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The Fairies, by Charles Perrault

There was once a widow who had two daughters: the elder resembled her so much in her mood and her face that anyone saw her, saw her mother. They were both so disagreeable and so proud that nobody could live with them. The younger was the true portrait of her father for the gentleness and honesty. As one naturally loves his fellow being, this mother was mad about her eldest daughter, and at the same time had a frightful aversion for the younger. She made her eat in the kitchen and work constantly.

It was necessary, among other things, that this poor child should go twice a day to draw water a half league from the house, and bring a full large pitcher. One day when she was at that fountain, a poor woman came to her, and she begged her to give her to drink.

“Yes, my good mother,” said the young girl; and, immediately rinsing her pitcher, drew water from the most beautiful spot in the fountain, and presented it to her, always supporting the jug, so that she could drink more easily. The good woman, having drunk, said to her: “You are so kind and so honest that I can not help but giving you a gift;” for it was a fairy who had taken the form of a poor village woman, to see how far the honesty of this young girl would go. “I give you as a gift,” continued the fairy, “that every word you say will come out of your mouth a flower or a precious stone.”

When this girl came to the house, her mother scolded her for coming so late from the fountain. “I beg your pardon, mother,” said the poor girl, “for having delayed so long;” and, saying these words, two roses, two pearls, and two large diamonds came out of his mouth. “What do I see?” Said his mother, in astonishment; “I think it comes from the mouth pearls and diamonds. Where does that come from, my daughter?” (That was the first time she called him her daughter). The poor child naively told her all that had happened to her, not without throwing an infinity of diamonds. “Really,” said the mother, “I must send my daughter there. Look, Fanchon, see what comes out of your sister’s mouth when she speaks; would you not be glad to have the same gift? All you have to do is to go and draw water from the fountain, and when a poor woman asks you to drink, give it to her quite honestly.” “It would be nice to see,” replied the brutalist, “to go to the fountain!” “I want you to go,” resumed the mother, “and just now.”

She went, but still scolding. She took the most beautiful silver bottle in the house. She was no sooner arrived at the fountain than she saw a beautifully dressed lady come out of the wood, who came to ask her to drink. It was the same fairy who had appeared to her sister, but who had taken the air and clothes of a princess, to see how far the girl’s dishonesty would go. “Have I come here,” said the brutal proud woman, “to give you to drink? I brought a silver bottle for the purpose of just giving to Madame to drink? I am of the opinion: drink if you want.” “You are not very honest,” said the fairy, without getting angry. “Well! Since you are so little obliging, I give you as a gift that at every word you say, it will come out of your mouth a serpent or a toad.”

At first his mother saw her, she cried out, “Well! my daughter!” “Well ! my mother!” replied the brutal, throwing two vipers and two toads. “O heaven,” cried the mother, “what do I see? It is her sister who is the cause of it; she will pay for it;” and at once she ran to beat her. The poor child fled and saved himself in the next forest.

The king’s son, who was returning from the hunt, met her and, seeing her so sad, asked her what she was doing there alone and why she was crying!” “Alas! Sir, my mother drove me out of the house.” The king’s son, who saw five or six pearls and as many diamonds from his mouth, begged her to tell him where it came from. She told him all her adventure. The king’s son, considering that such a gift was better than all that one could give in marriage to another, took him to his father’s palace, where he married her.

For her sister, she was so much hated, that her own mother drove her from her home; and the unfortunate woman, after running well without finding any one who wished to receive her, went to die at the corner of a wood.

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