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Fortunee or Felicia and the Pot of Pinks - a fairy tale by Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy

 Read "Fortunée" fairy tale for all children. "Felicia and the Pot of Pinks" story, is a bedtime Story for kids written by Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy or Countess d'Aulnoy or Madame d'Aulnoy about a poor man, who, when he felt his end near, divided his fortune between his two children. The girl named Fortunée received in pink rose and a silver ring received from a lady who had once lived in his house, and the boy named Bedou received the rest of the fortune - a hen and two chairs. Fortunée thought her brother loved her, but he soon began to show his wickedness to her. Fortunée was always crying and talking to her rose. He noticed that the soil at the root of the rose was dry and went to the fountain to fetch water to water it. At the fountain, Fortunée saw a noble lady with her procession, who stopped to eat. Although shy, Fortunée introduced herself to the lady with her head bowed.

"Fortunée or Felicia and the Pot of Pinks"
a fairy tale by Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy or Countess d'Aulnoy or Madame d'Aulnoy
One English language edition translated the tale as The Pot of Carnations.
Another translation of the tale was The Pinks, published in The Wild Flower Fairy Book.


There was once upon a time a poor husbandman, who, feeling himself at the point of death, did not wish to leave behind him any subjects of dispute between his son and daughter, whom he tenderly loved. So he said to them, "Your mother brought me as a wedding portion two joint-stools and a straw mattrass. There they are with my hen; also a pot of pinks, and a plain silver ring, which were given me by a great lady who once lived in my poor hut. She said to me at parting, 'My good man, there is a present I make you; be careful to well water the pinks and to lock up safely the ring. In addition to this, your daughter shall be incomparably beautiful. Name her Fortunée, and give her this ring and these pinks to console her for her poverty.' Thus, continued the good man, my dear Fortunée, you shall have both the one and the other; the rest shall be for your brother." The two children of the husbandman appeared contented; he died; they wept, and the division of property was made without an appeal to the law.

Fortunée thought that her brother loved her, but one day that she had taken one of the stools for a seat, he said with great fierceness, "Keep your pinks and your ring, but do not disarrange my stools; I like order in my house." Fortunée, who was very gentle, began to weep silently, and remained standing whilst Bedou (that was her brother's name) was seated in state like a judge. Supper time arrived. Bedou had an excellent new-laid egg from his only hen, and he threw the shell at his sister. "There," he said, "I have nothing else to give you; if that does not suit you, go and hunt for ​frogs: there are plenty in the neighbouring marsh." Fortunée made no answer; she only raised her eyes to heaven, wept again, and then went to her own room. She found it filled with perfume, and never doubting that it was the scent of the pinks, she approached them sadly and said, "Beautiful pinks, whose variety is so charming to my sight, you who console my afflicted heart by the sweet perfume you exhale, do not fear that I shall let you want for water, or with cruel hand, that I shall tear you from your stem. I shall cherish you, for you are my only treasures." As she ceased speaking, she looked to see if the plants then required watering—they were very dry. She took her pitcher, and hastened by the light of the moon to the fountain, which was at some distance. As she had walked fast, she sat down by the side of the fountain to rest; but she had scarcely been there a moment when she saw a lady approaching, whose majestic air was in perfect accordance with the numerous attendants who accompanied her; six maids of honour carried her train, she leant on two others; her guards walked before her, richly dressed in amaranth velvet, embroidered with pearls. They carried an arm-chair, covered with cloth of gold, in which she seated herself, and a field-canopy which was quickly arranged; at the same time, they set out the buffet. It was covered with vessels of gold and vases of crystal. They served an excellent supper by the side of the fountain, the sweet murmurs of which seemed to accompany a number of voices that sang these words:—

Softest zephyrs fan our groves,
Flora garlands every glade;
Happy birds declare their loves
Deep within the leafy shade;
Listen to their warblings sweet.
And if thy heart with love would beat,
Choose amongst the countless swains
Who would glory in thy chains.

Fortunée remained in a corner, not daring to move, so much was she surprised at all that was passing. In a few moments, this great Queen said to one of her Equerries, "I fancy I see a shepherdess near that thicket; let her approach." Fortunée immediately advanced, and though she was naturally timid, she did not omit to make a profound curtsey to the Queen with so much grace, that those who saw her were ​perfectly astonished. She took the hem of the Queen's robe and kissed it, and then stood erect before her, her eyes modestly cast down, and her cheeks coloured with crimson, which heightened the brilliant whiteness of her complexion. It was easy to remark in her manners that simplicity and sweetness which is so charming in young maidens.

