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The Princess Rosette - a fairy tale by Countess of Segur

 Read "The Princess Rosette - History of Princess Rosette" fairy tale for all children. "The Princess Rosette" story, is a short bedtime Story for kids written by Countess of Ségur about a princess named Rosette who had a good soul and was very beautiful, but who was not loved by her parents, the king and queen, but also by her sisters Orangine and Roussette. Princess Rosette was sent to a farm and raised by a nanny, but her godmother, the Puissante Fairy, took care of her education. At the age of fifteen, the girl was called to the castle by her father the king, but when they saw how beautiful and intelligent she was, they hated her even more.

"The Princess Rosette"
a fairy tale by Countess of Segur


THE FARM

THERE was once a king and queen, who had three daughters. The two eldest were twins—Orangine and Roussette—and their parents loved them very dearly. They were beautiful and intelligent, but they were not very good. In this they resembled the king and queen. The third princess was called Rosette and was three years younger than her sisters. She was as amiable as she was handsome, as good as she was beautiful.

The fairy Puissante was Rosette's godmother and this made her two sisters, Orangine and Roussette, very jealous. They were angry because they also had not a fairy for their godmother.

Some days after the birth of Rosette, the king and queen sent her to the country, on a farm, to be nursed. Rosette lived happily here for fifteen years without her parents coming once to see her. Every year they sent a small sum of money to the farmer to pay Rosette's expenses and asked some questions as to her health, but they never came to see her nor disturbed themselves about her education.

Rosette would indeed have been very rude and ignorant if her good godmother, the fairy Puissante, had not sent her teachers and all that was necessary. In this way Rosette learned to read, to write, to keep accounts and to work beautifully. She became an accomplished musician, she knew how to draw and spoke several languages.

Rosette was the most beautiful, the most attractive, the most amiable and the most excellent princess in the whole world. She had never disobeyed her nurse or godmother, and had therefore never been reproved. She did not regret her father and mother, as she did not know them and she did not desire any other home than the farm where she had been so happy.

One day when Rosette was seated on a bench before the door, she saw a man arrive in a laced hat and coat; he approached her and asked if he could speak to the princess Rosette.

"Yes, without doubt," answered the princess; "I am the princess Rosette."

"Then, princess," said the man, respectfully taking off his hat, "be graciously pleased to receive this letter, which the king your father has charged me to deliver to you."

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Rosette took the letter, opened it, and read the following:

"Rosette: Your sisters are now eighteen years old and it is time they were married. I have invited the princes and princesses of all the kingdoms of the earth to come and assist at a festival which I intend to give in order to choose husbands for Orangine and Roussette. You are now fifteen years old and can properly appear at this festival. You may come and pass three days with me. I will send for you in eight days. I cannot send you any money for your toilet as I am now at great expense for your sisters; besides, no one will look at you. Come, therefore, in any clothes you please.

"The King Your Father."

Rosette ran quickly to show this letter to her nurse.

"Are you pleased, Rosette, to go to this festival?"

"Yes, my good nurse, I am delighted. I will enjoy myself and become acquainted with my father, mother and my sisters and then I will return to you."

"But," said the nurse, shaking her head, "what dress will you wear, my poor child?"

"My beautiful robe of white percale which I always wear on holidays, my dear nurse."

"My poor little one, that robe is indeed very suitable for the country but would appear miserably poor at a party of kings and princes."

"Of what consequence is all this, nurse? My father himself has said that no one will look at me. This thought will make me much more at my ease. I shall see all and no one will see me."

The nurse sighed but said nothing and began immediately to mend, whiten and smooth Rosette's white robe.

The day before the king was to send for her, the nurse called her and said:

"My dear child, here is your dress for the king's festival; be very careful with it as I shall not be there to whiten and smooth it for you."

"Thanks, my good nurse; be satisfied—I will take great care."

The nurse now packed in a little trunk the percale robe and white skirt, a pair of cotton stockings and black shoes and then a little bouquet of flowers for Rosette to wear in her hair. Just as she was about to close the trunk, the window opened violently and the fairy Puissante entered.

"You are going, then, to your father's court, my dear Rosette?" said the fairy.

"Yes, dear godmother, but only for three days."

"But what dress have you prepared for those three days?"

"Look, godmother! look!" and she pointed to the trunk, which was still open.

The fairy smiled, drew a small bottle from her pocket and said: "I intend that my dear Rosette shall make a sensation by her dress. This is unworthy of her."

