Citation
Tales of Languedoc

Material Information

Title:
Tales of Languedoc
Creator:
Brun, Samuel Jacques
Doxey, William ( Publisher )
Peixotto, Ernest C., 1869-1940 ( Illustrator )
Place of Publication:
San Francisco
Publisher:
William Doxey
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
240 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Folklore -- Juvenile fiction -- France -- Languedoc ( lcsh )
Tales -- Juvenile fiction -- France -- Languedoc ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- France ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1896 ( lcsh )
Folk tales -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre:
Children's stories
Folk tales ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- California -- San Francisco
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Summary:
A collection of folktales from the South of France, presented as if being narrated by different storytellers, including "The Story of the Three Strong Men," "A Blind Man's Story," and "The Marriage of Monsieur Arcanvel."
General Note:
Baldwin library copy: "Stanford edition limited to one hundred and fifty copies. No. 116."
Statement of Responsibility:
by Samuel Jacques Brun, with an introduction by Harriet W. Preston ; illustrations by Ernest C. Peixotto.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026607966 ( ALEPH )
ALG3080 ( NOTIS )
03077311 ( OCLC )
44023244 ( LCCN )

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Full Text


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Cales of Languedoc



Stanford Edition

Limited to one hundred and fifty copies

no. LL Bee







Cales of Fanguedoc
Samuel # Jacques? Brun

With an Introduction by
Harriet: We: preston

IElustrations-by-€rnest:C:Peixotto



San Francisco te
William Doxey
1. -$--9--6



CopyricuT
Wittiam Doxey

18y6

THE MURDOCK PRESS



DEDICATION:

TO
THE MEMORY OF

THE STORY- TELLERS



Preface

HE “Tates or LANGuEeDoc” are drawn from a fund

of stories, sayings, and traditions, which came to me
_ by birthright, along with the ancient Bible, the tall clock,
and other heirlooms, carrying with them about the same
sense of exclusive ownership. Whatever may have
been their origin in common folk-lore, they formed an
important part of the conviviality of the ancestral
hearth from an early date, and for several generations
have taken on the personality of the different narrators;
so that, in their present form, I have come to regard
them as my heritage of the unwritten literature of my
native land—a heritage that has brought with it a
responsibility in view of succession; for, to survive in
a new world and with a new generation, oral traditions
must take on a permanent form, verbal narration must
be written, and the vernacular find an equivalent in the
colloquial expressions of another language. To attempt
so difficult a thing with only my own resources would
be presumptuous. Besides the indelible impressions of
a youth passed with a race of story-tellers, I have fortu-
nately been able to command help of a more tangible
nature, without which the collection would not be
complete.



2 Preface

The sole survivor of the story-tellers has, with much
labor, furnished me with his own manuscripts, deline-
ating the tales in the vernacular, and supplying the
connecting links.

With this material I have worked to combine and
embody, as in a composite picture, the caste and coloring
given by the different narrators, calling to aid an able
artist, Mr. Ernest Peixotto, to supply in a measure the
loss of scenery and associations, and the acting that went
so far to supplement the original version.

The difficulty of rendering the coarse picturesqueness
of a language so rich in metaphor and so free in its
range of figurative expressions could only be partially
met by the use of slang and vulgarisms, which it is
hoped will be considered pardonable. The rhymes and
quatrains, with the sonorous ring of the vernacular,
which sets itself to meter so easily, can have no equiva-
lent in English.

My aim in working out this English version has been
to give the spirit of the Languedoc, and to do justice to
the original, rather than to reach any standard of scien-
tific or literary value.

Soulless as the tales must seem to those initiated in
the magic of story-telling, yet practice proves them capa-
ble of exerting a spell over the children and having ©
some interest for lovers of folk-lore—so much g0, that
the author is encouraged to invite to the hearth a wider
circle.



retace 3

To the critic the collection will appear full of anach-
ronisms and inconsistencies. Legend and romance are
unduly seasoned with the moral and didactic to the
taste of a sterner sect of Huguenots; the medieval and
modern are brought face to face; and fact and fable join
hands, regardless of rhyme or reason. Yet all this only
rendered them real to those of the ancestral hearth, who
knew no sharp lines between the past and present, and
who lived on the borderland of the fabulous.

To my own fireside I owe, in some measure, the
inspiration which may be found in these tales; and to
my wife, with whom I discussed the idioms of the langue
doc, the apt rendering of the vernacular.

With gratefulness I acknowledge the deep obligation
I owe to my uncle, M. Clément Brun, of Fontanés, France,
for furnishing me with his written version of most of
these tales, as he had them from the lips of my great-
grandfather at the beginning of the second quarter of
this century, and for the suggestion to make of the
stories a connected whole.

My acknowledgments are also due to Dr. Ewald
Fliigel, Professors Melville Best Anderson, and Henry
Burrowes Lathrop, of Stanford University, for the great
interest they have taken in these tales, and the encour-
agement given to this undertaking.

SaMUEL JAcQuES BRUN.

Leland Stanford Jr. University, September 1st, 1896.







Contents

MY GRANDFATHER’S TOUR OF FRANCE . . . . .

HOW YOUNG ANGLAS BECAME A MARQUIS, OR THE STORY OF
THE DUCKS, THE ANTS, AND THE FLIES . . . .

THE CHINA-VENDER OF QUISSAC ; 5 5 : A fj
THE ADVENTURES OF MESTE REGE x ‘5 " ‘ ' r

THE STORY OF THE THREE STRONG MEN: CROWBAR, HOOK-
BEARD, AND THE MILLER . . . . . . .

THE HAUTBOY PLAYER OF VENTABREN . . . . .
CYPEYRE OF ST. CLEMENT AND LOU DOUNA OF LECQUES . .
A BLIND MAN’S STORY OF THE MIRACULOUS TREE .

THE MARRIAGE OF MONSIEUR ARCANVEL; OR THE STORY OF
THE GLOVES OF LOUSE-SKIN . . . . . . .

PAGE
15

23

56

71

123

133

143

199









10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

F PEiney
phe cy Ee PEtRoTaa

%

Sal\ncureiiee ; 5 ie ;
DUIS GLE I NESSES EES & CNR AUN

Frontispiece . - : . ; b . ' " . %
Title-page ai : .
Head-piece

“TISTENING TO THE STORIES OF OUR WHITE- HAIRED
GRANDFATHER”? . r : : : : , 4 2

‘mT SUPERB ANIMAL HELD HIS HEAD PROUDLY HIGH”
ANGLAS ARRIVING AT THE INN. :
“map, TAP, TAP, AT THE WINDOW-PANE ee , . .

“oN THE WATERS OF THE STREAM, ARRANGED IN BAT-
TALIONS, THOUSANDS OF pucks”. . . .

‘OPHEY MADE HIM WIND THROUGH CORRIDORS”
Tail-piece . i , ‘

THE MARKET-PLACE OF QUISSAC .

“\EANWHILE THE EAGLE WAS SOARING HIGHER”?
‘““ WHICH ROAD GOES TO LECQUES?” . - :

‘““WwiIrH A JERK, HOOKBEARD SENT HIM FLYING OVER THE
STREAM” 6 " , ; 2 ' s , ' 5

“OHILDREN FOLLOWED THEM THROUGH THE STREETS ie

PAGE

_

19

29

33

38

41

47



List of Drawings

PAGE
16. CROWBAR AND THE DEVIL : . . . A 5 , 99
17. ‘‘FAR IN THE PARK, HE COULD SEE A LORDLY CASTLE”? 109
18. ‘‘BOTH WORKED WITH A WILL, HOISTING THE BOXES”? 115
19. ‘‘ UNCLE, SEE THAT BIG DOG BEHIND US” . . . 127
20. ‘‘ HE PASSED A TROOP OF DIRTY GYPSIES” , A : 137
21. ‘‘SHEPHERDS LED THEIR FLOCKS UNDER THIS TREE” , 147
22, ‘LET US COUNT OUR MONEY” . . 6 5 , , 151
23. ‘“‘THEY GREETED EACH OTHER AS THEY CAMB” : ‘ 161
24, ‘“‘A STREAM OF PEOPLE WERE POURING INTO THE
CHURCH ” 3 A . 7 , . . . , " 173
25. ‘GOING STRAIGHT TO THE OLD CHERRY-TREE, GAVE
ORDERS TO DIGIT UP” . . , ‘ , : 177
26. ‘‘HE FELT HER PULSE AND FOUND NONE” 5 x i 181
27. ‘“‘LOUISET WENT TO THE GATE” , 6 ; ; b 4 187
28. ‘GIRLS WERE COMING AND GOING” . r , : 5 195
29. ‘‘ WITH THE STORM RAGING ABOUT HIM”’ . , Raney 205
380. ‘THE POOR MISS LIFTED HER HAND FOR THE BEGGAR”? 219
81. ‘‘ WHAT IS YOUR MASTER’S NAME?” . i i : . 225
82. ‘‘ YONDER IS MR. ARCANVEL’S CASTLE” F : r f 229

33. ‘‘THE COCK CREW, AND THE STORY ENDED” . i , 240



Introduction

T is very nearly forty years since the first publication,

at Avignon, of Frederick Mistral’s “ Mireio” marked
the brilliant opening of one of the most noteworthy
literary movements of this century. A new poet of
unmistakable genius, producing at the first bound a
work of epic proportions, with a theme of singular
freshness, and in a hitherto neglected Latin dialect,—it
will be long before the reading world receives another
such sensation! And the wonder grew, as it became
apparent that the new singer was only one, although the
leader, of a tuneful choir, with a common inspiration,
a close organization, and a distinct and serious literary
purpose. If that purpose has been but imperfectly ful-
filled, in so far as it regarded the claim of the rustic
modern Provengal to rank as a separate and long-de-
scended language, in other respects the daring promise
of the first “felibre” has been richly kept. They had
actually struck a vein hitherto unworked in letters, and
the mine of poetic and picturesque material to which
it led, has been yielding steadily for a generation, and
shows no signs as yet of failure. The men of the early
school, many of whom have already passed away, were
born and bred in the romantic period, and idealized



10 Introduction

upon principle their pictures of Provengal life and
scenery.

Then came Alphonse Daudet, the most sane and
sympathetic of realists, no less a patriot in the best sense
of the term, because he was also a citizen of the world,

d

who dared, in “Les Lettres de Mon Moulin,” and the
immortal “ Numa Roumestan,” to depict the humor and
confess the limitations, as well as chant the glories, of
the South of France.

Between them, they have succeeded in making their
fascinating country a familiar haunt of the fancy, even
to those who have never seen it; and we know the men
and women of Gard and Var, Vaucluse and the Bouches
du Rhéne as we know our next of kin. We have roamed
their fields and gathered their fruit, eaten at their tables,
knelt in their churches, and shouted at their banquets.
We haye a lively interest in all their concerns, from the
gravest to the most trivial, and have come long since to
care less for the manner of their native speech than for
the substance of the news which they have to give us of
themselves. We are only too glad, therefore, to have
the part played by the humble kindred of Mirabeau in
the great Revolution, illustrated by Madame Janvier’s
graceful translation of Felix Gras’s “ Reds of the Midi,”
and to make acquaintance with the fireside tales and
local traditions on which the children of Gard are
brought up, in the singularly clear, animated, and idio-
matic English of M. Samuel Jacques Brun.



Introduction II

It was a happy thought of Mr. Brun’s to give a per-
manent form to the half-dozen extravagant but highly
entertaining viva voce naratives which had constituted for
generations a sort of heirloom in his own family; and
their publication seems peculiarly opportune just now,
when the taste for story-telling pure and simple, without
any oblique purpose or appended moral, has so remark-
ably revived. No such feast for the juvenile imagina-
tion has been provided since the Brothers Grimm
collected the “ Marchen” of Germany; and the scientific
student of folk-lore may welcome the opportunity now
offered him of comparing the nursery legends of North-
ern and Southern Europe from his own serious point of
view. But the great merit and charm for the general
reader, in these ingenuous “Contes Bleus” of Langue-
doe will be found in their broad and beaming humor
and their intensely dramatic quality. Even the tales of
Hans Christian Andersen, and the marvelous “Jungle
Book” appear slow, subtle, and tortuous beside the
breathless movement and almost brutal directness of
these. Character, as in the delightful fable of the “Three

Strong Men,”

is drawn in true child-fashion, with the
fewest and blackest lines; but the effect is immense.
There is an endless succession of thrilling incidents and
adventures, preposterous in themselves, it may be, but
related with the most imposing conviction, and rendered
quite credible for the moment by the ease of their

sequence, and the rapidity with which they pass. Incon-



12 Introduction

sistencies are reconciled and anachronisms overborne by
the strong vitality of the perennial story, which, as it is
handed down from father to son, adopts and retains
something from each period without losing its identity,
and often reflects, in quaint association with the most
modern views and impressions, the ruling passion of a
long-past time—the Huguenot’s hatred and distrust
of the priest; the exulting contempt of the first republi-
can era for courtiers and kings. Now and then, perhaps,
the sentiment is less antiquated than it appears, and
points to some unchangeable idiosyncrasy of race. The
exceedingly rude treatment accorded to the gentle bride
in the story of “ Monsieur Arcanvel” might seem like
a survival from the dark ages, but for our recollection
of the complacency with which good Tante Portal in
“Numa Roumestan” is made to quote the current Pro-
vengal proverb: “ Les femmes ne sont pas des genss.”

Very rarely, as in the droll story of ‘‘How Anglas
Became a Marquis, or the Ants, the Ducks, and Flies,”
a certain flourish is made at the outset of a precept to
be inculcated—in this case the duty of kindness and
consideration to the humblest of God’s creatures. But
here, as always, the story is so much better even than
the moral, that the latter falls rather into abeyance.

The main lessons conveyed by the fireside tales of
Languedoc are those benignant and encouraging, if ele-
mentary ones— those which appeal so forcibly to a child’s
sense of justice, and are none the less grateful to the



Introduction 13

reader of experience because they show a refreshing dis-
parity with the average results of life—that the bravest
youth will win the best and fairest bride, without refer-
ence to original differences of condition; that the virtu-
ous poor man will inherit and enjoy the estates of the
malign millionaire; and the bold, bad boy who has
maltreated his brother will be humbled in due course
of time and handed over to the relentless magnanimity
of his junior; in short, that every good deed is bound
to receive a tangible reward, even in this present evil
world, and every wrong a triumphant righting.

The time-worn elder may shake his head officially
over such flattering promises, but his juvenile auditory
will be clamoring loudly meanwhile to hear the story
read again; and that, after all, is the true test of excel-
lence in such matters.

HARRIET WATERS PRESTON.
October Ist, 1896.







Dy Grandfather’s
Cour of France.

b







My Grandfather’s Tour of

France

URING the long winter evenings of my youth, my

grandfather used to amuse us and keep us awake

by telling stories of all sorts, but the one which we liked

best was the account of a journey that he had taken
when a young man before his marriage.

Travelling in those days was very different from
what it is now. The middle class had no private
carriages; the lords, and high dignitaries of the church,
travelled in lumbering vehicles of their own over
abominable roads; the industrial, the bourgeois,
travelled on horseback, and the rest on foot. To be sure
the mail coach carried three or four passengers, but that
was too expensive for any but the nobles, the clergy, and
the government officials. The pedestrians, and they
were few, indeed, for most people staid at home, were
“compagnons” or journeymen-joiners, saddlers, masons,
carpenters, blacksmiths, and others, who tramped about
to see the country and returned home with the prestige
of a traveller. “Faire son tour de France” it was called.



18 Tales of Languedoc

However skillful a craftsman the “compagnon” might
be, he was not considered up in his trade unless he had
made his “tour de France,” and though he had travelled
ever so little the most stupid fellow in the universe was
all right if he had gone a few miles away from home.
Some went to Galician, others to Uzés, a few went to
Lyons, and when one, perchance, went to Paris, then you
should have seen how proud he was, and heard the lies
he told. Ah, that one knew it all!

Almost all left home well dressed, with sack well-filled
and some money in pocket; they returned lean and
empty, in tattered summer clothes in the middle of
winter, a few rags tied in a handkerchief, shoes out at
the sole, a shock of unkempt hair, and as much money
as there is in my eye. But, in spite of all this, look out!
they had been to Lyons! Well, the customs of the times
were such!

Those, who like my grandfather had been to distant
countries for their education, were very rare, and often
they had for travelling companions the tradesmen above
mentioned or some soldiers returning home from their
discharge.

You must understand that such a journey lasted
many months and that, from time to time, the traveller
had to rest. My grandfather improved those days in
visiting places of interest in the towns where he tarried
as he passed through. Thus he saw many sights, had
many adventures, heard many tales, and it was all this










My Grandfather’s Tour of France 21

that he used to relate to us winter evenings by the large
fire-place of the ancestral dwelling.

My brother and I sat on each side of the hearth under
the mantel of the great kitchen chimney, watching the
slow burning log, hearing the sizz of the pot hung on
the crane, and listening for hours to the stories of my
white-haired grandfather.

I shall let my grandfather speak and be only the
scribe taking down the story as faithfully as my memory
will allow.

“When I was young I had a great leaning toward
an education. I remember going to school and taking
great delight in reading the two or three books which
were all the teacher had, and in the lessons in geo-
graphy of France, on the customs of the people, and a
good deal about distant countries. These things inter-
ested me so much, that the desire to see for myself the
things he told us about increased as I grew older, and
when out of my teens, I ventured to speak to my father
of my great desire to travel. My father was much
surprised at first and a little annoyed; but, as he was
exceedingly intelligent, he soon realized that a trip to
distant provinces might be a great benefit to me through
life—a serious journey, of course, not a frivolous trip,—
so he took me to his room, and very impressively, gave
me all the injunctions which his parental duty required.

“Te told me what my conduct should be towards my



22 Tales of Languedoc

fellowmen, especially my fellow travellers—he cautioned
me against being out late, and warned me of wicked
companions and highwaymen—he gave me much other
counsel to which I gave little heed at the time,—like
any other youngster, but which, I confess, was to me of
great value during my journey, as well as in after life.

“To encourage you in well-doing, added my father,
‘J will tell you what happened to a young man of the
Camargue—you will see that good conduct and kind-
ness often receive their reward on this earth.’”



hb}

-

Bow Youns Anslas
Became a Darquis,
or the Story of

the Ducks, the Ants,
and the Flies.

+ ©¢







How Young Anglas Became a
Marquis

OT far from Aiguemorte, on the Mediterranean sea,

lived a rich peasant named Anglas. His farm was

one of the finest in the fertile region of the Lower Rhone,
and was known far and wide as, ‘The Tour of Anglas.’

On this domain he lived with his son, a promising
young man, upon whom he had bestowed great care.

Young Anglas had finished school, and was eager
to take a trip to Paris. Ambitious as such an undertak-
ing was for his country-folk, the father had granted the
young man’s desire, and furnished a handsome outfit for
the journey. A fine young horse from the Camargue,
snow white, with head alert, tail sweeping the ground,
nimble as a lean cat! He could leap a twelve-foot ditch .
at a bound, and the rider was fearless as the steed was
swift.

A fine appearance they made on the morn of the de-
parture, the shining white palfrey and handsome young
rider. The father could not help exclaiming, as he
viewed the youth from top to toe, admiring his black
hair, hazel eyes, pearly teeth, and self-reliant manner:
“What a fine fellow; not many can equal him!” Then
he added, with a shade of sadness: “May God bless



26 Tales of Languedoc

him on his journey, and may he return to me a man of
experience, yet as pure and good as he is now.”

When the horse and rider were lost to sight, the old
man fell a prey to sad reflections; a tear moistened his
eye, and as he entered his house he said: “ Alas, what
awaits him in his travels? Were I with him I might
direct and protect him; but ignorant as he is of the
hardships of travel, the temptations of the world and of
evil companions, abandoned to himself, what will become
ofhim?” And day by day, as he followed his son in
his wanderings northward, he thought only of the perils
he might encounter, and his heart remained a prey to
the griefs of separation.

From the young man’s point of view all appeared
very different. He had heard so much about it from his
friends who had taken the trip that he was burning with
desire to see and learn; so it was not with reluctance
that he quitted the farm, on that eventful morning,
mounted his pawing steed, gay as a goldfinch, and
dashed out into the world, scarcely looking back to see
his father, who stood waving adieus until he was out
of sight.

In holiday mood, the young man went on his way.
The sights he saw and the adventures he met with will
make a wonderful story, so let us follow him.

His way at first led along dikes and ditches, through
marshes and among many ponds and lakes. He passed *
over bridges, across islets, and forded the shallow waters

5



Young Anglas Ti

as he pursued his course. Little villages sprang up as
waymarks. He had passed several before the close of the
first day,—Bramasec, Canaveira, Servilla, and was near-
ing La Fossa, when something happened. The white
dust in the middle of the road suddenly became alive, a
black moving mass confronted him. He stopped short,
very much frightened, and found to his great surprise
that the road was covered, as far as he could see, with
ducks. Ducks are plenty in that region, and they often
migrate from one lake to another, either swimming or
flying; but these were ducklings, in pin-feathers, and
could not fly at all, so the traveller was brought to a
standstill before this army of slow waddlers. ‘‘ He walks
like a duck,” is often said of a clumsy walker; and, with
the way blocked by these slow, awkward creatures, what
to do was the question.

While Anglas was debating, up came a mother of the
flock, and said to him, in her patois, “ Gentle knight, do
no harm either to me or my flock, and I may some day
do you a service.”

“My father,” said Anglas, “has too often taught me
to harm no one for me not to heed his advice; I will
do you no harm;” so saying, he spurred his horse, which,
quick asa deer, leaped the ditch to the right, and fol-
lowed the dike. From this vantage ground he looked
back on the ducks. The road was full of them; as far
as the eye could reach there was nothing but ducks.
Reaching the end of the dike of the ditch, he rode on



28 Tales of Languedoc

the high dikes of the Rhone, and the road was yet full
of them. At last, about sundown, he passed the last
ones, and, as he wished to spend the night at Galician,
at the house of a friend, he decided to ford the lake.

The horse and rider, gliding over the waters of the
lake, was a scene for a painter. The superb animal held
his head proudly high, while his long, flowing mane
trailed the water, and his waving tail floated out behind.
He seemed to scarcely sink in the water for fear of drench-
ing his rider. Thus they safely crossed the lake, and
reached, by nightfall, the house of his friend.

Here Anglas met with a hearty welcome. His friend
did not expect him, but was greatly pleased to see him.

After the usual greetings, a good supper and a night’s
rest, he set out next day as cheerily as on the first of his
journey.

He did not mention to his friend his meeting with the
ducks nor his conversation with the mother duck. It
was too natural in those regions to meet ducks, and as to
his conversation with the leader of the flock, he attached
to it too little importance.

Thanking his friend warmly, he set out for Garon,
thence toward Jonquieres, crossed the Rhone on the sus-
pension-bridge at Beaucaire, visiting Tarascon and her
Tarasque, which is neither man nor beast, but a creature
of whose historic fame you may sometimes learn. From
Tarascon he went to Avignon, and saw the castles of the
Popes.











Young Anglas on

A month later, we find him in the vicinity of Vienne,
in Dauphiny, at the foot of a steep grade known as the
Grade of Tarare. The sun hardly pierces the clouds, his
horse, which has been trotting since leaving the inn, is
set to a walk. He is cheerful, happy, and, so far, satisfied
with his journey.

The road makes a sharp bend a little higher up.
When he reaches this bend, he stops short, and, this time,
very much frightened.

His horse sprang to one side, and, had he not been a
good horseman, he would have been thrown off. But he
is not a man, after all, to lose his wits; he pats the horse’s
neck, speaks reassuringly to him, and faces the seeming
danger.

The road appeared to be flowing with blood, as if
poured out from the hill-top. “Good gracious!” he ex-
claimed, “a whole army must have been massacred on
yonder hill! What does all this mean?”

While thus guessing, the blood reached his horse’s feet
and he saw that it was only a colony of red ants pouring
down the road, like an avalanche. No doubt, they were
on their way to a change of climate, and fast they went,
too, unlike the flock of ducks previously met.

One of the mother ants left the ranks, and came
towards him, and said, in her language, “ Horseman,
gentle horseman, do no harm either to me or my little
ones, and we may some day render you a service.”

Young Anglas, faithful to his father’s admonitions,



32 Tales of Languedoc

granted her request, and, as in the case of the ducks, left
the highway, went down precipices, climbed steep hills,
crossed woods and ravines, at the risk of his life. Two
or three times he came near the road to follow it again,
but found it full of ants, and was obliged to turn away.
At last, about sunset, he was able to take the road, and
reached, by nightfall, a town.

The next day, and the day following, he pursued his
way. observing, and taking notes of the points of interest.
Two weeks after his encounter with the ants we find him
on the banks of the Seine, in the vicinity of Melum.

On that day the sky was overcast, it had rained during
the night, the atmosphere was thick and muggy, not a
breath of air was stirring. Toward ten o’clock, the sun
pierced the clouds, and the heat was depressing.

He was walking his horse, whose white coat was coy-
ered with foam. Young Anglas was mopping his brow,
and exclaiming, “ Whew, what a hot day!” when the
sun hid again behind a cloud. The cloud proved to
be a swarm of flies, and they soon surrounded him. They
were everywhere,—overhead, at his horse’s feet, in the
road, on the trees. Although in the swamps of the Ca-
margue, near his home, flies are unusually thick, never
had he seen so many of them.

He had stopped his horse, and was thinking what to
do, when a mother fly came out of the swarm, and said
to him, this time in pretty good French, “ Horseman,
gentle horseman, do no harm to me or my little ones,











Young Anglas 35

and I may some day render you a service.” As this was
the third time the request had been made, he was some-
what surprised; but, still remembering his father’s in-
junctions, he left the main road, went across meadows
and plowed land, up and down many hills, to avoid
hurting any of them.

When he took the road again, all the flies had passed,
and not one of them had been killed by accident or other-
wise by his horse or himself.

At last, at the end of a certain time, he arrived in
Paris, in good health, high spirits, and promising himself
the pleasure of visiting every nook and corner of the great
capital of France.

Far was he from foreseeing what awaited him. Hardly
had he alighted from his horse at the inn where he had
decided to stay, when the innkeeper said to him, “ No
doubt, you have come to compete like all the other
youths,—the more, the merrier!—and why not? At
your time of life you must do like the rest.”

Surprised to be thus addressed, he replied, “TI do not
know what you mean. Is there a race, a contest, a com-
petition of some sort? I know nothing at all about it.”

“Yes, yes,” said the innkeeper, “T will tell you all
about it; let us have our dinner.”

At table he found a great many youths, come from all
parts of France. Each one related what he had done, as
well as some things he had not done. Many a lie was
told and much boasting indulged in. Young Anglas,



36 Tales of Languedoc

from the corner of the table, was all ears to listen, and,
finally, learned what the innkeeper meant by a competi-
tion. It would take too long to tell all that was said, but,
in short, it was this:

The king, while boating on the Seine, had used his
pocket-handkerchief (kings are human, like other people);
drawing it from his pocket, the keys of the royal coffers
had fallen into the water.

At once everybody was set in motion to find them;
the boatmen of the Seine, the sailors of the ocean, the
fishermen of the country.

For over a month they had dived, fished, and dredged
daily, but in vain. The keys could not be found. The
kings always



king was in despair. He needed money
need money—and, without his keys, the royal treasury
could not be opened.

Then, in a moment of great impatience, the king
caused to be announced that he would give his daughter
in marriage to any one who should bring him the keys
within twenty-four hours. The twenty-four hours was
to begin the day after young Anglas arrived,—at ten
o’clock in the morning.

You may imagine what a hurly-burly Paris was in!
On what a scale preparations were made! All the boats
were let for their weight in gold. All the fishermen
from all the ports of France had come. Every man who
owned a boat on the French rivers was on the spot; so
the commotion and noise was beyond description.



Young Anglas 37

At the appointed time, all Paris and a great part of
the surrounding populace were on the banks of the
Seine. The innkeeper and young Anglas were in the
crowd, but only as spectators. All were eager to know
who the happy mortal would be whom chance would
favor as finder of the keys. The king himself and his
whole court had come to join the throng.

All day long they fished, they dredged, they jostled
one another, but without results. At nightfall the crowd
dispersed, the king and his court returned to the palace;
but all were bent on returning next day to try again
their luck.

In the evening at the table each one related his ex-
ploits. One had felt something under his harpoon and
thought he had them, another had seen a shining thing
in his net and had his hopes raised, but it proved to be
only a piece of glass, again another told of great things
he had seen and done; when a youth from the middle
of the table addressed young Anglas, saying: “ You
have not tried; do you believe the keys will come in
your pocket by magic? If you don’t search you can’t
have them; ‘all the craft is in the catching.’”

He replied: “I did not come to Paris for this purpose,
I knew nothing about the lost keys, it is the innkeeper
who told me of it first, and he also accompanied me to
the Seine as a mere spectator; and when I saw that
jostling, quarrelling crowd, and heard the uproar, I re-
marked to myself that no one could fish out those keys;



38 Tales of Languedoc

so you will not have a competitor in me. To-morrow I
will do as I did to-day, I will watch you.”

From the middle of the table a tall stout lad spoke up
loud enough to be heard all over the room: “ Fellows, I
distrust those who are so discreet and say little! Often
they work underhand and all their modesty is just put
on to mask their plans,”—then suddenly rising before







them all—“I prefer men who say frankly what they
think; so to the boldest the king’s daughter!”

All eyes were turned toward young Anglas, even a
few spoke roughly of him, and had not the innkeeper
interfered by announcing that it was bedtime they would
have insulted him.



Young Anglas 39

Poor Anglas retired to his room much grieved at
what had been said about him. He was pacing the floor
in a gloomy mood when he heard three taps on his win-
dow pane. He stopped short, said to himself: “ What
does this mean, is the room haunted? Ghosts would
not surely come to the third story,” and he resumed his
walk.

Tap, tap, tap, was again heard at the window pane.
He approached, opened it and what was his surprise to
find a large duck who said to him: “ Knight, gentle
knight, you hurt neither me nor my little ones, I have
come to render you a service in return.”

“Why, I do not need anything,” said Anglas, “ thank
you just the same.”

“ Well,” replied the duck, “I heard that the king lost
his keys and I wish to dive and get them for you.
Everybody is in bed, all is quiet, the moon shines bright,
come to the banks of the Seine and within an hour I
will give you the lost keys.”

A ray of hope crossed his mind, he took his hat, went
noiselessly out of the house and betook himself to the

Seine.
What he saw was well worth a painter’s brush; the

pale rays of the moon lighting the Seine, the trees cast-

ing here and there soft shadows, and on the waters of the

swift stream, arranged in battalions, thousands of ducks

only waiting the mother’s signal to dive for the keys.
When Anglas appeared the mother said:



40 Tales of Languedoc

“Children, carefully examine the mud. Ready?
Dive!”

Heads down, tails up! Down they all went at once
and staid so long that Anglas thought them drowned.
At last they all came up together.

“ Have you found anything?” said the mother.

“Nothing! nothing!” shouted they in concert.

“ Be not discouraged,” said the mother; “ the current
is here very strong and the keys may have been carried
to yonder bend.”

She rested her ducklings a while and then gave the
signal for a new plunge. Heads down, tails up!—and
the water closed in wavelets over the flock. Ten thou-
sand bills sifted the fine mud of the river-bend. They
remained longer than the first time.

Then—Whizz! The fleet emerged and with a toss of
the head each duck flung the water from his feathers
and from every throat rose the exultant cry:

“We have them! we have them!”

The mother duck took the keys from the one that
found them, placed them in Anglas’s hand, and before
he had time to thank her they were gone.

Left alone with the precious keys in his hand, the
young man was filled with joy. He returned to his hotel,
shut himself in his room and tried to sleep, but in vain.

Morning came; he hastened to see the innkeeper and
inform him of his find. The good man exclaimed, in
astonishment:











Young Anglas 43

“You have found the keys! you are the luckiest youth
in the world! To-morrow you will be the king’s son-in-
law! Come quickly with me.” And both went to hail
the king, who was getting ready to go to the Seine.

“My king,” said the innkeeper, “this youth has
found these keys,—see whether they are yours.”

The king took the keys, examined them carefully,
and said:

“They are mine.”

He inserted them in the lock and opened the royal
treasury. Then, turning toward Anglas: “ You shall
wed my daughter.”

In one hour all Paris knew that the keys had been
found, and who the finder was. The tall lad who had
hinted that Anglas was mum, said to his friends:

“T told you so! Look out for those uncommunicative
fellows! Perhaps at the very moment I was talking to
you he had the keys in his pocket.”

Another said: “He was not seen in any boat; he
watched us the whole day. I don’t understand it.”

A third added “No one knows where he hails
from,—his mother may be a witch. Did you not see
how queer he acted as he sat at the end of the table
and listened all agape to everything that was said,
hardly answering a question, so shy and innocent? Oh,
he had not come to compete! Then, whack! we are
left,—that’s always the way,—‘The fool will not be
foiled.’ Well, ‘There’s no use crying over spilled milk.’”



44 Tales of Languedoc

The Parisians thronged the streets to see the lucky
fellow who had found the keys—all Paris was in a tur-
moil. Meanwhile very grave matters occupied the king
and his court.