"What are you doing here, pretty girl," said the Queen; "are you not afraid of robbers?" "Alas! Madam," replied Fortunée, "I have but a linen gown; what would they take from a poor shepherdess like me." "You are not rich, then?" said the Queen, smiling. "I am so poor," answered Fortunée, "that I only inherited from my father a pot of pinks and a silver ring."

"But you have a heart," said the Queen. "If any one wished to have that, would you give it them?" "I do not know what it is to give my heart, Madam," she replied; "I have always understood that without a heart we could not live, that if it is wounded we must die, and notwithstanding my poverty I am not sorry to live." "You are quite right to defend your heart, my child; but tell me," continued the Queen, "have you had a good supper?" "No, Madam," said Fortunée, "My brother ate it all." The Queen commanded a cover to be laid for her, and, desiring her to be seated, helped her to the very best. The young shepherdess was so lost in admiration, and so charmed with the goodness of the Queen, that she could scarcely eat a morsel.

"I am very anxious to know," said the Queen, "what has brought you so late to the fountain." "Madam, there is my pitcher, I came to fetch water to water my pinks." Saying this, she stooped to pick up the pitcher which was near her, but as she showed it to the Queen, what was her astonishment to find it was a golden one, covered with large diamonds, and filled with water which had a delicious perfume. She dared not take it, thinking it could not be hers. "I give it you, Fortunée," said the Queen; "go and water the flowers you take such care of, and remember that the Queen of the Woods would be numbered amongst your friends." At these words, the shepherdess threw herself at the Queen's feet. "After having offered you my most humble thanks, Madam," she said, "for the honour you have done me, I venture to take the liberty to ask you to remain here a moment. I wish ​to fetch you the half of my goods—my pot of pinks which can never be in better hands than yours."

"Go then, Fortunée," said the Queen, gently patting her cheek, "I consent to remain here till your return." Fortunée took her golden pitcher and ran to her little room, but during her absence Bedou had entered, taken away her pot of pinks, and put in their place a large cabbage.

When Fortunée saw this wretched cabbage, she was plunged in despair, and hesitated about returning to the fountain at all.

At length she determined she would do so, and throwing herself on her knees before the Queen, said, "Madam, Bedou has stolen my flowers; I have nothing now remaining but my ring; I hope you will accept that in proof of my gratitude." "If I take your ring, fair Shepherdess," said the Queen, "you are completely ruined."

"Ah! Madam," she answered with an air of great intelligence; "while I possess your good opinion, I can never be ruined." The Queen took the ring, placed it on her finger, and then mounted a car of coral, enriched with emeralds, and drawn by six white horses more beautiful than the steeds of the sun.

Fortunée gazed after her as long as she could. At last a turn of the road in the forest hid her from her sight, and she then returned to Bedou's cottage full of this adventure.

The first thing she did, on entering her chamber, was to throw the cabbage out of window, but she was much astonished to hear a voice cry, "Ah! I am killed." She could not tell what to make of this exclamation, as in general cabbages do not speak. As soon as it was light, Fortunée, uneasy about her pot of pinks, went down into the garden to search for them, and the first thing she found was the unhappy cabbage; she gave it a kick, saying, "What dost thou here, thou that didst presume to take in my chamber the place of my pinks?" "If I had not been carried, it would never have entered my head to go there," replied the cabbage. Fortunée trembled, for she was very much frightened; but the cabbage said again to her, "If you will carry me to my companions, I can tell you in two words that your pinks are in Bedou's straw mattrass." Fortunée, in despair, knew not how to recover them. She kindly planted the cabbage, and then taking up her brother's favourite hen, she said to it, "Naughty thing, I will now make you pay for all the misery which ​Bedou has caused me." "Ah! Shepherdess," said the hen, "Let me live; and, as my fancy is to cackle, I will tell you some wonderful things.