The fairy opened the bottle, and threw some drops of the liquid it contained upon the robe, which became a coarse India rubber cloth; then a drop upon the cotton stockings, which changed into blue yarn; a third drop upon the bouquet, which became a hen's egg; a fourth upon the shoes, and they immediately changed into coarse felt.

"In this manner," said she, with a gracious air, "do I wish my Rosette to appear. You must attire yourself in all this and, to complete your toilette, here is a necklace of nuts, a band for your hair of burrs, and bracelets of dried beans." She kissed Rosette who was completely stupefied. The fairy then disappeared and the nurse burst into tears.

"Alas! it was not worth my while to give myself all the trouble of preparing this poor robe. Oh, my poor Rosette! Do not go to this festival. Pretend you are ill, my child."

"No," said Rosette; "that would be to displease my godmother. I am sure that she does what is best for me. She is much wiser than I am. I will go and I will wear all that my godmother has brought me." And the good and obedient Rosette thought no more of her dress. She went to bed and slept tranquilly.

She had scarce arranged her hair and dressed herself in the morning when the chariot of the fairy came for her. She embraced her nurse, took her little trunk and departed.

ROSETTE AT THE COURT OF THE KING HER FATHER

THEY were but two hours on the way, for the king's capital was only ten leagues from the farm. When Rosette arrived, she was surprised to see that she had to descend in a little, dirty court-yard, where a page attended her.

"Come, princess, I am commissioned to conduct you to your chamber."

"Can I not see the queen my mother?" asked Rosette, timidly.

"In two hours, princess, when they are assembled for dinner, you will see her. In the mean time you can dress."

Rosette followed the page, who led her through a long corridor, at the end of which was a narrow staircase. She ascended, slowly, after a long, long time arriving at another corridor where she entered the chamber destined for her. The queen had lodged Rosette in one of the servants' rooms. The little page placed Rosette's modest trunk in a corner and said, with an air of embarrassment,

"Pardon me, princess, for having led you into this chamber, so unworthy of you. The queen has disposed of all the other apartments for her guests, the kings, queens, princes and princesses. There was no other room vacant and——"

"Well, well," said Rosette, smiling, "I shall not blame you. Besides, I shall be very comfortable."

"I will come for you, princess, to lead you to the king and queen at the proper hour."

"I will be ready," said Rosette, "adieu, pretty page."

Rosette now unpacked her trunk. Her heart was beating and swelling tumultuously. Sighing heavily, she drew out her robe of coarse cloth and the other articles of her toilette. Rosette was very adroit. She arranged her exquisite blonde hair most beautifully, with a pullet's feather and a band made of burrs. Her head-dress was indeed so charming that it made her a hundred times more lovely. When she had put on her shoes and stockings and her robe, what was her amazement to see that it was made of gold brocade, embroidered with rubies of marvellous beauty; her coarse heavy shoes were now white satin, adorned with buckles of one single ruby of wonderful splendour; her stockings were of silk and as fine as a spider's web; her necklace was of rubies surrounded with large diamonds; her bracelets of diamonds, the most splendid that had ever been seen.

Rosette now ran to the glass and saw that the pullet's wing had become a magnificent locket and that the pendant was a carbuncle of such beauty and brilliancy that a fairy alone could possess it.

Rosette, happy, delighted, exultant, danced around the little room and thanked her good godmother aloud for having tested her obedience and thus magnificently rewarded it.

The page now knocked at the door, entered and started back, dazzled by the beauty of Rosette and the magnificence of her toilette. Rosette followed him. They descended the stairs, passed through many apartments and at last entered a suite of superb salons, filled with kings, queens and nobles. Every one who saw Rosette paused and turned to admire her. The modest princess, however, was ashamed to be thus gazed at and did not dare raise her eyes. At last the page paused and said to Rosette:

"Princess, behold the queen your mother and the king!"

Rosette raised her eyes and saw just before her the king and queen who regarded her with a comic surprise.

"Madam," said the king at last to her, "be graciously pleased to tell me your name. You are no doubt some great queen or still greater fairy whose unexpected presence is an honor and a happiness for us."

"Sire," said Rosette, falling gracefully upon her knees, "I am neither a great queen nor a powerful fairy but your daughter Rosette, for whom you were kind enough to send."

"Rosette!" exclaimed the queen; "Rosette clothed more magnificently than I have ever been! Who, then, miss, has given you all these beautiful things?"