Most likely, if Anglas had fished out the keys under
the king’s very nose, he would not have gone back on
his word; but the courtiers suspected magic. The keys
had not been found at evening, and in the morning this
young man brought them to the king; so they must
have been found in the night. The king and his court-
iers would like to know all about it, but Anglas held to
the king’s decree, which merely said whosoever should
find the keys within twenty-four hours should marry his
daughter,—and he kept his own counsel.

Courtiers are often envious; besides, most of them
had sons whom they would have most willingly married
to the king’s daughter. They took counsel, and said to
the king:

“Sire, your decree was given out in a moment of im-
patience; so, in your wisdom, you may annul it for the
honor of your crown and the happiness of your daughter.
This young man is entirely unknown to any of us; we
know not from whence he comes; a mystery surrounds
the finding of the keys, and rumor has it that a fairy
gave them to him. We are all of the opinion that he
should be put to another trial, to find out whether he is
a magician.”



Young Anglas 45

The king allowed himself to be persuaded, and asked
how they proposed to try him.

A courtier with a long white beard, sunken eyes and
hooked nose, said :

“Ifthe king will believe me, he will have mixed a
large heap of wheat, with equal parts of sand, and will
give the young man three days to separate the wheat
from the sand.”

All the courtiers exclaimed: “Good! Capital!” and
the king agreed to it.

“Tn this there can be no magic,” said the old man.
“He shall be left with the task in a room by himself,
and not by night, either.”

So said, so done. The whole day wheat and sand were
carted to one of the upper rooms of the Bastille, and they
informed Anglas that if, in three days, he had separated
the wheat from the sand, the king’s daughter should be
his wife.

Poor fellow; on hearing this his spirits fell; he sank
upon a bench, quite faint. He thought a great while,
with his head upon his hands, while saying to him-
self:

“ All hope is lost; I shall have to return’ as I came.
That, however, would not pain me so much, for I had
not expected such a marriage; but on my father’s
account [am more sorry. Poor father, how little you
know the trials of your son!”

As he was saying this, he felt something biting his



46 Tales of Languedoc

leg. He turned up his trousers and saw a large ant,
which said to him:

“Tforseman, gentle horseman, you did no harm to
me or my little ones, I have come to render you a ser-
vice. I heard that the king’s courtiers had spoiled
your chance of getting the king’s daughter, by imposing
on you a task that fifty men could not do in a month.
I will do the work for you. To-night my little ones and
I will come on the roof of the Bastille. As soon as you
are alone, open the window for us, and you shall see
how quickly the work will be done. Farewell until
to-morrow.”

The king, by his chamberlain, informed Anglas that
they would send for him at eight o’clock in the morning;
that at noon they would fetch him out for dinner, and
return him to his work at two o’clock; at six they would
fetch him again, but that no one was to enter his room
and disturb him in his work.

The following day at the appointed time, he was
taken to the Bastille. They made him wind through
corridors, ascend stair-cases, cross rooms, which the door-
keepers opened and closed with enormous keys, and,
finally, after many turns, he was ushered into the room
which contained the heap of sand and wheat. “There
is your task,” said the guide. The door was closed, the
lock grated, and Anglas was left alone.

The mother ant, on leaving Anglas, went quickly to
gather her little ones. They crossed Paris under cover











Young Anglas 49

of the night, reached the Bastille, and climbed to the roof
unseen by any one. To be sure, some Parisians had
noticed the roof all red, but took it for the reflection of
the sunrise.

When Anglas was left alone, he hastened to open
the window. The ants poured in silently and noiselessly.
The mother ant formed them in rows, so that they could
work without interfering with each other, and gave the
word of command.

The young ants set to work with an alacrity seldom
seen, even in ants.

By noon they had the work half done; they rested
just long enough to eat, and went on with their work.
Long before six o’clock they were through. Quickly
and silently they left the room, climbed over the roof,
lodged in between the tiles, awaiting the dead of night
to cross Paris.

When the chamberlain came towards six o’clock to
fetch Anglas, he inquired of the young man how he was
getting along, adding: “I hope you are not discouraged.”

“Not at all,” replied the youth, “little cause for it,
since I am through.”

“Through!” exclaimed the officer,” through? No,
that can’t be. Let me see.”

They wentin. The chamberlain was dumbfounded.
On one side was the heap of wheat, yellow and clean, as
if just from a pigeon’s crop, and on the other side was
the sand.



50 Tales of Languedoc

He hastened to inform the king and courtiers, who,
with faces as long as their sleeves, eyed one another
aghast. With crest-fallen mien, they muttered between
their teeth: “How has he done this feat! Fifty men
could not have done it in a month, and this fellow

has done it ina day!”

The mystery was greater than
before.

Said the one who had devised the test: “It is noised
that this fellow is a wizard, and were I the king, I
would certainly not give him my daughter before knowing
more about him. All the courtiers said that the gentle-
man was right, and had they a daughter, they would
hesitate to give her to him.

Anglas had meanwhile gone to his hotel to await the
king’s decision. Racked by many conflicting emotions,
he scarcely slept that night.

Early in the morning, he came down stairs and met
the innkeeper, who said to him: “ Young man, I see
you are very unhappy; it is unfortunate for you that
you have no friends at court. After what you have
done, the king’s daughter should be yours. Had you
been one of the courtier’s sons, she would now be your
wife. I shall be much surprised if they do not invent
some pretext to cheat you out of your right yet. Jeal-
ousy is cruel, and stoops to anything. Note what I say,
young man.”

Anglas calmly, but manfully, replied: “I am here to
see it through.”



Young Anglas Su

At ten o’clock the court met to deliberate and see what
should be done. Each courtier did his best to calumniate
the youth and to flatter the king; but his majesty cut
their speeches short by saying:

“Gentlemen, so far I have followed your advice, now
hear what I have decided of my own account.

“I will choose twelve girls of the same size, same age,
and in looks as nearly like my daughter as possible.
They shall be dressed in white, and shall stand together
in my presence, yours, and the young man’s. If he
guesses which one is my daughter, he shall have her for
his wife. Such is my good pleasure.”

All the courtiers found the scheme excellent. They
perhaps did not think so, but, as servile flatterers, they
highly approved of it; hoping secretly that they might
disconcert him by their presence, so that he would not
guess right.

The test was to take place on the next day at ten
o'clock, and rendezvous was given Anglas at the palace
of the king.

Our youth felt very uneasy on hearing this. Country
bred, as he was, the idea of court manners and court
society seemed very formidable. To stand in the pres-
ence of the king, and handsome lords and ladies in full
dress, and to face the twelve young damsels, who would,
no doubt, think him very awkward, was no small ordeal.
So his heart was beating to breaking when he came into
the presence of the brilliant company.



ne Tales of Languedoc

His embarrassment was somewhat relieved by the
king, who said: “My young friend, come near me, and
if within an hour you point out to me and my court the
one of the twelve young ladies who is my daughter, she
shall be your wife; I pledge you my kingly word.”

Young Anglas made no reply, but was thinking that
his chances of guessing right were small, having never
seen the young princess before, when something tickled
his ear and a small voice whispered:

“Horseman, gentle horseman, you hurt neither me
nor my little flies; now I have come to render you a ser-
vice. Watch me carefully. I will alight on the nose of
the king’s daughter. She will brush me off with her fan.
Pay close attention.”

With a flight she is on the nose of the princess. With
her fan the damsel brushes her off. She goes out by
the key-hole to get a breath of air, then flies to Anglas’s
ear.

“ Did you notice her?” said she; “ well, watch again.”

Once more she is on the nose of her highness, once
more she is brushed off. She flies out of the room for a
while, and finally alights on the window-sill, passes her
fore feet over her head, and, with her hind feet, smooths
her wings, apparently joyous to be of use to the kind
young man. Then, for the third time, she tickles the
royal nose, and, for the third time, she is brushed off with
the fan.

Returning to Anglas, she inquired if he was sure of



Young Anglas 53

picking out the princess. “ Yes, yes; many thanks,” said
Anglas.

“Well,” said the king, “which do you say is my
daughter? The happiness of your life is in this
choice.”

“Tf I choose aright may I kiss her hand?”

“Certainly, my boy,” replied the king.

Anglas bowed, went straight to the king’s daughter,
knelt before her, and printed a kiss upon her fingers.

Greatly surprised, the king exclaimed in a firm voice,
“ Kiss her on both cheeks, she is your bride.”

The young man accepted the privilege with perfect
composure. The princess, blushing, gave one of her
sweetest smiles, and the courtiers offered their warmest
congratulations.

The king bowed himself away, entered his private
apartment, and summoned Anglas before him.

“Tell me,” said the king, “who are you, and rom
whence you come?”

Anglas, with a candor and frankness that pleased the
king, told his whole story. His majesty, glad to have
found such a wise and good man, gave orders to receive
Anglas at the palace at once, and for his father to be
summoned to Paris.

Proud and happy, the father came, rejoicing that his
advice had borne such fruit.

The king conferred the title of Marquis on Anglas the
day of the wedding, and gave him large estates, fine cas-



54 Tales of Languedoc

tles, horses, and equipages in plenty. And this is how

Young Anglas became Marquis.
The cock crew, the story ended, and my father

remarked:

*““Caouv ten lou dré camin, cadu és bon, juste, aimablé,
Caon fai pa tor arés, qués umen, charitablé,
Sé sus terra das omés és pa récoumpensa,
Lou boun Diou lou survéia 6 l’abandouna pa.”’ *

* Whosoever keeps the narrow path, is kind, just, and true; wrongs no one,
is humane, charitable, if on this Earth he receives no reward, God who watches

over him will not forsake him.





My Grandfather’s Tour of France 5

HEN bedtime came we retired,— my father, sad
and thoughtful, I full of plans for the future, and
jubilant over the prospect of setting out next morning.
We were all up by daylight. My mother had prepared
all that I needed for my journey,—linen, hat, shoes,
haversack, iron-shod stick, and sundry other useful arti-
cles,—while my father had provided me liberally with
money. I kissed them good-bye, and off I went.

This was on Monday morning; the weather was un-
propitious, a thick mist enveloped the house and trees,
but, withal, my heart was light, and I felt supremely
happy.

When I reached the two hills known as Lous Dous
Pio, I was met by two men of a neighboring village.
They addressed me very pleasantly, and with them I had
some instructive conversation. I learned for the first
time that off one’s own line of thought one can learn a
great deal from even the humblest of men. These two
were charcoal-burners, on their way to Quian, to see some
standing wood for sale.

In the course of my talk with them I learned that to
prevent the denuding of forests, and to maintain the rain-
fall about constant, the law prevents the cutting of more
than a twentieth of the woodland each year; so that the
second growth on the first cutting shall be nineteen years
old when the last twentieth is being removed.



The China-Vender of Quissac

BOUT three o’clock in the afternoon, we reached

the little town of Quissac, and found to our sur-
prise, a great crowd gathered on the public square.
There seemed to be some unusual excitement; for as we
approached, we saw a woman jumping about like a
lunatic, and complaining loudly to the authorities of
some men who stood there laughing at her, and seeming
to enjoy the situation.

Once a week, in the little villages, there is a market
day. Merchants of all kinds go and spread out their
wares in the streets, and the peasants come to buy
their weekly provision.

It was market-day, and a china-vender had brought
a donkey-load of her wares, and spread them out on the
ground. She had a very good assortment. The women
gathered around her, and she was driving a brisk trade.
The donkey, tired from carrying the load, was eating
hay a few feet away. A group of good-for-nothing idlers
stood looking on,— one finds them in a crowd the world
over,— the loafers with more money than brains, and
the wag in their midst. These were smoking short-



The China-Vender of Quissac 57

stemmed pipes, and swapping jokes, when the wag said
to the others:

“ Would you like to have a laugh?”

“Of course,” replied they, “ and what are you up to?”

“You will see;” and speaking to the crockery woman:

“My good woman, if you will allow me to say two
words in your donkey’s ear, I will give you twenty-four
sous,” said he.

“What have you to tell my donkey”? inquired the
crockery-vender.

“Oh! not much; but I am sure I will make him
happy. It will be no mystery; I shall speak loud enough
for all to hear.”

“No, no; I won’t allow you to do it,” replied the
vender.

“Why not?” retorted another one; “he is not going to
eat your donkey by speaking a few words in his ear,
and you will earn twenty-four sous; you had better let
him do it.”

She very reluctantly gave her consent; and the wag,
with his short-stemmed-pipe freshly lighted in his
mouth, approached the donkey, inserted the pipe in his
ear, and while saying:

“Té,do you know your sister is engaged, and you
will soon be at the wedding,” he blew his pipe, and the
fire fell into the donkey’s ear.

The beast jumped, shook its head, flapped its ears,
and trampled on the crockery ware. The vender was



58 Tales of Languedoc

wild with rage. She shouted for help; she tore her hair
to see her plates and bowls all broken; she called those
men all sorts of names. They split their sides with
jaughter, while the wag coolly said to the good woman:

“Did n’t I tell you so? He fairly jumped for joy;
probably he has never been at a wedding before; that is
why it tickled him so.”

When the commotion created by the donkey and its
owner had subsided, the crowd slowly dispersed. My
fellow-travelers and I, who had unexpectedly witnessed
the end of this village scene, separated. They looked for
lodgings at the little inn, while I went to the house of an
acquaintance of my father.

Made welcome by the gentleman and his family, I
spent the night at their house.

After supper, a neighbor dropped in for the evening,
or rather dragged himself in; for Master Rinaou was so
old, bowed and paralyzed that he had to lean on two
stout crutches and pull himself along, scraping the stone
floor with his sabots. Thus slowly and painfully he
hitched across the room to the wide arm-chair by the
fireside, threw himself into it all in a heap, hooked his
crutches to one arm, stretched out his lifeless limbs with
his hands and leaned back. Quite unconscious of the
company, he settled himself, sighed and broke out
loudly in self-contempt:

“Té paouré Mesté! Rinaou, té tombés aqué couma un
paou, ara leva té, mardienna, coutidienna.”*

*There, poor Master Rinaou, down you fall like alog; now get up if youcan.






A Arey 4
a bakt

SANS 23 b Herp Ge
| CHone

Tp
LOCAL \|





x



ye
P_—













The China-Vender of Quissac 61

The children, however, soon drew him away from
himself, by asking for a story.

“Give a story, Mésté Rinaou; please do, Mésté
Rinaou.”

“What can poor Mésté Rinaou tell you?” said the old
man, with a shade of sadness.

“Give Mésté Regé,” said the oldest, a boy of ten.

“Yes, Mésté Régé, Mésté Réegé,” chimed in the other
two.

“Tt is Mesté Regé you want, Mesté Régé and Moussu
Laouren,” said Mésté Rinaou; “ well, listen.”



The Adventures of Mésté Regé

ESTE Régé lived at Aiguemorte, a small town on

the Mediterranean coast, and his friend, Moussu
Laouren, lived in the little village of St. Laurent, an
hour’s walk from Mésté Rege’s house. They used to
see each other once a year, when the summer work
was over, and, as the hay was in the barn, the grain
cut and threshed, the wine-grapes trampled, and the
wine in the casks, Mésté Regé thought of taking some
rest and of visiting his friend, Moussu Laouren. Mésté
Regé was in a very happy mood. His crops had
been unusually large, especially his wheat-crop. Thirty
Camargues horses had trampled for three weeks his
threshing-floor. You know how they threshed wheat
in the Camargue. The clay floor is covered with
upright sheaves closely packed, in the middle stands
a strong post firmly anchored to a stone. To this
post the half-tamed broncos are tied with long ropes
and kept going at a lively pace by a driver with a
long lash. As they whirl around the post, they
trample over the sheaves, winding up the rope so that
the circuits become less and less. When the rope is



The Adventures of Mésté Regé 63

nearly wound up, the driver turns the post upside down,
the rope begins to unwind, the horses go in wider circles
until they again reach the edge of the threshing floor.
This process is repeated until the straw is evenly trodden
and the grain all threshed out.

Well, it was a very prosperous year for Mésté Régé,
and, happy as he was, he did not hesitate long, and his
mind was soon made up to go and visit Moussu Laouren.
He donned his best suit, exchanged his sabots for a pair
of shoes, kissed his wife and children good-bye, took his
staff, and set out on his long journey.

By the wayside he knew of an eagle’s nest. He had
the curiosity to get a peep at it, which is a most danger-
ous thing to do, especially when the eaglets are yet in the
nest. He hesitated somewhat before going, but decided
to satisfy his curiosity and perhaps get a young eaglet
to present to his friend Moussu Laouren. He climbed
slowly and cautiously, fearing to find the mother-bird in
the nest. This, unfortunately for him, proved to be the
case; for as he approached the nest he saw the eagle
sitting on her young, to keep them warm, no doubt.

He would gladly have turned around without being
seen by the bird but she had seen him and came out of
her nest, left her young, jumped on poor Mesté Régé,
fastened her beak onto the back of his neck, her talons
onto the seat of his breeches and carried him up in the
air.

Mésté Régé thought himself lost; he prayed God to



64 Tales of Languedoc

receive his soul. Meanwhile the eagle was soaring
higher and going toward the sea. When out upon the
Mediterranean, the bird said to herself: “Now I had
better drop him, I am far enough from the land, he can-
not swim ashore, he will be drowned so he can never
trouble me again.” So saying, she unfastened her talons
from Mésté Régé’s breeches and her beak from the back
of his neck; she dropped him and returned to her nest.

Poor Mésté Régé fell into the water from such a height
that he was stunned and lost consciousness. However
it was only for a little while, for he soon came to and
shouted for help.

Fortunately there was a boat quite near and the crew
hastened to see what the object was. To their great sur-
prise the sailors saw that it was a man struggling in the
water. They took him into the boat and plied him with
questions. Meésté Réegé related his adventures to the
sailors and they believed him at first, sailors are such a
credulous set, but soon a tremendous tempest arose
which threatened to engulf them all. But if sailors
are credulous they are also superstitious, and they
soon whispered amongst themselves that the cause of
the tempest was, no doubt, the man they had rescued
from drowning.

“God must be displeased with us,” they said, “ this
man is some evil being whom we should not have fished
out of the sea. Let us throw him to the mercy of the
waves and perhaps God will be appeased.”











The Adventures of Mésté Regé 67

Poor Mésté Régé, hearing their conversation, fell on
his knees and said to them: “My dear friends, I am a
man like yourselves, I am no evil being or supernatural
creature, I have told the truth regarding my whole
adventure and how you came to find me here.”

But as the wind blew more and more, and the tempest
increased in violence, they refused to believe him; they
seized him and began to tie him hand and foot before
throwing him overboard.

Mésté Regé seeing himself lost, and knowing that his
time had come, and that his end was near, said: “ My
friends, you have here empty wine-casks; put me inside
of one and throw it overboard and perhaps some chari-
table soul may find me and save me.”

What he asked was granted; they put him inside a
cask and threw him into the sea.

The sailors had not guessed right, however; the
tempest increased in fury, so that the vessel was nearly
swamped by huge waves falling repeatedly on deck.

As for Mésté Régé, he was so much tossed in his cask,
and so much bruised against the sides, that he nearly
fainted from exhaustion and pain; although praying
all the while that God would send some charita-
ble soul to his rescue. He was about to give up hope,
not knowing how far out he was, when suddenly the sea,
which throws up everything that floats on its surface,
by a great billow hove ashore the cask.

Oh! said he; I am no longer in the water. He placed



68 Tales of Languedoc

his eye at the bunghole and looked out. Suddenly he
thought he heard the tramp of an animal and, fortu-
nately, he was not mistaken. It was a cow looking for
some object against which to scratch her back. She
scratched and scratched; the cask turned and turned,
Mesté Régé with it. Bruised as he was, this second shak-
ing suited him not, but it brought the cow’s tail against
the bunghole; quietly and skillfully he drew it in with
his finger, rolled it around his wrist, and held on to it
with both hands. As soon as the cow was through rub-
bing and felt her tail held fast, she set out to run at her
best speed. Méesté Régé was all the while holding on for
dear life, saying to himself. ‘“ Unless the tail comes off,
wherever she goes, I will go, also.”

The cow ran, dragging the cask for at least an hour;
then, being tired out, she took the road to her master’s
barn. On entering the yard she turned the corner at such
speed that the cask struck the gate post and broke to
pieces.

Mesté Regé, thus liberated, looked about him and
‘said: “Why, this ismy own house!” ‘Then he heard
cries and lamentations inside and, without waiting a
moment to take breath, he rapped at the door, saying:
“Open, please.” The wife and children in tears, opened
the door and let him in.

All fell on his neck, even Moussu Laouren, who had
come to consolethem. Then herelated his thrilling adven-
tures; they all thanked God for his miraculous preserva-



The Tour of France 69

tion, tears were dried, mourning was changed to joy, and
the happy reunion was celebrated by a feast which lasted
eight days.

When Mésté Rinaou had done relating the story, the
children thanked him, bade him good night, and went
up stairs to bed, to dream, no doubt, of the wonderful
adventures of Mésté Régé. Pretty soon Mésté Rinaou
bade us, also, good-bye. I inquired of my host the age
of Mésté Rinaou. “ He is ninety-five years old,” said my
friend, “ and it is a pity you cannot spend a few days with
us, and hear a few more stories from him; the old gen-
tleman knows them by the dozen.”

Early in the morning, after having partaken of a good
breakfast and thanked my kind friends, I proceeded on
my way.

The whole forenoon I traveled alone, noticing every
blade of grass and weed by the wayside, the trees and
birds. “Train your eyes to observe every object you
meet, listen to every proper conversation you hear,” my
father had said to me, “and you will come back to us
filled with knowledge of things and men.”

About noon, seven or eight men caught up with me.
They asked my name, where I was from, and where I
was bound for. I answered their questions, and the
whole band of us set to walking by twos. The man by
my side might have been fifty years old, and, knowing
that I was a stranger to that part of the country, he very
obligingly answered all my questions about the different



70 Tales of Languedoc

villages we passed through and the objects of interest we
met. He also volunteered much information about the
lords and noted men of the country. I was so much
absorbed in what he was saying, that I did not notice
we were at the top of a hill. When suddenly he ex-
claimed:

“Té! Do you see the castle on yonder eminence, sur-
rounded by that park which slopes gently to the banks
of the stream? Well, that is the castle of La Ferriére,
for years the devil haunted it, and finally was driven off
by three powerful men.”

My eyes were taking in the castle, which impressed
me as a princely residence, and the scenery about it
which could not be surpassed ; but, at the mention of the
devil, I turned towards my companion, and, seeing his
earnestness, I kept back the incredulous smile which was
already on my lips. I had never heard of the devil being
seen nor of his haunting any place, excepting the hearts
ofmen. My father was not superstitious, and had warned
me against such nonsense; but, unwilling to offend the
kind old man, I feigned astonishment, and said I had
never heard of the devil in a castle, nor of strong men
who could put him out, but I would like to know about
them. My companion asked for nothing better, and
said:

“Tam surprised you never heard the story. Every-
body in this country knowsit as well as I do. It is pretty
long, but we have plenty of time.”



Che Story of the
Chree Strons Dyen,—
Crowbar,
bookbeard,

and the Diller.

b &







Three Strong Men

N the village of Vézénobre a good peasant took for a

wife a woman so stout and strong that she was known
in the village as Marion the Stout. This pair had a
twenty-four month baby, a most remarkable child, and
he became a great man.

At birth, he was like a three-year-old, with full set of
teeth, long hair, strong and shapely limbs, and a splendid
form.

At fifteen, he was as large as a man of thirty, and his
strength was marvelous for his age. He could lift with
one hand a sack of wheat, and he played with an anvil
as a toy.

At the age of twenty, he ‘was as well-formed and as
strong as the Colossus of Rhodes.

His strength became proverbial in the country. All
wrestlers feared him; for none could withstand his
feats in the ring. With one hand he would seize his
opponent and hold him at arm’s length for a long time,
then he would whirl him about his head until he cried
“King’s truce!” when he would stretch him at full
length on the ground. There was not his equal in the

country.



Wee Tales of Languedoc

When he had attained tomanhood, he started on a long
journey to visit the villages and towns of France. He
saw Lyons, Marseilles, Nimes, and was on his way to Bor-
deaux, traveling on foot, with a big axle-tree for a cane,
when he reached the little village of Fontanés. There
he took his dinner, visited an old castle belonging to the
Lieutenant-General of the King’s army, and, at one
o’clock, he set out for the village of Lecques, which is
perched on a rock on the right bank of the River Le
Vidourle.

The owner of the castle of Fontanés was a powerful
lord, to whom the villagers owed obedience. He could
command them in season and out of season. Was his
woodyard empty, a word from his steward brought twenty
loads of wood; was his ice-house empty, the peasants
were set to work cutting ice on the river and packing it
for the summer use of his lordship. During seed-time,
they had to turn out with their teams, and plow, harrow,
and sow his lordship’s broad acres.

When Crowbar reached Fontanés it was seed-time
and the peasants were at work sowing the grain in a large
field on a cross-road leading to Lecques. Some of the
peasants were ploughing, some harrowing, some sowing
the grain, some were singing, others swearing at their
teams or goading their oxen. Among them was a
ploughman with a gray mule as lazy as his master, and
following behind was his son, a lad of ten, cracking the
whip once in a while on the mule’s back.



Three Strong Men 75

Old Dumas, for that was the ploughman’s name, was
singing in a tremulous voice with a Gallic accent:

I was sitting the oak boughs below,
I saw bustling toward me my love,

’T was Clarissa looking for her beau,
Took me for him, bounced into my lap.

(Interrupting himself). “Get up Falet! hit him hard,
boy.”
If you love me be not proud,
If you love me why so haughty?
Time is past to play at scorn,
When one’s promised then ’tis naughty.

“Get up, Falet; that hole won’t swallow you up; get
up!”
Not far behind ploughed another big tall fellow with
a beard touching the ground. He was nicknamed
Hookbeard on account of his beard turning up at the
end. He was a man of extraordinary strength, for he
could lift almost any weight which one might tie to his
beard.

He was ploughing with a yoke of oxen and was sing-
ing the song of the ploughman:

When the ploughman ends the furrow
Then he throws aside his ploughshare.
When the ploughman ends the furrow
Then he throws aside his ploughshare;
His ploughshare.

He finds his wife beside the fire,
Sad and inconsolable.
He finds his wife beside the fire,
Sad and inconsolable;
Sad and inconsolable.



76 Tales of Languedoc

If you are sick, tell me,
I will make for you a pottage;
If you are sick, tell me,
I will make for you a pottage;
A pottage.

A pottage with a cabbage
And a lean sparrow.
A pottage with a cabbage
And a lean sparrow;
A lean sparrow.

If you are dead, say so,
We will bury you in the wine-vault.
If you are dead, say so,
We will bury you in the wine-vault;
In the wine-vault.

Your head under the faucet
To drink as it flows.
Your head under the faucet
To drink as it flows;
To drink as it flows.

As Crowbar appeared at the crossroad, Hookbeard
was at the end of the furrow.

“Well, neighbor, the plough must run easy since the
ploughman is singing,” said Crowbar.

“Well,” replied Hookbeard, “sometimes easy, and
sometimes hard; but withal time flies. Weare working
for the lord of the manor; we receive no pay; we need
not kill ourselves.”

And from one thing to another the talk ran on. Crow-
bar, meanwhile, was toying with his axle, as one would
with a cane. When about to start, he said, swinging his
axle as a pointer to show off his strength, “which road
goes to Lecques? This one or that?”



Three Strong Men TT

Hookbeard’s face grew purple as a poppy, and seizing
the ploughbeam with one hand, he raised it from the
furrow, oxen and all, so that to Crowbar they seemed to
fly. He swung them in the air in the right direction,
and said:



“Take this road;” and let them down easy in the fur-
row again.

“Why,” said Crowbar, “I should say you havea pow-
erful wrist, my good fellow. I have traveled extensively
and seen many strong men; but I have yet to find your
equal. If you like,” added he: “ We will become part-
ners, and together make the tour of France.”



78 Tales of Languedoc

- “Tam willing,” replied Hookbeard; “but I have no
money, and to travel one needs money.”

“Don’t let that hinder you,” said Crowbar, “I have
enough for both. Besides, we can earn some on the
way.”

Hookbeard, without further parley, left his oxen in
the furrow, and arm-in-arm with Crowbar set out for
Lecques.

Lecques is built on a rock on the right bank of the
river Le Vidourle.

To reach the village the stream must be crossed by
ferry-boat. When the two men reached the left bank of
the river, the boat was on the other side, and no ferry-
man in sight. They shouted and roared, but nobody
heard. It was the hottest part of the day, and no doubt
the Lecquars were all asleep.

“ What shall we do?” said Crowbar to his companion ;
“shall we wait here until somebody comes to the river”?

“Not much!” exclaimed the other; “just hang to my
whiskers, and youll be quickly over.”

Crowbar put his axle under his arm, seized his
friend’s beard with both hands, and with a swing and a
jerk, Hookbeard sent him flying over the stream. Crow-
bar landed on his feet, went to the boat, unfastened it,
rowed across the river, and ferried over his friend.

After making the boat fast, they set out towards the
gristmill, below the village, in hope of finding somebody.

The miller had just dined, and to work off his dinner,







eee





Three Strong Men 81

was playing quoits with his millstones on the sand.
When Hookbeard and Crowbar saw the miller, they
exclaimed:

“Here is a man as strong as we; let us invite him to
join us. All three together we could defy the world.”

They approached, and politely complimented the
miller on his strength; and, by way of introduction,
they each picked up a millstone.

The miller delighted to find his equals, invited them
in, treated them to wine, and they talked of their ex-
ploits, each making as big a story as possible. When
they had drunk and rested enough, Crowbar said to the
miller:

“T have traveled much, hoping to find men as strong
as I, but have seen none until to-day I met Hookbeard,
and he has consented to go with me. Why should you
not come too? We three should have nothing to fear.
Won’t you come?”

The miller was much attached to his mill, and asked
time to make up his mind.

“Stay until to-morrow with me,” he said, “have a
good supper and a night’s rest, then I will give you my
decision.”

An expert at fishing, he soon caught fish enough for
supper, and the feast was spread, the best wine brought
out, and at the height of the ieast the miller anticipated
his answer, and agreed to go with them.

Early next morning they took a bite to stay their



82 Tales of Languedoc

stomachs, and were about to start on their journey, when
the miller said to his companions :

“T will take my millstones with me; when we have
nothing better to do, we can have a game of quoits.”

“Quite right,” both replied at once; “take them
along.”

The miller closed his mill, placed the key under the
door, took a millstone under each arm, and off they went.

They worked their way towards Montpelier, passed
La Fontade, climbed the hill of La Pefia, crossed the
woods of La Clause, reached St. Beauzeli, and wherever
they went they performed feats of strength.

People were surprised to see such powerful men, one
with a beard trailing the ground, another with an
immense axle-tree for a cane, and a third with millstones
in his pockets. Children swarmed about them, and fol-
lowed them through the streets.

One evening at an inn they were telling of their
exploits to the villagers, exaggerating their performances
and boasting of their bravery. One of the listeners spoke
up, and said:

“Tf you have the courage you claim, you ought to
render me a service.”

“ What is it?” said the three, all at once.

“Tn the loft of my barn, at about two every morning,
something runs over the floor, and there is a noise like
the dragging of chains. My men pretend that a dragon
haunts the barn; they saw him one night, they say, and











Three Strong Men 85

after nightfall they cannot be induced to enter the barn,
much less to sleep in the loft. If you would spend a
night there, find out the cause of alarm and, perhaps,
kill the dragon, then my men would attend to their
evening chores and sleep in the loft, as they used to do.”

The trio replied they would be glad to do as much
for him and, proud of the occasion, they set out for the
barn.

Crowbar said: “There is no need of three; give my
companions a room. I will stay alone in the barn, and
will call you if I need help.” So the miller and Hook-
beard, who had not the courage of Crowbar, were glad
to sleep in the house.

When Crowbar was alone he examined every nook of
the loft, and the heaps-of fodder upon the floor, to make
sure that nothing was hidden there. He looked out of
the windows, and found that one opened upon the vil-
lage green, the other looked out upon a neighbor’s yard,
and was only six feet from the ground, the barn being on
sloping ground. This window he could not fasten; it
had been always left open for ventilation. Crowbar
threw himself upon the straw, but not to sleep. Hardly
had an hour passed when he heard a noise at the open
window. He raised on one elbow, and listened. The
sound approached, as if some creature was walking on
the boards with heavy nailed shoes or hard hoofs, he
could not tell which. At the same time there was the
clank, clank, of a chain dragged by jerks on the floor. It



86 Tales of Languedoc

came still nearer, and Crowbar sprang towards it with a
shout.

“So, dragon, here you are, hey! Oust me from this
barn, if you can!”

The object turned, and went tearing through the barn,
Crowbar after it. The chase began; the racket roused
the village, the two climbed the haymow, and leaped
from one stack to another; they vaulted over each other,
and fell in a heap on the floor; they sprang up and
clattered like mad through the barn again. The noise
was terrific,— it lasted twenty minutes. At last, by
mere luck, Crowbar stepped on the chain, stooping, he
quickly seized it, and, with a powerful jerk, he got the
creature within grasp. He laid firm hold of it with both
arms, muttering to himself:

“ Dragon though ye be, down with ye!” and he flung
it out the window on to the village green.

