The Parrot

: Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
: Old French Fairy Tales

Six months had passed since Blondine awaked from her seven years' sleep.

It seemed to the little princess a long time. The remembrance of her

dear father often saddened her heart.

Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon seemed to divine her thoughts. Beau-Minon

mewed plaintively, and Bonne-Biche heaved the most profound sighs.

Blondine spoke but rarely of that which occupied her thoughts

continually. She feared to off
nd Bonne-Biche, who had said to her three

or four times:

"Dear Blondine, be patient. You will see your father when you are

fifteen, if you continue wise and good. Trust me, dear child; do not

trouble yourself about the future and above all do not seek to leave


One morning Blondine was alone and very sad. She was musing upon her

singular and monotonous existence. Suddenly she was disturbed in her

reverie by three soft little strokes upon her window. Raising her head,

she perceived a parrot with beautiful green plumage and throat and

breast of bright orange.

Surprised at the appearance of a bird entirely unknown to her, she

opened the window and invited the parrot to enter.

What was her amazement when the bird said to her, in a fine sharp voice:

"Good day, Blondine! I know that you sometimes have a very tedious time

of it, because you have no one to talk to. I have taken pity upon you

and come to have a chat with you. But I pray you do not mention that you

have seen me, for Bonne-Biche would cut my throat if she knew it."

"Why so, beautiful Parrot? Bonne-Biche is good; she injures no one and

only hates the wicked."

"Blondine, listen! If you do not promise to conceal my visit from

Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon, I will fly away at once and never return."

"Since you wish it so much, beautiful Parrot, I will promise silence.

Let us chat a little. It is a long time since I have had an opportunity

to converse. You seem to me gay and witty. I do not doubt that you will

amuse me much."

Blondine listened with delight to the lively talk of the Parrot, who

complimented extravagantly her beauty, her wit and her talents.

Blondine was enchanted. In about an hour the Parrot flew away, promising

to return the next day. In short, he returned every day and continued to

compliment and amuse her.

One morning he struck upon the window and said:

"Blondine! Blondine! open the window, quickly! I bring you news of your

father. But above all make no noise unless you want my throat cut."

Blondine was overwhelmed with joy. She opened the window with alacrity

and said: "Is it true, my beautiful Parrot, that you bring me news of my

dear father? Speak quickly! What is he doing and how is he?"

"Your father is well, Blondine, but he weeps your loss always. I have

promised him to employ all my power to deliver you from your prison but

I can do nothing without your assistance."

"My prison!" said Blondine. "But you are ignorant of all the goodness

which Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon have shown me, of the pains they have

lavished upon my education, of all their tenderness and forbearance.

They will be enchanted to find a way of restoring me to my father. Come

with me, beautiful Parrot and I will present you to Bonne-Biche. Come, I

entreat you."

"Ah! Blondine," said the sharp voice of the Parrot, "it is you,

Princess, who do not know Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon. They detest me

because I have sometimes succeeded in rescuing their victims from them.

You will never see your father again, Blondine, you will never leave

this forest, unless you yourself shall break the charm which holds you


"What charm?" said Blondine. "I know of no charm and what interest have

Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon in keeping me a prisoner?"

"Is it not to their interest to enliven their solitude, Blondine? There

is a talisman which can procure your release. It is a simple Rose,

which, gathered by yourself, will deliver you from your exile and

restore you to the arms of your fond father."

"But there is not a single Rose in the garden. How then can I gather


"I will explain this to you another day, Blondine. Now I can tell you no

more, as I hear Bonne-Biche coming. But to convince you of the virtues

of the Rose, entreat Bonne-Biche to give you one and see what she will

say. To-morrow--to-morrow, Blondine!"

The Parrot flew away, well content to have scattered in Blondine's heart

the first seeds of discontent and ingratitude.

The Parrot had scarcely disappeared when Bonne-Biche entered. She

appeared greatly agitated.

"With whom have you been talking, Blondine?" looking suspiciously

towards the open window.

"With no one, madam," said the princess.

"I am certain I heard voices in conversation."

"I must have been speaking to myself."

Bonne-Biche made no reply. She was very sad and tears fell from her


Blondine was also engaged in thought. The cunning words of the Parrot

made her look upon the kindness of Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon in a

totally different light.