"My godmother, madam. Graciously permit me, madam, to kiss your hand and present me to my sisters."

The queen gave her hand coldly. Then pointing to Orangine and Roussette, who were by her side, she said: "There are your sisters."

Poor Rosette, saddened by this cold welcome from her father and mother, turned gladly towards her sisters and wished to embrace them but they drew back with terror, fearing that while embracing them Rosette would displace the red and white with which they were painted. Orangine covered herself with white to conceal her yellow skin and Roussette to hide her ugly freckles.

Rosette was repulsed by her sisters but was soon surrounded by the ladies of the court and all the invited princes. As she conversed with ready grace and goodness and spoke several languages she charmed all those who approached her. Orangine and Roussette were frightfully jealous. The king and queen were furious for Rosette absorbed all attention; no one paid any attention to the sisters.

At table the young prince Charmant, who was monarch of the most magnificent and beautiful of all the kingdoms of the earth and whom Orangine hoped to wed, placed himself by the side of Rosette and was completely absorbed in her during the repast.

After dinner, Orangine and Roussette, in order to draw some attention towards themselves, sang a duet. They sang indeed admirably and accompanied themselves on the harp. Rosette who was truly good and wished her sister to love her, applauded them rapturously and complimented them on their talent.

Orangine, in place of being touched by this generous sentiment and hoping to play her sister a malicious trick, now insisted upon her singing. Rosette for some time modestly refused. Her sisters, who supposed that she did not know how to sing, were insistent. The queen herself, desiring to humiliate poor Rosette, joined her entreaties to those of Orangine and Roussette and in fact commanded the young princess to sing.

Rosette curtsied to the queen. "I obey, madam," said she.

She took the harp and the enchanting grace of her position astonished her sisters. They would have been glad indeed to interrupt her when she commenced her prelude for they saw at a glance that her talent was much superior to theirs. But when, in a beautiful and melodious voice, she sang a romance, composed by herself on the happiness of being good and beloved there was an outbreak of admiration, the enthusiasm became general and her sisters almost fainted with jealousy and envy.

Charmant was transported with admiration. He approached Rosette, his eyes moistened with tears and said to her:

"Enchanting and lovely princess, I have never heard so touching a voice. Can I not have the happiness of hearing you once more?"

Rosette, who was painfully aware of the jealousy of her sisters, excused herself, saying she was fatigued. Prince Charmant, who had clear intellect and penetration, divined the true motive of her refusal and admired Rosette still more for her delicacy. The queen, irritated by the success of Rosette, terminated the party at an early hour and retired.

Rosette returned to her little room and undressed herself. She removed her robe and her ornaments and put them in a superb case of ebony which she found in her room. Much to her surprise, she found in her little trunk the robe of coarse cloth, the pullet feather, the necklace of nuts, the burrs, the dry beans, the coarse shoes of felt and the blue yarn stockings. She would not allow herself, however, to be disquieted, certain that her good godmother would come to her assistance at the proper time. Rosette was indeed saddened by the coldness of her parents and the jealousy of her sisters; but, as she scarcely knew them, this painful impression was effaced by the remembrance of the Prince Charmant, who appeared so good and who had been so flattering in his attention to her. Rosette soon slept peacefully and awoke late in the morning.

FAMILY COUNCIL

WHILE Rosette was only occupied with smiling and pleasant thoughts, the king, the queen and the princesses Orangine and Roussette were choking with rage. They had all assembled in the queen's apartment.

"This is too horrible," said the princesses. "Why did you send for this Rosette, who has such dazzling jewels and makes herself admired and sought after by all these foolish kings and princes? Was it to humiliate us, my father, that you called us to the court at this time?"

"I swear to you, my beautiful darlings," said the king, "that it was by the order of the fairy Puissante I was compelled to write for her to come. Besides, I did not know that she was so beautiful and that——"

"So beautiful!" interrupted the princesses. "Where do you find her so beautiful? She is indeed ugly and coarse. It is her magnificent attire alone which makes her admired. Why have you not given to us your most superb jewels and your richest robes? We have the air of young slovens by the side of this proud princess."

"And where could I possibly have found jewels as magnificent as hers? I have none which would compare with them. It is her godmother, the fairy Puissante, who has lent her these jewels."

"Why, then, did you summon a fairy to be the godmother of Rosette, when you gave to us only queens for our godmothers?"