The peasants, who were outside listening to the racket,
rushed in, and found Crowbar in a dripping sweat.

“T do not know what sort of beast it is,” said he, “ but
it has led me a chase, I can assure you.” |

“Let us see what it is,’ and they rushed out into the
square, and found,— you cannot guess,— a goat! A goat
burst asunder by the fall!

And this is its story: The owner of the goat had no
fodder, so every night he let the goat loose. She, with a
bound, leaped into the neighbor’s loft, by the open win-
dow, and fed all night on the hay



Three Strong Men 87

Evil-doers are often caught in their own traps. If the
man had not left the chain on the goat, to make the
frightful clatter, he might not have been betrayed.

Next morning, when the story spread abroad in the
village, everybody said that is just like him, shiftless
fellow; that is one of his old tricks, And, from that day,
none of them would have anything to do with the unfor-
tunate loser of the goat.

The owner of the barn, well pleased with the outcome
of the adventure, entertained the three strong men roy-
ally. He gave a public feast in their honor, and, in the
presence of all the dignitaries of the village, he thanked
them for their services, and, from that time on, he kept
his barn-door and windows locked.

Meanwhile, the fame of the three strong men was ever
widening.

Farther up the mountain lived a rich gentleman in
an old castle. He had been a merchant, had amassed a
fortune in commerce, and wishing to retire with his
family, had bought the castle with large estates, and had
it repaired and fitted up to his taste.

On the first floor was drawing-room, boudoirs, din-
ing-room, and kitchen. The sleeping-rooms of the
family were on the second floor, and the third floor was
given up to the servants.

Almost all the windows had gratings. The tower, or
ancient keep, on the western corner of the castle, was
left unrepaired, as it was not needed. The doors had



88 Tales of Languedoc

the old rusty locks, and the windows were not fastened
at all, excepting in stormy weather.

On the second floor, between the master’s room and
the tower, was a room daintily furnished and prepared
for the daughter when she should come home from her
convent.

At the castle nothing was lacking. There were car-
riages of all sorts; equipages on equipages; servants on
servants; horses of all breeds, for the carriage and for
the saddle. Besides there were two immense New
Foundland dogs, named Sultan and Mustafa. Sultan
was fat and black, and Mustafa was lean and red. They
were tied by day and loosed by night.

When the merchant came to live on his domain early
in May, the country was beautiful to see. The trees
were in full bloom, and the meadows a magnificent green.
Half way up the Cevennes, they had the mountain air
first hand; it was neither hot nor cold, and too far from
the marshes for mosquitoes.

The gentleman was all delight with his new posses-
sions, and nothing was lacking but the presence of his
daughter.

So he looked forward to her vacation when she should
come and regain strength and spirits in the pleasures of
outdoor life at the castle. And you should have seen
the reception they gave her the day she came.

The whole household was on foot to receive her, but
none welcomed her more warmly than the old bonne



Three Strong Men 89

Jeaneton, who had brought her up since her mother
died in childhood. Her first evening at the castle was
one of festivity. Joy and happiness were seen on all
faces.

Bedtime came, they all wished the young mistress
good night, and Jeaneton took her to her beautiful cham-
ber, the furniture and appointments of which were fit
fora queen. The dogs were let loose, the doors closed,
the lights put out, and all about the castle was soon
silent and dark. The young Miss was soon asleep, so
were the others of the household.

About midnight the girl felt something pressing on
her feet. She thought she was dreaming. But no; she
was not dreaming. Something heavy and warm was on
her feet. She heard it breathing. Fear seized her.
Had she cried, her father in the next room would have
come to her rescue. But no; she kept still, covered her
head with the sheet, and stayed thus without stirring
the whole night. It was enough to frighten one to death,
but when one’s time has not come, it takes more than
that to kill one.

A little before daybreak, she felt something rise, heard
it jump from the bed, and leave the room quietly. You
may well imagine how impatient she was for daylight
to come.

At breakfast she appeared pale, distracted, with black
rings under her eyes, telling the tale of a sleepless
night.



go Tales of Languedoc

“What is the matter with you, my child,” inquired
her father, “ have you not slept well? ”

She fell on his neck, and with tears in her eyes, told
him of her great fright. Her father, much surprised
and greatly pained, said to her: “My child do not
divulge this to any one, I shall find means to discover
the cause of your fright; and if the servants heard of
this not one of them would stay at the castle.”

They kept it secret, and under a pretext, induced old
Jeaneton to occupy the room. The first night the old
nurse slept in the beautiful chamber, the master took
puins himself to lock the doors and windows, and even
fastened the windows of the old tower.

The next morning father and daughter were dying to
know how she spent the night.

“Oh! I slept as sound as a top,” said she; “why
should I not, in so fine a room and such a soft bed?”

For some time the master attended to closing the
doors and windows himself; but, at length, as nothing
disturbed old Jeaneton, he grew careless, and left the
tower window open.

One early morning Jeaneton rushed into her young
mistress’ room quaking with terror, and told her that a
strange animal had lain on her feet during the night; she
had heard it breathing heavily, but it had left before
dawn, and she could not tell what it was.

The father was notified, and again, on account of the
servants, they all agreed to keep the affair secret.



Three Strong Men gI

About this time the fame of the Three Strong Men
reached them, and the owner of the castle set out to
fetch them. He brought them to his house as guests.
Crowbar offered to occupy the room, but Hookbeard
insisted that it was his turn, pompously adding: “If die
I must, ready Iam.” So it was decided for him to have
the first chance at the beast. The servants were, to be
sure, surprised to see a man with such a beard about to
sleep in the dainty bed of the young mistress, but they
kept their comments to themselves.

Hookbeard spread himself out on the pretty bed, and
thought:

“Ghost or devil that haunts this room, I admire your
taste; you have not badly chosen your couch.”

Wiser, however, than the nurse and her mistress, he
did not go to sleep.

At the moment of expectation, he heard a sound like
an animal moving in the room and scenting. He
stretched his hand, felt a cold nose, a head, a tongue that
licked his hand.

“Tf all the ghosts, devils, and dragons are no
worse than this one,” thought Hookbeard, “they are
not to be feared.” And, patting the animal, they
became friends; so much so, that they spent the night
together, the beast with its head in Hookbeard’s
arms.

What a surprise to the master it was when he came
into the room in the morning to find the long-bearded



92 Tales of Languedoc

fellow stretched out, and in his arms the head of the dog,
Mustafa.

Quickly he brought his daughter and Jeaneton to see
the devil of their midnight terror.

How could the dog have got in?

Leaning against the old tower, just below one of its
windows, was a low shed. At night, when the dogs were
let loose, Mustafa found nothing easier than to Jump on
the roof of the shed, from thence through the tower
window, and from the tower into the young lady’s
room.

It is not known whether Mustafa dreaded the night’s
dew on account of rheumatism, but evidently he pre-
ferred to sleep on a soft bed to spending his night under
the beautiful stars in the court.

Overjoyed, the owner of the castle complimented
Hookbeard for his bravery, gave the Three Strong Men
a handsome reward, entertained them two or three days,
and, on taking leave of them, said:

“T have a friend who lives not far from Alais, in the
castle of La Ferritre; I believe he needs you.”

“Tet us go at once,” said the three; “what can he
need us for?”

“ He will tell you,” replied the gentleman; “tell him
I have sent you.”

Thereupon they set out, with paunches and pockets
full, a jolly set of rovers. They walked for many days
and, finally, about ten o’clock in the morning of a fine



Full Text


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Cales of Languedoc
Stanford Edition

Limited to one hundred and fifty copies

no. LL Bee

Cales of Fanguedoc
Samuel # Jacques? Brun

With an Introduction by
Harriet: We: preston

IElustrations-by-€rnest:C:Peixotto



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THE MURDOCK PRESS
DEDICATION:

TO
THE MEMORY OF

THE STORY- TELLERS
Preface

HE “Tates or LANGuEeDoc” are drawn from a fund

of stories, sayings, and traditions, which came to me
_ by birthright, along with the ancient Bible, the tall clock,
and other heirlooms, carrying with them about the same
sense of exclusive ownership. Whatever may have
been their origin in common folk-lore, they formed an
important part of the conviviality of the ancestral
hearth from an early date, and for several generations
have taken on the personality of the different narrators;
so that, in their present form, I have come to regard
them as my heritage of the unwritten literature of my
native land—a heritage that has brought with it a
responsibility in view of succession; for, to survive in
a new world and with a new generation, oral traditions
must take on a permanent form, verbal narration must
be written, and the vernacular find an equivalent in the
colloquial expressions of another language. To attempt
so difficult a thing with only my own resources would
be presumptuous. Besides the indelible impressions of
a youth passed with a race of story-tellers, I have fortu-
nately been able to command help of a more tangible
nature, without which the collection would not be
complete.
2 Preface

The sole survivor of the story-tellers has, with much
labor, furnished me with his own manuscripts, deline-
ating the tales in the vernacular, and supplying the
connecting links.

With this material I have worked to combine and
embody, as in a composite picture, the caste and coloring
given by the different narrators, calling to aid an able
artist, Mr. Ernest Peixotto, to supply in a measure the
loss of scenery and associations, and the acting that went
so far to supplement the original version.

The difficulty of rendering the coarse picturesqueness
of a language so rich in metaphor and so free in its
range of figurative expressions could only be partially
met by the use of slang and vulgarisms, which it is
hoped will be considered pardonable. The rhymes and
quatrains, with the sonorous ring of the vernacular,
which sets itself to meter so easily, can have no equiva-
lent in English.

My aim in working out this English version has been
to give the spirit of the Languedoc, and to do justice to
the original, rather than to reach any standard of scien-
tific or literary value.

Soulless as the tales must seem to those initiated in
the magic of story-telling, yet practice proves them capa-
ble of exerting a spell over the children and having ©
some interest for lovers of folk-lore—so much g0, that
the author is encouraged to invite to the hearth a wider
circle.
retace 3

To the critic the collection will appear full of anach-
ronisms and inconsistencies. Legend and romance are
unduly seasoned with the moral and didactic to the
taste of a sterner sect of Huguenots; the medieval and
modern are brought face to face; and fact and fable join
hands, regardless of rhyme or reason. Yet all this only
rendered them real to those of the ancestral hearth, who
knew no sharp lines between the past and present, and
who lived on the borderland of the fabulous.

To my own fireside I owe, in some measure, the
inspiration which may be found in these tales; and to
my wife, with whom I discussed the idioms of the langue
doc, the apt rendering of the vernacular.

With gratefulness I acknowledge the deep obligation
I owe to my uncle, M. Clément Brun, of Fontanés, France,
for furnishing me with his written version of most of
these tales, as he had them from the lips of my great-
grandfather at the beginning of the second quarter of
this century, and for the suggestion to make of the
stories a connected whole.

My acknowledgments are also due to Dr. Ewald
Fliigel, Professors Melville Best Anderson, and Henry
Burrowes Lathrop, of Stanford University, for the great
interest they have taken in these tales, and the encour-
agement given to this undertaking.

SaMUEL JAcQuES BRUN.

Leland Stanford Jr. University, September 1st, 1896.

Contents

MY GRANDFATHER’S TOUR OF FRANCE . . . . .

HOW YOUNG ANGLAS BECAME A MARQUIS, OR THE STORY OF
THE DUCKS, THE ANTS, AND THE FLIES . . . .

THE CHINA-VENDER OF QUISSAC ; 5 5 : A fj
THE ADVENTURES OF MESTE REGE x ‘5 " ‘ ' r

THE STORY OF THE THREE STRONG MEN: CROWBAR, HOOK-
BEARD, AND THE MILLER . . . . . . .

THE HAUTBOY PLAYER OF VENTABREN . . . . .
CYPEYRE OF ST. CLEMENT AND LOU DOUNA OF LECQUES . .
A BLIND MAN’S STORY OF THE MIRACULOUS TREE .

THE MARRIAGE OF MONSIEUR ARCANVEL; OR THE STORY OF
THE GLOVES OF LOUSE-SKIN . . . . . . .

PAGE
15

23

56

71

123

133

143

199



10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

F PEiney
phe cy Ee PEtRoTaa

%

Sal\ncureiiee ; 5 ie ;
DUIS GLE I NESSES EES & CNR AUN

Frontispiece . - : . ; b . ' " . %
Title-page ai : .
Head-piece

“TISTENING TO THE STORIES OF OUR WHITE- HAIRED
GRANDFATHER”? . r : : : : , 4 2

‘mT SUPERB ANIMAL HELD HIS HEAD PROUDLY HIGH”
ANGLAS ARRIVING AT THE INN. :
“map, TAP, TAP, AT THE WINDOW-PANE ee , . .

“oN THE WATERS OF THE STREAM, ARRANGED IN BAT-
TALIONS, THOUSANDS OF pucks”. . . .

‘OPHEY MADE HIM WIND THROUGH CORRIDORS”
Tail-piece . i , ‘

THE MARKET-PLACE OF QUISSAC .

“\EANWHILE THE EAGLE WAS SOARING HIGHER”?
‘““ WHICH ROAD GOES TO LECQUES?” . - :

‘““WwiIrH A JERK, HOOKBEARD SENT HIM FLYING OVER THE
STREAM” 6 " , ; 2 ' s , ' 5

“OHILDREN FOLLOWED THEM THROUGH THE STREETS ie

PAGE

_

19

29

33

38

41

47
List of Drawings

PAGE
16. CROWBAR AND THE DEVIL : . . . A 5 , 99
17. ‘‘FAR IN THE PARK, HE COULD SEE A LORDLY CASTLE”? 109
18. ‘‘BOTH WORKED WITH A WILL, HOISTING THE BOXES”? 115
19. ‘‘ UNCLE, SEE THAT BIG DOG BEHIND US” . . . 127
20. ‘‘ HE PASSED A TROOP OF DIRTY GYPSIES” , A : 137
21. ‘‘SHEPHERDS LED THEIR FLOCKS UNDER THIS TREE” , 147
22, ‘LET US COUNT OUR MONEY” . . 6 5 , , 151
23. ‘“‘THEY GREETED EACH OTHER AS THEY CAMB” : ‘ 161
24, ‘“‘A STREAM OF PEOPLE WERE POURING INTO THE
CHURCH ” 3 A . 7 , . . . , " 173
25. ‘GOING STRAIGHT TO THE OLD CHERRY-TREE, GAVE
ORDERS TO DIGIT UP” . . , ‘ , : 177
26. ‘‘HE FELT HER PULSE AND FOUND NONE” 5 x i 181
27. ‘“‘LOUISET WENT TO THE GATE” , 6 ; ; b 4 187
28. ‘GIRLS WERE COMING AND GOING” . r , : 5 195
29. ‘‘ WITH THE STORM RAGING ABOUT HIM”’ . , Raney 205
380. ‘THE POOR MISS LIFTED HER HAND FOR THE BEGGAR”? 219
81. ‘‘ WHAT IS YOUR MASTER’S NAME?” . i i : . 225
82. ‘‘ YONDER IS MR. ARCANVEL’S CASTLE” F : r f 229

33. ‘‘THE COCK CREW, AND THE STORY ENDED” . i , 240
Introduction

T is very nearly forty years since the first publication,

at Avignon, of Frederick Mistral’s “ Mireio” marked
the brilliant opening of one of the most noteworthy
literary movements of this century. A new poet of
unmistakable genius, producing at the first bound a
work of epic proportions, with a theme of singular
freshness, and in a hitherto neglected Latin dialect,—it
will be long before the reading world receives another
such sensation! And the wonder grew, as it became
apparent that the new singer was only one, although the
leader, of a tuneful choir, with a common inspiration,
a close organization, and a distinct and serious literary
purpose. If that purpose has been but imperfectly ful-
filled, in so far as it regarded the claim of the rustic
modern Provengal to rank as a separate and long-de-
scended language, in other respects the daring promise
of the first “felibre” has been richly kept. They had
actually struck a vein hitherto unworked in letters, and
the mine of poetic and picturesque material to which
it led, has been yielding steadily for a generation, and
shows no signs as yet of failure. The men of the early
school, many of whom have already passed away, were
born and bred in the romantic period, and idealized
10 Introduction

upon principle their pictures of Provengal life and
scenery.

Then came Alphonse Daudet, the most sane and
sympathetic of realists, no less a patriot in the best sense
of the term, because he was also a citizen of the world,

d

who dared, in “Les Lettres de Mon Moulin,” and the
immortal “ Numa Roumestan,” to depict the humor and
confess the limitations, as well as chant the glories, of
the South of France.

Between them, they have succeeded in making their
fascinating country a familiar haunt of the fancy, even
to those who have never seen it; and we know the men
and women of Gard and Var, Vaucluse and the Bouches
du Rhéne as we know our next of kin. We have roamed
their fields and gathered their fruit, eaten at their tables,
knelt in their churches, and shouted at their banquets.
We haye a lively interest in all their concerns, from the
gravest to the most trivial, and have come long since to
care less for the manner of their native speech than for
the substance of the news which they have to give us of
themselves. We are only too glad, therefore, to have
the part played by the humble kindred of Mirabeau in
the great Revolution, illustrated by Madame Janvier’s
graceful translation of Felix Gras’s “ Reds of the Midi,”
and to make acquaintance with the fireside tales and
local traditions on which the children of Gard are
brought up, in the singularly clear, animated, and idio-
matic English of M. Samuel Jacques Brun.
Introduction II

It was a happy thought of Mr. Brun’s to give a per-
manent form to the half-dozen extravagant but highly
entertaining viva voce naratives which had constituted for
generations a sort of heirloom in his own family; and
their publication seems peculiarly opportune just now,
when the taste for story-telling pure and simple, without
any oblique purpose or appended moral, has so remark-
ably revived. No such feast for the juvenile imagina-
tion has been provided since the Brothers Grimm
collected the “ Marchen” of Germany; and the scientific
student of folk-lore may welcome the opportunity now
offered him of comparing the nursery legends of North-
ern and Southern Europe from his own serious point of
view. But the great merit and charm for the general
reader, in these ingenuous “Contes Bleus” of Langue-
doe will be found in their broad and beaming humor
and their intensely dramatic quality. Even the tales of
Hans Christian Andersen, and the marvelous “Jungle
Book” appear slow, subtle, and tortuous beside the
breathless movement and almost brutal directness of
these. Character, as in the delightful fable of the “Three

Strong Men,”

is drawn in true child-fashion, with the
fewest and blackest lines; but the effect is immense.
There is an endless succession of thrilling incidents and
adventures, preposterous in themselves, it may be, but
related with the most imposing conviction, and rendered
quite credible for the moment by the ease of their

sequence, and the rapidity with which they pass. Incon-
12 Introduction

sistencies are reconciled and anachronisms overborne by
the strong vitality of the perennial story, which, as it is
handed down from father to son, adopts and retains
something from each period without losing its identity,
and often reflects, in quaint association with the most
modern views and impressions, the ruling passion of a
long-past time—the Huguenot’s hatred and distrust
of the priest; the exulting contempt of the first republi-
can era for courtiers and kings. Now and then, perhaps,
the sentiment is less antiquated than it appears, and
points to some unchangeable idiosyncrasy of race. The
exceedingly rude treatment accorded to the gentle bride
in the story of “ Monsieur Arcanvel” might seem like
a survival from the dark ages, but for our recollection
of the complacency with which good Tante Portal in
“Numa Roumestan” is made to quote the current Pro-
vengal proverb: “ Les femmes ne sont pas des genss.”

Very rarely, as in the droll story of ‘‘How Anglas
Became a Marquis, or the Ants, the Ducks, and Flies,”
a certain flourish is made at the outset of a precept to
be inculcated—in this case the duty of kindness and
consideration to the humblest of God’s creatures. But
here, as always, the story is so much better even than
the moral, that the latter falls rather into abeyance.

The main lessons conveyed by the fireside tales of
Languedoc are those benignant and encouraging, if ele-
mentary ones— those which appeal so forcibly to a child’s
sense of justice, and are none the less grateful to the
Introduction 13

reader of experience because they show a refreshing dis-
parity with the average results of life—that the bravest
youth will win the best and fairest bride, without refer-
ence to original differences of condition; that the virtu-
ous poor man will inherit and enjoy the estates of the
malign millionaire; and the bold, bad boy who has
maltreated his brother will be humbled in due course
of time and handed over to the relentless magnanimity
of his junior; in short, that every good deed is bound
to receive a tangible reward, even in this present evil
world, and every wrong a triumphant righting.

The time-worn elder may shake his head officially
over such flattering promises, but his juvenile auditory
will be clamoring loudly meanwhile to hear the story
read again; and that, after all, is the true test of excel-
lence in such matters.

HARRIET WATERS PRESTON.
October Ist, 1896.

Dy Grandfather’s
Cour of France.

b

My Grandfather’s Tour of

France

URING the long winter evenings of my youth, my

grandfather used to amuse us and keep us awake

by telling stories of all sorts, but the one which we liked

best was the account of a journey that he had taken
when a young man before his marriage.

Travelling in those days was very different from
what it is now. The middle class had no private
carriages; the lords, and high dignitaries of the church,
travelled in lumbering vehicles of their own over
abominable roads; the industrial, the bourgeois,
travelled on horseback, and the rest on foot. To be sure
the mail coach carried three or four passengers, but that
was too expensive for any but the nobles, the clergy, and
the government officials. The pedestrians, and they
were few, indeed, for most people staid at home, were
“compagnons” or journeymen-joiners, saddlers, masons,
carpenters, blacksmiths, and others, who tramped about
to see the country and returned home with the prestige
of a traveller. “Faire son tour de France” it was called.
18 Tales of Languedoc

However skillful a craftsman the “compagnon” might
be, he was not considered up in his trade unless he had
made his “tour de France,” and though he had travelled
ever so little the most stupid fellow in the universe was
all right if he had gone a few miles away from home.
Some went to Galician, others to Uzés, a few went to
Lyons, and when one, perchance, went to Paris, then you
should have seen how proud he was, and heard the lies
he told. Ah, that one knew it all!

Almost all left home well dressed, with sack well-filled
and some money in pocket; they returned lean and
empty, in tattered summer clothes in the middle of
winter, a few rags tied in a handkerchief, shoes out at
the sole, a shock of unkempt hair, and as much money
as there is in my eye. But, in spite of all this, look out!
they had been to Lyons! Well, the customs of the times
were such!

Those, who like my grandfather had been to distant
countries for their education, were very rare, and often
they had for travelling companions the tradesmen above
mentioned or some soldiers returning home from their
discharge.

You must understand that such a journey lasted
many months and that, from time to time, the traveller
had to rest. My grandfather improved those days in
visiting places of interest in the towns where he tarried
as he passed through. Thus he saw many sights, had
many adventures, heard many tales, and it was all this

My Grandfather’s Tour of France 21

that he used to relate to us winter evenings by the large
fire-place of the ancestral dwelling.

My brother and I sat on each side of the hearth under
the mantel of the great kitchen chimney, watching the
slow burning log, hearing the sizz of the pot hung on
the crane, and listening for hours to the stories of my
white-haired grandfather.

I shall let my grandfather speak and be only the
scribe taking down the story as faithfully as my memory
will allow.

“When I was young I had a great leaning toward
an education. I remember going to school and taking
great delight in reading the two or three books which
were all the teacher had, and in the lessons in geo-
graphy of France, on the customs of the people, and a
good deal about distant countries. These things inter-
ested me so much, that the desire to see for myself the
things he told us about increased as I grew older, and
when out of my teens, I ventured to speak to my father
of my great desire to travel. My father was much
surprised at first and a little annoyed; but, as he was
exceedingly intelligent, he soon realized that a trip to
distant provinces might be a great benefit to me through
life—a serious journey, of course, not a frivolous trip,—
so he took me to his room, and very impressively, gave
me all the injunctions which his parental duty required.

“Te told me what my conduct should be towards my
22 Tales of Languedoc

fellowmen, especially my fellow travellers—he cautioned
me against being out late, and warned me of wicked
companions and highwaymen—he gave me much other
counsel to which I gave little heed at the time,—like
any other youngster, but which, I confess, was to me of
great value during my journey, as well as in after life.

“To encourage you in well-doing, added my father,
‘J will tell you what happened to a young man of the
Camargue—you will see that good conduct and kind-
ness often receive their reward on this earth.’”
hb}

-

Bow Youns Anslas
Became a Darquis,
or the Story of

the Ducks, the Ants,
and the Flies.

+ ©¢

How Young Anglas Became a
Marquis

OT far from Aiguemorte, on the Mediterranean sea,

lived a rich peasant named Anglas. His farm was

one of the finest in the fertile region of the Lower Rhone,
and was known far and wide as, ‘The Tour of Anglas.’

On this domain he lived with his son, a promising
young man, upon whom he had bestowed great care.

Young Anglas had finished school, and was eager
to take a trip to Paris. Ambitious as such an undertak-
ing was for his country-folk, the father had granted the
young man’s desire, and furnished a handsome outfit for
the journey. A fine young horse from the Camargue,
snow white, with head alert, tail sweeping the ground,
nimble as a lean cat! He could leap a twelve-foot ditch .
at a bound, and the rider was fearless as the steed was
swift.

A fine appearance they made on the morn of the de-
parture, the shining white palfrey and handsome young
rider. The father could not help exclaiming, as he
viewed the youth from top to toe, admiring his black
hair, hazel eyes, pearly teeth, and self-reliant manner:
“What a fine fellow; not many can equal him!” Then
he added, with a shade of sadness: “May God bless
26 Tales of Languedoc

him on his journey, and may he return to me a man of
experience, yet as pure and good as he is now.”

When the horse and rider were lost to sight, the old
man fell a prey to sad reflections; a tear moistened his
eye, and as he entered his house he said: “ Alas, what
awaits him in his travels? Were I with him I might
direct and protect him; but ignorant as he is of the
hardships of travel, the temptations of the world and of
evil companions, abandoned to himself, what will become
ofhim?” And day by day, as he followed his son in
his wanderings northward, he thought only of the perils
he might encounter, and his heart remained a prey to
the griefs of separation.

From the young man’s point of view all appeared
very different. He had heard so much about it from his
friends who had taken the trip that he was burning with
desire to see and learn; so it was not with reluctance
that he quitted the farm, on that eventful morning,
mounted his pawing steed, gay as a goldfinch, and
dashed out into the world, scarcely looking back to see
his father, who stood waving adieus until he was out
of sight.

In holiday mood, the young man went on his way.
The sights he saw and the adventures he met with will
make a wonderful story, so let us follow him.

His way at first led along dikes and ditches, through
marshes and among many ponds and lakes. He passed *
over bridges, across islets, and forded the shallow waters

5
Young Anglas Ti

as he pursued his course. Little villages sprang up as
waymarks. He had passed several before the close of the
first day,—Bramasec, Canaveira, Servilla, and was near-
ing La Fossa, when something happened. The white
dust in the middle of the road suddenly became alive, a
black moving mass confronted him. He stopped short,
very much frightened, and found to his great surprise
that the road was covered, as far as he could see, with
ducks. Ducks are plenty in that region, and they often
migrate from one lake to another, either swimming or
flying; but these were ducklings, in pin-feathers, and
could not fly at all, so the traveller was brought to a
standstill before this army of slow waddlers. ‘‘ He walks
like a duck,” is often said of a clumsy walker; and, with
the way blocked by these slow, awkward creatures, what
to do was the question.

While Anglas was debating, up came a mother of the
flock, and said to him, in her patois, “ Gentle knight, do
no harm either to me or my flock, and I may some day
do you a service.”

“My father,” said Anglas, “has too often taught me
to harm no one for me not to heed his advice; I will
do you no harm;” so saying, he spurred his horse, which,
quick asa deer, leaped the ditch to the right, and fol-
lowed the dike. From this vantage ground he looked
back on the ducks. The road was full of them; as far
as the eye could reach there was nothing but ducks.
Reaching the end of the dike of the ditch, he rode on
28 Tales of Languedoc

the high dikes of the Rhone, and the road was yet full
of them. At last, about sundown, he passed the last
ones, and, as he wished to spend the night at Galician,
at the house of a friend, he decided to ford the lake.

The horse and rider, gliding over the waters of the
lake, was a scene for a painter. The superb animal held
his head proudly high, while his long, flowing mane
trailed the water, and his waving tail floated out behind.
He seemed to scarcely sink in the water for fear of drench-
ing his rider. Thus they safely crossed the lake, and
reached, by nightfall, the house of his friend.

Here Anglas met with a hearty welcome. His friend
did not expect him, but was greatly pleased to see him.

After the usual greetings, a good supper and a night’s
rest, he set out next day as cheerily as on the first of his
journey.

He did not mention to his friend his meeting with the
ducks nor his conversation with the mother duck. It
was too natural in those regions to meet ducks, and as to
his conversation with the leader of the flock, he attached
to it too little importance.

Thanking his friend warmly, he set out for Garon,
thence toward Jonquieres, crossed the Rhone on the sus-
pension-bridge at Beaucaire, visiting Tarascon and her
Tarasque, which is neither man nor beast, but a creature
of whose historic fame you may sometimes learn. From
Tarascon he went to Avignon, and saw the castles of the
Popes.


Young Anglas on

A month later, we find him in the vicinity of Vienne,
in Dauphiny, at the foot of a steep grade known as the
Grade of Tarare. The sun hardly pierces the clouds, his
horse, which has been trotting since leaving the inn, is
set to a walk. He is cheerful, happy, and, so far, satisfied
with his journey.

The road makes a sharp bend a little higher up.
When he reaches this bend, he stops short, and, this time,
very much frightened.

His horse sprang to one side, and, had he not been a
good horseman, he would have been thrown off. But he
is not a man, after all, to lose his wits; he pats the horse’s
neck, speaks reassuringly to him, and faces the seeming
danger.

The road appeared to be flowing with blood, as if
poured out from the hill-top. “Good gracious!” he ex-
claimed, “a whole army must have been massacred on
yonder hill! What does all this mean?”

While thus guessing, the blood reached his horse’s feet
and he saw that it was only a colony of red ants pouring
down the road, like an avalanche. No doubt, they were
on their way to a change of climate, and fast they went,
too, unlike the flock of ducks previously met.

One of the mother ants left the ranks, and came
towards him, and said, in her language, “ Horseman,
gentle horseman, do no harm either to me or my little
ones, and we may some day render you a service.”

Young Anglas, faithful to his father’s admonitions,
32 Tales of Languedoc

granted her request, and, as in the case of the ducks, left
the highway, went down precipices, climbed steep hills,
crossed woods and ravines, at the risk of his life. Two
or three times he came near the road to follow it again,
but found it full of ants, and was obliged to turn away.
At last, about sunset, he was able to take the road, and
reached, by nightfall, a town.

The next day, and the day following, he pursued his
way. observing, and taking notes of the points of interest.
Two weeks after his encounter with the ants we find him
on the banks of the Seine, in the vicinity of Melum.

On that day the sky was overcast, it had rained during
the night, the atmosphere was thick and muggy, not a
breath of air was stirring. Toward ten o’clock, the sun
pierced the clouds, and the heat was depressing.

He was walking his horse, whose white coat was coy-
ered with foam. Young Anglas was mopping his brow,
and exclaiming, “ Whew, what a hot day!” when the
sun hid again behind a cloud. The cloud proved to
be a swarm of flies, and they soon surrounded him. They
were everywhere,—overhead, at his horse’s feet, in the
road, on the trees. Although in the swamps of the Ca-
margue, near his home, flies are unusually thick, never
had he seen so many of them.

He had stopped his horse, and was thinking what to
do, when a mother fly came out of the swarm, and said
to him, this time in pretty good French, “ Horseman,
gentle horseman, do no harm to me or my little ones,


Young Anglas 35

and I may some day render you a service.” As this was
the third time the request had been made, he was some-
what surprised; but, still remembering his father’s in-
junctions, he left the main road, went across meadows
and plowed land, up and down many hills, to avoid
hurting any of them.

When he took the road again, all the flies had passed,
and not one of them had been killed by accident or other-
wise by his horse or himself.

At last, at the end of a certain time, he arrived in
Paris, in good health, high spirits, and promising himself
the pleasure of visiting every nook and corner of the great
capital of France.

Far was he from foreseeing what awaited him. Hardly
had he alighted from his horse at the inn where he had
decided to stay, when the innkeeper said to him, “ No
doubt, you have come to compete like all the other
youths,—the more, the merrier!—and why not? At
your time of life you must do like the rest.”

Surprised to be thus addressed, he replied, “TI do not
know what you mean. Is there a race, a contest, a com-
petition of some sort? I know nothing at all about it.”

“Yes, yes,” said the innkeeper, “T will tell you all
about it; let us have our dinner.”

At table he found a great many youths, come from all
parts of France. Each one related what he had done, as
well as some things he had not done. Many a lie was
told and much boasting indulged in. Young Anglas,
36 Tales of Languedoc

from the corner of the table, was all ears to listen, and,
finally, learned what the innkeeper meant by a competi-
tion. It would take too long to tell all that was said, but,
in short, it was this:

The king, while boating on the Seine, had used his
pocket-handkerchief (kings are human, like other people);
drawing it from his pocket, the keys of the royal coffers
had fallen into the water.

At once everybody was set in motion to find them;
the boatmen of the Seine, the sailors of the ocean, the
fishermen of the country.

For over a month they had dived, fished, and dredged
daily, but in vain. The keys could not be found. The
kings always



king was in despair. He needed money
need money—and, without his keys, the royal treasury
could not be opened.