"Do not imagine yourself the daughter of the husbandman who brought you up; no, beautiful Fortunée, he is not your father; but the Queen who gave you birth had already six girls, and, as if it was in her own power to have a boy, her husband and father-in-law threatened to stab her if she did not bring them a son and heir. The poor Queen was again about to become a mother, they shut her up in a castle, and placed round her guards, or more properly speaking, executioners, who had orders to kill her if she gave birth to another daughter.

"The Queen, trembling at the fate which awaited her, could neither eat nor sleep. She had a sister a fairy. To her she wrote, informing her of her just cause of alarm. The Fairy, who was also near her confinement, knew that she would have a son, and as soon as the boy was born, she loaded the zephyrs with a cradle, in which she put her own son, and ordered them to carry the little prince into the Queen's chamber, and change him for the daughter which would be born to her; but this forethought was of no avail, for the Queen, receiving no answer from her fairy sister, profited by the good-will of one of her guards, who, out of pity, allowed her to escape by a ladder of ropes.

"As soon as you were in the world, the afflicted Queen, trying to hide herself, came to this cottage nearly dead with grief and fatigue. I was the husbandman's wife, and a good nurse. She gave you in charge to me, and told me her misfortunes, by which she was so overwhelmed, that she died without having time to give us any directions respecting what was to be done with you. As I loved gossiping all my life, I could not help telling everybody this adventure; and so one day I told all I knew about it to a beautiful lady who came here. She instantly touched me with a wand, and I became a hen, without power to speak any more. My grief was excessive, and my husband, who was absent at the time of the metamorphose, knew nothing of it. On his return, he looked everywhere for me; finally he thought I was drowned, or that the beasts of the forest had devoured me. This same lady who had done me so much mischief ​passed by here a second time; she then ordered him to call you Fortunée, and made him a present of a pot of pinks and a silver ring; but whilst she was here there arrived five-and-twenty soldiers of the King, your father, who sought you for evil purposes; she uttered some words, and changed them all into green cabbages. It is one of them you threw out of the window yesterday evening. I never heard him speak till now, nor could I speak myself: I know not how our voices came back to us." The Princess was greatly surprised at the wonders which the hen related to her. She was full of kind feeling towards her, and said, "I pity you very much, my poor nurse, to think you should become a hen! I would gladly restore you to your own form if I could, but do not despair. It appears to me that all the affairs you have just acquainted me with cannot be allowed to remain as they are at present. I shall go now and look for my pinks, for I love them dearly."

Bedou was gone into the forest, never imagining that Fortunée would think of hunting in his mattrass; she was delighted at his absence, and flattered herself that she would meet with no obstacle, when she suddenly saw an immense number of enormous rats armed for battle. They formed themselves in battalions, having in their rear the famous mattrass and one of the stools on either flank; many great mice formed a corps de reserve, determined to fight like Amazons. Fortunée, struck with surprise, dared not approach. The rats threw themselves on her, and bit her till she was all over blood. "What!" she exclaimed, "my pinks, my dear pinks, must you remain in such bad company?" It suddenly occurred to her that perhaps the perfumed water which was in the golden vase might possess a peculiar virtue. She ran to fetch it, and threw some drops of it on the host of rats and mice. Immediately the rascals ran away, each into his hole, and the Princess quickly laid hands on her beautiful pinks, which were nearly dead for want of water. She at once poured on them all the water she had in her golden vase, and was smelling them with much pleasure, when she heard a sweet voice come from amongst the stalks, which said to her, "Incomparable Fortunée, this is the happy day so long wished for, in which I may declare to you my sentiments. Know that the power of your beauty is so great that it can ​even inspire flowers with love." The Princess, trembling and surprised at having heard a cabbage, a hen, and a pink speak, and seen an army of rats, turned pale and fainted.

Bedou came in at the moment: labour and the heat of the sun had put him in such a fever, that when he found Fortunée had come to search for her pinks, and had found them, he dragged her to the door and flung her outside. She had scarcely felt the coldness of the earth, before she opened her beautiful eyes and perceived near her the Queen of the Woods charming and magnificent as usual. "You have a bad brother," she said to Fortunée. "I saw with what inhumanity he threw you out here; would you like me to revenge you?" "No, Madam," answered Fortunée; "I have no feelings of anger, and his bad disposition cannot change mine." "But," rejoined the Queen, "I have a presentiment which assures me that this rough peasant is not your brother; what do you think?" "All appearances persuade me that he is, Madam," replied the Shepherdess modestly, "and I ought to believe them." "What!" continued the Queen, "have you not heard that you were born a princess?" "I have just been told it," she replied; "but how can I venture to boast of that of which I have no proof?"