"It was not your father who called her," cried the queen. "The fairy Puissante herself, without being called, appeared to us and signified that she would be Rosette's godmother."

"It is not worth while to spend the time in disputing and quarrelling," said the king. "It is better to occupy ourselves in finding some means of getting rid of Rosette and preventing Prince Charmant from seeing her again."

"Nothing more easy than that," said the queen. "I will have her despoiled to-morrow of her rare jewels and her beautiful robes. I will order my servants to seize her and carry her back to the farm which she shall never leave again."

The queen had scarcely uttered these words, when the fairy Puissante appeared with an angry and threatening air. "If you dare to touch Rosette," said she, with a thundering voice, "if you do not keep her at the palace, if she is not present at all the parties, you shall feel the terrible effects of my anger. You unworthy king and you heartless queen, you shall be changed into toads and you, odious daughters and sisters, shall become vipers. Dare now to touch Rosette!"

Saying these words, she disappeared.

The king, the queen and princesses were horribly frightened and separated without saying a single word but their hearts were filled with rage. The princesses slept but little and were yet more furious in the morning when they saw their eyes heavy and their features convulsed by evil passions. In vain they used rouge and powder and beat their maids. They had no longer a vestige of beauty. The king and queen were as unhappy and as despairing as the princesses and indeed they saw no remedy for their grief and disappointment.

SECOND DAY OF THE FESTIVAL

IN the morning a coarse servant brought Rosette bread and milk and offered her services to dress her. Rosette, who did not wish this rude domestic to see the change in her dress, thanked her smilingly and replied that she was in the habit of arranging her hair and dressing herself. Rosette then began her toilette. When she had washed and combed her hair she wished to arrange it with the superb carbuncle she had worn the day before but she saw with surprise that the ebony case had disappeared and in its place was a small wooden trunk, upon which there lay a folded paper. She took it and read the following directions:

"Here are your things, Rosette. Dress yourself as you were dressed yesterday, in the clothing you brought from the farm."

Rosette did not hesitate an instant, certain that her godmother would come to her help at the proper time. She arranged her pullet wing in a different manner from that of the day before, put on her dress, her necklace, her shoes, her bracelets and then stood before the glass.

When she saw her own reflection in the mirror she was amazed. She was attired in the richest and most splendid riding-suit of sky-blue velvet and pearl buttons as large as walnuts; her stockings were bordered with a wreath of pearls; her head-dress was a cap of sky-blue velvet with a long plume of dazzling whiteness, which floated down to her waist and was attached by a single pearl of unparalleled beauty and splendor. The boots were also of blue velvet embroidered in gold and pearls. Her bracelets and necklace also were of pearls, so large and so pure that a single one would have paid for the king's palace.

At the moment when Rosette was about to leave her chamber to follow the page, a sweet voice whispered in her ear, "Rosette, do not mount any other horse than the one the prince Charmant will present you."

She turned and saw no one; but she felt convinced that this counsel came from her good godmother.

"Thanks, dear godmother," she said, in low tones. She felt a sweet kiss upon her cheek and smiled with happiness and gratitude.

The little page conducted her, as the day before, into the royal salon, where her appearance produced a greater effect than before. Her fine, sweet countenance, her splendid figure, her magnificent dress, allured all eyes and captivated all hearts.

The prince Charmant, who was evidently expecting her, advanced to meet her, offered his arm and led her to the king and queen who received her with more coldness than the day before. Orangine and Roussette were bursting with spite at the sight of the splendid appearance of Rosette. They would not even say good-day to their sister.

The good, young princess was of course somewhat embarrassed by this reception but the prince Charmant, seeing her distress, approached and asked permission to be her companion during the chase in the forest.

"It will be a great pleasure to me," replied Rosette, who did not know how to dissimulate.

"It seems to me," said he, "that I am your brother, so great is the affection which I feel for you, charming princess. Permit me to remain by your side and to defend you against all enemies."

"It will be an honor and a pleasure for me to be protected by a king so worthy of the name he bears."

Prince Charmant was enchanted by this gracious reply and, notwithstanding the malice of Orangine and Roussette, who tried in every possible way to attract him to themselves, he did not leave Rosette's side for a moment.

After breakfast they descended to the court for a ride on horseback. A page advanced to Rosette, leading a splendid black horse, which could scarcely be held by the grooms, it was so wild and vicious.

"You must not ride this horse, princess," said Prince Charmant, "it will certainly kill you. Bring another horse for the princess," he said, turning to the page.

