The Wild Boar
: Old French Fairy Tales
Two years passed. One day Ourson had been cutting wood in the forest.
Violette was to bring him his dinner and return with him in the evening.
At midday Passerose hung on Violette's arm a basket containing wine,
bread, a little pot of butter, some ham and some cherries. Violette set
off eagerly. The morning had appeared to her very long and she was
impatient to be again with Ourson. To shorten the way she went through
he forest which was composed of large trees under which she could
easily walk. There were neither briars nor thorns in her way and a soft,
thick moss covered the earth.
Violette stepped lightly for she was happy to have found a shorter path
to her dear Ourson. When she had passed over about half the distance she
heard the noise of a heavy and precipitate step but too far off for her
to imagine what it could be. After some moments of expectation she saw
an enormous wild boar coming towards her. He seemed greatly enraged,
ploughed the ground with his tusks and rubbed the bark from the trees as
he passed along. His heavy snorting and breathing were as distinctly
heard as his step. Violette did not know where to fly or to hide
herself. While she was hesitating the wild boar came in sight, saw her,
and paused. His eyes were flaming, his whole body bristling, his tusks
clashing together. He uttered a ferocious grunt, and sprang towards
Violette. Happily she was near a tree whose branches were within her
reach. She seized one, sprang up with it, and climbed from branch to
branch, until she knew she was beyond his reach. Scarcely was she in
safety when the savage animal precipitated himself with all his weight
against the tree in which she had taken refuge. Furious at this
obstacle, he commenced tearing the bark from the tree and gave it such
furious blows with his snout that Violette was terribly frightened. The
concussion caused by these violent and repeated blows might at last
cause the fall of the tree. She clung tightly and trembling to the tree.
The wild boar at last weary of his useless attacks laid himself down at
the foot of the tree casting from time to time a menacing look at
Many hours passed in this painful situation, Violette trembling but
holding on steadily and the wild boar, sometimes calm, sometimes in a
terrible rage, springing against the tree and tearing it with his
Violette called on her brother, her dear Ourson, for help. At every new
attempt of the wild boar she renewed her cries for aid but alas! Ourson
was too far off and he could not hear. No one came to her aid.
Discouragement and despair gained upon her; she began to feel hunger.
She had thrown away the basket of provisions when she sprang up the
tree, the wild boar had trampled upon it, crushed it and eaten up
everything it contained.
Whilst Violette was a prey to these terrors and vainly calling for help
Ourson was amazed at not seeing her come with the dinner.
"Can they have forgotten me?" he said to himself. "No, neither my mother
nor Violette could have forgotten me. I could not have explained myself
well. Without doubt they expected me back to dinner; they are looking
for me now and are perhaps uneasy."
At this thought Ourson abandoned his work and commenced walking
precipitately towards the house. He also wished to shorten the way and
determined to cross the forest. Soon he thought he heard plaintive cries
of distress. He paused--he listened, his heart beat violently as he
believed he recognized the voice of Violette. But, no--he heard nothing
now. He was about to resume his march when he heard a more distinct and
Now he knew that it must be Violette, his Violette, who was in danger
and calling upon Ourson for help. He ran in the direction from which the
noise seemed to come. Approaching, he heard not only calls for help but
roars and growls accompanied by ferocious cries and violent blows. Poor
Ourson ran on with the speed of despair. At last he perceived the wild
boar shaking with his snout the tree upon which Violette was still
crouched in safety though pale and overcome.
This sight gave him new strength. He invoked the protection of the good
fairy Drolette and rushed upon the wild boar with his axe in his hand.
The wild boar in his rage bellowed furiously. He gnashed his formidable
tusks one against the other and sprang towards Ourson, who dodged the
attack and jumped to one side. The boar passed beyond him, paused a
moment, then turned more furious than ever against Ourson who had now
taken breath and with his axe raised in his hand awaited his enemy.
The wild boar sprung on Ourson and received on his head a most violent
blow but his bones were so hard he scarcely seemed to feel it. The
violence of the attack overthrew Ourson. The wild boar, seeing his enemy
on the ground, did not give him time to rise but sprang upon him and
with his tusks endeavored to tear him to pieces.
Ourson now thought himself lost, indeed he thought no more of himself,
he prayed only for Violette's safety.
Whilst the wild boar was thus trampling and kicking his enemy, a jeering
song was heard just above the combatants. The wild boar shuddered,
suddenly quitted Ourson, raised his head and saw a lark flying above
them. The mocking song continued and the brute, uttering a cry of rage,
lowered his head and withdrew slowly without once turning round.