"Ah! my dear child," replied the Queen, "how I like to see you in this mood; I know now that the mean education you have received has not extinguished the nobility of your blood. Yes, you are a princess, and it has not been in my power to save you from the misfortunes which you have suffered up to this hour." She was here interrupted by the appearance of a youth more beautiful than the day. He was attired in a long robe of gold and green silk, fastened by large buttons of emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. He had a crown of pinks, and his hair covered his shoulders. As soon as he saw the Queen, he bent one knee to the ground and saluted her respectfully. "Ha! my son, my amiable Pink," she said, "the fatal time of your enchantment is over, thanks to the aid of the beautiful Fortunée; what joy to see you!" She pressed him closely to her bosom, and then turning to the Shepherdess, "Charming Princess," she said, "I know all that the Hen told you; but what you do not know is, that the zephyrs whom I had ordered to put my son in your place laid him in a bed of flowers whilst they went ​to find your mother, who was my sister. A fairy, from whose knowledge it was impossible to conceal anything, and with whom I had quarrelled for some time, watched so well for the moment that she had foreseen from the birth of my son, that she changed him on the spot to a pink, and notwithstanding my science, I could not prevent the misfortune. In the grief in which I was plunged, I employed all my art to discover some remedy, and I could find none better than to bring Prince Pink to the place where you were nursed, foreseeing that when you had watered the flowers with the delicious water I had in the golden vase, he would speak; he would love you, and in future nothing would disturb your happiness. I had also the silver ring which it was necessary I should receive from you, being aware that that would be the sign by which I should know that the hour approached when the spell would lose its force, in spite of the rats and mice whom our enemy would place in battle array to prevent your recovering the Pinks. Thus, my dear Fortunée, if my son marries you with this silver ring, your happiness will be permanent. See if this Prince appears sufficiently amiable for you to receive him as a husband." "Madam," replied she blushing, "you overpower me with favours. I know you are my aunt; that, by your power, the guards sent to kill me were metamorphosed into cabbages, and my nurse into a hen; and that in proposing to me an alliance with Prince Pink, it is the greatest honour you can do me, but shall I tell you the cause of my hesitation? I do not know his heart, and I begin to feel for the first time in my life that I could not be happy if he did not love me."

"Banish all uncertainty on that point, sweet Princess," said the Prince. "Long ago you made as much impression on me as you could wish at the present moment, and if the use of my voice had been granted me, what would you not have heard of the passion which consumed me; but I am an unhappy Prince, for whom you can feel only indifference." He then recited these verses:—

While but a simple flower to sight,
You lavish'd on me every care;
With pleasure mark'd my blossoms bright,
With joy inhaled my fragrance rare.
For you I breathed my sweetest sigh,
For you my gayest tints display'd,

And drooping when you were not nigh
My passion to express essay'd:
Consuming with my secret flame,
In silence doom'd so long to languish:
With gentle touch you thrill'd my frame,
With gentle look assuaged my anguish.
Sometimes those lovely lips would kiss
My leaves, all trembling with emotion.
Oh then, to tell thee all my bliss—
To prove my grateful heart's devotion—
In those sweet moments how I pray'd
Some magic power, my fate deploring,
Would break the spell upon me laid,
My shape, my speech again restoring.
My prayer was heard; once more I find
The form, the voice, for which I panted;
But thou art changed!—no longer kind!
Ye gods! my prayer why have ye granted?

The Princess seemed well pleased with the Prince's gallantry. She highly praised the impromptu, and though she was not accustomed to hear verses, she spoke on the subject like a person of good taste. The Queen, who had borne her Shepherdess's dress with great impatience, touched her, and wished for her the richest clothes that were ever seen. In a moment, her white linen changed to silver brocade, embroidered with carbuncles; from her high head-dress fell a long veil of gauze, mixed with gold; her black hair was ornamented with a thousand diamonds; and her complexion, whose whiteness was dazzling, assumed so rich a colour, that the Prince could scarcely support its brilliancy. "Ah! Fortunée, how beautiful and charming you are!" exclaimed he, sighing; "will you be inexorable to my pain?" "No, my son," said the Queen; "your cousin will not resist our prayers."