"The king and the queen gave orders that the princess should ride no other horse than this," said the page. At this the prince exclaimed:

"Dear princess, wait but for a moment; I myself will bring you a horse worthy of you but I implore you not to mount this dangerous animal."

"I will wait your return," said Rosette, with a gracious smile.

A few moments afterwards Prince Charmant appeared, leading a magnificent horse, white as snow. The saddle was of blue velvet, embroidered in pearls and the bridle was of gold and pearls. When Rosette wished to mount, the horse knelt down and rose quietly when she had placed herself in the saddle.

Prince Charmant sprang lightly upon his beautiful steed Alezan and placed himself by the side of the princess Rosette. The king, the queen and the princesses, who had seen all this, were pale with rage but they dared say nothing for fear of the fairy Puissante.

The king gave the signal to depart. Every lady had her attendant gentleman. Orangine and Roussette were obliged to content themselves with two insignificant princes who were neither so young nor so handsome as Prince Charmant. Orangine and Roussette were so sulky that even these princes declared they would never wed princesses so uninteresting.

In place of following the chase, Prince Charmant and Rosette wandered in the beautiful shady walks of the forest, talking merrily and giving accounts of their past lives.

"But," said Charmant, "if the king your father has not allowed you to reside in his palace, how is it that he has given you such beautiful jewels, worthy of a fairy?"

"It is to my good godmother that I owe them," replied Rosette. And then she told Prince Charmant how she had been educated on a farm and that she was indebted to the fairy Puissante for everything that she knew and everything she valued. The fairy had watched over her education and granted her every wish of her heart.

Charmant listened with a lively interest and a tender compassion. And now, in his turn, he told Rosette that he had been left an orphan at the age of seven years; that the fairy Puissante had presided over his education; that she had also sent him to the festivals given by the king, telling him he would find there the perfect woman he was seeking.

"In short, I believe, dear Rosette, that I have found in you the charming and perfect creature of whom the fairy spoke. Deign, princess, to connect your life with mine and authorize me to demand your hand of your parents."

"Before answering, dear prince, I must obtain permission of my godmother but you may be sure that I shall be very happy to pass my life with you."

The morning thus passed away most agreeably for Rosette and Charmant and they returned to the palace to dress for dinner.

Rosette entered her ugly garret and saw before her a magnificent box of rosewood, wide open. She undressed and as she removed her articles of clothing they arranged themselves in the box, which then closed firmly. She arranged her hair and dressed herself with her usual neatness and then ran to the glass. She could not suppress a cry of admiration.

Her robe was of gauze and was so fine and light, and brilliant it looked as if woven of the wings of butterflies. It was studded with diamonds as brilliant as stars. The hem of this robe, the corsage and the waist were trimmed with diamond fringe which sparkled like suns. Her hair was partly covered with a net of diamonds from which a tassel of immense diamonds fell to her shoulders. Every diamond was as large as a pear and was worth a kingdom. Her necklace and bracelets were so immense and so brilliant that you could not look at them fixedly without being blinded.

The young princess thanked her godmother most tenderly and felt again upon her fair cheek the sweet kiss of the morning. She followed the page and entered the royal salon. Prince Charmant was awaiting her at the door, offered her his arm and conducted her to the apartment of the king and queen. Rosette advanced to salute them.

Charmant saw with indignation the glances of rage and revenge which the king, queen and princesses cast upon poor Rosette. He remained by her side as he had done in the morning and was witness to the admiration which she inspired and the malice and envy of her sisters.

Rosette was indeed sad to find herself the object of hatred to her father, mother and sisters. Charmant perceived her melancholy and asked the cause. She explained it to him frankly.

"When, oh! when, my dear Rosette, will you permit me to ask your hand of your father? In my kingdom every one will love you and I more than all the rest."

"To-morrow, dear prince, I will send you the reply of my godmother whom I shall question on the subject this evening."

They were now summoned to dinner. Charmant placed himself at Rosette's side and they conversed in a most agreeable manner.

After dinner the king gave orders for the ball to commence. Orangine and Roussette, who had taken lessons for ten years, danced well but without any peculiar grace. They believed that Rosette had never had any opportunity to dance and with a mocking, malicious air, they now announced to her that it was her turn.

The modest Rosette hesitated and drew back because it was repugnant to her to show herself in public and attract the general regard. But the more she declined, the more her envious sisters insisted, hoping that she would at last suffer a real humiliation.