Violette at sight of Ourson's danger had fainted away but had rested
supported by the branches of the tree. Ourson, who thought himself torn
to pieces, scarcely dared attempt to move but feeling no pain he rose
promptly to assist Violette. His heart was full of gratitude to the
fairy Drolette to whom he attributed his rescue. At this moment the lark
flew towards him, pecked his cheeks and whispered in his ear:
"Ourson, it was the fairy Furious who sent this wild boar. I arrived in
time to save you. Profit by the gratitude of Violette and change skins
with her. She will consent joyfully."
"Never!" cried Ourson. "I would rather be a bear all my life--rather
die. Poor Violette! I should indeed be base if I abused her tenderness
towards me in this way."
"Good-bye, obstinate one!" said the lark, flying away singing, "till we
meet again. I shall come again--and then----"
"The result will be the same," said Ourson.
He then climbed the tree, took Violette in his arms, and descended. He
laid her upon the soft green moss and bathed her forehead with a little
wine he found in a broken bottle.
In a few moments Violette was restored to consciousness. She could
scarcely believe her senses when she saw Ourson, living and unwounded,
kneeling by her side and bathing her forehead and temples.
"Ourson! dear Ourson! again you have saved my life. Tell me, oh! tell
me, what can I do to prove my gratitude?"
"Do not speak of gratitude, my cherished Violette. Do I not owe all my
happiness to you? In saving your life I save my own and all I value."
"All that you say, dear brother, is sweet and tender but I desire no
less to render you some real and signal service, which will show all the
gratitude and all the love with which my heart is filled."
"Good! good! we shall see," said Ourson, laughing. "In the mean time let
us think of preserving our lives. You have eaten nothing since morning,
poor Violette, for I see on the ground the remnants of the provisions
you brought, as I suppose, for our dinner. It is late and the day is
declining so we must hurry to return to the farm before dark."
Violette now tried to rise but her terror and her long fast had weakened
her so much that she fell to the ground.
"I cannot stand, Ourson, I am too weak. What will become of us?"
Ourson was greatly embarrassed. Violette was no longer a child and had
grown so large that he could not carry her so far, neither could he
leave her exposed to the attacks of the ferocious beasts of the forest
and he feared she could not do without food till the morning. In this
perplexity he saw a packet fall at his feet. He raised it, opened it and
found a pie, a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine. Ourson knew that this
bounty was from the hand of the fairy Drolette and with a heart full of
gratitude he put the bottle to Violette's lips. One mouthful of this
good wine which was indeed unequalled restored a portion of Violette's
strength. The pie and the bread completely restored her as well as
Ourson who did full honor to the repast. While eating and drinking they
conversed of their past terrors and present happiness.
Now, however, it was night and neither Violette nor Ourson knew which
way to turn their steps in order to reach the farm. They were in the
midst of a wood. Violette was reclining against the tree which had been
her refuge from the wild boar. They dared not quit this spot lest in the
obscurity they might not find as comfortable a one.
"Well, dear Violette, do not be alarmed. It is warm, the weather is
beautiful and you are reclining upon a bed of soft green moss. Let us
pass the night where we are. I will cover you with my coat and I will
lie at your feet to protect you from all danger and alarm. Mamma and
Passerose will not be very anxious for they are ignorant of the dangers
we have encountered and you know that we have often on a lovely evening
like this reached home after they had retired."
Violette consented willingly to pass the night in the forest. In the
first place, they could not do otherwise; secondly, she was never afraid
with Ourson and always thought that what he decided to do was right.
Ourson now arranged Violette's bed of moss in the best possible manner,
took off his coat and in spite of her resistance spread it over her.
Then, after having seen Violette's eyes close and sleep take possession
of all her senses he lay at her feet and soon slept most profoundly.
Violette was the first awake in the morning. She walked around the tree
which had sheltered them during the night. Ourson awaked and not seeing
Violette he sprang up in an instant and called her name in a voice
choking with terror.
"I am here! I am here, dear brother!" she replied, running towards him;
"I am seeking the path to the farm. But what is the matter? you
"I thought you had been carried away by some wicked fairy, dear
Violette, and I reproached myself for having fallen asleep. Let us go
now quickly in order to reach home before mamma and Passerose are
Ourson knew the forest well. He soon found the path to the farm and they
arrived some moments before Agnella and Passerose awoke. They agreed to
conceal from Agnella the dangers to which they had been exposed, to
spare her anguish and disquietude for the future. Passerose alone was
made the confidant of their dangerous adventures.