Then, in a moment of great impatience, the king
caused to be announced that he would give his daughter
in marriage to any one who should bring him the keys
within twenty-four hours. The twenty-four hours was
to begin the day after young Anglas arrived,—at ten
o’clock in the morning.

You may imagine what a hurly-burly Paris was in!
On what a scale preparations were made! All the boats
were let for their weight in gold. All the fishermen
from all the ports of France had come. Every man who
owned a boat on the French rivers was on the spot; so
the commotion and noise was beyond description.
Young Anglas 37

At the appointed time, all Paris and a great part of
the surrounding populace were on the banks of the
Seine. The innkeeper and young Anglas were in the
crowd, but only as spectators. All were eager to know
who the happy mortal would be whom chance would
favor as finder of the keys. The king himself and his
whole court had come to join the throng.

All day long they fished, they dredged, they jostled
one another, but without results. At nightfall the crowd
dispersed, the king and his court returned to the palace;
but all were bent on returning next day to try again
their luck.

In the evening at the table each one related his ex-
ploits. One had felt something under his harpoon and
thought he had them, another had seen a shining thing
in his net and had his hopes raised, but it proved to be
only a piece of glass, again another told of great things
he had seen and done; when a youth from the middle
of the table addressed young Anglas, saying: “ You
have not tried; do you believe the keys will come in
your pocket by magic? If you don’t search you can’t
have them; ‘all the craft is in the catching.’”

He replied: “I did not come to Paris for this purpose,
I knew nothing about the lost keys, it is the innkeeper
who told me of it first, and he also accompanied me to
the Seine as a mere spectator; and when I saw that
jostling, quarrelling crowd, and heard the uproar, I re-
marked to myself that no one could fish out those keys;
38 Tales of Languedoc

so you will not have a competitor in me. To-morrow I
will do as I did to-day, I will watch you.”

From the middle of the table a tall stout lad spoke up
loud enough to be heard all over the room: “ Fellows, I
distrust those who are so discreet and say little! Often
they work underhand and all their modesty is just put
on to mask their plans,”—then suddenly rising before







them all—“I prefer men who say frankly what they
think; so to the boldest the king’s daughter!”

All eyes were turned toward young Anglas, even a
few spoke roughly of him, and had not the innkeeper
interfered by announcing that it was bedtime they would
have insulted him.
Young Anglas 39

Poor Anglas retired to his room much grieved at
what had been said about him. He was pacing the floor
in a gloomy mood when he heard three taps on his win-
dow pane. He stopped short, said to himself: “ What
does this mean, is the room haunted? Ghosts would
not surely come to the third story,” and he resumed his
walk.

Tap, tap, tap, was again heard at the window pane.
He approached, opened it and what was his surprise to
find a large duck who said to him: “ Knight, gentle
knight, you hurt neither me nor my little ones, I have
come to render you a service in return.”

“Why, I do not need anything,” said Anglas, “ thank
you just the same.”

“ Well,” replied the duck, “I heard that the king lost
his keys and I wish to dive and get them for you.
Everybody is in bed, all is quiet, the moon shines bright,
come to the banks of the Seine and within an hour I
will give you the lost keys.”

A ray of hope crossed his mind, he took his hat, went
noiselessly out of the house and betook himself to the

Seine.
What he saw was well worth a painter’s brush; the

pale rays of the moon lighting the Seine, the trees cast-

ing here and there soft shadows, and on the waters of the

swift stream, arranged in battalions, thousands of ducks

only waiting the mother’s signal to dive for the keys.
When Anglas appeared the mother said:
40 Tales of Languedoc

“Children, carefully examine the mud. Ready?
Dive!”

Heads down, tails up! Down they all went at once
and staid so long that Anglas thought them drowned.
At last they all came up together.

“ Have you found anything?” said the mother.

“Nothing! nothing!” shouted they in concert.

“ Be not discouraged,” said the mother; “ the current
is here very strong and the keys may have been carried
to yonder bend.”

She rested her ducklings a while and then gave the
signal for a new plunge. Heads down, tails up!—and
the water closed in wavelets over the flock. Ten thou-
sand bills sifted the fine mud of the river-bend. They
remained longer than the first time.

Then—Whizz! The fleet emerged and with a toss of
the head each duck flung the water from his feathers
and from every throat rose the exultant cry:

“We have them! we have them!”

The mother duck took the keys from the one that
found them, placed them in Anglas’s hand, and before
he had time to thank her they were gone.

Left alone with the precious keys in his hand, the
young man was filled with joy. He returned to his hotel,
shut himself in his room and tried to sleep, but in vain.

Morning came; he hastened to see the innkeeper and
inform him of his find. The good man exclaimed, in
astonishment:


Young Anglas 43

“You have found the keys! you are the luckiest youth
in the world! To-morrow you will be the king’s son-in-
law! Come quickly with me.” And both went to hail
the king, who was getting ready to go to the Seine.

“My king,” said the innkeeper, “this youth has
found these keys,—see whether they are yours.”

The king took the keys, examined them carefully,
and said:

“They are mine.”

He inserted them in the lock and opened the royal
treasury. Then, turning toward Anglas: “ You shall
wed my daughter.”

In one hour all Paris knew that the keys had been
found, and who the finder was. The tall lad who had
hinted that Anglas was mum, said to his friends:

“T told you so! Look out for those uncommunicative
fellows! Perhaps at the very moment I was talking to
you he had the keys in his pocket.”

Another said: “He was not seen in any boat; he
watched us the whole day. I don’t understand it.”

A third added “No one knows where he hails
from,—his mother may be a witch. Did you not see
how queer he acted as he sat at the end of the table
and listened all agape to everything that was said,
hardly answering a question, so shy and innocent? Oh,
he had not come to compete! Then, whack! we are
left,—that’s always the way,—‘The fool will not be
foiled.’ Well, ‘There’s no use crying over spilled milk.’”
44 Tales of Languedoc

The Parisians thronged the streets to see the lucky
fellow who had found the keys—all Paris was in a tur-
moil. Meanwhile very grave matters occupied the king
and his court.

Most likely, if Anglas had fished out the keys under
the king’s very nose, he would not have gone back on
his word; but the courtiers suspected magic. The keys
had not been found at evening, and in the morning this
young man brought them to the king; so they must
have been found in the night. The king and his court-
iers would like to know all about it, but Anglas held to
the king’s decree, which merely said whosoever should
find the keys within twenty-four hours should marry his
daughter,—and he kept his own counsel.

Courtiers are often envious; besides, most of them
had sons whom they would have most willingly married
to the king’s daughter. They took counsel, and said to
the king:

“Sire, your decree was given out in a moment of im-
patience; so, in your wisdom, you may annul it for the
honor of your crown and the happiness of your daughter.
This young man is entirely unknown to any of us; we
know not from whence he comes; a mystery surrounds
the finding of the keys, and rumor has it that a fairy
gave them to him. We are all of the opinion that he
should be put to another trial, to find out whether he is
a magician.”
Young Anglas 45

The king allowed himself to be persuaded, and asked
how they proposed to try him.

A courtier with a long white beard, sunken eyes and
hooked nose, said :

“Ifthe king will believe me, he will have mixed a
large heap of wheat, with equal parts of sand, and will
give the young man three days to separate the wheat
from the sand.”

All the courtiers exclaimed: “Good! Capital!” and
the king agreed to it.

“Tn this there can be no magic,” said the old man.
“He shall be left with the task in a room by himself,
and not by night, either.”

So said, so done. The whole day wheat and sand were
carted to one of the upper rooms of the Bastille, and they
informed Anglas that if, in three days, he had separated
the wheat from the sand, the king’s daughter should be
his wife.

Poor fellow; on hearing this his spirits fell; he sank
upon a bench, quite faint. He thought a great while,
with his head upon his hands, while saying to him-
self:

“ All hope is lost; I shall have to return’ as I came.
That, however, would not pain me so much, for I had
not expected such a marriage; but on my father’s
account [am more sorry. Poor father, how little you
know the trials of your son!”

As he was saying this, he felt something biting his
46 Tales of Languedoc

leg. He turned up his trousers and saw a large ant,
which said to him:

“Tforseman, gentle horseman, you did no harm to
me or my little ones, I have come to render you a ser-
vice. I heard that the king’s courtiers had spoiled
your chance of getting the king’s daughter, by imposing
on you a task that fifty men could not do in a month.
I will do the work for you. To-night my little ones and
I will come on the roof of the Bastille. As soon as you
are alone, open the window for us, and you shall see
how quickly the work will be done. Farewell until
to-morrow.”

The king, by his chamberlain, informed Anglas that
they would send for him at eight o’clock in the morning;
that at noon they would fetch him out for dinner, and
return him to his work at two o’clock; at six they would
fetch him again, but that no one was to enter his room
and disturb him in his work.

The following day at the appointed time, he was
taken to the Bastille. They made him wind through
corridors, ascend stair-cases, cross rooms, which the door-
keepers opened and closed with enormous keys, and,
finally, after many turns, he was ushered into the room
which contained the heap of sand and wheat. “There
is your task,” said the guide. The door was closed, the
lock grated, and Anglas was left alone.

The mother ant, on leaving Anglas, went quickly to
gather her little ones. They crossed Paris under cover


Young Anglas 49

of the night, reached the Bastille, and climbed to the roof
unseen by any one. To be sure, some Parisians had
noticed the roof all red, but took it for the reflection of
the sunrise.

When Anglas was left alone, he hastened to open
the window. The ants poured in silently and noiselessly.
The mother ant formed them in rows, so that they could
work without interfering with each other, and gave the
word of command.

The young ants set to work with an alacrity seldom
seen, even in ants.

By noon they had the work half done; they rested
just long enough to eat, and went on with their work.
Long before six o’clock they were through. Quickly
and silently they left the room, climbed over the roof,
lodged in between the tiles, awaiting the dead of night
to cross Paris.

When the chamberlain came towards six o’clock to
fetch Anglas, he inquired of the young man how he was
getting along, adding: “I hope you are not discouraged.”

“Not at all,” replied the youth, “little cause for it,
since I am through.”

“Through!” exclaimed the officer,” through? No,
that can’t be. Let me see.”

They wentin. The chamberlain was dumbfounded.
On one side was the heap of wheat, yellow and clean, as
if just from a pigeon’s crop, and on the other side was
the sand.
50 Tales of Languedoc

He hastened to inform the king and courtiers, who,
with faces as long as their sleeves, eyed one another
aghast. With crest-fallen mien, they muttered between
their teeth: “How has he done this feat! Fifty men
could not have done it in a month, and this fellow

has done it ina day!”

The mystery was greater than
before.

Said the one who had devised the test: “It is noised
that this fellow is a wizard, and were I the king, I
would certainly not give him my daughter before knowing
more about him. All the courtiers said that the gentle-
man was right, and had they a daughter, they would
hesitate to give her to him.

Anglas had meanwhile gone to his hotel to await the
king’s decision. Racked by many conflicting emotions,
he scarcely slept that night.

Early in the morning, he came down stairs and met
the innkeeper, who said to him: “ Young man, I see
you are very unhappy; it is unfortunate for you that
you have no friends at court. After what you have
done, the king’s daughter should be yours. Had you
been one of the courtier’s sons, she would now be your
wife. I shall be much surprised if they do not invent
some pretext to cheat you out of your right yet. Jeal-
ousy is cruel, and stoops to anything. Note what I say,
young man.”

Anglas calmly, but manfully, replied: “I am here to
see it through.”
Young Anglas Su

At ten o’clock the court met to deliberate and see what
should be done. Each courtier did his best to calumniate
the youth and to flatter the king; but his majesty cut
their speeches short by saying:

“Gentlemen, so far I have followed your advice, now
hear what I have decided of my own account.

“I will choose twelve girls of the same size, same age,
and in looks as nearly like my daughter as possible.
They shall be dressed in white, and shall stand together
in my presence, yours, and the young man’s. If he
guesses which one is my daughter, he shall have her for
his wife. Such is my good pleasure.”

All the courtiers found the scheme excellent. They
perhaps did not think so, but, as servile flatterers, they
highly approved of it; hoping secretly that they might
disconcert him by their presence, so that he would not
guess right.

The test was to take place on the next day at ten
o'clock, and rendezvous was given Anglas at the palace
of the king.

Our youth felt very uneasy on hearing this. Country
bred, as he was, the idea of court manners and court
society seemed very formidable. To stand in the pres-
ence of the king, and handsome lords and ladies in full
dress, and to face the twelve young damsels, who would,
no doubt, think him very awkward, was no small ordeal.
So his heart was beating to breaking when he came into
the presence of the brilliant company.
ne Tales of Languedoc

His embarrassment was somewhat relieved by the
king, who said: “My young friend, come near me, and
if within an hour you point out to me and my court the
one of the twelve young ladies who is my daughter, she
shall be your wife; I pledge you my kingly word.”

Young Anglas made no reply, but was thinking that
his chances of guessing right were small, having never
seen the young princess before, when something tickled
his ear and a small voice whispered:

“Horseman, gentle horseman, you hurt neither me
nor my little flies; now I have come to render you a ser-
vice. Watch me carefully. I will alight on the nose of
the king’s daughter. She will brush me off with her fan.
Pay close attention.”

With a flight she is on the nose of the princess. With
her fan the damsel brushes her off. She goes out by
the key-hole to get a breath of air, then flies to Anglas’s
ear.

“ Did you notice her?” said she; “ well, watch again.”

Once more she is on the nose of her highness, once
more she is brushed off. She flies out of the room for a
while, and finally alights on the window-sill, passes her
fore feet over her head, and, with her hind feet, smooths
her wings, apparently joyous to be of use to the kind
young man. Then, for the third time, she tickles the
royal nose, and, for the third time, she is brushed off with
the fan.

Returning to Anglas, she inquired if he was sure of
Young Anglas 53

picking out the princess. “ Yes, yes; many thanks,” said
Anglas.

“Well,” said the king, “which do you say is my
daughter? The happiness of your life is in this
choice.”

“Tf I choose aright may I kiss her hand?”

“Certainly, my boy,” replied the king.

Anglas bowed, went straight to the king’s daughter,
knelt before her, and printed a kiss upon her fingers.

Greatly surprised, the king exclaimed in a firm voice,
“ Kiss her on both cheeks, she is your bride.”

The young man accepted the privilege with perfect
composure. The princess, blushing, gave one of her
sweetest smiles, and the courtiers offered their warmest
congratulations.

The king bowed himself away, entered his private
apartment, and summoned Anglas before him.

“Tell me,” said the king, “who are you, and rom
whence you come?”

Anglas, with a candor and frankness that pleased the
king, told his whole story. His majesty, glad to have
found such a wise and good man, gave orders to receive
Anglas at the palace at once, and for his father to be
summoned to Paris.

Proud and happy, the father came, rejoicing that his
advice had borne such fruit.

The king conferred the title of Marquis on Anglas the
day of the wedding, and gave him large estates, fine cas-
54 Tales of Languedoc

tles, horses, and equipages in plenty. And this is how

Young Anglas became Marquis.
The cock crew, the story ended, and my father

remarked:

*““Caouv ten lou dré camin, cadu és bon, juste, aimablé,
Caon fai pa tor arés, qués umen, charitablé,
Sé sus terra das omés és pa récoumpensa,
Lou boun Diou lou survéia 6 l’abandouna pa.”’ *

* Whosoever keeps the narrow path, is kind, just, and true; wrongs no one,
is humane, charitable, if on this Earth he receives no reward, God who watches

over him will not forsake him.


My Grandfather’s Tour of France 5

HEN bedtime came we retired,— my father, sad
and thoughtful, I full of plans for the future, and
jubilant over the prospect of setting out next morning.
We were all up by daylight. My mother had prepared
all that I needed for my journey,—linen, hat, shoes,
haversack, iron-shod stick, and sundry other useful arti-
cles,—while my father had provided me liberally with
money. I kissed them good-bye, and off I went.

This was on Monday morning; the weather was un-
propitious, a thick mist enveloped the house and trees,
but, withal, my heart was light, and I felt supremely
happy.

When I reached the two hills known as Lous Dous
Pio, I was met by two men of a neighboring village.
They addressed me very pleasantly, and with them I had
some instructive conversation. I learned for the first
time that off one’s own line of thought one can learn a
great deal from even the humblest of men. These two
were charcoal-burners, on their way to Quian, to see some
standing wood for sale.

In the course of my talk with them I learned that to
prevent the denuding of forests, and to maintain the rain-
fall about constant, the law prevents the cutting of more
than a twentieth of the woodland each year; so that the
second growth on the first cutting shall be nineteen years
old when the last twentieth is being removed.
The China-Vender of Quissac

BOUT three o’clock in the afternoon, we reached

the little town of Quissac, and found to our sur-
prise, a great crowd gathered on the public square.
There seemed to be some unusual excitement; for as we
approached, we saw a woman jumping about like a
lunatic, and complaining loudly to the authorities of
some men who stood there laughing at her, and seeming
to enjoy the situation.

Once a week, in the little villages, there is a market
day. Merchants of all kinds go and spread out their
wares in the streets, and the peasants come to buy
their weekly provision.

It was market-day, and a china-vender had brought
a donkey-load of her wares, and spread them out on the
ground. She had a very good assortment. The women
gathered around her, and she was driving a brisk trade.
The donkey, tired from carrying the load, was eating
hay a few feet away. A group of good-for-nothing idlers
stood looking on,— one finds them in a crowd the world
over,— the loafers with more money than brains, and
the wag in their midst. These were smoking short-
The China-Vender of Quissac 57

stemmed pipes, and swapping jokes, when the wag said
to the others:

“ Would you like to have a laugh?”

“Of course,” replied they, “ and what are you up to?”

“You will see;” and speaking to the crockery woman:

“My good woman, if you will allow me to say two
words in your donkey’s ear, I will give you twenty-four
sous,” said he.

“What have you to tell my donkey”? inquired the
crockery-vender.

“Oh! not much; but I am sure I will make him
happy. It will be no mystery; I shall speak loud enough
for all to hear.”

“No, no; I won’t allow you to do it,” replied the
vender.

“Why not?” retorted another one; “he is not going to
eat your donkey by speaking a few words in his ear,
and you will earn twenty-four sous; you had better let
him do it.”

She very reluctantly gave her consent; and the wag,
with his short-stemmed-pipe freshly lighted in his
mouth, approached the donkey, inserted the pipe in his
ear, and while saying:

“Té,do you know your sister is engaged, and you
will soon be at the wedding,” he blew his pipe, and the
fire fell into the donkey’s ear.

The beast jumped, shook its head, flapped its ears,
and trampled on the crockery ware. The vender was
58 Tales of Languedoc

wild with rage. She shouted for help; she tore her hair
to see her plates and bowls all broken; she called those
men all sorts of names. They split their sides with
jaughter, while the wag coolly said to the good woman:

“Did n’t I tell you so? He fairly jumped for joy;
probably he has never been at a wedding before; that is
why it tickled him so.”

When the commotion created by the donkey and its
owner had subsided, the crowd slowly dispersed. My
fellow-travelers and I, who had unexpectedly witnessed
the end of this village scene, separated. They looked for
lodgings at the little inn, while I went to the house of an
acquaintance of my father.

Made welcome by the gentleman and his family, I
spent the night at their house.

After supper, a neighbor dropped in for the evening,
or rather dragged himself in; for Master Rinaou was so
old, bowed and paralyzed that he had to lean on two
stout crutches and pull himself along, scraping the stone
floor with his sabots. Thus slowly and painfully he
hitched across the room to the wide arm-chair by the
fireside, threw himself into it all in a heap, hooked his
crutches to one arm, stretched out his lifeless limbs with
his hands and leaned back. Quite unconscious of the
company, he settled himself, sighed and broke out
loudly in self-contempt:

“Té paouré Mesté! Rinaou, té tombés aqué couma un
paou, ara leva té, mardienna, coutidienna.”*

*There, poor Master Rinaou, down you fall like alog; now get up if youcan.



A Arey 4
a bakt

SANS 23 b Herp Ge
| CHone

Tp
LOCAL \|





x



ye
P_—







The China-Vender of Quissac 61

The children, however, soon drew him away from
himself, by asking for a story.

“Give a story, Mésté Rinaou; please do, Mésté
Rinaou.”

“What can poor Mésté Rinaou tell you?” said the old
man, with a shade of sadness.

“Give Mésté Regé,” said the oldest, a boy of ten.

“Yes, Mésté Régé, Mésté Réegé,” chimed in the other
two.

“Tt is Mesté Regé you want, Mesté Régé and Moussu
Laouren,” said Mésté Rinaou; “ well, listen.”
The Adventures of Mésté Regé

ESTE Régé lived at Aiguemorte, a small town on

the Mediterranean coast, and his friend, Moussu
Laouren, lived in the little village of St. Laurent, an
hour’s walk from Mésté Rege’s house. They used to
see each other once a year, when the summer work
was over, and, as the hay was in the barn, the grain
cut and threshed, the wine-grapes trampled, and the
wine in the casks, Mésté Regé thought of taking some
rest and of visiting his friend, Moussu Laouren. Mésté
Regé was in a very happy mood. His crops had
been unusually large, especially his wheat-crop. Thirty
Camargues horses had trampled for three weeks his
threshing-floor. You know how they threshed wheat
in the Camargue. The clay floor is covered with
upright sheaves closely packed, in the middle stands
a strong post firmly anchored to a stone. To this
post the half-tamed broncos are tied with long ropes
and kept going at a lively pace by a driver with a
long lash. As they whirl around the post, they
trample over the sheaves, winding up the rope so that
the circuits become less and less. When the rope is
The Adventures of Mésté Regé 63

nearly wound up, the driver turns the post upside down,
the rope begins to unwind, the horses go in wider circles
until they again reach the edge of the threshing floor.
This process is repeated until the straw is evenly trodden
and the grain all threshed out.

Well, it was a very prosperous year for Mésté Régé,
and, happy as he was, he did not hesitate long, and his
mind was soon made up to go and visit Moussu Laouren.
He donned his best suit, exchanged his sabots for a pair
of shoes, kissed his wife and children good-bye, took his
staff, and set out on his long journey.

By the wayside he knew of an eagle’s nest. He had
the curiosity to get a peep at it, which is a most danger-
ous thing to do, especially when the eaglets are yet in the
nest. He hesitated somewhat before going, but decided
to satisfy his curiosity and perhaps get a young eaglet
to present to his friend Moussu Laouren. He climbed
slowly and cautiously, fearing to find the mother-bird in
the nest. This, unfortunately for him, proved to be the
case; for as he approached the nest he saw the eagle
sitting on her young, to keep them warm, no doubt.

He would gladly have turned around without being
seen by the bird but she had seen him and came out of
her nest, left her young, jumped on poor Mesté Régé,
fastened her beak onto the back of his neck, her talons
onto the seat of his breeches and carried him up in the
air.

Mésté Régé thought himself lost; he prayed God to
64 Tales of Languedoc

receive his soul. Meanwhile the eagle was soaring
higher and going toward the sea. When out upon the
Mediterranean, the bird said to herself: “Now I had
better drop him, I am far enough from the land, he can-
not swim ashore, he will be drowned so he can never
trouble me again.” So saying, she unfastened her talons
from Mésté Régé’s breeches and her beak from the back
of his neck; she dropped him and returned to her nest.

Poor Mésté Régé fell into the water from such a height
that he was stunned and lost consciousness. However
it was only for a little while, for he soon came to and
shouted for help.

Fortunately there was a boat quite near and the crew
hastened to see what the object was. To their great sur-
prise the sailors saw that it was a man struggling in the
water. They took him into the boat and plied him with
questions. Meésté Réegé related his adventures to the
sailors and they believed him at first, sailors are such a
credulous set, but soon a tremendous tempest arose
which threatened to engulf them all. But if sailors
are credulous they are also superstitious, and they
soon whispered amongst themselves that the cause of
the tempest was, no doubt, the man they had rescued
from drowning.

“God must be displeased with us,” they said, “ this
man is some evil being whom we should not have fished
out of the sea. Let us throw him to the mercy of the
waves and perhaps God will be appeased.”


The Adventures of Mésté Regé 67

Poor Mésté Régé, hearing their conversation, fell on
his knees and said to them: “My dear friends, I am a
man like yourselves, I am no evil being or supernatural
creature, I have told the truth regarding my whole
adventure and how you came to find me here.”

But as the wind blew more and more, and the tempest
increased in violence, they refused to believe him; they
seized him and began to tie him hand and foot before
throwing him overboard.

Mésté Regé seeing himself lost, and knowing that his
time had come, and that his end was near, said: “ My
friends, you have here empty wine-casks; put me inside
of one and throw it overboard and perhaps some chari-
table soul may find me and save me.”

What he asked was granted; they put him inside a
cask and threw him into the sea.

The sailors had not guessed right, however; the
tempest increased in fury, so that the vessel was nearly
swamped by huge waves falling repeatedly on deck.

As for Mésté Régé, he was so much tossed in his cask,
and so much bruised against the sides, that he nearly
fainted from exhaustion and pain; although praying
all the while that God would send some charita-
ble soul to his rescue. He was about to give up hope,
not knowing how far out he was, when suddenly the sea,
which throws up everything that floats on its surface,
by a great billow hove ashore the cask.

Oh! said he; I am no longer in the water. He placed
68 Tales of Languedoc

his eye at the bunghole and looked out. Suddenly he
thought he heard the tramp of an animal and, fortu-
nately, he was not mistaken. It was a cow looking for
some object against which to scratch her back. She
scratched and scratched; the cask turned and turned,
Mesté Régé with it. Bruised as he was, this second shak-
ing suited him not, but it brought the cow’s tail against
the bunghole; quietly and skillfully he drew it in with
his finger, rolled it around his wrist, and held on to it
with both hands. As soon as the cow was through rub-
bing and felt her tail held fast, she set out to run at her
best speed. Méesté Régé was all the while holding on for
dear life, saying to himself. ‘“ Unless the tail comes off,
wherever she goes, I will go, also.”

The cow ran, dragging the cask for at least an hour;
then, being tired out, she took the road to her master’s
barn. On entering the yard she turned the corner at such
speed that the cask struck the gate post and broke to
pieces.

Mesté Regé, thus liberated, looked about him and
‘said: “Why, this ismy own house!” ‘Then he heard
cries and lamentations inside and, without waiting a
moment to take breath, he rapped at the door, saying:
“Open, please.” The wife and children in tears, opened
the door and let him in.

All fell on his neck, even Moussu Laouren, who had
come to consolethem. Then herelated his thrilling adven-
tures; they all thanked God for his miraculous preserva-
The Tour of France 69

tion, tears were dried, mourning was changed to joy, and
the happy reunion was celebrated by a feast which lasted
eight days.

When Mésté Rinaou had done relating the story, the
children thanked him, bade him good night, and went
up stairs to bed, to dream, no doubt, of the wonderful
adventures of Mésté Régé. Pretty soon Mésté Rinaou
bade us, also, good-bye. I inquired of my host the age
of Mésté Rinaou. “ He is ninety-five years old,” said my
friend, “ and it is a pity you cannot spend a few days with
us, and hear a few more stories from him; the old gen-
tleman knows them by the dozen.”

Early in the morning, after having partaken of a good
breakfast and thanked my kind friends, I proceeded on
my way.

The whole forenoon I traveled alone, noticing every
blade of grass and weed by the wayside, the trees and
birds. “Train your eyes to observe every object you
meet, listen to every proper conversation you hear,” my
father had said to me, “and you will come back to us
filled with knowledge of things and men.”

About noon, seven or eight men caught up with me.
They asked my name, where I was from, and where I
was bound for. I answered their questions, and the
whole band of us set to walking by twos. The man by
my side might have been fifty years old, and, knowing
that I was a stranger to that part of the country, he very
obligingly answered all my questions about the different
70 Tales of Languedoc

villages we passed through and the objects of interest we
met. He also volunteered much information about the
lords and noted men of the country. I was so much
absorbed in what he was saying, that I did not notice
we were at the top of a hill. When suddenly he ex-
claimed:

“Té! Do you see the castle on yonder eminence, sur-
rounded by that park which slopes gently to the banks
of the stream? Well, that is the castle of La Ferriére,
for years the devil haunted it, and finally was driven off
by three powerful men.”

My eyes were taking in the castle, which impressed
me as a princely residence, and the scenery about it
which could not be surpassed ; but, at the mention of the
devil, I turned towards my companion, and, seeing his
earnestness, I kept back the incredulous smile which was
already on my lips. I had never heard of the devil being
seen nor of his haunting any place, excepting the hearts
ofmen. My father was not superstitious, and had warned
me against such nonsense; but, unwilling to offend the
kind old man, I feigned astonishment, and said I had
never heard of the devil in a castle, nor of strong men
who could put him out, but I would like to know about
them. My companion asked for nothing better, and
said:

“Tam surprised you never heard the story. Every-
body in this country knowsit as well as I do. It is pretty
long, but we have plenty of time.”
Che Story of the
Chree Strons Dyen,—
Crowbar,
bookbeard,

and the Diller.

b &

Three Strong Men

N the village of Vézénobre a good peasant took for a

wife a woman so stout and strong that she was known
in the village as Marion the Stout. This pair had a
twenty-four month baby, a most remarkable child, and
he became a great man.

At birth, he was like a three-year-old, with full set of
teeth, long hair, strong and shapely limbs, and a splendid
form.

At fifteen, he was as large as a man of thirty, and his
strength was marvelous for his age. He could lift with
one hand a sack of wheat, and he played with an anvil
as a toy.

At the age of twenty, he ‘was as well-formed and as
strong as the Colossus of Rhodes.

His strength became proverbial in the country. All
wrestlers feared him; for none could withstand his
feats in the ring. With one hand he would seize his
opponent and hold him at arm’s length for a long time,
then he would whirl him about his head until he cried
“King’s truce!” when he would stretch him at full
length on the ground. There was not his equal in the

country.
Wee Tales of Languedoc

When he had attained tomanhood, he started on a long
journey to visit the villages and towns of France. He
saw Lyons, Marseilles, Nimes, and was on his way to Bor-
deaux, traveling on foot, with a big axle-tree for a cane,
when he reached the little village of Fontanés. There
he took his dinner, visited an old castle belonging to the
Lieutenant-General of the King’s army, and, at one
o’clock, he set out for the village of Lecques, which is
perched on a rock on the right bank of the River Le
Vidourle.

The owner of the castle of Fontanés was a powerful
lord, to whom the villagers owed obedience. He could
command them in season and out of season. Was his
woodyard empty, a word from his steward brought twenty
loads of wood; was his ice-house empty, the peasants
were set to work cutting ice on the river and packing it
for the summer use of his lordship. During seed-time,
they had to turn out with their teams, and plow, harrow,
and sow his lordship’s broad acres.

When Crowbar reached Fontanés it was seed-time
and the peasants were at work sowing the grain in a large
field on a cross-road leading to Lecques. Some of the
peasants were ploughing, some harrowing, some sowing
the grain, some were singing, others swearing at their
teams or goading their oxen. Among them was a
ploughman with a gray mule as lazy as his master, and
following behind was his son, a lad of ten, cracking the
whip once in a while on the mule’s back.
Three Strong Men 75

Old Dumas, for that was the ploughman’s name, was
singing in a tremulous voice with a Gallic accent:

I was sitting the oak boughs below,
I saw bustling toward me my love,

’T was Clarissa looking for her beau,
Took me for him, bounced into my lap.

(Interrupting himself). “Get up Falet! hit him hard,
boy.”
If you love me be not proud,
If you love me why so haughty?
Time is past to play at scorn,
When one’s promised then ’tis naughty.

“Get up, Falet; that hole won’t swallow you up; get
up!”
Not far behind ploughed another big tall fellow with
a beard touching the ground. He was nicknamed
Hookbeard on account of his beard turning up at the
end. He was a man of extraordinary strength, for he
could lift almost any weight which one might tie to his
beard.

He was ploughing with a yoke of oxen and was sing-
ing the song of the ploughman:

When the ploughman ends the furrow
Then he throws aside his ploughshare.
When the ploughman ends the furrow
Then he throws aside his ploughshare;
His ploughshare.

He finds his wife beside the fire,
Sad and inconsolable.
He finds his wife beside the fire,
Sad and inconsolable;
Sad and inconsolable.
76 Tales of Languedoc

If you are sick, tell me,
I will make for you a pottage;
If you are sick, tell me,
I will make for you a pottage;
A pottage.

A pottage with a cabbage
And a lean sparrow.
A pottage with a cabbage
And a lean sparrow;
A lean sparrow.

If you are dead, say so,
We will bury you in the wine-vault.
If you are dead, say so,
We will bury you in the wine-vault;
In the wine-vault.

Your head under the faucet
To drink as it flows.
Your head under the faucet
To drink as it flows;
To drink as it flows.

As Crowbar appeared at the crossroad, Hookbeard
was at the end of the furrow.

“Well, neighbor, the plough must run easy since the
ploughman is singing,” said Crowbar.

“Well,” replied Hookbeard, “sometimes easy, and
sometimes hard; but withal time flies. Weare working
for the lord of the manor; we receive no pay; we need
not kill ourselves.”