In place of saying to herself that a hind which had the power to speak,

to make wild beasts intelligent, to put an infant to sleep for seven

years, to dedicate seven years to a tiresome and ignorant little girl,

in short, a hind lodged and served like a queen, could be no ordinary

criminal; in place of cherishing a sentiment of gratitude for all that

Bonne-Biche had done for her, Blondine, alas! believed blindly in the

Parrot, the unknown bird of whose character and veracity she had no

proof. She did not remember that the Parrot could have no possible

motive for risking its life to render her a service. Blondine believed

it though, implicitly, because of the flattery which the Parrot had

lavished upon her. She did not even recall with gratitude the sweet and

happy existence which Bonne-Biche and Beau-Minon had secured to her. She

resolved to follow implicitly the counsels of the Parrot. During the

course of the day she said to Bonne-Biche:--

"Why, madam, do I not see among your flowers the most lovely and

charming of all flowers--the fragrant Rose?"

Bonne-Biche was greatly agitated and said in a trembling voice:--

"Blondine! Blondine! do not ask for this most perfidious flower, which

pierces all who touch it! Never speak to me of the Rose, Blondine. You

cannot know what fatal danger this flower contains for you!"

The expression of Bonne-Biche was so stern and severe that Blondine

dared not question her further.

The day passed away sadly enough. Bonne-Biche was unhappy and Beau-Minon

very sad.

Early in the morning, Blondine ran to her window and the Parrot entered

the moment she opened it.

"Well, my dear Blondine, did you notice the agitation of Bonne-Biche,

when you mentioned the Rose? I promised you to point out the means by

which you could obtain one of these charming flowers. Listen now to my

counsel. You will leave this park and enter the forest. I will accompany

you and I will conduct you to a garden where you will find the most

beautiful Rose in the world!"

"But how is it possible for me to leave the park? Beau-Minon always

accompanies me in my walks."

"Try to get rid of him," said the Parrot; "but if that is impossible, go

in spite of him."

"If this Rose is at a distance, will not my absence be perceived?"

"It is about an hour's walk. Bonne-Biche has been careful to separate

you as far as possible from the Rose in order that you might not find

the means to escape from her power."

"But why does she wish to hold me captive? She is all-powerful and could

surely find pleasures more acceptable than educating an ignorant child."

"All this will be explained to you in the future, Blondine, when you

will be in the arms of your father. Be firm! After breakfast, in some

way get away from Beau-Minon and enter the forest. I will expect you


Blondine promised, and closed the window, fearing that Bonne-Biche would

surprise her.

After breakfast, according to her usual custom, she entered the garden.

Beau-Minon followed her in spite of some rude rebuffs which he received

with plaintive mews. Arrived at the alley which led out of the park,

Blondine resolved to get rid of Beau-Minon.

"I wish to be alone," said she, sternly; "begone, Beau-Minon!"

Beau-Minon pretended not to understand. Blondine was impatient and

enraged. She forgot herself so far as to strike Beau-Minon with her

foot. When poor Beau-Minon received this humiliating blow, he uttered a

cry of anguish and fled towards the palace. Blondine trembled and was on

the point of recalling him, when a false shame arrested her. She walked

on rapidly to the gate, opened it not without trembling and entered the

forest. The Parrot joined her without delay.

"Courage, Blondine! in one hour you will have the Rose and will see your

father, who weeps for you."

At these words, Blondine recovered her resolution which had begun to

falter. She walked on in the path indicated by the Parrot, who flew

before her from branch to branch. The forest, which had seemed so

beautiful and attractive near the park of Bonne-Biche, became wilder and

more entangled. Brambles and stones almost filled up the path, the sweet

songs of the birds were no longer heard and the flowers had entirely

disappeared. Blondine felt oppressed by an inexplicable restlessness.

The Parrot pressed her eagerly to advance.

"Quick, quick, Blondine! time flies! If Bonne-Biche perceives your

absence you will never again see your father."

Blondine, fatigued, almost breathless, with her arms torn by the briers

and her shoes in shreds, now declared that she would go no further when

the Parrot exclaimed:--

"We have arrived, Blondine. Look! that is the enclosure which separates

us from the Rose."

Blondine saw at a turn in the path a small enclosure, the gate of which

was quickly opened by the Parrot. The soil was arid and stony but a

magnificent, majestic rose-bush adorned with one Rose, which was more

beautiful than all the roses of the world grew in the midst of this

sterile spot.

"Take it, Blondine!" said the parrot; "you deserve it--you have truly

earned it!"

Blondine seized the branch eagerly and in spite of the thorns which

pierced her fingers cruelly, she tore it from the bush.

The Rose was scarcely grasped firmly in her hand, when she heard a burst

of mocking laughter. The Flower fell from her grasp, crying:--

"Thanks, Blondine, for having delivered me from the prison in which

Bonne-Biche held me captive. I am your evil genius! Now you belong to


"Ha! ha!" now exclaimed the Parrot. "Thanks, Blondine! I can now resume

my form of magician. You have destroyed your friends for I am their

mortal enemy!"

Saying these cruel words, the Parrot and the Rose disappeared, leaving

Blondine alone in the forest.