Welcome to the seventh part of the Charles Perrault Review Series.
An eight-part serialised set of reviews of the famous fairy tales by the seventeenth-century French author.
Each week I will upload a review of one of his tales. For an overall introduction, read the first review.
Once upon a time, three royal babies were born. One boy and twin girls. The boy was very disagreeable, ‘hideously ugly’, and had a hunchback, but, thanks to a generous Fairy, he was the wittiest. Moreover, he would be able to share his wit with the woman he loved. Then, a queen gave birth to two little princesses. She was happy with the first, who was very beautiful, but her youngest daughter, ‘an ugly brat’, was a thorough disappointment as she possessed none of the beauty of her elder sister. But no fear! Thank the Heavens this match-making Fairy. She made the beauty world’s greatest idiot, but gave her, as a compromise, the gift of transferable beauty. The ugly duckling of the family, though very witty, was given no superpowers and one is led to assume the Fairy, by now, had used up her magic-quota. At least, the smart ugly one had the satisfaction that everyone would eventually get bored with her gorgeous sister, once they found out there was nothing but air in that pretty head of hers, and would come to her to admire her wit.
Naturally, the Fairy’s endgame is pretty obvious. The ‘hideously ugly’ boy, cursed with an ugly name to suit his appearance, Riquet with the Tuft, meets the beautiful idiot in the forest. They decide to marry exactly a year later. No sooner they set the date and the girl is no longer intellectually challenged. They go their separate ways and the beauty goes home to ruin her sister’s life, for she is now both beautiful and smart. Poor insignificant sister, who wants an ugly genius, when you can have a pretty one? What the lovely Tuft had not counted on was that the sudden enlightenment had made it difficult for his fiancé to remember the promise she had made during her dark days.
But all is not lost. Tuft will get his share of this marriage bargain. The beauty happens to wander into the same forest a day before the wedding. Coincidence? I think not.They talk and it slowly comes back to her. She now had to keep her end of the bargain. She promised herself to him and he immediately became beautiful to her.
This work is in the public domain and can be read and downloaded for free to read online or on your e-reader or Kindle at Project Gutenberg.
|Original title:||Riquet à la Houppe|
|Edition:||Online at Classics Illustrated|
|Read:||17 - 30 May 2013|
|Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
|Book Depository USA||Book Depository UK|
|Abebooks USA||Abebooks UK|