And from one thing to another the talk ran on. Crow-
bar, meanwhile, was toying with his axle, as one would
with a cane. When about to start, he said, swinging his
axle as a pointer to show off his strength, “which road
goes to Lecques? This one or that?”
Three Strong Men TT

Hookbeard’s face grew purple as a poppy, and seizing
the ploughbeam with one hand, he raised it from the
furrow, oxen and all, so that to Crowbar they seemed to
fly. He swung them in the air in the right direction,
and said:



“Take this road;” and let them down easy in the fur-
row again.

“Why,” said Crowbar, “I should say you havea pow-
erful wrist, my good fellow. I have traveled extensively
and seen many strong men; but I have yet to find your
equal. If you like,” added he: “ We will become part-
ners, and together make the tour of France.”
78 Tales of Languedoc

- “Tam willing,” replied Hookbeard; “but I have no
money, and to travel one needs money.”

“Don’t let that hinder you,” said Crowbar, “I have
enough for both. Besides, we can earn some on the
way.”

Hookbeard, without further parley, left his oxen in
the furrow, and arm-in-arm with Crowbar set out for
Lecques.

Lecques is built on a rock on the right bank of the
river Le Vidourle.

To reach the village the stream must be crossed by
ferry-boat. When the two men reached the left bank of
the river, the boat was on the other side, and no ferry-
man in sight. They shouted and roared, but nobody
heard. It was the hottest part of the day, and no doubt
the Lecquars were all asleep.

“ What shall we do?” said Crowbar to his companion ;
“shall we wait here until somebody comes to the river”?

“Not much!” exclaimed the other; “just hang to my
whiskers, and youll be quickly over.”

Crowbar put his axle under his arm, seized his
friend’s beard with both hands, and with a swing and a
jerk, Hookbeard sent him flying over the stream. Crow-
bar landed on his feet, went to the boat, unfastened it,
rowed across the river, and ferried over his friend.

After making the boat fast, they set out towards the
gristmill, below the village, in hope of finding somebody.

The miller had just dined, and to work off his dinner,

eee


Three Strong Men 81

was playing quoits with his millstones on the sand.
When Hookbeard and Crowbar saw the miller, they
exclaimed:

“Here is a man as strong as we; let us invite him to
join us. All three together we could defy the world.”

They approached, and politely complimented the
miller on his strength; and, by way of introduction,
they each picked up a millstone.

The miller delighted to find his equals, invited them
in, treated them to wine, and they talked of their ex-
ploits, each making as big a story as possible. When
they had drunk and rested enough, Crowbar said to the
miller:

“T have traveled much, hoping to find men as strong
as I, but have seen none until to-day I met Hookbeard,
and he has consented to go with me. Why should you
not come too? We three should have nothing to fear.
Won’t you come?”

The miller was much attached to his mill, and asked
time to make up his mind.

“Stay until to-morrow with me,” he said, “have a
good supper and a night’s rest, then I will give you my
decision.”

An expert at fishing, he soon caught fish enough for
supper, and the feast was spread, the best wine brought
out, and at the height of the ieast the miller anticipated
his answer, and agreed to go with them.

Early next morning they took a bite to stay their
82 Tales of Languedoc

stomachs, and were about to start on their journey, when
the miller said to his companions :

“T will take my millstones with me; when we have
nothing better to do, we can have a game of quoits.”

“Quite right,” both replied at once; “take them
along.”

The miller closed his mill, placed the key under the
door, took a millstone under each arm, and off they went.

They worked their way towards Montpelier, passed
La Fontade, climbed the hill of La Pefia, crossed the
woods of La Clause, reached St. Beauzeli, and wherever
they went they performed feats of strength.

People were surprised to see such powerful men, one
with a beard trailing the ground, another with an
immense axle-tree for a cane, and a third with millstones
in his pockets. Children swarmed about them, and fol-
lowed them through the streets.

One evening at an inn they were telling of their
exploits to the villagers, exaggerating their performances
and boasting of their bravery. One of the listeners spoke
up, and said:

“Tf you have the courage you claim, you ought to
render me a service.”

“ What is it?” said the three, all at once.

“Tn the loft of my barn, at about two every morning,
something runs over the floor, and there is a noise like
the dragging of chains. My men pretend that a dragon
haunts the barn; they saw him one night, they say, and


Three Strong Men 85

after nightfall they cannot be induced to enter the barn,
much less to sleep in the loft. If you would spend a
night there, find out the cause of alarm and, perhaps,
kill the dragon, then my men would attend to their
evening chores and sleep in the loft, as they used to do.”

The trio replied they would be glad to do as much
for him and, proud of the occasion, they set out for the
barn.

Crowbar said: “There is no need of three; give my
companions a room. I will stay alone in the barn, and
will call you if I need help.” So the miller and Hook-
beard, who had not the courage of Crowbar, were glad
to sleep in the house.

When Crowbar was alone he examined every nook of
the loft, and the heaps-of fodder upon the floor, to make
sure that nothing was hidden there. He looked out of
the windows, and found that one opened upon the vil-
lage green, the other looked out upon a neighbor’s yard,
and was only six feet from the ground, the barn being on
sloping ground. This window he could not fasten; it
had been always left open for ventilation. Crowbar
threw himself upon the straw, but not to sleep. Hardly
had an hour passed when he heard a noise at the open
window. He raised on one elbow, and listened. The
sound approached, as if some creature was walking on
the boards with heavy nailed shoes or hard hoofs, he
could not tell which. At the same time there was the
clank, clank, of a chain dragged by jerks on the floor. It
86 Tales of Languedoc

came still nearer, and Crowbar sprang towards it with a
shout.

“So, dragon, here you are, hey! Oust me from this
barn, if you can!”

The object turned, and went tearing through the barn,
Crowbar after it. The chase began; the racket roused
the village, the two climbed the haymow, and leaped
from one stack to another; they vaulted over each other,
and fell in a heap on the floor; they sprang up and
clattered like mad through the barn again. The noise
was terrific,— it lasted twenty minutes. At last, by
mere luck, Crowbar stepped on the chain, stooping, he
quickly seized it, and, with a powerful jerk, he got the
creature within grasp. He laid firm hold of it with both
arms, muttering to himself:

“ Dragon though ye be, down with ye!” and he flung
it out the window on to the village green.

The peasants, who were outside listening to the racket,
rushed in, and found Crowbar in a dripping sweat.

“T do not know what sort of beast it is,” said he, “ but
it has led me a chase, I can assure you.” |

“Let us see what it is,’ and they rushed out into the
square, and found,— you cannot guess,— a goat! A goat
burst asunder by the fall!

And this is its story: The owner of the goat had no
fodder, so every night he let the goat loose. She, with a
bound, leaped into the neighbor’s loft, by the open win-
dow, and fed all night on the hay
Three Strong Men 87

Evil-doers are often caught in their own traps. If the
man had not left the chain on the goat, to make the
frightful clatter, he might not have been betrayed.

Next morning, when the story spread abroad in the
village, everybody said that is just like him, shiftless
fellow; that is one of his old tricks, And, from that day,
none of them would have anything to do with the unfor-
tunate loser of the goat.

The owner of the barn, well pleased with the outcome
of the adventure, entertained the three strong men roy-
ally. He gave a public feast in their honor, and, in the
presence of all the dignitaries of the village, he thanked
them for their services, and, from that time on, he kept
his barn-door and windows locked.

Meanwhile, the fame of the three strong men was ever
widening.

Farther up the mountain lived a rich gentleman in
an old castle. He had been a merchant, had amassed a
fortune in commerce, and wishing to retire with his
family, had bought the castle with large estates, and had
it repaired and fitted up to his taste.

On the first floor was drawing-room, boudoirs, din-
ing-room, and kitchen. The sleeping-rooms of the
family were on the second floor, and the third floor was
given up to the servants.

Almost all the windows had gratings. The tower, or
ancient keep, on the western corner of the castle, was
left unrepaired, as it was not needed. The doors had
88 Tales of Languedoc

the old rusty locks, and the windows were not fastened
at all, excepting in stormy weather.

On the second floor, between the master’s room and
the tower, was a room daintily furnished and prepared
for the daughter when she should come home from her
convent.

At the castle nothing was lacking. There were car-
riages of all sorts; equipages on equipages; servants on
servants; horses of all breeds, for the carriage and for
the saddle. Besides there were two immense New
Foundland dogs, named Sultan and Mustafa. Sultan
was fat and black, and Mustafa was lean and red. They
were tied by day and loosed by night.

When the merchant came to live on his domain early
in May, the country was beautiful to see. The trees
were in full bloom, and the meadows a magnificent green.
Half way up the Cevennes, they had the mountain air
first hand; it was neither hot nor cold, and too far from
the marshes for mosquitoes.

The gentleman was all delight with his new posses-
sions, and nothing was lacking but the presence of his
daughter.

So he looked forward to her vacation when she should
come and regain strength and spirits in the pleasures of
outdoor life at the castle. And you should have seen
the reception they gave her the day she came.

The whole household was on foot to receive her, but
none welcomed her more warmly than the old bonne
Three Strong Men 89

Jeaneton, who had brought her up since her mother
died in childhood. Her first evening at the castle was
one of festivity. Joy and happiness were seen on all
faces.

Bedtime came, they all wished the young mistress
good night, and Jeaneton took her to her beautiful cham-
ber, the furniture and appointments of which were fit
fora queen. The dogs were let loose, the doors closed,
the lights put out, and all about the castle was soon
silent and dark. The young Miss was soon asleep, so
were the others of the household.

About midnight the girl felt something pressing on
her feet. She thought she was dreaming. But no; she
was not dreaming. Something heavy and warm was on
her feet. She heard it breathing. Fear seized her.
Had she cried, her father in the next room would have
come to her rescue. But no; she kept still, covered her
head with the sheet, and stayed thus without stirring
the whole night. It was enough to frighten one to death,
but when one’s time has not come, it takes more than
that to kill one.

A little before daybreak, she felt something rise, heard
it jump from the bed, and leave the room quietly. You
may well imagine how impatient she was for daylight
to come.

At breakfast she appeared pale, distracted, with black
rings under her eyes, telling the tale of a sleepless
night.
go Tales of Languedoc

“What is the matter with you, my child,” inquired
her father, “ have you not slept well? ”

She fell on his neck, and with tears in her eyes, told
him of her great fright. Her father, much surprised
and greatly pained, said to her: “My child do not
divulge this to any one, I shall find means to discover
the cause of your fright; and if the servants heard of
this not one of them would stay at the castle.”

They kept it secret, and under a pretext, induced old
Jeaneton to occupy the room. The first night the old
nurse slept in the beautiful chamber, the master took
puins himself to lock the doors and windows, and even
fastened the windows of the old tower.

The next morning father and daughter were dying to
know how she spent the night.

“Oh! I slept as sound as a top,” said she; “why
should I not, in so fine a room and such a soft bed?”

For some time the master attended to closing the
doors and windows himself; but, at length, as nothing
disturbed old Jeaneton, he grew careless, and left the
tower window open.

One early morning Jeaneton rushed into her young
mistress’ room quaking with terror, and told her that a
strange animal had lain on her feet during the night; she
had heard it breathing heavily, but it had left before
dawn, and she could not tell what it was.

The father was notified, and again, on account of the
servants, they all agreed to keep the affair secret.
Three Strong Men gI

About this time the fame of the Three Strong Men
reached them, and the owner of the castle set out to
fetch them. He brought them to his house as guests.
Crowbar offered to occupy the room, but Hookbeard
insisted that it was his turn, pompously adding: “If die
I must, ready Iam.” So it was decided for him to have
the first chance at the beast. The servants were, to be
sure, surprised to see a man with such a beard about to
sleep in the dainty bed of the young mistress, but they
kept their comments to themselves.

Hookbeard spread himself out on the pretty bed, and
thought:

“Ghost or devil that haunts this room, I admire your
taste; you have not badly chosen your couch.”

Wiser, however, than the nurse and her mistress, he
did not go to sleep.

At the moment of expectation, he heard a sound like
an animal moving in the room and scenting. He
stretched his hand, felt a cold nose, a head, a tongue that
licked his hand.

“Tf all the ghosts, devils, and dragons are no
worse than this one,” thought Hookbeard, “they are
not to be feared.” And, patting the animal, they
became friends; so much so, that they spent the night
together, the beast with its head in Hookbeard’s
arms.

What a surprise to the master it was when he came
into the room in the morning to find the long-bearded
92 Tales of Languedoc

fellow stretched out, and in his arms the head of the dog,
Mustafa.

Quickly he brought his daughter and Jeaneton to see
the devil of their midnight terror.

How could the dog have got in?

Leaning against the old tower, just below one of its
windows, was a low shed. At night, when the dogs were
let loose, Mustafa found nothing easier than to Jump on
the roof of the shed, from thence through the tower
window, and from the tower into the young lady’s
room.

It is not known whether Mustafa dreaded the night’s
dew on account of rheumatism, but evidently he pre-
ferred to sleep on a soft bed to spending his night under
the beautiful stars in the court.

Overjoyed, the owner of the castle complimented
Hookbeard for his bravery, gave the Three Strong Men
a handsome reward, entertained them two or three days,
and, on taking leave of them, said:

“T have a friend who lives not far from Alais, in the
castle of La Ferritre; I believe he needs you.”

“Tet us go at once,” said the three; “what can he
need us for?”

“ He will tell you,” replied the gentleman; “tell him
I have sent you.”

Thereupon they set out, with paunches and pockets
full, a jolly set of rovers. They walked for many days
and, finally, about ten o’clock in the morning of a fine
Three Strong Men 93

October day, they reached the lodge of La Ferritre.
They sounded the knocker, and presented their request
to meet the master of the castle. The servant, in a great
state of alarm, rushed in upon the master while he was
shaving, with the news that three tremendous fellows,
the sight of which was enough to frighten any one, were
waiting in the office to see him. One carried an axle-
tree as a cane, another had a mill-stone in each coat
pocket, and the third wore a beard that touched the
ground and turned up atthe end ; they were three verit-
able Samsons.

“ What do they want?” said the Marquis.

“On my word I do not know; they only asked to
speak with you.”

“JT will be down presently ; tell them to wait.” One
moment later the Marquis entered his office and was
surprised, in spite of his warning, to see such powerful
looking fellows.

Our three men bowed respectfully, told of their
adventures at the castle in the Cevennes, and offered to
rid the Marquis of any beast or devil that might disturb
his peace.

“T will give you a great reward,” replied the Mar-
quis, “if you can rid me of an enemy that has long .
damaged my place, and especially is the cause of
my wife and children remaining away from the
castle.”

“T cannot keep a servant here except this old man
94 Tales of Languedoc

who has positively refused to leave me in spite of the
evil reports.”

“Tt is said in the neighborhood that the devil haunts
my castle and everybody keeps away from it.”

“T do not know the cause, but, from time to time I
miss some chickens, rabbits, turkeys and geese; even
once I lost anox. We have searched again and again,
but without results. I have watched day and night and
never have seen a stray man or beast on the premises,
yet, when least expecting it, something is stolen. Some
of the servants have been badly beaten when alone;
taken unawares, struck from behind, but even they have
never seen the enemy.”

“This is why I can keep no one at my castle and they
say it is the devil’s abode. Now, if you can find out
what all this means, you will render a great service to
me and the community.”

“ Be no longer uneasy,” they said, “ we shall unravel
the mystery and that right soon. Make us acquainted
with every nook of your castle, your garden, your park,
and then we will tell you how we intend to proceed.”

The Marquis first invited them to dine. After dinner
he took them through the castle from cellar to garret and
over the garden and park even to a clump of trees be-
yond the park. The Marquis meanwhile was giving
them all kinds of information, but the three said not a
word. Silently they surveyed the ground, scrutinized
the nooks and corners, peering into the shrubbery, rak-
Three Strong Men Q5

ing among the heaps of dead leaves and striking the
ground in search of pitfalls.

When the search was over they proposed to the Mar-
quis that they be left alone in charge of the castle to
follow their own line of action. The Marquis agreed
and accordingly prepared to leave the estate in their
charge with abundant supplies at their disposal, and he
and the old servant left next morning.

Crowbar and his friends took a walk in the afternoon,
looked about everywhere, but saw nothing suspicious.
The following day they laid a plan to station themselves
as spies to watch every avenue leading to the castle and
they watched all day in vain. The next day was the
same without results. This was growing monotonous;
they became bolder and said: “The devil must be afraid
of us; he dares not show himself. This will turn out
like other devil stories; the fox has eaten the hens, the
wolf eaten the ox —you will see—nevertheless if it be
the devil let him show himself, we will fix him.”

Thus, tired of suspense, they decided that two of them
should go hunting and the third should keep watch on
the premises, just to be on the safe side, not that they
expected to see anything or anybody.

This time the miller said: “It is my turn; I will stay
and if the devil comes, I will make a pancake of him
with my millstones.”

“ Remain,” said the other two; “each one his turn,
nothing is more just.” Crowbar and Hookbeard started
96 Tales of Languedoc

for the chase at day-break, their guns on their shoulders
like true poachers. They went through the park, passed
by the clump of trees, crossed a small stream and went
on to the mountains. They were in luck, they killed
much game and returned with their bags full.

As soon as his companions were gone, the miller
placed himself on the watch but as before saw nothing.
Then he set about preparing dinner for his friends.
What he cooked for the meal I do not remember, per-
haps they never told me or I may have forgotten it, but
that can be of no great consequence.

About eleven o’clock he set the table and had things
ready so as not to keep them waiting on their return,
then he sat down before the door saying to himself: “As
soon as I see them coming I will pour out the pottage.”
He waited a long while, his comrades did not show up;
it was very hot; sleep overtook him and he fell nodding.

The devil, who was lurking unseen, stealthily ap-
proached the table, took the tablecloth by the four
corners with all its contents, spoons, forks, dishes, bottles,
glasses, etc., clubbed the miller on his way out and left
him senseless.

A little while after, the hunters came, and what did
they see?

The poor miller stretched on the ground, his face all
bloody, more dead than alive. Quickly they fetched
some vinegar, made him smell it, washed his face with
it, and made him drink a glass of Riquiqui, placed him
Three Strong Men 97

in an arm-chair, rubbed him with Kaw Sedative, and,
little by little, he came to, but he could not tell what had
happened. He had neither heard nor seen anything, so
that the trio were none the wiser for the miller’s mishap.
For some time, however, they redoubled their vigils, but
with no luck.

Meanwhile, the miller recovered, and, when himself
again, Hookbeard broke out one evening at table with
“Well, friends, go hunting to-morrow. I shall stay
here. We must find out what all this means. I will try
my best not to be surprised; and, if I can only see him,
whether man, beast, or devil, he won’t leave this place
scot free.”

The next day the miller and Crowbar went hunting,
promising to return early.

Hookbeard made all his preparations,—killed a fowl
for a roast, made an omelette for entremet, a rabbit stew
for entrée, a purée of peas for pottage, and fritters of
squash for dessert. He set the table early; then he
walked about the room, with his hands behind him and
with a look of satisfaction and scorn upon his face, as if
nothing could happen to him. He paced the room for
one hour, for two hours; finally got tired, and, to his
misfortune, sat down.

Sleep is so treacherous that it overcame him. No
sooner had he closed his eyes and begun to nod, than he
was clubbed on the head, and so completely stunned that
he gave no signs of life when his two friends came. They
98 Tales of Languedoc

thought him dead, but did all they could to revive him,
and at last succeeded.

He was a long time recovering. It took the good care
of his two comrades, a long rest, and good food to restore
him to health.

When Hookbeard was on his feet again, Crowbar
said :

“My friends, both of you have had your thrashing.
We cannot leave here without my getting one. If I have
to leave my skin in the attempt, I must know who is
haunting this place. To-morrow leave me alone in the
castle and go hunting.”

They obeyed; but before setting out Hookbeard said
to Crowbar:

“Don’t go to sleep; don’t sit down. Sleep is a rascal
which overcomes the most wary. If you are caught nap-
ping, as the miller and I have been, you run the risk of
getting a drubbing you will never forget.”

“Thanks,” replied Crowbar; “I will do my best to
keep awake.”

When alone, he set out to get dinner. It was not at
all elaborate, aud was soon ready. Before ten o’clock his
table was set, and he was pacing the floor, as Hookbeard
had done. Then he sat down; soon his head was
_ bobbing up and down, falling from one shoulder to the
other, as if fast asleep. Through his half-closed eyes,
however, he was watching the room and the park.

Pretty soon he spied in the garden something black,









Beth
were

i


Three Strong Men IO1

which seemed to be moving behind the trees. Nodding
all the more, as if fast asleep, Crowbar saw the black
object advancing cautiously from tree to tree, and bush
to bush, but so quick in its movements that he could
hardly make out its shape; its general appearance was
like this:

A black body, flat face, large, round, yellowish eyes,
which shone like a cat’s in the dark, two horns, short and
sharp, a long tail, curled up to its shoulders, thin legs,
and long hands, with fingers like a griffin’s, and it was
not more than three feet high.

Crowbar understood that it was the very devil that
was the fear of the neighborhood.

Before he sat down he had been careful to place his
axle-tree within reach. Thus prepared, he awaited the
approach.

The devil, no doubt, believed him asleep, approached
noiselessly, entered the room, went to the table, and
reached for the table-cloth. Crowbar sprang to his feet,
and struck at him. The devil, ever on the alert, hed
seen Crowbar’s motion, and turned to leap out of the
window. It was lucky for him that he turned round
when he did. He was too far to be hit on the head, but
received a blow between the shoulders from Crowbar’s
axle-tree, that sent him sprawling in the yard.

Nimbly he turned a somersault, was on his feet in a
flash, and made for the park. Crowbar gave chase.
The devil fairly flew, with Crowbar close behind. They
102 Tales of Languedoc

ran from alley to alley, from avenue to avenue; they
went through the park, and round and round it. No
doubt, the devil, seeing his pursuer to be such a big
fellow, thought to tire him out, leave him behind,
find his hole, and disappear; but Crowbar gained on
him, and struck him several times between the shoulder-
blades with his axle-tree; so the devil thought best to
seek his hole, even at the risk of revealing his hiding.
place.

Running then to the clump of trees, under a wild
laurel, he lifted a large, flat stone, and disappeared from
under the very nose of Crowbar, at the very moment he
thought he had him.

Crowbar examined the hole, replaced the stone, put
his cane over it to hold it down, and returned to the
castle, sweating like a leper, from his run.

The hunters were already there. As they did not see
him, they said he must be dead.

“ Indeed,” said the miller, “ the devil struck me once;
you got a first-rate thrashing; no doubt, he has killed
Crowbar.”

They feigned the greatest distress; they rang all the
bells; they called; they searched every nook in the castle
—no one.

Hookbeard was thoughtful and silent. The miller,
who seemed the most eager to hunt him up, was saying
to himself:

“ He got his thrashing like us. He will know now what
Three Strong Men 103

the devil is like. He was telling us that we should leave
our skins rather than get away from here without un-
raveling this mystery. Well, if the devil has skinned
him, so much the worse for him. At any rate, he will
no longer poke fun at us.”

Just as he was saying this to himself, Crowbar arrived,
mopping his brow with his handkerchief, and said to
them:

“T made it hot forhim. He escaped me by a miracle.
I watched him coming until he reached the table, and,
had he not turned round and jumped, I should have
killed him on the spot. As it was, I gave him a hot
chase, but he made me run,I tell you! Do you know
where he went down? Well, I will show you.”

And he related to them how it all had happened, how
he had feigned sleep, had spied him behind a tree, what
his size was, how his head and eyes looked, his horns, his
legs and hands, and all about him. He took them to the
clump of trees, removed the axle-tree and the stone; they
decided to go down the hole, with the help of pulleys
and ropes, find the devil’s hiding-place, and settle him
for good.

The day following, they fixed a windlass at the open-
ing of the cave. They bought three or four miles of rope,
and made all kinds of preparations to carry out their
scheme. This busied them all day, and, as prudence
required them to make the descent by daylight, they
postponed operations until the next day.
1o4. Tales of Languedoc

In the evening, at table, the miller, jealous of Crow-
bar’s achievement, and coveting the honor of killing the
devil, said that he would go down first; that he would
do this and that; he would smash the devil to a pan-
cake with one blow of his millstones.

“We cannot all go at once,” said the other two. “If
you wish to go first, we give you the precedence.”

At early dawn the next day, the trio went to the
hole. Tying a strong basket to the rope, the miller sat
in it, with millstones in his pockets, and gave the signal
to be lowered.

Crowbar and Hookbeard began to unwind the rope,
and the miller was lowered into the hole.

So long as he looked up and saw the light, all
went well, but when he looked down he became dizzy.
Besides, you know that a rope will get all twisted
in winding up, and when unwound, the weight at-
tached to it will whirl and whirl. This is precisely
what happened when the miller sat in the basket.
His weight held the rope taut, and the twists gave
the basket a whirling motion. The deeper he went
the faster turned the rope. He held to the rope
with all his might, but the whirling made him sick,
and he was in a sad plight. At last, getting scared,
he said to himself:

“ How stupid men are at times! For a little honor,
why should I leave my bones in this hole? Let the
devil go to the deuce! If the other two want to die, let
Three Strong Men 105

them die!” And, gathering all his strength in his voice,
he shouted: “Pullmeup! Pull me mp lies

He was pulled up. When he reached the opening
his face was like wax. They quickly gave him a drop
to settle his stomach. Then Hookbeard said, coolly:

“You got scared, miller. I'll take your place, and I
believe I shall have a little more courage.”

And he sat in the basket. The miller said to him:

“You should take a stick, or something, to defend
yourself; you go with your arms hanging, as if you were
going to a féte. You don’t know what awaits you.”

Hookbeard replied: “I don’t need anything. Let
me put my paws on him, and he is done for. I will split
him in two, as I would an acorn.”

While saying this, his face grew purple with anger,
and his eyes shot fire, and his hands were clinched, as if
he meant what he said. Whether he was angry with
the miller for coming up is not certain, but he was
awfully agitated.

Finally the windlass began turning, and he was
slowly lowered into the hole.

No doubt the temperature below was cooler than above
ground. So, little by little, Hookbeard’s blood cooled and
his fury calmed, for he soon felt chills creeping over him;
his feet grew cold, and he was in need of a cordial to
keep up his courage. He had already gone deeper than
the miller, when an idea struck him.

“Tf we should build a wall over the hole,” thought
106 Tales of Languedoc

he, “the devil could not come out again, and without
any risk we should win our reward. Let me suggest
this to my companions,” and with two powerful lungs
he shouted: “Pullmeup! Pull me up!”

They pulled him up. The miller longed to tease
him, and was glad he had been no braver than he. As
soon as Hookbeard showed his head he began :

“Ha! ha! You thought I was scared! And you—
what have you had? A fright, I suppose. Why did
you turn round?”

“T afraid?” roared Hookbeard; “I afraid? You do
not know me. An idea struck me, and I wished to make
you share it ; but I am ready to go down again.”

“What is your idea?” asked Crowbar.

“ See,” replied Hookbeard, “ if we should build a vault
a little way down the hole, and pile in stones to the level
of the ground, the devil could not get out, and without
much trouble and no risk, we should have earned our
reward.”

“Right you are,” said the miller. “Let us do it; let
us do it!”

“No!” retorted Crowbar; “you would make fun of
me, and if it be only to go a little farther than Hook-
beard, I will try it.”

So saying, he removed the basket, tied his axle to the
rope, sat astride it, and gave the word to be lowered.

In his turn, Crowbar was turning in space. Cool asa
cucumber, however, he lighted his pipe, and, when too
Three Strong Men 107

far down to see, he took a candle from his pocket, lighted
it, and went still lower.

His companions knew by the rope that he had gone
lower than they, and they expected to hear at any
moment his shout to be hoisted up.

But no, nothing; the more rope they gave the deeper
he went. Finally, when the rope was about all spent,
they heard that he had reached bottom.

Crowbar untied his cane, and by his candle-light saw
that he was far from being out of the cave. He walked
and walked, not knowing whether he was under the Alps,
or the Pyrennees, in Tyrol, or Andalusia. When he saw
daylight, he found himself in a magnificent lodge, built
of the fine stones of La Clote, in all the perfection of
high art.

Surprised, he said to himself: “This surely cannot
be the devil’s abode, it is too fine.”

He went out, and found himself on the edge of a
splendid park, in a beautiful country. There were large
meadows, watered by canals of pure water; there were
fine avenues and stately trees, and far in the park he
could see a lordly castle.

More and more surprised, he advanced, cane in hand,
seeing no one, but seen of the devil, whose sharp eyes
saw from afar.

Sneaking to his castle, chattering: “Oh, the scoun-
drel! here he is! My gracious, I am lost!” the devil
shut himself in his room, shaking like an aspen-leaf.
108 Tales of Languedoc

His back still hurt him from the blow received two days
before from Crowbar’s cane.

Crowbar went on to the castle, trusting in his strength,
but keeping a sharp lookout, for he knew the devil to be
treacherous. He reached the gate and knocked—no one
appeared; he walked to the entrance door, and pulled the
knocker —no one came. He then opened the door, and
found himself in a large room sumptuously furnished.
Finding nobody there, he opened another door, and
found himself in the presence of a young and charming
lady, to whom he made a most profound bow.

She motioned him to keep still, and pointed to
another door, letting him understand that there was the
devil’s room.

Quick as a flash, Crowbar, with a blow from his cane,
broke the door open and made a rush for the devil,
who, nimble as a cat, leaped from the window. Crow-
bar jumped after him, and then took place on the grounds
the liveliest race ever seen.

Every time the devil got within reach, Crowbar prod-
ded him with his cane, but at every blow the devil
increased his gait. They chased each other for more
than two hours. At last, Crowbar gaining on the devil,
lifted his cane to strike a deadly blow. With a supreme
effort, the cane came down, but not on the devil. He
had dodged the blow at the turning of an alley, and
sprang for the cane, that had fallen from Crowbar’s
hand in the exertion. Just as he was about to grasp it,
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2, f
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eee























Three Strong Men IIl

Crowbar leaped on him, and a hand-to-hand fight took
place.

Oh! that was a desperate struggle—terrific and
horrible to see! The devil shrieked and howled; he
scratched and bit; while Crowbar, dumb and purple in
the face, gave telling blows with his fists. He could not
strike the devil’s head, because of the horns, and he
could not grab his body, because it was so sleek and slimy.
At last the devil’s strength gave out. Crowbar seized him
by the throat, threw him on his back, put a knee on his
breast, and, with the cane in his right hand, gave him
a blow between the horns that split his head in two.
But he died hard. His head was split open, yet he was
struggling, whipping the ground with his tail, and foam-
ing at the mouth. When at last he was still, Crowbar
returned to the castle to see to the young lady, whose
presence in such a place had so much puzzled him.

She had been the sole witness of the grand fight, and
a most interested spectator, for she understood that in
Crowbar, if victorious, she would find a deliverer.

So soon as Crowbar appeared in the yard, she has-
tened to meet him, took him by the hands, and said to
him:

“No doubt my father sent you to my rescue. Who
are you,and whence are you come? How have you
found your way to this spot?

“T have been here for the last three years. How I got
here I do not know. I am the king’s daughter. I was
112 Tales of Languedoc

stolen by that scoundrel you have killed. One day,
when I was with my governess on the banks of La Loire,
he showed himself suddenly to me, and my fright was
so great that I fainted, and when I came to myself again
I was in this palace, alone with the arch-fiend. For the
last three years he has persecuted me to marry him.

“T cannot tell you all I have suffered, although he
was invariably kind and considerate. He gave me all
his fancy suggested.

“The villain was always at home nights, but early in
the morning he would depart, to be gone all day, and
return loaded with plunder in the evening.

“You have no idea of all this castle contains of stolen
goods. I will visit the different rooms with you. But
first tell me who you are, whence you come, and whether
you can deliver me from my prison.”

Crowbar briefly told his story, and then, in company
with the young princess, visited the castle.

The long corridors were filled with sculpture and
paintings, the ceilings were frescoed, the rooms had most
magnificent hangings and were furnished with rare and
costly furniture. The cellars were full of boxes of all
sizes and dimensions, which being opened were found to
contain crown jewels and diamonds, silver and gold.
Some boxes were full of stolen watches, others held
silver spoons and forks, and still others contained
precious stones.

The yards about the castle were supplied with fowls
Three Strong Men 113

of all kinds, cattle and horses of every breed filled his
stables, deer stalked about the park, and pheasants were
plenty in the preserve.

When Crowbar had seen everything with his fair
guide, he took her to the entrance to the hole through
which he had come down, and calling to the miller and
Hookbeard, told them to make ready to receive the
king’s daughter, whom the devil had carried to this
lair.

The rope was promptly lowered, an arm-chair, which
Crowbar fetched, made fast to it, and the princess sat
therein. He securely tied her about the waist, to pre-
vent her falling, and gave the order to hoist her up.

Crowbar staid near until he was sure she had safely
reached the top; then he went to fetch all the boxes of
jewels and silver and gold.

Hookbeard and the miller received the young lady
with all the respect due to her rank. They took her to
the castle of La Ferritre, gave her the best room they
found, and sent her next day posthaste to her father, the
King of France. They then returned to the hole to hear
further from Crowbar.

