

At this terrible sight the unfortunate princess uttered a cry of horror

and fell insensible at the feet of the fairy. At this moment the door

opened and a prince, beautiful as the day, sprang towards Blondine,


"Oh, my mother! this is too severe a trial for my sweet Blondine!"

"Alas! my son, my heart also bleeds for her. But you know that this last

punishment was indispensable to deliver her for ever from the yoke of

the cruel genius of the Forest of Lilacs."

The fairy Bienveillante now with her wand touched Blondine, who was

immediately restored to consciousness but despairing and sobbing

convulsively, she exclaimed:--

"Let me die at once! My life is odious to me! No hope, no happiness,

from this time forth for ever for poor Blondine! My friends! my

cherished friends! I will join you soon in the land of shadows!"

"Blondine! ever dear Blondine!" said the fairy, clasping her in her

arms, "your friends live and love you tenderly. I am Bonne-Biche and

this is my son, Beau-Minon. The wicked genius of the Forest of Lilacs,

taking advantage of the negligence of my son, obtained dominion over us

and forced us into the forms under which you have known us. We could not

resume our natural appearance unless you should pluck the Rose, which I,

knowing it to be your evil genius, retained captive. I placed it as far

as possible from the castle in order to withdraw it from your view. I

knew the misfortune to which you would be exposed on delivering your

evil genius from his prison and Heaven is my witness, that my son and I

would willingly have remained a Hind and a Cat for ever in your eyes in

order to spare you the cruel tortures to which you have been subjected.

The Parrot gained you over, in spite of all our precautions. You know

the rest, my dear child. But you can never know all that we have

suffered in witnessing your tears and your desolation."

Blondine embraced the Fairy ardently and addressed a thousand questions

to her.

"What has become of the gazelles who waited upon us so gracefully?"

"You have already seen them, dear Blondine. They are the young girls who

accompanied you. They also were changed when the evil genius gained his

power over us."

"And the good white cow who brought me milk every day?"

"We obtained permission from the Queen of the Fairies to send you this

light refreshment. The encouraging words of the Crow came also from us."

"You, then, madam, also sent me the Tortoise?"

"Yes, Blondine. The Queen of the Fairies, touched by your repentance and

your grief, deprived the Evil Genius of the Forest of all power over us

on condition of obtaining from you one last proof of submission,

compelling you to take this long and fatiguing journey and inflicting

the terrible punishment of making you believe that my son and I had died

from your imprudence. I implored, entreated the Queen of the Fairies to

spare you at least this last anguish but she was inflexible."

Blondine gazed at her lost friends, listened eagerly to every word and

did not cease to embrace those she had feared were eternally separated

from her by death. The remembrance of her dear father now presented

itself. The prince Parfait understood her secret desire and made it

known to his mother, the fairy Bienveillante.

"Prepare yourself, dear Blondine, to see your father. Informed by me, he

now expects you."

At this moment, Blondine found herself in a chariot of gold and pearls,

the fairy Bienveillante seated at her right hand, and the prince Parfait

at her feet, regarding her kindly and tenderly. The chariot was drawn by

four swans of dazzling whiteness. They flew with such rapidity, that

five minutes brought them to the palace of King Benin. All the court was

assembled about the king, all were expecting the princess Blondine.

When the chariot appeared, the cries of joy and welcome were so

tumultuous that the swans were confused and almost lost their way.

Prince Parfait, who guided them, succeeded in arresting their attention

and the chariot drew up at the foot of the grand stairway. King Benin

sprang towards Blondine who, jumping lightly from the chariot, threw

herself in her father's arms. They remained a long time in this position

and everybody wept tears of joy.

When King Benin had somewhat recovered himself he kissed, respectfully

and tenderly, the hand of the good fairy who, after having protected and

educated the princess Blondine had now restored her to him. He embraced

the prince Parfait whom he found most charming.

There were eight resplendent gala days in honor of the return of

Blondine. At the close of this gay festival, the fairy Bienveillante

announced her intention of returning home. But Prince Parfait and

Blondine were so melancholy at the prospect of this separation that King

Benin resolved they should never quit the place. He wedded the fairy and

Blondine became the happy wife of Prince Parfait who was always for her

the Beau-Minon of the Forest of Lilacs.

Brunette, whose character had entirely changed, came often to see

Blondine. Prince Violent, her husband, became more amiable as Brunette

became more gentle and they were very happy.

As to Blondine, she had no misfortunes, no griefs. She had lovely

daughters, who resembled her, and good and handsome sons, the image of

their manly father, Prince Parfait. Everybody loved them and every one

connected with them was happy ever after.