While they were thus talking, Bedou, returning to his work, passed them, and seeing Fortunée attired like a goddess, he thought he was dreaming. She called him to her with much kindness, and begged the Queen to have pity on him. "What, after having so ill-treated you?" said she. "Ah! Madam," replied the Princess, "I am incapable of vengeance." The Queen embraced her, and praised the generosity of her sentiments. "To gratify you," she rejoined, "I am going to enrich the ungrateful Bedou." His hut became a palace, well furnished, and full of money; his stools and his mattress remained unchanged to remind him of his former state; but the Queen of the Woods refined his spirit, amended his manners, ​and improved his appearance. Bedou then found himself possessed of gratitude. What did he not say to the Queen and Princess, to prove it on this occasion. Finally, by a stroke of the Queen's wand, the cabbages became men, the hen a woman. Prince Pink remained the only person discontented. He was sighing beside the Princess; he conjured her to take a resolution in his favour. At length she consented; she had never before seen any loveable object, and all that was most loveable was less so than this Prince. The Queen of the Woods, delighted at so fortunate a marriage, neglected nothing to make it sumptuous. The fêtes on this occasion lasted many years, and the happiness of this tender couple as long as they lived.

One might have guess'd, without a fairy's aid,
That Fortunée was born a throne to grace:
The brilliant virtues which adorn'd the maid
Proved she had sprung from an illustrious race;
For in her veins ran the high blood of worth,[1]
Virtue alone is true nobility.
O thou with nought to boast of but thy birth,
Learn from my page this lesson with humility.
Vainly thou vauntest that ancestral fame
Which makes thee hearer of a glorious name;
Vainly thou dreamest the purple robe of pride
Thy crimes can justify, thy follies hide.
The wise and good, whatever their estate,
Alone have claims to be accounted great.
Pomp, wealth, and power, without a noble mind,
No place in honour's spotless roll will find.

The End

1. I presume the "beau sang" to which the countess alludes, as the cause of the "brilliant virtues "of Fortunée, was entirely on the mother's side. The virtue of the poor queen is unquestioned, but that of her royal husband, who threatened to murder her if she did not bring him an heir to his crown, is scarcely of that class which we should call brilliant, even in an "antique Roman." The moral is an admirable one. Its only fault appears to me to be, that it has nothing to do with the story.

All the Fairy Tales by Madame d'Aulnoy

Babiole - Also known as Babiola

Belle Belle; or, the Chevalier Fortuné

Finette Cendron - Alternate names for the tale are: The Story of Finetta or The Curious Story of Finetta or The Story of Finetta, or, The Cinder-Girl.

Fortunee - Also known as Felicia and the Pot of Pinks or The Pot of Carnations or The Pinks

Gracieuse and Percinet - Also known as Graciosa and Percinet

Princess Belle-Etoile and Prince Cheri

Princess Rosette

The Bee and the Orange - Also known as Tree The Orange-Tree and the Bee

The Benevolent Frog - Also known as The Beneficent Frog or The Friendly Frog

The Blue Bird

The Fair with Golden Hair - Also known as Princess Goldenhair, or The Story of Pretty Goldilocks, or The Fair Maid with Golden Locks, or The Beauty with Golden Hair, or Fair Goldilocks

The Golden Branch - Also known as The Golden Bough

The good little Mouse - Also known as The Little Good Mouse

The Green Serpent - Also known as The Green Dragon

The Imp Prince - Also known as Prince Sprite, or The Hobgoblin Prince, or The Imp Prince, or Prince Ariel, or Prince Elfin, or The Invisible Prince

The Pigeon and the Dove

The Princess Carpillon

The Princess Mayblossom - Also known as Princess Printaniere, or Princess Verenata and Princess Maia

The Ram - Also known as The Wonderful Sheep or Miranda and the Royal Ram, or The Royal Ram, or, The Wishes

The White Cat

The White Doe - Also known as The Doe in the Woods, or The Hind in the Woods, or The Story of the Hind in the Forest, or The Enchanted Hind, or The Hind of the Forest, or The White Fawn

The Yellow Dwarf

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