When the princess reached Paris, the king and cour-
tiers, apprised by courier of the miraculous deliverance,
went to escort her into the capital. The meeting between
the king and his daughter was very affecting. They fell
on each other’s necks and wept for joy; the whole court,
out of sympathy, did likewise.
114 Tales of Languedoc

The first emotion over, the king, full of gratitude
toward his daughter’s rescuer, remembered his promise
made soon after her disappearance.

It should be said that some three years before the
young princess was promenading on the banks of the
Loire. She dismissed her attendant with the order to
come for her at sundown. When the maid came the
princess was nowhere to be found. They searched the
woods near by, they dragged the river, they scoured
the whole country round and made inquiries far
and near, but found no trace of her. She had vanished
from sight, and nobody could account for her disap-
pearance.

It was then that, in despair, the king issued a procla-
mation that gave his daughter in marriage to any man
who skould bring her back.

Hookbeard was the first to hear that the king’s
daughter was to be the wife of her rescuer.

Good-natured and generous, he said to himself:
_“ What a good thing for Crowbar!” and already became
jubilant at the thought of the grand wedding to which
he would be invited.

The miller, on the other hand, was jealous and grasp-
ing, he said to himself: “Why, I would not refuse her
for my wife! If I had not been so afraid, and had gone
down the hole, she would now be my bride.”

However, each kept his thoughts to himself and both
worked away hoisting the boxes which were filled with


Three Strong Men Tey

diamonds, pearls, rings and bracelets, all sorts of jewels,
and plenty of gold and silver.

On seeing this heap of riches at his feet, the
miller lost his head, and ventured to say to Hook-
beard:

“ Now then, for whom have we been working all this
time? For Crowbar, no doubt. He very likely will
take all this, marry the king’s daughter, and we poor
fellows, who have helped so much, will get left. If you'll
believe me, we will scoop this pile of riches, pull up the
rope, and make off.”

Hookbeard, kind-hearted but weak, yielded to the
miller’s reasons. Indeed, the sight of so much gold was
enough to lead any man astray. So when Crowbar hal-
looed, “ Hoist me up! There is nothing more to haul
up,” the miller and Hookbeard removed the windlass,
threw the rope in a stream near by, took with them all
the treasures, and decamped.

Happily for Crowbar they did not think to cover up
the hole, or he would surely have been lost.

In vain did Crowbar call, shout, halloo— nobody re-
plied. He soon guessed the cause of that silence on
the part of his friends, and being somewhat of a phil-
osopher, he thought in this wise:

“How mean is human nature! God must have used
very dirty clay when He made man. The proverb says
that everything God does He does well. Without doubt-
ing the truth of the proverb, it seems to me had He used
118 Tales of Languedoc

cleaner clay in the making, men would be better than
they are.”

Not being easily disheartened, Crowbar returned to
the castle, saying to himself:

“ We shall see later; sometimes the wicked are caught
in their own traps.”

We have already seen that the king, soon after recov-
ering his daughter, remembered his promise to give her
to her rescuer; but as he was a kind father, and very
considerate of his daughter’s feelings, he spoke to her in
this wise:

“In my great despair, and hoping that the offer of
your hand to the man who should bring you back might
cause my subjects to diligently search for you, I made
that promise, and pledged my royal word. Now, I
should be very sorry to impose on you a husband who
should not be to your liking. Tell me if your rescuer
would be acceptable to you, and if I may renew my royal
pledge.”

“Perfectly acceptable,” answered the princess; and
thereupon she related to the king all that which took
place in the devil’s lair, her meeting with Crowbar, his
kindness to her, the way he had sent her up the hole,
and she added: “I am sure he will please you. He is
tall, well-proportioned, handsome, as strong as ten men,
and exceedingly kind.”

Then the king replied: “ Let us await his coming.”

And they waited one, two, five months—a year, two
Three Strong Men 119

years,— and Crowbar not appearing, the king and his
daughter were in despair. What had happened to him?
They could not imagine. They tried to hunt up the
miller and Hookbeard, but they were not to be found.
Whether they had gone to Brussels, St. Petersburg, Egypt,
or India, nobody knew.

All this time Crowbar was planning a way of escape
from his prison.

Alone in the devil’s domain, he roamed through the
garden, the park, the woods, the meadows, to find a road
leading out of the solitary place. On all sides he found
perpendicular walls which no one could think of scaling.
Another man would have been discouraged — not Crow-
bar. He kept saying to himself: “We shall see; we
shall see.”

One morning, as he lay awake in his bed, the thought
came to him that an eagle might perhaps help him out
of his predicament. In truth, an eagle was strong enough
to bear him up, if it could only be made to do itaerEve
had seen an eagle’s nest a day or two before, and
he had thought: “If I can tame the mother, I may
train the eaglets to do my bidding.” So every day he
brought meat and put it near the nest. Soon eagle and
eaglets were tame enough to eat off his hand. When
large enough to leave the nest, the eaglets would follow
him around like puppies. As they grew larger they
played with him like children. They played hide-and-
seek; they climbed on his back; they perched on his
120 Tales of Languedoc

shoulders. All the time he fed them the pick of the
poultry-yard. Eaglets became eagles, and he tried to
teach them to fly with him on their backs; but so strong
and heavy was Crowbar, it took two years before one
of them could fly any distance with him on its back.

Satisfied at last that the strongest of the lot could
sustain his weight for a long flight, he took the bird to
the mouth of the hole and, pointing upward, said to the
eagle: “Take me up there.” And sitting astride on the
eagle’s wings, they began to ascend. To mount in a
straight line being impossible, the eagle whirled round
and round the hole until it reached the top. Both
rested a while, and then Crowbar caressed the eagle,
bade it good-by, and left it to return at leisure.

Crowbar’s first inquiry was for his comrades and for
the young lady.

He learned that she had gone to Paris, and resided
with her father, the king. As for Hookbeard and the
miller, they were gone no one knew where. His anxiety
was for the lady, however, since it occurred to him that,
to hide their conduct, his two companions might have
killed her.

Feeling relieved as to her fate, he took a fast horse to
Paris, expecting that the king would pay him hand-
somely for rescuing his daughter. He was not posted
as to the king’s intentions towards him, and was far
from expecting what awaited him in Paris.

Ah! as soon as he presented himself at the palace,
Three Strong Men 121

he saw the young princess running down the stairs to
greet him. He, somewhat abashed, bowed two or three
times, hesitating to enter the palace; but she took
him by the hand and led him to her father.

It is needless to describe the reception the king gave
him, or the brave man’s joy on learning that he was to
be the husband of the princess, nor the grand wedding
repast given on the marriage day.

As to Hookbeard and the miller, on leaving France,
they sold their jewels and precious stones, and deposited
the money in a bank. For a while they lived like
princes; but one day the bank failed, all depositors lost
their money, and the miller and Hookbeard had to beg
for a living. They led a miserable existence, sleeping
outdoors or in barns in all kinds of weather. This
was the harder to bear after their experience of luxury:
so one night, as they were out under a tree during a
storm, Hookbeard said to the miller:

“We were very wrong to act as we did towards Crow-
bar; we could have lived just as well on a little less, if
we had not have taken the plunder from the devil’s lair,
and now we should have a friend in Crowbar, who
they say, got out of the hole, married the king’s daugh-
ter, and is now a powerful prince. Now, who dares to
go and see him and ask for his help?”

The miller hung his head and made no reply. He
felt the more guilty of the two, for it was he who had
won over Hookbeard to his plan of abandoning Crowbar.
122 Tales of Languedoc

Nothing further was said that night, and for some time
they roughed it as best they could. At last, they could
endure that life no longer, and decided to go in search
of Crowbar. They would beg his pardon on their knees,
and perhaps in his kindness of heart he would forgive
them and render some assistance.

Having taken that resolution, they set out for the
king’s palace. On reaching it they inquired for Crow-
bar. He came to meet them, and was greatly surprised
to see their poverty. His first impulse was to forgive
them and treat them kindly; but the king, who knew
of their doings, forbade him to receive them, and ordered
them thrown into prison, and there they ended their
days.

Crowbar, meanwhile, had become a powerful prince,
and was much beloved by the king. He reared a large
family of children, and finally died in peace and plenty
surrounded by many friends.

The castle of La Ferritre became again habitable, since
the devil had ceased to haunt it, and the Marquis, his
children, and their descendants have dwelt happily in
it ever since.
Che Hautboy Plaver
of Ventabren.

eo eh

The Hautboy Player of

Ventabrén

HILE my companion was relating the story of The

Three Strong Men, we traveled over considerable
ground. The sun was setting when he finished, and we
were nearing a town. Several of our fellow-travelers
had dropped off by the way, my companion and I shook
hands at the gate of the town, and I was left alone
to go to the inn.

I spent a very good night there, and the next day I
hardly know where I went. I believe that was the day
I met the hautboy player—he was a jolly fellow,
though! He made it lively for us going through the
big woods. Ill tell you about the hautboy player of
Ventabrén.

I had been walking alone through a flat country
until, just as I came to an extensive piece of woods, I
met a man; and we were going through the woods in
company when it happened that, as another trail met
ours, we fell in with a man and a small boy.
TZN Tales of Languedoc

“Halloa! you here, Fougasse?” shouted my compan-
ion, as the man joined us.

“T am he,” replied the newcomer.

“ Where do you come from?”

“Tél I come from the féte of Garigues.”

L took him for a hautboy player. He wore a pigeon
feather in his hat, and an unmounted hautboy could
be seen sticking out of the pocket of his half-buttoned
vest. He carried a bundle swung on the end of a stick
over his shoulder — it was a big fougasse tied in a nap-
kin. The little boy carried on his back, strapped to his
shoulders, a tambourin, and —pecavre/* he could hardly
walk with his load, so young was he.

Speaking to the hautboy player, my companion very
familiarly called him “ Fougasse,” and I made bold to
say: “But that is not your name.”

“Ho! no, indeed; my name is Saouché. Fougasse is
my nickname.”

“And don’t you hate to be called Fougasse?”

“ Hate it? no; I would not be a hautboy player if I
did—all the hautboy players are nicknamed. It is
part of our calling, you know.

“ You want to know why I am called Fougasse?

“ Well, I was returning from the féte of Garigues, as I
am now—this was many years ago. I carried, as now,
a fougasse on the end of my stick. The sun was low as
we reached this very spot, and we were quietly jogging
along, as we are now, when the little fellow with me,

* Poor me!
























EC.PEixoTTO - 1896 -

The Hautboy Player 129

like this one, said: ‘ Uncle, see that big dog coming be-
hind us,’

“T turned and saw a tremendous wolf ten paces from
us. I took two or three steps towards him to frighten
him. He stopped, eyed me, and started when I started.
I stopped again— he stopped; I walked, and he walked.
The night was coming on. I began to get scared. The
boy was holding tight to my hand, and we were stretch-
ing our legs to the utmost, when the idea struck me
that he might be hungry. I would give him a piece of
my fougasse, and he would go off to eat it.

“Zou! I cut a piece, threw it at him, and ran. He
made but a mouthful of it. You would think he had
not eaten for three days. He showed wicked, sharp,
white teeth, which set me thinking; and hardly had he
swallowed the fougasse than he followed us again, this
time a little closer. I cut him another piece. Zot! He
swallowed it down — quick, too; and little by little the
fougasse went. What was to be done? I was at my
wits’ end. The night was dark; his eyes shone like two
lanterns. Directly there were four instead of two pierc-
ing me with their wicked glare. Whether it was due to
the terrible fright, I am ashamed to own it; but I was
sure there were two wolves following us. My hair stood
up like the bristles on a hog’s back — my hat did not
touch my head. Good gracious! I thought to myself, if
I had only some more fougasse! I was in a terrible fix.

“We stopped, both of us petrified in our shoes, and
130 Tales of Languedoc

the idea flashed to my mind: ‘Perhaps they might like
to dance.’

“ Ags quickly as my shaking fingers would let me, I
mounted my hautboy and began to play a medley of —
I don’t know what. The effect was like magic. They
stopped, hesitated a moment, and off they went as if the
devil was after them. I assure you they did not stop to
keep time to the hautboy.

“Did I stop playing? Not I! I played nearly the
whole night, until I reached my house. My wife,
who was still up, heard the hautboy, and came out on
the steps with a light.

“¢What do you mean by playing so late in the night?
Have you gone crazy?’ said she. I told her my adven-
tures. She burst out laughing, and yet laughs every
time she thinks of it. Since then I have met many
wolves, but I never lose my wits. To one I play a little
farandole, to another the waltz of Sardan, and the thing
works like a charm —they are off at the first note, and
I have no more trouble with them.

“The day after my scare, my wife, who likes gossip,
told one of our neighbors confidentially about it; she,
of course, told another, and the news spread. Soon I
was known as ‘ La Fougasse.’

“At Massillargues the hautboy player betook himself
to his mother’s potato patch one day, with his neighbor’s
old mule hitched toa plough. He sung out to the mule in
the shrill tones of the hautboy, and the beast tore across
The Hautboy Player 131

the field like mad, dragging the boy and plough after
him. He tried to quiet him down; but the more
he heard of his notes, the faster he went—back and
forth across the patch they had it—and they might
still be ploughing, if the plough had not struck a
buried root, broken the harness, and sent the hautboy
player turning somersaults into the middle of the
potato patch. The poor fellow went home more dead
than alive. His mother asked him how he came in
such a plight —all sweat and dirt. He answered, surly
as could be:

“Never will I touch a plough again,—I have had
ploughing enough to last a lifetime! N’ai fa un tibajé,
un tibajé!’

“The story got out, and everybody calls him ‘Tibajé.’

“The hautboy player of Fontade has a mean
temper. He was always crying when a child, and his
mother gave him sweets and bonbons to quiet him.
The young rascal would stop long enough to eat; then
he would cry louder than ever: ‘N’en volé mai! N’en
volé mai’ (I want more). So it came to be his nickname.
To be sure, he is rather surly when they call him ‘N’en
volé mai’; and, if he were not a hautboy player, he
would get downright mad.

“ But what can you expect? Hautboy players should
be philosophers, and then —so long as the pot is kept
boiling —that is the main thing. We work little, earn
good wages, are always en féte. We dress well, and why
132 Tales of Languedoc
should we worry or get mad? For my part, you may

often hear me singing:

‘‘Tan pis pér caou sé chagrina
Teot siéi toujoa gai é countén
FE mé plasé din ma cousina

Surtou quan lastié vira bén.” *



* Sorry for who grieves,
I am always cheerful and content,

And I delight in my kitchen
When the spit nicely turns.
Cypepre of St. Clement
and Cou Douna
of Lecques.

Cypeyre of St. Clement and
Lou Douna of Lecques

HILE Fougasse was relating his story, we arrived
in the village, and he and the little drummer-boy
took to our left. I wanted to spend the night at the
inn, the wolf story had made such an impression on my
mind. I took courage when my companion said: “It
is true that in the days of which Fougasse speaks
wolves were numerous, but in the last few years they
have been hunted down. Now there are not so many,
and perchance, if we come across one, we will whistle a
tune, and find out whether there is any truth in his tale.
Besides, this village inn is very poor. Let us push on
to the next village. I know the innkeeper, and we shall
be well treated.” But I was thirsty, and insisted on
having a drink, so he went to the inn with me. There
was a solitary traveler in the room sitting before a bottle
of claret. He greeted my companion with:
“Halloa, Cypeyre, is that you? What good wind
brings you here?”
The other replied: “And how d’ye do? Douna,
whence do you come?”
“T come from the fair of Picho Gallargues.”
“Had you anything to sell?”
136 Tales of Languedoc

“No; on the contrary, I wanted to buy my seed for
the coming fall from the Gypsies. They alone had any
for sale. But I have seen them play a trick which has
cooled me. I tell you they are nothing but a band of
thieves; the government ought to wipe them out, one
and all, men, women, and brats.

“Do you know they have played a trick on poor
Henri de Catalan which makes one think twice before
having any dealings with them. The poor fellow, to
raise some money, wanted to sell his white mule Falet—
that big white mule, with ears going ‘fliqua, flaqua,’
seeming to beat time when he walks. You know, Henri
is not over smart. He was walking, his coat over his
shoulder, vest unbuttoned, the rope of the halter in his
hand, and ‘barisqua, barasqua’— without ever turning
to see if his mule was following him, certain that so
long as held the rope he had the mule.

“Not far from the market-place, he passed a troop of
dirty Gypsies. Hardly had he got beyond the camp,
when one of them stealthily crept to the mule, unbuckled
the halter, put his head in it, and followed Henri, who,
unsuspectingly, jogged along, leading a man in the

place of his mule—and that clear into the mule-



market.

“When they were in the midst of the crowd, the
Gypsy pulled gently on the halter, and then more and
more, until Henri turned round with a ‘Get up, you
lazy mule!’ You can have no idea of his amazement


Cypeyre of St. Clement 139

when he saw the shabby, dirty Gypsy, with his shock of
a head in the halter.

““What art thou doing here, dirty lout!’

“The Gypsy coolly and blandly replied:

“*My friend, for a crime I had committed, God
changed me into a mule. It is a great misfortune for
you that my time should expire this morning. If you
had sold me yesterday, the loss would not be for you.
But as the law forbids you to sell a man for a mule,
farewell!’

“He left, and Henri stood there in a crowd of men,
speechless, the rope in his hand, the halter on the
ground, scratching his head, and wondering if he was
dreaming. He was the laughing-stock of the whole fair.
His mule was gone, and, crestfallen, he took his way
back home.”

When we had refreshed ourselves we left Lou Douna
and set out on our way.

“T think I know who you are now,” said I to my
companion. “ You are Cypeyre of St. Clément, the busi-
ness manager of the castle—I have often heard your
name mentioned; you have been long in your present
position.”

“Oh, yes,” he replied; “the position has been held by
father and son for more than eighty years, and I am on
my way back from Montpelier, where I went to see the
owners of the castle. They are growing old, and do not
come often to visit their estate. When they want any-
140 Tales of Languedoc

thing they send for me. They are always very consid-
erate, and treat me as one of the family; but this time
they paid so little attention to my wants that I had to
remind them that I was hungry, in a way that covered
them with confusion and which makes me ashamed of
myself when I think of it. This morning, at about
two o’clock, I took a cup of coffee and left home to
walk to town. You know the distance is fully thirty-
three kilometres, going by short cuts on pretty rough
roads. I reached the master’s house about half-past
eight in the morning, dusty, hungry and well-nigh
spent. I was announced, and when I was asked to go
into the dining-room, where the old couple were, it was
close to nine o’clock. As hungry as a bear, my stomach
would go ‘brrrou, brrrou’ at times. They were seated at
the table, with two large bowls of café-au-lait before them,
some nice chicken and sausage, butter and rolls of fresh-
baked pain-au-lait, which made one’s hair curl, I assure
you. I would willingly have eaten three or four, for I
was hungry, and ‘a good appetite requires no sauce,’
they say; but I had to wait for an invitation which
never came.

“They were both very kind. ‘Oh, Cypeyre, you have
not come for so long! Well, how is all at the castle?’

“« Yes, sir; all is well’—and I was invited to sit by
the chimney before a bright fire.

“T thought to myself, ‘I am more hungry than
cold.’
Cypeyre of St.Clément 141

“The gentleman said: ‘The shepherd is now recoy-
ered, is he not?’

“*Yes, sir; he is well again.’

“«And the old mule lasts yet?’

“*Yes, sir; but we shall have soon to replace him.’

““ And the colt—he must be fine; he will soon be
three years old.’

“«Yes, sir; he is a beauty. I have already driven
him a few times; he will make a good roadster.’

“« And the wood-choppers—are they through?’

“«Yes, sir; they finished two weeks ago, and I bring
you the money they left for you.’

“<«That is well,’ said he; and meanwhile this old
couple were daintily picking at every dish, and poor
me, more hungry than both together, watched them
with my stomach going ‘brrrou, brrrou.’

“After a moment of silence, the lady said:

“Wow are the flocks doing—is there much in-
crease?’ And before I could answer her: ‘Té! has the
goat any kids?’

“* Beg your pardon, madame; I had forgotten to tell
you—she has three kids, and three fine ones they
are.’

“The lady turned to her husband and said: ‘Do you
hear what he says?—three kids! How do you suppose
they suck? The goat has only two teats.’

“T gave the husband no time to reply, but hastened to
say :
142 Tales of Languedoc

““¢ When two suck the mother, the third does as I am
doing now— it looks on.’

“The lady, stung to the quick, apologized profusely:

“ not occur to us that you had not had breakfast.’

“Promptly they gave orders to set a plate for me, and
I was served like a king.

“T know I was somewhat rude, but you know:

“<1 esprit quan lou véntre baissa
Prén pa counsel qué dé la maissa,’ ” *

I listened to all this without making any comment,
finding Cypeyre’s ruse bold indeed, and yet thinking
that the oversight of the old couple deserved a little re-
buke.

*An empty stomach guides the mind; or, an empty stomach consults
only the palate.
A Blind Wan’s Story,
or the
Miraculous Tree.

&h i)

A Blind Man‘s Story, or the
Miraculous Tree

HEN Cypeyre had done relating his story we

walked in silence, until we reached the foothills
of La Pefia. There were two ways—the old and shorter
road which goes over the mountain, and the new road
which skirts it.

Cypeyre, who knew every inch of the ground in the
country, said to me:

“Let us take the new road; a good road is never
long to travel, and I wish to point out to you a spot
where a very curious thing happened.”

We journeyed on, and had skirted half the mountain,
—we were then in the thick of the forest,— when
Cypeyre pointed out a bare spot, and said :

“Tn olden times, on that clearing, was an enormous
tree, which looked like a cedar. The lower branches,
which grew on the trunk at a height of six or seven feet
from the ground, were thick, straight, horizontal, and so
long that a whole regiment could take shelter under
them. Four men with outstretched arms could hardly
have encompassed the trunk. The leaves were not nee-
dle-shaped, like the cedars’, but were large and soft as
146 Tales of Languedoc

velvet, and so thick was the foliage that one could look
up and not see the sky through it.

“Tn summer shepherds led their flocks under this
tree, to protect them from the noonday heat. At times
five or six flocks could be seen under its shade, and there
was room for them all.

“Tn winter few people traveled this region, the road
was poor, the spot wild, lonesome, and dangerous on
account of brigands.

“Every year in early springtime a great many
“oavots” from the Loztre come down from their moun-
tain homes to work in the rich surrounding departments,
where they find more work and better wages than they
could get at home.

“Two brothers, Batiste and Louiset, had gone to the
Baumel farm, belonging to Monsieur Granier.

“Their work, which was paid by the day, consisted of
spading vineyards.

“Batiste was seventeen years old, and his brother
about fifteen. Besides their wages, they got wine and
soup daily, cooked for them by the farmer’s wife. The
rest they furnished and prepared themselves; and the rest
was little, indeed,— mostly codfish, bread, and cheese.
But “ gavots” are satisfied with little; and so longas the
wine and bread last they do not worry. This coarse diet
agrees with them, for when they come down in the
spring they are thin, lank, and pale; but in a few days,
although working hard, they grow fat and rosy.


A Blind Man’s Story 149

“Batiste was headstrong. For him to stoop was seldom
a pleasant task. His ribs must have run lengthwise, like
a wolf’s; at times you would have thought he had swal-
lowed a sword, so hard was it for him to stoop and handle
the spade. Louiset, on the contrary, was good, a hard
worker, and, although younger by two years than his
brother, he kept up with him in the work. He was, on
that account, better liked than Batiste.

“Tn the country a well-known blind man went about
begging, led by a small boy. Everybody gave him alms
out of pity. He had his regular stopping-places in his
circuit, of which Baumel farm was one. There he was
always sure of a night’s rest in the barn loft.

“Our two gavots were occupying it one summer night,
when in came the blind beggar and his boy.

“*Say, Biréle,’ broke cut the blind man, ‘let us count
our money and see how much we have taken in to-day.’

“The boy began counting, and soon announced the
result; eleven francs and ten centimes.

“¢We are not rich,’ said the old man.

“«But, grandfather,’ said the boy, ‘in the sack there
must be at least fifteen sous’ worth of bread.’

“« Oh! that is only eleven francs seventeen sous; itis
small pay for our work,’ replied the blind man.

“Batiste, who had been listening to their conversation,
broke out:

“«You don’t think eleven francs seventeen sous is
enough for your work? Why, my brother and I work
150 Tales of Languedoc

from early dawn until dark for five francs, and out of
that we must feed ourselves; while you, I am sure, have
not spent a sou for anything.’

“Yes, I bought two sous’ worth of tobacco; no one is
without his weakness, you know. But what we shall
eat is a matter of no concern to us. We are given soup,
ragout, the remains of dinners, and all the wine we
want. But I seldom take wine; it does not agree
with me. They give us also money; some one, some
two sous. The days are long; we beg at every door,
and thus fill up our purse. Nevertheless, I am not
satisfied with my day’s work; it is one of the
poorest.

“*At the fair of Anduze, I have made as much as
thirty-two frances; on the market of St. Hypolite, twenty-
eight; at the Féte of Lezan, twenty-two. But the most
I have ever made was at the Pilgrimage of Notre Dame
de Prime Combe. I received, in sous, fifty-three francs
eleven sous. You see, people under strong religious
emotion are unthinking, and very generous. There is
also much to be made at Notre Dame de St. Loup, at St.
Gervasy, and other places. We don’t miss a single
religious féte. It is necessary, you see, to put something
by for old age, and to doé one’s children. Each one
must fight his battles in the world as best he can, and,
blind as I am, what could I do? My trade, after all, is
worth another man’s.’

“Batiste opened his eyes as big as saucers; he could
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A Blind Man’s Story ne

not sleep that night. The next day, when they were at
dinner, he said to his brother:

““Did you hear what the blind beggar said last night?
His is a good business—twenty-three, twenty-eight,
thirty-two, fifty-three francs in one day! Good gracious!
And who knows if he tells the whole truth? If he lives
a few more years he will have a fortune.

“To put fifty francs aside it takes us at least a month,
and the weather has to be fine every day for that — if it
rains, we are behind hand; while he, rain or shine, takes
in money.’

“Louiset, who was asleep during the talk between his
brother and the beggar, was much surprised to hear
this, and for a while was quite undone. After a mo-
ment’s reflection, he said to his brother:

“¢ Certainly you are right; his business is better than
ours. But he is blind, and we are not. To each one his
lot on earth; and Father Grégoire told me for my first
communion, that God had assigned to each one his work
in the world, and we should never complain.’

“« Father Grégoire! Father Grégoire!’ cried Batiste, ‘if
he was obliged to work as we do from morning till night,
to live on codfish the year round, and never rest except
on a rainy day —vwell, Father Grégoire would change
his mind, I am sure, and speak differently. If you are
willing, we can find means to live without working.’

“«How so? and what must we do for that?’ said
Louiset.
154 Tales of Languedoc

“Tf you like, I will put out your eyes; we will travel
and beg, as the blind man does, and we shall have as
much money as he has.’

“But you will hurt me.’

“Qh no; you will not feel it.’ And so saying, Batiste
took out of the fireplace a pine stick, and before Louiset
had time to refuse his consent, thrust it into one of his
eyes.

“Ouch! Ouch!’ shrieked Louiset; and while he
screamed “Ouch,” his brother took another burning stick
and thrust it into the other eye.

“The shrieks of the poor boy could be heard a mile
off. He was wild with pain. He stamped and foamed in
his agony, his face bleeding, his features convulsed. At
this heartrending crisis, Batiste, in the coolest, calmest
way, said to his brother:

“Come, now, don’t make such a fuss for so little. I
will apply a linseed poultice; it will relieve the pain; you
will soon be healed.’

“Madame Granier, who had heard his groans, came in
haste. When she saw him, she exclaimed:

“My poor boy, what has happened to you? Tell me.’

“Batiste hastened to answer for him: ‘ He climbed on
yonder tree,’ he said, ‘to get a nest of starlings, and
he fell on a brier-bush, and the thorns, I fear, have put
out his eyes.’

“Madame Granier quickly sent for her physician,
and while waiting for him, she applied sweet lard to
A Blind Man’s Story 1st

Louiset’s eyes, and did all she could to relieve his
suffering.

“The physician came, examined his patient, and said:

““His eyes are damaged; they will still be pretty to
look at, but the sight is destroyed. The thin skin of the
pupil is gone; there is nothing to be done—the boy
will be blind.’

““Poor boy,’ people said; ‘such a fine fellow to be
blind for life!’

““Tt is awful! I®f such an accident had happened to
his brother, we would not feel so sad; for he is such a
mean fellow. But Louiset— poor Louis—good Louiset!’

“And, by way of comment, an old peasant added :

“* Anything would happen in this world, even to the
death of a poor man’s donkey, sooner than any mishap
to such a tough as Batiste.’ ;

“The physician treated the eyes the best he knew how,
made the boy wear a bandage over them to keep out the
light, in case the sight was not totally destroyed, and in
three weeks the pain was gone; but the boy was entirely
blind.

“Allin the village took pity on him during hissickness.
They provided for all his wants,and more, too. He, who
had never been invited to sit at the table of any one in
the village, was feasted like a king. He received atten-
tion and kindness, to which, as a human being, he was
entitled before, but which no one thought of giving until

his misfortune.
156 Tales of Languedoc

“The first emotion over, the villagers relapsed into
their old somnolence, and Batiste and Louiset were at
last obliged to carry out their plan.

“So, one morning they set out for a neighboring vil-
lage, begging, for God’s sake, from door to door.

“‘Douna mé quicon, séouple, quicon aou paouré
avuglé, per Vamour d’aou boun Diou,’ plaintively
entreated Louiset.

“*Gramerci, que lou boun Diou vou lou refide é vou
bénigué,’ added Louiset.*

“On seeing so young a lad in so sad a predicament,
every housewife gave them alms. The first day they
made fifteen francs thirteen sous, and in the evening
Batiste said to Louiset :

“¢You see what a sum we have. To earn that much
we should have had to work three days. If this keeps
up, we shall have a good business.’

“Tt kept up, and Batiste was full of care and kindness
for his brother. He looked after all his wants, seeing
that he lacked nothing. The best morsels given them
were for Louiset. Every evening they counted their
receipts, which kept increasing, and in a few weeks their
purse was quite large. Week by week, and month by
month, their fortune swelled, and by the end of the sec-
ond year they had one hundred écus to their names.

*« Give me something, if you please, something for the poor blind man,
for God’s sake.”

“Many thanks; may God return it to you and bless you.” These are the
words of entreaty and of thanks used by beggars in Southern France.
A Blind Man’s Story 1S

“But people born mean will sooner or later follow their
inclinations. Batiste proved no exception; he got tired
of this kind of life. ‘To act as if one were poor, and
yet be rich, that will not do,’ he was always saying to
himself; ‘that cannot last. One hundred écus is a
fortune. If I had not to drag that boy from door to
door, I would go into some town, buy an old nag and
cart, and peddle charcoal. I would soon get rich at that.’

“From the moment he began reasoning thus, he was
not the same man. He began to steal from his brother
half the alms, and when a choice bit was given them
Batiste no longer shared it with his brother, but ate it
all himself. Did some charitable soul give Louiset a
good coat, Batiste put it on, and the blind boy went
ragged. Louiset had worn-out shoes, while Batiste was
always well shod. Kindness and tender care gave way
to rough talk and harsh treatment, and many petty
indignities, too sad to relate, were heaped upon Louiset
by his brother.

“ Louiset could not see it all, but he felt that he was
not treated right; and one day something happened
which occasioned a complete rupture. At the door of a
nice house a large piece of omelet was given them—a
delicious, golden-brown omelet, warm and fragrant—the
odor would have revived a dead person. Batiste ate it
all himself, and, taking Louiset by the hand, said:
‘Come along.’

“Unfortunately for Batiste, Louiset had a good nose,
158 Tales of Languedoc

and the odor of the omelet made his mouth water. So
he said: ‘Give me a piece of that omelet; it smells good
and must be delicious.’

“* Who told you I had any omelet?’ gruffly retorted
Batiste.

“*Who told me? I smelt it,’ rejoined Louiset, angrily.

“Batiste denied having had any omelet; but Louiset
felt sure that he had, and that he was deceiving him.
Then he reproached his brother for causing his blind-
ness, accused him of robbing him and getting rich at
his expense, called him a good-for-nothing fellow, a
rascal and a rogue, and was sure that God would punish
his villainy.

“Batiste did not say much, but he was provoked, and
promised to be even with him at the first chance.

“That evening, on leaving the village, they were walk-
ing along a foot-path which led through an old planta-
tion of fine mulberry-trees, whose gnarled trunks showed
their great age, when suddenly it occurred to Batiste
that the spot was a favorable one to play a trick on his
brother. He led him within two feet of one of the
oldest and knottiest of the mulberry-trees, and told him
to make a great leap to clear the ditch in front of him.
The poor blind boy did as he was told, and jumping
with all his might, knocked his nose against the tree,
bruising his face frightfully.

“«Unnatural brother! Miserable villain! You wretch !
where will your soul go to?’ cried Louiset.
A Blind Man’s Story 159

“ Batiste replied, with cold brutality: ‘ You smelt the
omelet; why did you not smell the tree?’

“From that time on, one thought possessed Batiste—
to get rid of his brother. How to do it, was the question.
To kill him would be a risk to himself, for murder will
out; to abandon him might be worse, for surely Louiset
would tell how his brother had put out his eyes; yet he
had firmly resolved to cease dragging the boy after him.