The queen now interfered and sternly commanded Rosette to dance. Rosette rose at once to obey the queen. Charmant, seeing her embarrassment, said to her in low tones:

"I will be your partner, dear Rosette. If you do not know a single step, let me execute it for you alone."

"Thanks, dear prince. I recognize and am grateful for your courtesy. I accept you for my partner and hope that you will not have occasion to blush for your generosity."

And now Rosette and Charmant commenced. A more animated, graceful and light dance was never seen. All present gazed at them with ever increasing admiration. Rosette was so superior in dancing to Orangine and Roussette, that they could scarcely suppress their rage. They wished to throw themselves upon the young princess, choke her and tear her diamonds from her. The king and queen, who had been watching them and divined their intention, stopped them, and whispered in their ears:

"Remember the threats and power of the fairy Puissante! To-morrow shall be the last day."

When the dance was concluded, the most rapturous applause resounded throughout the hall and every one entreated Charmant and Rosette to repeat the dance. As they felt no fatigue they did not wish to seem disobliging and executed a new dance, more graceful and attractive than the first.

Orangine and Roussette could no longer control themselves. They were suffocating with rage, fainted and were carried from the room. They had become so marked by the passions of envy and rage that they had lost every vestige of beauty and no one had any sympathy for them, as all had seen their jealousy and wickedness.

The applause and enthusiasm for Rosette and Charmant were so overpowering that they sought refuge in the garden. They walked side by side during the rest of the evening, and talked merrily and happily over their plans for the future, if the fairy Puissante would permit them to unite the smooth current of their lives. The diamonds of Rosette sparkled with such brilliancy that the alleys where they walked and the little groves where they seated themselves, seemed illuminated by a thousand stars. At last it was necessary to separate.

"To-morrow!" said Rosette, "to-morrow I hope to say, yours eternally."

Rosette entered her little room. As she undressed, her clothing arranged itself as the day before in the case. This new case was of carved ivory and studded with turquoise nails. When Rosette had lain down peacefully upon her bed she put out the light, and said, in a low voice:

"My dear, good godmother, to-morrow I must give a definite answer to Prince Charmant. Dictate my response, dear godmother. I will obey your command, no matter how painful it may be."

"Say yes, my dear Rosette, to Prince Charmant," replied the soft voice of the fairy. "I myself arranged this marriage. It was to make you acquainted with Prince Charmant that I forced your father to invite you to this festival."

Rosette thanked the kind fairy and slept the sleep of innocence, after having felt the maternal lips of her good protectress upon her cheeks.

THIRD AND LAST DAY OF THE FESTIVAL

WHILE Rosette was thus sleeping peacefully, the king, the queen, and Orangine and Roussette, purple with rage, were quarrelling and disputing amongst themselves. Each was accusing the other of having brought about the triumph of Rosette and their own humiliating defeat. One last hope remained for them. In the morning there was to be a chariot race. Each chariot was to be drawn by two horses and driven by a lady. It was resolved to give Rosette a very high chariot, drawn by two wild, untrained and prancing horses.

"Prince Charmant will have no chariot and horses to exchange," said the queen, "as he had this morning in the case of the riding-horse. It is easy to find a horse for the saddle but it will be impossible for him to find a chariot ready for the course."

The consoling thought that Rosette might be killed or grievously wounded and disfigured on the morrow brought peace to these four wicked beings. They retired and dreamed of the next best means of ridding themselves of Rosette if the chariot race failed. Orangine and Roussette slept but little so that in the morning they were still uglier and more unprepossessing than they had appeared the day before.

Rosette, who had a tranquil conscience and contented heart, slept all night calmly. She had been much fatigued and did not wake till a late hour. Indeed, on rising she found she had scarcely time to dress. The coarse kitchen girl brought her a cup of milk and a piece of bread. This was by order of the queen who directed that she should be treated like a servant.

Rosette was not difficult to please. She ate the coarse bread and milk with appetite and began to dress. The case of carved ivory had disappeared. She put on as usual her robe of coarse cloth, her pullet's wing, and all the rude ornaments she had brought from the farm and then looked at herself in the glass.

She was attired in a riding habit of straw-colored satin, embroidered in front and at the hem with sapphires and emeralds. Her hat was of white velvet, ornamented with plumes of a thousand colors, taken from the plumage of the rarest birds and attached by a sapphire larger than an egg. On her neck was a chain of sapphires, at the end of which was a watch, the face of which was opal, the back a carved sapphire and the glass diamond. This watch was always going, was never out of order and never required to be wound up.

