English short stories ; Fables for Children
Once upon a time there was a king. He had lost his wife, so he married again. His new wife was a poor widow. The king had a daughter named Florine, who was sweet and gentle. The new queen also had a daughter. She was nicknamed Troutlet, as she was rather ugly and very selfish. The new queen and her daughter hated Florine. They were jealous of her beauty. One day, a foreign prince named Prince Charming came to the royal castle. The queen decided that he should marry her daughter, Troutlet.
But, when the young man saw Florine, he fell in love with her at once. The queen was furious and locked her stepdaughter up in a high tower, Then she decided to trick Prince Charming. A lady-in-waiting told the prince that on that very evening, Florine would be standing at a window overlooking the garden, and that he would be able to talk to her from there. It was very dark that night, and Prince Charming did not realized that he was declaring his love to Troutlet. He promised to marry her and to take her far away from the castle. Troutlet, her face hidden behind a black veil, took the prince to her godmother, the wicked fairy Soussio.
'Prince Charming, this is Princess Troutlet. She is my godchild and you have promised to marry her,'' she told him. The prince realized that he had been tricked and he tried to run away, but the wicked fairy touched him and immediately his feet were glued to the floor. The poor prince cried out, ''Even if you skin me alive, I shall never belong to anyone but Florinr.'' So the furious wicked fairy changed the prince into a bluebird. The prince, finding that he had been changed into a bird and that his body was covered with blue feathers, gave a pitiful cry and flew away.
Mean while, Florine wept bitterly in the tower, believing that the prince had married Troutlet. But one day, a bluebird came and perched on a cypress tree outside her window. ''I am your prince,'' he tweeted, and he told Florine how he had come to be a bird. From then on, every night Florine and the bluebird would meet, talk and try to console each other. The prince even brought her jewels all the way from his palace. But one evening, the wicked queen discovered what was happening. She ordered that sharp pieces of glass should be tied to the trees around the castle. Night fell and when the bluebird tried to perch in a tree, he cut his wings and feet. The prince thought that Florine had betrayed him in order to gain the wicked queen's favour. The bying prince managed to drag himself to his nest. By a stroke of luck, a magician was passing by and found him.
He took the injured bluebird to his home and nursed him back to health. Florine, in despair at the disappearance of her prince, called out again and again, ''Bluebird, bluebird, colour of the sky, come to me as swiftly as you can fly!'' But her bluebird never returned. Then florins' father died and the people of his kingdom rose up and attacked the castle. The queen was taken prisoner, and Florine was rescued and crowned as the new queen. Florine was happy, but all she could think about was finding her Prince Charming.
One night, she took the emerald bracelets that the bluebird and given her and left on a secret mission to find him. Meanwhile, the magician who was taking care of the injured bluebird went to look for the wicked fairy Soussio. ''The bluebird will never become Prince Charming again unless he marries Troutlet,'' she told him. So the magician persuaded the prince to marry the ugly Troutlet, to escape the wicked spell. Sadly he agreed to do this, and Prince Charming became a man once more. That same day, the new Queen Florine, disguised as a peasant woman, reached the gates of Prince Charmin's palace. There she learned that the prince was to marry Troutlet the very next day. Florine was so sad. The man she loved had betrayed her. But remembering something the blue bird had told her, she decided to go and meet her rival.Madam, if you allow me to sleep at the palace tonight, in the echoing chamber, I will give you these emerald bracelets.'' Troutlet was delighted with the gift and immediately agreed. She didn't know the castle well, or that the echoing chamber was beneath the prince's bedroom. Anything Florine said in this room could be heard by the prince while he lay in his bed. That night, as the prince lay in his bed, Florine cried sadly to herself, ''How many dangers have I braved to look for you, may prince? And now you are to marry Troutlet. What did I do to you, you cruel prince, to make you forget your promises to me? Don't you remember how many times you said you loved me? The prince was not asleep but thought he was hearing the words in a dream. Confused and bewildered, he ran down to the echoing chamber below. When he entered the room he recognized his beautiful Florine and threw himself at her feet. Florine looked down at him not knowing what to believe. Finally, they fell into each other's arms.
At that moment, the magician arrived with a good fairy. They would use their magic powers to help Prince Charming and queen Florine. As soon as it was morning, their wedding was announced to the whole palace. Trout let was furious and ran to see the prince, but the magician and the good fairy quickly changed her into an ugly turkey. The prince and his Queen Florine could think of nothing else but the preparations for their wedding and the happy years they could now spend together.