“While in this quandary they reached, one evening,
the very spot we stand on,—the country looked even
wilder and more deserted than now. They stopped under
the tree, and Batiste thought to himself:

“*Tet me leave him here to-night; some wild animal
prowling about will surely devour him, and no one will
be there to tell the tale.’

“Batiste never slept over an evil thought —it would
have been better for him if he had,— and at once'set out
to carry out his plan.

«Sit under this tree, Louiset, and wait for me; I will
soon be back,’ he said. Louiset sat under the tree and
patiently waited ; his infirmity had taught him patience.
He waited half an hour, an hour, and then began call-
ing, ‘Batiste! Batiste!’ but Batiste made no reply.
Growing impatient, Louiset called louder and louder,
but the hills alone answered him. In the stillness that
followed the echo of his voice, solitude was deep upon
him. A chill crept over him as the thought flashed
to his mind, and he realized that he was abandoned and
160 Tales of Languedoc

left to perish alone in a great forest. His soul became
a prey, in turn, to terror and anger, to utter dejection and
despair. His head in his hands, crouched under the big
tree, big tears left the sightless eyes of the poor beggar boy.
Night overtook him in that position, and a distant roar
warned him of danger near. The instinct of self-preserva-
tion gives courage to the most downcast of human hearts;
it filled Louiset with a sudden desire to live longer. He
sprang up, and tried to grasp the tree to climb it, but
failed; then, with the crook of his cane, he felt for a low
branch that he might pull within reach. He succeeded,
and, being nimble and agile, was soon perched on a high
bough in the thick of the tree. He was none too soon;
a wild boar grunted at the foot of the tree. ‘Ah!’ said
Louiset, with revived hope and a tinge of pleasure, ‘ what
a fine morsel I would have been for that fellow.’

“Just then the deafening tramp of thousands of ani-
mals was heard; they were coming from all directions,
and gathering under the tree.

“Tn the midst of that immense herd, with its confused
sounds, the roar of a lion could be distinctly heard.

“They greeted each other as they came,— animals
spoke in those days,— inquiring after each other’s health
and about the ladies and the young ones left at
home. They paid compliments, and kept up a buzz of
conversation which reached Louiset’s ears as articulate
sounds, but too indistinct to be intelligible.

“Touiset kept still on his branch, as though he was


A Blind Man’s Story 163

petrified. His great fear was now to be discovered. To
be discovered, indeed meant death, and a horrible death,
at that.

“When all the denizens of the forest had gathered
under the tree, and the tumultuous enthusiasm of the
first hour had toned down, one of the crowd struck his
paws for order and demanded silence. The confusion,
as is customary in such cases, increased for a few sec-
onds, as each one of the animals seated himself on his
haunches; then all became still, and the lion, in a bass
voice, said:

«Friends, you know that we have not much time to
give to our annual gathering; we have to retire before
daybreak, and some of us have come from very far; so
let us begin. What happened at Montpelier?’

“*Dame Zebelin, the widow of Mr. Zebelin, the fox, so
well known by us, and so much dreaded by the chickens,
was killed last week by her demented son. It is very
sad, for she leaves three young orphans, who will fall a
prey to the dogs of the neighborhood unless we try to
protect them,’ said a voice.

“*Tet all the foxes of that district keep an eye on the
little foxes,’ roared the lion. ‘ Anything else?’

“The youngest daughter of Mr. Catalan, the wolf,
has eloped; her mother is heart-broken,’ said a voice
from the crowd.

“*When? when?’

“*No later than yesterday.’
164 Tales of Languedoc

“With whom ?—with a young wolf in the neighbor-
hood ?’

“*No, indeed; with an old fellow who has a large
family of children, who is old and ugly, bob-tailed, and
blind in one eye. His oldest son is after them, and, as
he is in love with the girl himself, he will make it hot
for the old man if he catches them.’

“And he will serve him right — it is a disgrace to the
animal family,’ several said at once.

““¢That is a good illustration of the proverb:

““« Wias préstas a marida
Michan troupél a garda,’ ” *

chimed in an old veteran, who was wearing a bandage
over one eye.

“«What is the matter with your eye, Brother Groug-
nare?’ inquired the lion.

“¢T have been driven from my lair so often of late by
old Samalin’s dogs that for a month I have slept with
one eye open, and, no doubt, have strained my eyesight.
On my word, I believe I’m growing blind!’

“*T know what will cure you,’ said a falsetto voice,
which Louiset thought must be a marten’s.

“They all turned towards the last speaker, and an in-
credulous smile wrinkled the scarred face of the old vet-
eran of the woods.

“<« What can you know, youngster, that I don’t know?’
contemptuously asked the old boar.

*Daughter of a marriageable age, bad flock to watch.—Proverb of Lan-
guedoc.
A Blind Man’s Story 165

““T know,’ piped the marten, while his tail was nerv-
ously switching the ground, ‘I know that the leaves of
this tree will cure sore eyes. Just rub them over your
eyes for twenty minutes and see! Mother told me before
she died that they had been known even to restore sight
to the blind.’

““That’s so,’ said a sly old fellow in a tremulous
voice; ‘your mother and I were of an age, and I have
known of the curative property of these leaves from my
earliest youth; but I never mentioned it—it was a
great secret —and you would haye done better, young-
ster, to have held your tongue.’

“Perhaps so,’ said the marten; ‘but I only had in
view to help a suffering brother— and, then, among our-
selves, we ought to be able to speak out freely and fear-
lessly.’

““Aye, aye, I wish it so!’ said the same tremulous
voice. ‘But remember, youngster, that prudence is the
mother of safety; and you must be on your guard, for
here stones have ears.’

“<*T know something,’ said a wolf who was a traveling
musician; ‘but I should not like it to go beyond the
present company.’

‘““Speak without fear,’ said several voices; ‘ we will
keep your secret.’

“*Well, about a month ago I was in Corconne, playing
the clarinet for a country dance. The day was hot, and
my throat was parched; I was actually dying of thirst.
166 Tales of Languedoc

I asked one of the dancers for a glass of water. He
laughed in my face, asked me where I was born, and
whether I had cut my eye-teeth. “Don’t you know,”
added he, “that in Corconne chickens die of the pip for
the lack of water?”’

“«They brought me a glass of wine. I drank it, and it
made me more thirsty yet. After the fiftieth dance, dry,
hot, and out of wind, I strolled out, and chanced to stop
under an old, half-dead cherry-tree, to cool off. Now,
you all know that I inherited from my father the gift
of finding water; that with my foot I can tell where a
spring is, how deep in the earth it is, how much water
it will yield, and all about it. Well, I was hardly under
that old, half-rotten tree, when my foot struck it. The
current was so strong that it made me dance a jig on
the spot, tired as I was.

““The dancers looked amused, and said I had gone
crazy, but I held my peace. If they had not killed so
many of my kind, I would have told them all about the
spring; but now I want it kept a secret. Nevertheless,
whoever finds the spring will confer a great boon to
Corconne. Now, all of you keep mum about it, will
you?’

“*We shall, we shall,’ shouted they all.

“There was a moment’s silence, then a voice, which
might be the fox’s, said: ‘Friends, a year ago, in our
annual gathering under this very tree, some of us criti-
cised the medical profession as more baneful to mankind
A Blind Man’s Story 167

than we to chicken-coops; and yet I believe that physi-
cians are improving in their methods, and are relieving
suffering humanity. I wish we could take pattern after
them, and study the art of curing our sick brethren,
especially those who suffer from that dread disease —
consumption. We are all liable to it, you know, on
account of being out nights.’

“*Not all animals—not all by any means! Did
you ever see a Billy Goat die of consumption?’ grunted,
with a wink, an old sinner of a bear, which saying raised
a general laugh.

“« Yes,’ retorted the fox, who was not slow at repartee,
‘when you get him in your embrace, Master Bear, he
does usually die of conswmption.’

“The audience fairly roared. The bear gave a tre:
mendous grunt, and looked his meanest at the fox, while
the lion rapped for order.

“From the middle of the crowd arose an old patriarch,
who, with calm dignity, said:

“*You have just heard from the lips of our cunning
brother, the fox, that physicians had greatly improved,
and could cure almost anything; but I tell you they do
not, and there is a man who has very little faith in them.’

“«Who is that?’ asked several voices at once.

“Mr. Duran Palerme, Marquis de Castrie. Go and ask
his opinion of physicians; he will tell you a different
story.

““His only daughter has been ill ever since she left
168 Tales of Languedoc

her convent. She has been treated by all the physicians
of Lyon, Marseilles, Montpelier, Toulouse, and Paris, but
no one has found what is the matter with her. They
have treated her for all kinds of diseases; she has swal-
lowed tons of drugs, and has cost her father a fortune.
She is about nineteen years old, and would be pretty if
she were not so thin; but she is fast losing strength, and
cannot live long.

“« Her father has offered her in marriage to any young
physician who will cure her; but so far no one has suc-
ceeded in curing her.’

“‘T know what ails her,’ said another; ‘but it is a
secret known only to myself and an old servant of the
Marquis, whom he had dismissed just before the girl’s
illness. This old woman is in her dotage, and often
thinks aloud. One day, as I was hiding near her hut, I
overheard her muttering to herself about the cause of
the disease; and she chuckled with ghoulish glee at the
near death of the young lady.’

“¢ Will she not relent in the presence of death?’

“No; the old wench will not relent, even in the pres-
ence of death. You may depend on it, her heart is
parched — lost to all humane feelings.’

“‘Well, what ails the girl? Let us know it, the
meeting inquired, their curiosity at its height.

“¢Not much, after all. Under the left breast there
is a lump as big as an almond, which drains her life-
blood and exhausts her strength. If the lump were
A Blind Man’s Story 169

removed with some sharp instrument, she would be well
within a month. No physician has ever seen it. It does
not pain her, and she has not thought of mentioning it
toany one. A maid-servant, who is something of a witch,
discovered the lump while undressing her, and knew
that some day she would have trouble with it.’

“«That is strange,indeed. How many diseases the flesh
is heir to!’ philosophically remarked an old veteran
marauder who sat near the lion. ‘But it is now early
dawn, and I would advise a speedy retreat into the thick
of the forest.’

“They all arose, and the gathering broke up, with
the understanding that they should meet next year on
the same spot.

“For some time this great scattering of animals in all
directions, in the stillness of early dawn, was something
weird and awful. There was a rustling of dead leaves,
a cracking of branches, and the general stampede seemed
to give life to every bush within miles around. Little
by little, however, the noise receded, growing fainter
and fainter to the ears of Louiset, until only now and
then was heard the cracking of branches in the distance;
then all was still. Half an hour after the meeting broke
up, Nature resumed her wonted stillness, and the
most profound silence reigned over the primeval forest—
silence the more impressive, that it succeeded the noisy
tramp of ten thousand four-footed beasts, and preceded
the awakening of sleeping Nature. The lull was soon
170 Tales of Languedoc

over. Louiset heard a lark, and a melodious note pro-
claimed to the winged denizens of the woods the dawn
of a new day. A thousand little throats answered,
the woods became astir with life, the sun kissed the dew
and dried every tear from the leaves, the flowers sent
up their fragrance —night was gone.

“Louiset was a country boy, and had seldom missed
a sunrise. He knew all the infallible signs of the dawn,
and, stretching his benumbed limbs, he began to breathe
more freely. He had not slept that night, I assure you;
but he had been a very attentive listener to the discus-
sions of the assemblage below.

“The revelation made by the marten filled his heart
with hope. Oh, if it only might be true that the
leaves of the tree which sheltered him could restore his
sight, how thankful he would be! His night of anxiety
on the high perch would prove a great blessing. He
lost no time, you may be sure, in feeling with the sensi-
tive fingers of a blind man for the finest and softest
leaves with which to rub his eyes.

“ About fifteen minutes after he began rubbing, he saw
stars twinkling like diamonds through the leaves. That
gave him courage; he kept rubbing, and soon made out
the tree, then the woods, the road below, the beautiful
sun, which had been eclipsed for so long; finally the
least object about him became visible. With a joyous
shout and a thankful heart, he jumped to the ground,
found his bearings, and, with a song on his lips, set out
for the nearest village.
A Blind Man’s Story 171

“On the way, he looked himself over, and found his
clothes all rags and tatters, his shoes worn out, his hat
brimless, and he the very picture of destitution. His
brother had taken all the money but fifty francs, which
he must have left by mistake. Fifty francs was not too
much to refit him with good clothes; but he would not
go to the best tailor—some second-hand clothes would
do, forhe must make the small sum go as far as possible.

“ Late in the afternoon he reached a small town, where
he inquired for a dealer in old clothes, and purchased a
good-looking suit and a pair of shoes. He washed and
brushed himself, then went to an inn for his dinner. He
partook of an omelet as a reminder of his ill-luck, and
treated himself to coffee and cigars in honor of his good
fortune. Although Louiset was only a peasant, he had seen
and observed good manners, and he sipped his coffee
and lounged at his smoke as any gentleman would have
done. There was no doubt about it, he was enjoying the
new réle immensely. Escaping from the jaws of death,
as it were, he could not be more exultant over the turn
in his luck. But Louiset was also a shrewd fellow. He
remembered what Mr. Wolf and Mr. Fox had said about
the great price the villagers of Corconne would pay for
water, and the rich marriage in store for the young man
who could cure Miss de Palerme, and he was laying
plans to carry out successfully the two great undertakings.

“ His coffee drunk, and his cigar smoked, he retired to
his room and thought out again his schemes, and was
172 Tales of Languedoc

in the act of marrying Miss de Palerme, when sleep
overtook him. All that night happy dreams hovered
over his pillow, and the sun was already high when he
awoke.

“Remembering that diligence is the secret of success,
he quickly dressed and breakfasted, paid his hotel bill
with his last sou, and set out for Corconne, gaunt of
wallet, but light of heart.

“This was on Sunday morning, and he reached the
village in question as the last church-bell was ringing.
A stream of people were pouring into the church, and
Louiset thought:

“¢T had better goin and attend the service, and after
church I will speak to some of the people of my scheme
to furnish the village with water.’

“ Dipping his finger in the font, he crossed himself,
and modestly sat on a bench near the door.

“Tn Corconne, a stranger does not turn up oftener than
once in ten years; so his presence in the church made
a sensation. A whisper went round, people turned to
look, and the maidens stared at the stranger. Even the
good priest noticed him, and, with native courtesy, shook
him by the hand, and invited him to a better seat. Still
more, he urged him to join the choir.

““T am not a fine singer,’ said Louiset; ‘but I can
sing a little.’

“The priest led him to the front row of the choir, and
he did his best to sing; but they all sang out of tune, and






A Blind Man’s Story Ie

Louiset could only keep time to the chorister with
his features. He did not know how they would
like this kind of pantomime, and was frightened
when he saw the priest coming to him after service.
The latter did not notice his blushes, complimented
his singing, and asked him to dine.

“ Louiset thanked the priest, and accepted his invita-
tion with pleasure, since he was penniless and eager to
talk to some one of his mission.

“At table, after the bouillon, Father Poumier, who
was a solid drinker, said: ‘Let us drink a glass of claret,’
and he poured the glasses full to the brim. Louiset
thought his chance had come, and said:

“‘Father Poumier, Iam not much of a drinker; I
would prefer a glass of water.’

““Water!’ exclaimed the priest; ‘it is water you
want! Rather ask for the jewels of the king’s
crown than water in Corconne! Water is what we
lack most; and if any one could find a spring in
the village, the mayor would pay him a handsome
price.’

“*Do you really think they would pay the man well
who should find a spring?’ and Louiset scanned the
priest’s face.

““Indeed they would!’ was the earnest reply.

“*Well, Father Poumier, I must inform you that I
came for no other purpose than to furnish water to the
people of this village.’
176 Tales of Languedoc

““Why, do you mean it? And how did you know
we lacked water? Are you a wizard?’

“¢ Perhaps, sir.’

“*Well, I warn you that they will not fork over the
money until they see the water gushing through the
street. Large sums have been paid to hundreds of men
who claimed to be water-witches, and we have dug up
every foot of our public square, and many of the private
yards, all without getting a drop of water.’

““Tf I promise to find you a spring, I will find one;
you may depend on it.’

““Very well; after dinner we will step over to the
mayor’s—or rather let me send for him



>and calling
aservant: ‘Please go ask the mayor to call here before
going to the café; he will take coffee with us.’

“The mayor came, and they talked the matter over
(that goes without saying); but the agreement they
came to was this: The Commune would furnish four
men and all the tools necessary to dig where Louiset
should direct; and when the villagers had all the water
they wanted to use, Louiset was to receive ten thousand
francs, in three payments.

“The next day being Monday, the four men went
forth with their spades and picks, followed by the
villagers, to the public square. Everybody was dying
to know where the stranger would break ground; and
everybody was giving his or her opinion, as usual in
such a crowd, when Louiset appeared, and going straight
to the old cherry-tree, gave orders to dig it up.


A Blind Man’s Story 179

“The ground around the old tree had never felt a
spade, and the men had to use their picks. By nightfall
they had only uncovered the first roots. The next day
they removed all those which radiated from the stump,
and they found the tree held by a single long tap-root.
This proved that the tree had never been transplanted,
but had grown on the same spot—a question which
had long divided the village squabblers, and feeling ran
high between the ‘I told you so,’ and the ‘I never said
it,’ folks,

“At the root of the tree was a large, round stone. Two
or three times this stone had blunted the axe of the
workman. Louiset gave orders to remove it. The four
men worked hard with crowbars. They pried it on all
sides; they tried to lift it, and were about to give it up,
when suddenly it was thrown up; a stream of water,
three feet high and three feet in diameter, washed the
four men out of the hole, and threatened to inundate
the whole village!

“Everybody shouted: ‘A miracle! A miracle!’

“The mayor, the priest, the municipal council, all
agreed to raise at once the promised sum. A great feast
was given in honor of the event, and Louiset was treated
magnificently.

“The people of Corconne have since erected a monu-’
mental fountain on the spot where the old cherry-tree
grew, and they have come to drink more water and less
wine.
180 Tales of Languedoc

‘Our Louiset, once in possession of the ten thousand
francs, returned to town, and purchased a beautiful car-
riage and fine team, besides fitting himself with a hand-
some suit of clothes, silk hat and gloves, a physician’s
case,and acane. Thus transformed, he seated himself
in his equipage, powdered and spectacled, and ordered
his coachman to drive him to the castle of Fourmagne.

“But oh, misfortune! A calamity had befallen the
castle! All was commotion. The servants were coming
and going, with sober faces and tearful eyes. Perceiy-
ing something unusual as he drove up, Louiset asked
what had happened. He was told by the servants that
their beloved young mistress had just died. He an-
nounced himself as a physician, and begged to see their
master at once. Without delay, he was taken to the
sick room. What he saw there moved him almost to
tears.

“Tn a large, beautiful arm-chair, which had held the
dying forms of many ancestors, lay the maiden, wrapped
in an elegant peignoir, her head resting on a down pillow.
She was, to all appearance, lifeless, and her father, the
Marquis, was tearing his hair, wild with grief. Her
mother, the Marchioness, was lying in a swoon, with
maids trying to revive her.

“ Louiset soon recovered from his emotion, and with a
coolness that would have done credit to an old practi-
tioner, he proceeded to take charge of the case. He felt
her pulse, and found none; he placed his ear at her heart,












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A Blind Man’s Story 183

and perceived a slight beating. He asked for a hand-
glass, and brought it close to her lips. It became veiled
with a slight, a very slight cloud. Thus convinced that
life was not extinct, he spoke in a commanding tone, at
the same time with an assurance which brought hope
to the Marquis’ stricken heart:

“*She is not dead. Calm yourself, sir. And you, (to
the servants,) don’t stand there paralyzed. Place your
mistress on yonder couch; give her plenty of fresh air,
and open her gown at the chest.’

“The servants did as they were bidden, while he took
out his case and applied a small vial to her nostrils, allow-
ing her to breathe its contents; and lo! she opened her
eyes and whispered faintly, as one in a dream, “‘Ah! how
well I feel!’ and, to her mother who, revived, was now
by her side, ‘Be calm, dear mother; I feel so z



before the ‘ well’ had left her lips, she had fainted again.

““She is dead! She is dead!’ they all cried.

“But Louiset commanded silence, and, addressing the
Marquis, said:

“ retire but you and me—if we need more we will call,—
and I will answer by my head for your daughter’s
recovery.’

‘When they had all left the room, Louiset said to the
Marquis:

““ Your daughter is very feeble; but she is not hope-
lessly ill. Trust her to my care for a month, and I
184 Tales of Languedoc

believe.I can cure her. I do not profess to work mira-
cles; but I feel sure that I understand her case and can
give her exactly the right treatment.’

“*A dying man catches at a straw,’ and the Marquis
was in that state that it took very little to revive his hope.

“*Sir physician,’ said he, ‘I intrust my daughter
to your good care. Do as you think best; and I repeat
to you what I have said to many other physicians: “If
you cure her, I will give her to you in marriage.”’

“ During this short colloquy, Louiset had applied the
scent-bottle again. When he had consent to treat her,
he unfastened the girl’s dressing-gown, so as to expose
the left breast, and with a lancet, concealed in his hand,
he dexterously removed at a stroke the lump which,
according to the fox, was the cause of all the poor girl’s
sufferings.

“This neat little operation performed, he waited a
moment. Presently she opened her eyes; and when she
had fully recovered from the fainting fit, he gave very
minute directions for the day’s treatment. She was to
have good care, always by the same nurse. No one else
was to enter the room, and she was to take little besides
good beef-juice.

““To-morrow,’ said the would-be physician, ‘I will
return and bring the sovereign remedy for her case; you
will see her stronger in a few days.’

“He took his leave of the Marquis, who remained
in a state of doubt and anxiety until the morrow.
A Blind Man’s Story 185

“The following day, when Louiset came, he noticed
that the patient looked better, and that her pulse was
stronger; so he gave new directions to the nurse, and left
a box of pepsin powder, which he called by such a com-
plicated name that no one knew what it meant, not even
the physician himself; but this powder, he impressed
upon them, was the wonderful remedy which would cure
infallibly, if given according to directions. So they
did not bother about the name, but administered it to
the patient as prescribed.

“The third day there was much improvement in the
patient’s condition. She relished her food, had gained
a little strength, and even wanted to sit up. The Mar-
quis and his wife were overjoyed; they treated Louiset
like a prince, and reverenced him as the savior of their
child. They insisted upon his staying at the castle,in
order to be in constant attendance on their sick child,
for fear of a relapse. Louiset refused discreetly at first,
but finally yielded to their importunities, and became
an inmate of the Marquis’ household. It was not long
before he was on the footing of a son at the castle.

“Tt would take too long to relate all the details of the
damsel’s convalescence, and to follow her through its
many stages, as strength and beauty returned, and she
became more and more an interesting subject of study
for the young physician. Nor can I linger long over the
sumptuous wedding at the castle after the damsel’s full
recovery. It suffices to say, that the blind beggar boy
186 Tales of Languedoc

became the husband of an excellent and estimable lady ;
that he was henceforth on a footing of equality with the
noblest and oldest families of the district; that his fame
as a physician spread far and wide, and that, but for his
common sense prompting him to take no more cases
and to give up medicine as a profession, he might have
had to answer at the Judgment Day for the death of
many a person.

“As it was, he lived quietly and happily on his wife’s
income, spending much time in the Marquis’ library,
making up for deficient education, driving about with
his wife, or riding with the gentlemen of the neigborhood.

‘Some years later, he was, at the close of a hot sum-
mer day, inhaling the evening breeze from the broad
piazza of the castle in company with his wife and their
young child, the joy of his home, when a stranger,
ragged and weather-beaten, stopped at the gate of the
avenue and looked intently at him for some time, and
then shouted at the top of his voice: ‘ Louiset! Louiset!’

“Louiset went to the gate, and was greatly surprised
to see his brother Batiste; but as he did not care to pre-
sent him to his wife, he took him to his private office
and had a long conversation with him.

“To this day, no one has ever known what passed
between the two brothers. The reproaches Louiset ad-
dressed to Batiste, the tears of repentance Batiste may
have shed, the forgiveness he may have begged, are
all for us to guess. All we learned from the interview






A Blind Man’s Story 189

is the history of Batiste after he left Louiset under the
tree.

“He took the road to Marseilles, and walked all night
and all day, in order to get far away from his brother,
and not to hear of his cruel death. But travel as far as
he might, he seemed always to hear the agonized shrieks
of his blind brother as he fell a prey to the animals of
the forest.

“Reaching Marseilles, he carried out his long cherished
plan. He bought a mule and cart, invested in charcoal,
and behold him shouting through the streets: ‘ Char-
coal! charcoal! who wants to buy any charcoal?’

“He made a good living. The sun shines on the just
and the unjust, and he might have laid up a compe-
tency, had not his evil propensities led him into bad
company. His friends, the vagabonds of Marseilles,
robbed him, beat him, and left him for dead in the
streets. A soldier’s patrol took him to the hospital, and
when he came out he had to beg his bread. He was
not, however, dragging a blind man, and the alms which
fell into his hat were few.

“ Batiste was in extreme misery when he reached the
castle of Fourmagne and found himself in the presence
of his brother. He dared not question Louiset; yet he
was very curious to know how his brother had come by
so much wealth.

“Louiset told his brother very briefly all that had
happened to him since they parted. He pictured his
Igo Tales of Languedoc

despair on finding himself alone in the woods in the
night; his fear at the approach of the wild beasts; what
he had learned from their conversation; and how, after-
wards, he had made a fortune in marrying the daughter
of the Marquis of Fourmagne. Overlooking past griev-
ances, he gave Batiste a considerable sum of money and
dismissed him.

“Madame Louiset, with feminine curiosity, wanted to
know who that beggar was; but Louiset put her off
with: ‘Only one of the many workmen in need,’ and
the stranger was never seen or mentioned again.

“Batiste was hardly out of his brother’s presence
when he said to himself:

“ «Why should I not go to the tree? The same animals
will be sure to come, and they may tell other secrets
which will be useful to me.’

“ No sooner said than done. Batiste made his way to
the tree; and on the evening of the first of May, we
find him perched up on the branches, waiting for the
animals to come.

“This time they did not exchange compliments when
they met. On the contrary, there were many harsh
words of reproach for the traitors who had let out their
secrets. Such villainy had never been known before
among the animal tribes. Some of their number must
have betrayed the confidences of the last meeting, and,
from words, they came to blows about it. The noise was
frightful. The uproar shook the branches. Terrified,
A Blind Man’s Story Ig!

Batiste tried to climb higher, when the rustle of leaves
and swaying of a branch, betrayed him:

“Some one in the tree!” shouted a signal. “Some
one in the tree! Some one in the tree!” was caught up
by many voices.

At this cry the tumult ceased, and they all listened
for another sound. Batiste was by this time chattering
with fright, so that the branch creaked under him.

“Our betrayer is in the tree! Our betrayer is in the
tree!” spread the angry cry..

Immediately an immeuse bear came out of the herd
and climbed the tree and made for Batiste with all dis-
patch,— he was shaking like an aspen-leaf behind a big
branch,— gave him a terrific blow with one paw, and
sent him crashing down through the branches into the
midst of the herd of furious animals, who made short
work of him. And so, pecaire! he was torn to pieces
and devoured by the very beasts to which he had deliv-
ered his brother.

And the cock crew, and the story ended.
192 Tales of Languedoc

LMOST always after a thrilling narrative, a dis-
mal tale, or a fascinating story, there is a moment
of silence. Whether the mind needs rest after the great
strain, or whether it inclines to go over what it has
heard, that I cannot say,—I leave the explanation to
more learned men,—but the fact remains, that after
hearing of the Blind Boy’s thrilling adventures, Cypeyre
and I walked a long way in silence, and hardly ex-
changed a word until we reached a spring under a
willow-tree.

Some men were already sitting there in the shade,
talking. One was from Manoblet, another from Cazag-
nole, a third from Gaian, and others from Brogassarge.
They welcomed us, and we soon fell into conversation.
T asked the man from Gaian, why the saying goes that
misery is always at Gaian ?

He laughed, and said: “ You must be from far, or you
would not ask such a question; we have a family by the
name of ‘Misery,’ very poor and very numerous; so it is
not surprising that there 1s always plenty of misery at
Gaian.”

Another spoke up, and said: “I wonder why all vil-
lages have their nicknames, and how they originated.”

The man from Manoblet, replied: “ Those appellations
are, many of them, too old to know their origin; but I
believe they came from some village custom, or some
The Tour of France 193

peculiarity of the people. For instance, they call the
Lecquars, ‘ Brayers of Lecques;’ because, at all times of
day, you may hear them shouting to the ferryman:
‘Hey! halloa! come to ferry me across!’

“They call the villagers of Cannes, ‘Shoers of cats,’
(ferra cats); and the story goes that, once upon a time,
the youngsters of Cannes caught all the cats, and stuck
nutshells on their feet with pitch, and turned them
loose in the streets. You can imagine the fun for the
cats and their owners.

“People of Lunel have long been known as ‘ Pesca
Luna,’ (fishers of the moon). Tradition says that some
idiotic fellows were trying to fish the moon with a bucket
as it was reflected in the canal. As soon as the bucket
touched the water, the moon began to dance, and the
lookers-on said to the fisher: ‘Go slow, or it will get
away!’ And when the water was very still again, and
the moon in the bucket, they lifted it very slowly, and
tickled as schoolboys, started for the town with the moon
in the bucket. Unfortunately, they stopped to get
a drink at the tavern of Valatoure. A donkey passed
along, saw the bucket on the sidewalk, gulped down the
water, and, no doubt, with it the moon.

“They say ‘Passeroun de Souméire,’ (sparrows of
Sommieres), and this is why : Some men had loaded a cart
with long beams, placed crosswise. When they tried to
go through the narrow streets they got stuck, and did
not know what to do. The men stood scratching their
194 Tales of Languedoc

heads, when a sparrow flew past, holding in his bill
a straw two feet long. The little sparrow was not
as stupid as the three men. It held the straw by one
end, and reaching its hole,— bisst! in it went.

“«¢Té!? said the brightest of the three; ‘if it had
held the straw by the middle, it would have got stuck
as we did.’

“ And quickly they laid the beams lengthwise on the
cart, and passed through the street with no trouble.”

Each one gave the name of the villages he knew, but
there were so many I have forgotten most of them.

Finally, we all got up and started on our different
ways at the same time. Cypeyre and I were bound for
the same village, so we journeyed on together, and —
arrived at sunset. We secured the best two rooms of
the inn, where Cypeyre was known, and while supper
was being prepared, we strolled through the streets, and
took a look at the place.

Women were out with brooms sweeping the streets
with all their might. Men, with long ladders, were
draping the sides of the houses, from eaves to pavement,
with sheets, curtains, and tapestry. Girls were coming
and going, running this way and that, bringing ever-
green branches, sprays of bloom, and masses of flowers,
seeming to have all the wealth of Nature in May-time
at their disposal; while maidensand youths were arrang-
ing them in festoons and garlands fastened upon the
draperies in graceful and artistic designs. The village


The Tour of France 197

was evidently putting on holiday airs, and we were about
to inquire what it all meant, when a cry arose:

“Help! Help!” And a few steps in front of us a
woman rushed into the street with hair disheveled and
face terrified.

The women, with their brooms, came to her rescue,
with: “ What is the matter? What has hurt you?”

But before she had time to speak, a man, with a broken
stave in his hand, rushed after her, and proclaimed to
them all, as if a great joke:

“My wife’s a silly goose; she cries because I happen
to break a stave!” and to the wife, consolingly, “ Come
now, don’t make such a fuss over a broken stave; there
are plenty more left.” (He was a cooper.)

“That villain Petaras, he broke the stave on my
back! he will surely kill me some day, the wretch!”
cried she, while Petaras, all smiles, went into the house
with the air of a hero.

The women all took her part, and crowded around
her to hear the whole story. After this tragic scene
we returned to the inn, thinking only of the cool brutality
of Petaras.

Che Dyarriage of
Donsicur Arcanvel;
or, the Story of the
Gloves of Louse-Skin.

The Marriage of Monsieur Arcan-
Vell. Of, thet stony of the
Gloves of Louse-Skin.

FTER supper, while talking of many things, I
remarked to the innkeeper that I purposed to set

out early the next morning.
“Why, you do not know, then, what is going to hap-
exclaimed he. “ We are forbidden to
let any stranger leave town. The whole village will be

pen to-morrow!”

in holiday attire. The expenses of the féte have already
been paid. Villagers, strangers, one and all, are bidden
to the wedding ; for our squire marries his son to-morrow.”

I sprang to my feet with surprise.

“ But,” he continued, “ you do not seem to know anv-
thing about our squire. Well, he is the richest man in
the country, and the kindest of the rich. He is not
proud; he greets every one he meets, and never fails to
inquire ‘How d’ye do, and how’s your family.’ He
daily visits the poor and sick, provides them with all
they need, food, fuel, or medicine, and has always a kind
word or good advice for the least of us. If any man
needs a job, he has only to apply to the squire; he has
202 Tales of Languedoc

work for every one on his estate, winter and summer;
so we look up to him as our father. Never and nowhere
is a better man to be found — nay, his equal is yet to be
born! We would any of us go through fire and water
for him; but all we can do is to repay him with kind-
ness, and we all try to, except that rascal Petaras, who
does not care a fig for the squire, and never listens to him.
He is the only one who ’ll not be present at the wedding.”