Rosette heard her page at the door and followed him. On entering the salon she perceived Prince Charmant, who was awaiting her with the most lively impatience. He sprang forward to receive her, offered his arm and said with eagerness:—

"Well, dear princess, what did the fairy say to you? What answer do you give me?"

"That which my heart dictated, sweet prince. I consecrate my life to you as you have dedicated yours to me."

"Thanks! a thousand times thanks, dear and bewitching Rosette. When may I demand your hand of the king your father?"

"At the close of the chariot race, dear prince."

"Permit me to add to my first petition that of being married to you this very day. I cannot bear to see you subjected to the tyranny of your family and I wish to conduct you at once to my kingdom."

Rosette hesitated. The soft voice of the fairy whispered in her ear, "Accept." The same voice whispered to Charmant, "Press the marriage, prince and speak to the king without delay. Rosette's life is in danger and during eight days from the setting of the sun this evening I cannot watch over her."

Charmant trembled and repeated the fairy's words to Rosette, who replied that it was a warning they must not neglect as it undoubtedly came from the fairy Puissante.

The princess now advanced to salute the king, the queen and her sisters but they neither looked at her nor spoke to her. She was however immediately surrounded by a crowd of kings and princes, each one of whom had himself proposed to ask her hand in marriage that evening but no one had an opportunity to speak to her as Charmant never left her side a single moment.

After the repast they went down to get into the chariots. The kings and princes were to go on horseback and the ladies to drive the chariots.

The chariot designed for Rosette by the queen was now brought forward. Charmant seized Rosette at the moment she was about to take the reins and lifted her to the ground.

"You shall not enter this chariot, princess. Look at these wild ungovernable horses."

Rosette now saw that it took four men to hold each of the horses and that they were prancing and jumping alarmingly.

At this instant a pretty little jockey, attired in a straw-colored satin vest, with blue ribbon knots, exclaimed in silvery tones:—

"The equipage of the Princess Rosette!"

And now a little chariot of pearls and mother-of-pearl, drawn by two magnificent steeds with harness of straw-colored velvet ornamented with sapphires, drew up before the princess.

Charmant scarcely knew whether to allow Rosette to mount this unknown chariot for he still feared some cunning wickedness of the king and queen. But the voice of the fairy sounded in his ear:—

"Allow Rosette to ascend the chariot; these horses are a present from me. Follow them wherever they may take Rosette. The day is advancing. I have but a few hours left in which I can be of service to Rosette and she must be safe in your kingdom before the day closes."

Charmant assisted Rosette to ascend the chariot and sprang upon his horse. A few moments afterwards, two chariots driven by veiled women advanced in front of Rosette. One of them dashed her chariot with such violence against that of Rosette, that the little chariot of mother-of-pearl would inevitably have been crushed had it not been constructed by fairies. The heavy and massive chariot was dashed to pieces instead of Rosette's. The veiled woman was thrown upon the stones, where she remained immovable whilst Rosette, who had recognized Orangine, tried to stop her own horses. The other chariot now dashed against that of Rosette and was crushed like the first and the veiled woman was also dashed upon the stones, which seemed placed there to receive her.

Rosette recognised Roussette and was about to descend from her chariot when Charmant interfered, and said: "Listen, Rosette!"

A voice whispered, "Go, flee quickly! The king is pursuing you with a great company to kill you both. The sun will set in a few hours. I have barely time to rescue you from this danger so give my horses the reins; Charmant, abandon yours."

Charmant sprang into the chariot by the side of Rosette, who was more dead than alive. The superb steeds set off with such marvellous speed that they made more than twenty leagues an hour. For a long time they knew that they were pursued by the king with a numerous troop of armed men but they could not overtake the horses of the fairy. The chariot still flew on with lightning haste; the horses increased their speed till at last they made a hundred leagues an hour. During six hours they kept up this rate and then drew up at the foot of the stairs of Prince Charmant.

The whole palace was illuminated and all the courtiers were waiting at the entrance in their most magnificent costumes to welcome the princess and the prince.

The prince and Rosette were amazed, not knowing how to understand this unexpected reception. Charmant had just assisted the princess to descend from the chariot, when they saw before them the fairy Puissante, who said:—

"Most welcome to your kingdom. Prince Charmant, follow me; all is prepared for your marriage. Conduct Rosette to her room that she may change her dress, whilst I explain to you all the events of this day which seem so incomprehensible to you. I have one hour at my disposal."

