: Old French Fairy Tales
Ourson turned his steps homeward, discouraged and exhausted. He walked
slowly and arrived at the farm late. Violette ran to meet him, took him
by the hand, and without saying a word led him to his mother. There she
fell on her knees and said:--
"My mother, I know what our well-beloved Ourson has suffered to-day.
During his absence the fairy Furious has told me all and the good fairy
Drolette has confirmed
her story. My mother, when our Ourson was, as we
believed, lost to us for ever and lost for my sake you revealed to me
that which in his nobility and goodness he wished to conceal. I know
that by changing skins with him I can restore to him his original
beauty. Happy, a hundred times happy in having this opportunity to
recompense the tenderness and devotion of my dearly-loved brother
Ourson, I demand to make this exchange allowed by the fairy Drolette and
I entreat her to complete the transfer immediately."
"Violette! Violette!" exclaimed Ourson, in great agitation, "take back
your words! You do not know to what you engage yourself; you are
ignorant of the life of anguish and misery unparalleled, the life of
solitude and isolation to which you thus condemn yourself; you know not
the unceasing desolation you will feel at knowing that you are an object
of fear to all mankind. Violette, Violette, in pity to me, withdraw your
"Dear Ourson," said Violette, calmly, but resolutely, "in making what
you believe to be so great a sacrifice, I accomplish the dearest wish of
my heart; I secure my own happiness; I satisfy an ardent and imperious
desire to testify my tenderness and my gratitude. I esteem myself for
doing what I propose. I should despise myself if I left it undone."
"Pause, Violette, for one instant longer, I beseech you! Think of my
grief, when I no longer see my beautiful Violette, when I think of you
exposed to the railleries, the horror of men. Oh! Violette, do not
condemn your poor Ourson to this anguish."
The lovely face of Violette was veiled with sadness. The fear that
Ourson would feel repugnance towards her made her heart tremble; but
this thought, which was wholly personal, was very fleeting--it could not
triumph over her devoted tenderness. Her only response was to throw
herself in the arms of Agnella, and say:--
"Mother, embrace your fair and pretty Violette for the last time."
Whilst Agnella, Ourson and Passerose embraced her and looked lovingly
upon her--whilst Ourson, on his knees, supplicated her to leave him his
bear-skin to which he had been accustomed for twenty years--Violette
called out again in a loud voice:--
"Fairy Drolette! Fairy Drolette! come and accept the price of the life
and health of my dear Ourson."
At this moment the fairy Drolette appeared in all her glory. She was
seated in a massive chariot of gold, drawn by a hundred and fifty larks.
She was clothed with a robe of butterflies' wings, of the most brilliant
colors while from her shoulders fell a mantle of network of diamonds,
which trailed ten feet behind her and it was so fine in texture that it
was light as gauze. Her hair, glittering like tissue of gold, was
ornamented by a crown of carbuncles more brilliant than the sun; each of
her slippers was carved from a single ruby and her beautiful face, soft,
yet gay, breathed contentment. She fixed upon Violette a most
"You wish it, then, my daughter?" said she.
"Madam," cried Ourson, falling at her feet, "deign to listen to me. You,
who have loaded me with undeserved benefits--you, who have inspired me
with boundless gratitude--you, good and just--will you execute the mad
wish of my dear Violette? Will you make my whole life wretched by
forcing me to accept this sacrifice? No, no, charming and humane fairy,
you could not, you will not do it!"
Whilst Ourson was thus supplicating, the fairy gave Violette a light
touch with her wand of pearl and Ourson another--then said:--
"Let it be according to the wish of your heart, my daughter. Let it be
contrary to your ardent desires, my son."
At the same moment, the face, arms and the whole body of the lovely
young girl were covered with the long hair which Ourson had worn, and
Ourson appeared with a white smooth skin, which set off his extreme
beauty to advantage.
Violette gazed at him with admiration, while he, his eyes cast down and
full of tears, dared not look at his poor Violette, so horribly
metamorphosed. At last he looked up, threw himself in her arms, and they
Ourson was marvellously handsome. Violette was, as Ourson had been,
without form, without beauty, but not ugly. When Violette raised her
head and looked at Agnella, the latter extended her hands towards her,
"Thanks, my daughter, my noble, generous child."
"Mother," said Violette, in low voice, "do you love me still?"
"Do I love you, my cherished child? Yes, a hundred times, a thousand
times more than ever before."
"Violette," said Ourson, "never fear being ugly in our eyes. To my
eyes, you are a hundred times more beautiful than when clothed with all
your loveliness. To me you are a sister--a friend incomparable. You will
always be the companion of my life, the ideal of my heart."