The fairy and Charmant now led Rosette to an apartment, ornamented with the most exquisite taste, where she found her maids waiting to attend upon her.

"I will return to seek you in a short time, my dear Rosette," said the fairy; "my moments are counted."

She departed with Charmant and said to him:—

"The hatred of the king and queen against Rosette had become so intense that they had blindly resolved to defy my vengeance and to get rid of Rosette. Seeing that their cunning arrangements in the chariot race had not succeeded after I substituted my horses for those which would certainly have killed Rosette, they resolved to have recourse to violence. The king employed a band of brigands, who swore to him a blind obedience; they pursued your steps with vengeance in their hearts and as the king knew your love for Rosette and foresaw that you would defend her to the death, he was resolved to sacrifice you also to his hatred. Orangine and Roussette, ignorant of this last project of the king, attempted to kill Rosette, as you have seen, by dashing their heavy chariots violently against the light chariot of the princess. I have punished them as they deserved.

"Orangine and Roussette have had their faces so crushed and wounded by the stones that they have become frightful. I have aroused them from their state of unconsciousness, cured their wounds but left the hideous scars to disfigure them. I have deprived them of all their rich clothing and dressed them like peasants and I married them at once to two brutal ostlers whom I commissioned to beat and maltreat them until their wicked hearts are changed—and this I think will never take place.

"As to the king and queen, I have changed them into beasts of burden and given them to wicked and cruel masters who will make them suffer for all their brutality to Rosette. Besides this, they have all been transported into your kingdom and they will be compelled to hear unceasingly the praises of Rosette and her husband.

"I have but one piece of advice to give you, dear prince; hide from Rosette the punishment I have inflicted upon her parents and sisters. She is so good and tender-hearted that her happiness would be affected by it, but I ought not and will not take pity upon wicked people whose hearts are so vicious and unrepentant."

Charmant thanked the fairy eagerly and promised silence. They now returned to Rosette, who was clothed in her wedding-robe, prepared by the fairy Puissante.

It was a tissue of dazzling golden gauze, embroidered with garlands of flowers and birds, in stones of all colors, of admirable beauty; the jewels which formed the birds were so disposed as to produce, at every motion of Rosette, a warbling more melodious than the sweetest music. Upon her head was a crown of flowers made of gems still more beautiful and rare than those on her robe. Her neck and arms were covered with carbuncles more brilliant than the sun.

Charmant was completely dazzled by his bride's beauty but the fairy recalled him from his ecstasy by saying:—

"Quick! quick! onward! I have but half an hour, after which I must give myself up to the queen of the fairies and lose my power for eight days. We are all subject to this law and nothing can free us from it."

Charmant presented his hand to Rosette and the fairy preceded them. They walked towards the chapel which was brilliantly illuminated and here Charmant and Rosette received the nuptial benediction. On returning to the parlor, they perceived that the fairy had disappeared, but, as they were sure of again seeing her in eight days her absence caused them no anxiety. Charmant presented the new queen to his court. Everybody found her as charming and good as the prince and they felt disposed to love her as they loved him.

With a most amiable and thoughtful attention, the fairy had transported the farm, upon which Rosette had been so happy, and all its occupants into Charmant's kingdom. This farm was placed at the end of the park, so that Rosette could walk there every day and see her good nurse. The fairy had also brought into the palace all those cases which contained the rich dresses in which Rosette had been so triumphant at the festivals.

Rosette and Charmant were very happy and loved each other tenderly always. Rosette never knew the terrible punishment of her father, mother and sisters. When she asked Charmant the fate of her sisters, he told her that their faces were much disfigured by their fall amongst the stones but they were well and married and the good fairy expressly forbade Rosette to think of them. She spoke of them no more.

As to Orangine and Roussette, the more unhappy they were, the more cruel and wicked their hearts became, so the fairy allowed them to remain always ugly and in the most degraded ranks of life.

The king and queen, changed into beasts of burden, found their only consolation in biting and kicking everything that came within their reach. They were obliged to carry their masters to festivals given in honor of Rosette's marriage and they were mad with rage when they heard the praises lavished upon the young couple and in seeing Rosette pass by, beautiful, radiant and adored by Charmant.

The fairy had resolved that they should not return to their original forms till their hearts were changed. It is said that six thousand years have passed, and they are still beasts of burden.

The End

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