I made bold to inquire whether the young man’s
bride was from a neighboring town.

“Oh!” said he, “it is quite a story. If you like, I'll
tellit to you. The evening is long; we shall have plenty
of time for sleep after Jam through; and I know you will
not be sorry to hear the romance, for it will help you
to appreciate what you are to see to-morrow.”

“T have already told you that Mr. Arcanvel is very
rich. He owns here the finest castle and estate for miles
around. He has also many beautiful farms in the
mountains, on which graze thousands of cattle. No one
knows exactly how may people he employs, either on
his home place, or in yonder Cevennes. Most of his
income though is derived from his ships on the seas —
and every year he takes a trip to Paris to receive his
dividends.

“Two or three years ago, when about to set out for
Paris, he was taken ill with rheumatism, which laid him
up and prevented him from undertaking the journey.
His son, a young man of about twenty, well educated,
Monsieur Arcanvel 203

handsome, and as kind-hearted as his father, had to go
in his place.

“One fine April morning, mounted on a superb
horse, he set out on his trip. The first, second, and
maybe the third day, all went well. In fine spirits and
full of anticipation, our traveler journeyed northward,
delighted with the prospect of seeing the capital; when
about three o’clock one afternoon,—as often happens in
spring,—the sky became very cloudy.

“At first he paid little attention to it; but he soon
perceived that the sky was growing black with threaten-
ing clouds hanging on the hillsides, and a roaring was
heard, which grew louder and louder. Soon a great
wind arose, and blew so hard as to almost lift him off
his horse. Night was approaching, the darkness in-
creased, and the dust blinded him so that with difficulty
he could make out his way.

“Suddenly there was a flash of lightning, then a
second one, then a rapid succession of flashes, followed
by a pelting rain, and by the loud and long peals of
thunder in the neighboring hills.

“Tt was the beginning of a fearful storm, which kept
increasing in fury, leveling trees, hurling rocks from the
mountain side, and threatening to destroy both horse
and rider.

* Poor boy! only to think of that fearful ride makes
me shudder. JI seem to see him yet—alone in the dead
of night — with lightning rending the sky, and making
204 Tales of Languedoc

the black night blacker yet, with the storm raging about
him, and the rain beating down in torrents.

“The poor boy would surely have been lost, had not
a kind Providence taken pity on him and made him
discover, suddenly, by a flash of lightning, a large
building not far from the road. It was the castle of
Sérignac, the residence of Baron de Donan, a nobleman
with one child—a daughter of eighteen. Arcanvel
rang the bell of the lodge, and a servant, lantern in
hand, came to see what was wanted. When the servant
saw that horseman, drenched to the skin, he quickly
opened the gate, gave him shelter, and hastened to
inform his master.

““My Lord,’ said he, ‘a young man, half-drowned,
comes to ask for a night’s shelter. What shall I do?’

“*Welcome him, of course, whoever he may be,’ said
the Baron; ‘order the groom to take the horse to the
stable, and see that he is well rubbed down, dried, and
fed; and give the young man a warm room and dry
clothing,’

“Young Arcanvel was delighted with all that was
done for his comfort, and with the polite and respectful
demeanor of the servants towards him, as they lighted
a cheerful fire in his room, brought him dry clothing,
and a glass of Chartreuse to revive him.

““They must know who I am,’ said he to himself, ‘ to
treat me like this.’

“When somewhat rested, and quite dry and warm,


Monsieur Arcanvel 207

he was shown into the drawing-room, where the Baron
awaited him, all impatience to know who the storm-
stayed stranger might be.

“The Baron took the young man by the hand, and
inquired whom he had the honor of addressing.

“*Mr. Arcanvel, of the castle of Vic, said that gen-
tleman, with an apology for giving his host so much
trouble.

““Oh!’ replied the Baron, ‘ you do not inconvenience
me in the least, you are very welcome, Sir.’ Then turn-
ing to Lisette, the servant: ‘Tell my daughter to come
and have supper served at once, for Mr. Arcanyel needs
refreshments, after his hard experience.’

“A moment later the young lady appeared, timid, but
charming. They were introduced to each other, and,
after exchanging a few polite words, they repaired to the
dining-room.

“During the supper they talked a little of everything,
as usual,—agriculture, industry, commerce, science, art,
navigation, and lightly touched on politics. The young
Arcanvel showed himself well informed on all subjects;
he spoke, indeed, as if he had the mature experience of
an older man. The Baron was pleased and surprised
to find so much wisdom and knowledge in the stranger.

“Arcanvel told the object of his journey to Paris,
mentioned his father’s illness and his own suffering dur-
ing the storm, ‘to which I now owe,’ said he gracefully,
‘the pleasure of sitting at your lordship’s table” All
208 Tales of Languedoc

this was so well said, in a pleasant voice and modest,
refined manner, that the Baron could not help remarking
to himself: ‘That young man is smart, and he has had
the right training.’

“Young Arcanvel was attentive and polite to Miss de
Donan, as becomes a well-bred youth, and he made so
good an impression on the father that it was very late
when they bade each other a good-night.

“The next morning, when the servant called Mr.
Arcanvel to breakfast, he found him in a burning fever.
He had evidently taken cold. The Baron at once sent
for his family physician, who pronounced it a case of
pneumonia. Mr. Arcanvel’s sickness was an event to be
ever remembered at the castle. The physician did not
leave his patient for a minute. He gave all the
remedies known to science; he administered all the
herbs of St. John, and applied all sorts of lotions; but,
in spite of all that, for three or four days the young
man’s life hung by a thread. The Baron was in despair,
—he gave up all hope. On the ninth day, however,
there was a change, and on the tenth a slight improve-
ment, and on the day following he was declared out of
danger by the physician, and orders were given for the
best care and perfect quiet, to prevent a relapse. The
Baron had the orders carried out strictly, and insisted
on overdoing, rather than to allow any neglect of the
patient during convalescence.

“The young man’s vitality carried him through, and
Monsieur Arcanvel 209

he improved rapidly. When he was able to take walks
in the garden, the Baron permitted his daughter to cheer
the invalid with her company, and the two were together
a great deal, accompanied always by the maid, Lisette.

“Naturally, a friendship sprang up from this contact
of two noble minds and pure hearts. The servants gos-
siped about them, of course; but Lisette, who was always
present, declared there was no lovemaking.

“In spite of this, time and constant companionship
were having their effect. The morning of the departure
came, and the saddle-horse was brought to the door.
The Baron wished a prosperous and happy journey, and
the young man asked leave to kiss the daughter’s hand
as a token of gratitude. The Baron consented, if Miss
de Donan was willing; and there was a graceful bow,
a slight mutual pressure of fingers, as they were brought to
the lips, and no one has ever known what passed through
those fingers like an electric current, or what those two
were thinking about as the horse’s speed separated them;
but,as for the Baron, he seemed to experience a great
satisfaction on seeing his protegé start off rosy and well.
His face seemed to say: ‘You see, it is I who cured
him.’ And taking his daughter by the hand, they went
into the park, climbed a stone bench, and waved their
adieus as long as their cavalier was in sight, and he
waved his hat until lost to view.

“After the departure of Arcanvel, all at the castle
returned to their accustomed ways, excepting Miss de
210 Tales of Languedoc

Donan, who kept rising early, assisting Lisette in setting
the table and in putting the parlor in order, as she did
when she expected Arcanvel to breakfast.

“Ver father noticed this, and thought to himself:
‘My daughter is not the same girl since that boy set
his foot in my house. Before his coming she was
careless and childish; she had to be called an hour
before breakfast, and was always late. Now she rises
early, dresses quickly, sets her hand to everything, and
is as alert asa gazelle. That’s what it is to keep com-
pany with people of good manners and education. In
the company of that young man she has improved a hun-
dred per cent.; she has become elegant, like her dear
mother—she has her voice and feature, but not her
disposition.

““My wife was a good woman, but obstinate, and
when she was set on a thing, she was set, and there was
no budging her.

“My daughter has my disposition; she is all meek-
ness and submission.’

“Poor Baron! Little did he suspect that his agreeable
guest had sown in the heart of his daughter a seed
which would become a great tree, and which ali his
paternal influence could not succeed in uprooting.

“The Baron was a widower, I have already said. The
Baroness had died when their child was young, so
a nurse had to be found. It happened that Lisette,
a poor woman of good family, had just lost her husband
Monsieur Arcanvel Die

and an only child, and the Baron sent for her and gave
her entire charge of the little girl; she is with them
yet, as Miss de Donan’s maid.

“One day, when the child was about three years old,
the nurse was combing her hair, and found two lice.
She placed them on a white cloth, and gave the child
a lesson in cleanliness; but she was delighted, took them
to her father, and asked if she might tame them.

“«What an idea!’ said the father; but, as he never
refused her anything, he let her keep them. They were
placed in a box and fed on raw meat. They grew to an
enormous size, and had a beautiful skin of soft, reddish-
gray, like a mole’s, sleek and shiny as satin. She kept
them for many years. And one summer, when she
came home from boarding-school, she asked her father
to have gloves made out of their skins.

“«That is one of your queer notions,’ said her father;
but, as usual, yielded to her wish. The poor lice were
brought out of their pen and killed, their pelts tanned
and made into gloves. She wore those gloves on all
great occasions; they were much admired, and no one,
except the Baron and Lisette, could tell of what they
were made.

“ About three or four weeks after Mr. Arcanvel left the
castle, he wrote a letter to the Baron, telling him of his
successful trip to Paris, of his near departure for home,
and thanked him once more for his great kindness, and
expressed his everlasting gratitude.
22 Tales of Languedoc

“The Baron was more than pleased,— men are always
glad to be thanked for favors they have done,—and he
sent word at once for young Arcanyel to stop on his way
home, which invitation the young man expected, and
eagerly accepted.

“Miss de Donan watched for him early on the morning
he was to arrive, and when, from her window, she saw
him turn the bend of the road on the top of the hill,
she hastened to tell her father, who went to the porter’s
lodge to meet him, and received him as a father would
receive his own son. When Arcanvel met Miss de
Donan, it was not without emotion; but, like a polite
and refined gentleman, his self-control kept back what
his heart would have prompted him to say.

“ Arcanvel staid but three days at the castle, for his
father was anxiously waiting to see him, and to hear
all about his son’s trip and the settlement of his affairs.
Three days were enough, however, for the young people
to have an understanding with each other.

“Tn her youth, the late Baroness had a dear friend,
who married the Marquis de Pieredon five years before she
married the Baron. The Marchioness had a son and the
Baroness a daughter, and they used to exchange com-
pliments about their babies. One day, for fun, the
Marchioness suggested that the two should be betrothed.
What was said in joke was taken seriously py the Baron
and his wife, and they all agreed to remember their
promise at the proper time.
Monsieur Arcanvel Palen

“What was more natural than to entertain thoughts
of such a prospect! They were dear friends, both of
noble family, their fortune about equal, their estates
adjoining. It was a dream of happiness long cherished,
which the death of the Baroness did not dispel.

“When the Marquis came to remind the Baron of his
old promise, the girl being of marriageable age, and the
Baron laid the matter before his daughter as his and
her mother’s plan for her, Miss de Donan fairly sprang
to her feet. The Marquis was old; he was too short;
he was no talker; he was as dark as a mulatto and awk-
ward asa duck; was mannerless, and what not. ‘I don’t
want him! I don’t want him; I would rather die in
the skin of an old maid than to marry him!’

“The poor Baron was dumfounded. He had counted
on his daughter’s sweetness of temper, on her obedience ;
he had always thought her disposition yielding, like
his, rather than stubborn, like his wife’s; he could
hardly believe his eyes—that bound of his daughter’s
surpassed any of his wife’s outbreaks. He was discon-
certed, but still trusted that time and reason would
change her mind. Alas! the poor Baron would find out
when her mind was set, it was set, and that she was her
mother over again!

“ One day he ventured to reason with her: ‘ What are
you thinking of to refuse a suitor like the Marquis? His
parents are our neighbors and our friends,— they have
a great name, are richer than we. What more do you
214 Tales of Languedoc

ask? If he is a few years older than you, what does
it matter? A husband had better be older than younger
than the wife. Now, if you have any good reason for
refusing him, let me know it.’

“Well, father,’ said she, ‘I do not want to displease
you; I am very sorry to go contrary to your wishes; but
I love Mr. Arcanvel, and I shall not marry if I cannot
marry him.’

“You can have no idea of the Baron’s wrath on hear-
ing this, nor of his vociferations against Arcanvel. Ile
was a blackguard, a traitor, a seducer! That, under
a feigned politeness, a seeming gratitude, which he was
pleased to call eternal, he should conceal such base vil-
lainy, one could not conceive! Such a misalliance
would be the everlasting disgrace of the family! Arcan-
vel! Arcanvel! What is he? A nice man, indeed!
If, perchance, he was ascion of the humblest nobleman
—well, perhaps, it might do—but, Arcanvel!—a ple-
bian! No; never would he consent to such a marriage!

“From that time on, there was a great coolness
between father and daughter. At table during meal-
time they exchanged not a word. The Baron still
hoped, and the daughter became firmer in her determi-
nation every day. With the cunning of a girl in love,
she found means of corresponding with her lover. Her
trusty Lisette proved her ally and accomplice. Honest
soul as she was, woman-like, she enjoyed mixing in
another’s love affair; so every morning she met the
Monsieur Arcanvel ila

postman at the gate of the park, gave him her mistress’
letter to mail, and brought back Arcanvel’s. Father
and daughter lived thus for some time, each one waiting
for the other to broach again the burning subject which
divided them.

“One day, the Marquis of Pieredon came to renew
his demand for his son, intimating this time that, if a
prompt and favorable response was not given, his son
would marry another.

“The Baron found himself compelled to break the
silence first. He took her aside, and, with all the self-
restraint that a man provoked by an obstinate daughter
can command, he pressed the suit again. She would be
rich and influential, and her sons would be powerful in
the government, and all that. He spake long and ear-
nestly, using all the tact of a diplomat to obtain her
consent.

“The daughter listened with perfect composure, and
when her father had finished, she said, in her natural,
calm tone: ‘ Father, for the second time I must tell you
that the Marquis does not please me. I am sorry indeed
to have to go contrary to your wishes; but I would
rather stay single all my life than consent to have the
Marquis for a husband.’

“<«Stay single all your life!’ exploded the Baron,
with anger rising in his throat, and a voice loud enough
to raise the roof. ‘Stay single all your life! But I
insist on your marrying. You think you can drive me
216 Tales of Languedoc

to let you marry that ungrateful knave Arcanvel. But
you shall not have him.’ And, with louder tone and
threatening gesture, he added: ‘You shall marry the
firs; man who guesses of what skin your gloves are
made, even if that man be a lousy tramp!’

“The Baron thought to frighten his daughter into
submission; but when the sonorous echoes of his voice
had died away, she calmly looked up in his face, and
said: ‘I accept, on one condition —the Marquis shall
not be a competitor.’

“To this the Baron agreed, and soon through all the
country it was known that on the first of May — the
birthday of Miss de Donan,— at ten o’clock in the morn-
ing, all the suitors for her hand should rendezvous at
the castle for the great guessing contest.

“ All sorts of men— men from every station in life—
young men, old men, rich men, poor men, noble, peasant,
and beggar were invited to try their luck.

“The Baron hoped by the first of May to see his
daughter change her mind and marry the Marquis,
rather than take her chances of wedding the first-comer.
In this he was also deceived. Miss de Donan awaited
the day with a lover’s impatience, confident that Mr.
Arcanvel would come and win her.

“arly in the morning, on May first, they began to
arrive, by twos and by fours—men from the country
around. The well-to-do rode in buggies and dog-carts;
the rich were driven in fine equipages by liveried ser-
Monsieur Arcanvel 2a,

vants ; the farmers rode their work-horses ; some peasants
even came on donkeys. But by far the greater number
came on foot.

“By ten o’clock, this motley crowd of bachelors,
widowers, or whatever—some with a foot scarcely out
of the cradle, and others already with one foot in the
grave — had filled the court to overflowing.

“The most conspicuous figure of them all was a mendi-
cant, with a dirty wide-brimmed hat on his head, long,
greasy locks which fell to his shoulders and half-hid his
face. He wore a gray linen shirt, which reached to his
ears, and a cheap serge coat. He carried a pack on his
back, and a gourd-shell hung at his left side; in his
right hand was an immense cudgel, and on his feet were
hobnailed wooden shoes, so heavy and clumsy that,
when he walked on the paved court, one would have
said it was the tread of a gendarme’s horse.

“The whole crowd stared at him, but all avoided
contact for fear of the vermin which might find refuge
under his hat.

“From early dawn, Lisette had been on the watch
for Mr. Arcanvel. She was greatly disappointed not to
see him in the courtyard.

“Precisely as the last stroke of ten from the ancestral
clock in the hall died away, the Baron stepped to the
landing of the courtyard stairs and said curtly: ‘ Gentle-
men, the time for the contest has arrived. Please enter.’

“The servants in charge of the suitors took them
218 Tales of Languedoc

one by one to Miss de Donan’s boudoir, where she
awaited them with the precious gloves on. As each one
came in, he bowed to the young lady, looked at the
gloves, gave his guess, and went out.

“By twelve o’clock they had all tried but one; yet
none had given the right guess. This pleased the Baron,
who would have been very sorry to see his daughter led
away by any of them. It pleased also the daughter,
who still hoped that at the very last minute Arcanvel
would appear.

“The big dirty beggar, who until now had made no
attempt, reached the door to enter. The servants barred
the way, and bade him begone.

“The Baron was appealed to. Being a man of his
word, he said: ‘I wish no discrimination. This contest
is open to all. So take him to my daughter.’

“ Perforce, the servants had to obey, and the beggar
went in, halting and hobbling. His ironclad sabots
slid on the wax floor, and he plunged in all directions,
while the servants were splitting their sides with laugh-
ter, and the fine furniture was in danger. Finally, he
reached the boudoir, and said in a stentorian voice:
‘Show me your gloves, please, Miss.’

“More dead than alive for fear that this one would
guess right, the poor miss lifted her hand for the beggar
as she had done for the others.

“* Well,’ said he, ‘your gloves are made of louse-skin.
I have seen so many in my hat.’
SSS ==
[SSS ae Za ‘

SSS. TA

SSaes ae







Monsieur Arcanvel 221

“When it was known that the beggar had guessed
right, all those who had not yet departed were for kicking
the fellow out of the yard; and they advised the Baron
not to give his daughter to such a dirty lout.

“The Baron had a high sense of honor, and he
replied to them: ‘I cannot break my word with this
man. I give my consent to her going with him. It
now rests with her to say what she will do.’

“Miss de Donan, fearing the Marquis more than the
beggar, said: ‘My word is also given. I submit to my
fate.’

“Asking her future husband’s permission to prepare
for her departure, she retired to her room, hastily got
a few things together, and came out ready to go. In
a firm voice, with dry eyes, and a face set with strong
resolution, she met her father coldly, bade him good-by,
and left.

“Lisette hung to her neck and tried to detain her,
but gently disengaging herself, she started off with her
beggar. They crossed the courtyard where asa child
she had so often played; they traversed the garden in
which her favorite flowers bloomed; they hastened
through the park under the shade of stately trees where
she had dreamed her maiden dreams and pledged her
love to Arcanvel. At the great iron gate she shook
hands with the porter, and, without even turning round,
passed out into the dusty road, to follow the destinies of
a man she knew not, and to follow him whithersoever he
would choose to lead her.
222 Tales of Languedoc

“Put yourself in the place of the poor maiden, and,
if you have any heart, you will understand what she
must have felt. For Arcanvel she had given up the
most brilliant marriage and all that goes with it — com-
fort, ease, luxury,—and he had basely chosen to stay
away from the guessing contest, and abandon her to the
tender mercies of a dirty beggar.

“To describe her feelings, or depict her anguish,
would require a talent far superior to mine, and a far
deeper experience of life than I possess.

“The beggar and the bride walked for some time in
silence, side by side. Presently, he asked her if walking
tired her too much. She curtly replied, ‘No, thanks.’
They kept on their march until about sundown, when
they came to a thrashing-floor with several stacks of
straw. They sat at the foot of one for some time; then
the beggar said: ‘ Wait for me here while I go to yonder
farmhouse to get something to eat.’

“ He went, and soon returned, carrying a small basket
in one hand. To her surprise, he took out of it a clean
napkin, two mutton-chops, still smoking hot, a bottle of
wine, and two crystal goblets.

“¢Fat,’ said he, ‘you must be hungry.’

“The conditions of her leaving home, and the emo-
tion she had gone through had taken away her appetite;
but to oblige her courtly beggar, she ate part of a cutlet,
drank a sip of wine, and waited patiently until her com-
panion had finished. He took back the basket to the
Monsieur Arcanvel 223

farmhouse, and returned to make preparations for the
night.

“Where and how the night was to be spent, was
a question which filled her heart with terror. The beg-
gar said nothing, but with his two hands went to work
and dug a hole in the straw-stack, deep and wide enough
for one person to lie comfortably in. Then he pulled
out of his pack a woolen blanket and a clean, white,
sheet. These he carefully spread out on the straw inside
the hole.

““You may go in and lie down and rest, while I sleep
outside,’ he said.

“She, who was accustomed to all the comforts of
a bed of luxury, and to all the little attentions of a faith-
ful maid, crawled into the hole in the stack at the bid-
ding of a tramp!

“She had a few broken naps on that never-to-be-for-
gotten night. At the break of dawn, the beggar, who
was guarding near the entrance to the hole, stepped
away, and only returned when Miss de Donan came out
with her toilet made. Taking out of his bag a modest,
but clean breakfast, he offered it to his companion, who
took a little food, and set out with him on their journey.

“They walked without talking much ; but the beggar
was very considerate and attentive to her little wants.
A few days were thus spent journeying. Resolved to
ask no questions, and to bear her fate without a mur-
mur, she blindly followed him in a ceaseless march.
224 Tales of Languedoc

‘“One-afternoon, as they were crossing a magnificent
wood, they came upon some very large flocks of sheep,
ewes and lambs. Under a large tree, sitting on the soft
grass. one of the shepherds was playing his fife. He
drew from his rude instrument the most melodious
sounds. The distant woods echoed the simple melody,
and Miss de Donan stopped to listen, delighted. The
beggar, unnoticed by her, was watching her every motion,
while he stepped to the tree and spoke to the shepherd:
‘You fellows must have little trouble with your flocks,
or you would not be piping away so merrily.’

“« Yes,’ said the boy; ‘my leaders are well trained.
I would have little to do, and should be perfectly happy,
if it were not for that mean black sheep yonder. She is
as cunning as a fox, and gives me no end of trouble.
So long as my eye is on her, she stays with the flock;
but let me turn my back, and off she is poaching on the
neighboring wheat-fields. I have been at my master to
sell her; but he won’t hear to a word of it, for she was his
child’s pet lamb.’

“What is your master’s name,’ inquired the beggar.

“Don’t you know who my master is? Mr. Arcanvel!
All these woods belong to him. All the flocks you have
seen arehis. He is the richest man in the country.’

“At the name of Arcanvel, Miss de Donan’s eyes
filled with tears.

“The beggar noticed it, and hastened to say: ‘ Do not
worry; you will be very comfortable at the house. Let
us proceed on our way.’


Monsieur Arcanvel 2287,

“On that same day, they came across large wheat-fields,
so great-in extent that the eye could not compass them.

“*Do you see those wheat-fields,’ said he to her. ‘ They
are Mr. Arcanvel’s!’

“Another tear moistened her eye, and he again
hastened to say: ‘Don’t worry; you will be very com-
fortable at the house. Let us proceed on our way.’

“Farther on, they passed by an immense vineyard,
with fully a hundred men at work in it. Some of the
men seemed in a very happy mood, for they were singing
or whistling ; others had fallen out with their teams, and
were swearing at them; and still others were merely
intent on their work, cleaning the ploughshares at the
end of the furrows.

‘This animated scene seemed greatly to interest Miss
de Donan.

“The beggar noticed it, and broke out again with:
‘Do you see this vineyard? Well, it is the property of
Mr. Arcanvel.’

“ A blush crimsoned her cheek.

“Don’t worry,’ for the third time, said the beggar;
‘you will be very comfortable at the house. Let us pro-
ceed on our way.’

“They walked a while, and found themselves in the
midst of an immense luxuriant meadow, and they saw
many men with scythes mowing the grass, and other
men carting away the dry and fragrant hay. Women
and girls were raking after the carts and bantering with
228 Tales of Languedoc

each other, singing gayly to the breeze of that perfect
May-day, and sending forth to the hills their peals of
merry laughter.

“This time, Miss de Donan was first to speak; and,
addressing the beggar, she said: ‘ Doubtless, all these
meadows must belong to Mr. Arcanvel.’

“«Yes, yes,—and many more besides. But don’t
worry; you will be very comfortable at the house,’
responded her companion,

“A moment later a magnificent castle was seen
through the trees.

“Said the beggar: ‘ Yonder, behind the trees, is Mr.
Arcanvel’s castle.’

“*Don’t let us go there,’ piteously entreated Miss de
Donan.

“She did not want to meet the man she fondly loved,
just at this juncture, when her emotion was so great,
and the beggar at her side so dirty.

“¢ Why not?’ replied the mendicant quietly. ‘He is
avery charitable man; he will certainly give us some-
thing to eat. Let us go.’

“Tn her confusion, she found no ready excuse, and so,
willy-nilly, on she was led towards the castle.

“From the gate started many avenues and alleys
diverging in different directions through the park. The
main one leading to the castle was lined with majestic
sycamores, hoary with age. On each side of this avenue
were diverging alleys of pine-trees, and the breeze playing


Monsieur Arcanvel 231

through them, gave soft, restful sounds. About the pine-
trees were a great variety of shrubs.

“They had hardly got within the park gate, when
the beggar turned toward Miss de Donan and said,
pointing to a bush in one of the pine alleys: ‘Té! rest
under yonder bush and wait for me. I will be back soon.’

“She did as she was told, and waited. In about half
an hour she heard the rumbling of carriage-wheels on
the smooth gravel road. At the thought that it might
be Mr. Arcanvel her poor heart began to beat almost to
breaking. She hid as well as she could, that she might
see and not be seen.

“The carriage reached the gate, but, instead of pass-
ing through, a handsomely dressed young man pulled
his fine iron-gray team into the pine alley, drew up rein
in front of her bush, and quickly alighted. It was Mr.
Arcanvel himself! She recognized him, and, overcome
with emotion, fainted. He caught her in his arms,
bore her gently to the carriage, and drove at once to the
castle.

“Miss de Donan came to herself in a sumptuously
furnished room. Maids were attending, with smell-
ing-salts and cordials, and bathing her head with a
restorative.

“ Beside her soft couch knelt Mr. Arcanvel. She gazed
on her surroundings as in a sweet dream; then an ex-
pression of pain crossed her features, and she faintly
asked for the beggar.
22 Tales of Languedoc

“Of beggar there was none, other than Mr. Arcanvel,
who, to avoid detection, had dressed himself in the
garments of one of his shepherds, donned a wig and
beard, and made himself as grimy and unkempt as
possible.

‘When the truth dawned upon her bewildered senses,
she drew him gently to her, clasped her white hands
about his sinewy neck, and whispered with charming
emotion: ‘Oh, my love, my love, how much anguish
my poor heart has suffered! Oh, cruelest and dearest of
lovers, what have I not endured for thy sake!’

““Be calm, my love. Later I will explain it all to
you,’ said Arcanyel, passionately.

“The following day, Monsieur Arcanvel Senior set
out early for the Baron’s. He went with many misgiv-
ings, but found a meeker gentleman than he expected.
The Baron had been harsh and unyielding as long as
his daughter was with him; but, as soon as she had left
with the beggar, remorse entered his heart. He was not
willing to call her back, but he sent out spies who brought
him a daily report of their wanderings; and when he
heard’ that she was at the castle of the Arcanvels, a
great weight fell from his shoulders.

“Tfardly was Monsieur Arcanvel introduced, when
the Baron exclaimed: ‘I know what brings you here.
You have been shrewder than I. Your son has played
me a smart trick. Well, I forgive him—and her as
well. Now, sir, when shall we celebrate the wedding?’
Monsieur Arcanvel 2.32

“When it may please you, sir,’ replied the former.
‘Would the twenty-fifth of May be too early?’ And
the twenty-fifth — that is, to-morrow—was agreed
upon.”

“But why did not Mr. Arcanvel make himself known
sooner to Miss de Donan?” I asked.

“Why? Well, you are like many people who blame
him and charge him with needless cruelty. They say
that after the Guessing Contest, he ought to have made
himself known, or at least as soon as they had left the
castle. Now, Mr. Arcanvel is a man of tact and good sense.
To act as he did he must have had good reason.

“Tt is my notion that to have made himself known
right after the guessing match would have got him into
trouble. The Baron would have suspected a plot, flown
into a rage with his daughter, and most likely prevented
her from leaving the castle. If Arcanvel had announced
himself after leaving the castle with the girl, it might
have lessened the distance that he meant to keep be-
tween them until he could claim her before the world as
his bride. Arcanvel has never explained it to any one
but Miss de Donan, and she has forgiven him. If any-
body wants to find fault with him, let him do better if
he can, I say.

“As soon as the wedding-day was settled, invitations
were sent out to all the villagers, all the strangers, and
the whole aristocracy of the country. You will see to-
morrow the Comte de Barbusse, the Marquis de Garigue-
234 Tales of Languedoc

basse, the Baron de Fonsemale, the Chevalier de Pio
Grand, the Sire de St. Géli, and many others.

“The castle is being repaired from cellar to garret.
There are perhaps one thousand workmen at it. I
have not seen the preparations; but everybody agrees
in saying that to-morrow will be a day never to be for-
gotten. They say that all the fountains have been
stopped, and the reservoirs cleared of moss and swept
perfectly clean, because the Baron wants the basins so
clear that the young couple shall see their reflections in
them.”

The innkeeper ceased talking, looked at the clock
and said:

“Tt is late. You must be tired. You had better go
to bed and sleep soundly until to-morrow.”

He arose, shook me by the hand, gave me a Roman
lamp, and I went to my room.

I was not long in going to sleep; my day’s tramp
had fatigued me. And I had taken only one stitch,
when the boum! boum! of the firing of anvils awoke
me. The sun was already high. I hastened to dress,
and went down stairs. The game-keeper of the castle
was about the street inviting the new-comers to the wed-
ding. He had found two merchants of Toulouse linen,
one merchant of St. Quintin’s porcelain, one onion-ven-
der, a knife-grinder, and Matthiot,a ragman. We all
set out for the castle.

By ten o’clock everything was ready; the guests were
Monsieur Arcanvel 215

all at the castle, and the gay procession began to form.
They were to march through the village to the church,
where the ceremony was to be performed, and back
again to the castle. A master of ceremonies arranged
everything to perfection. Four maidens arrayed in
white, carrying huge bouquets, led the way; then came
Baron de Donan and his daughter, young Arcanvel and
his mother, M. Arcanvel and a sister of the Baron, the
provost, the relations and guests in order of rank, then
myself and a cousin of the provost, the villagers with
their wives, and finally a lame and a blind man wound
up the rear of the long and gorgeous procession.

Children in holiday attire lined the streets of the
village, clapping their hands as we passed and shout-
ing, “ Long live the bride and groom!” The gentlemen
pelted the children with dragées and bon-bons,—a lively
scramble began. Like a flock of birds, they fell on the
dragées, all in a heap, were up in a flash, and were rush-
ing pell-mell after another handful scattered in another
direction.

At church not a third of the invited guests could
find room; the rest found diversion outside. The Sire
de St. Géli, an elderly bachelor, who was fond of girls
and jokes, held up a pretty cornucopia filled with choice
candy, and adorned with ribbons, and announced that
it was the prize for the girl who would be bold enough
to kiss him.

Laughter and cheers greeted the Sire’s proposal, but
236 Tales of Languedoc

became an uproar when a dozen maidens fell on the
bachelor’s neck, to his great confusion and embarrass-
ment.

When the bridesmaids emerged from the church they
were followed by the newly married pair; the procession
reformed and began the return march. The village
wives had slipped from the ranks, and all through the
narrow village streets we were showered with rose leaves,
violets, and bouquets of fragrant flowers, which fell on
our heads from the upper windows, and covered the
ground at our feet.

When we reached the castle, the bridal pair passed
into the grand reception-room, and there, under a canopy
of flowers, received congratulations from everybody,
great and small, high and low; and then all went to
partake of the wedding feast.

M. Arcanvel, who never did anything by half, had
an immense tent erected on the lawn to supplement the
dining-room. It was made of a silken fabric, adorned
with drapery and paintings, and the tables, spread with
the richest of linen and china, fairly groaned with the
weight of the feast. To tell you about all the dishes
served and the wines drunk would take too long; besides,
I cannot remember half the names on the menu; but we
were four hours at table, and at the end of the repast
we suddenly discovered that the fountains in the park
were playing jets of wine. A murmur of wonder and
admiration spread through all the company as they wit-
Monsieur Arcanvel 2207

nessed the sight. The slender columns of red nectar
reaching the leaves of the trees and falling back in drop-
lets and spray, seen through the oblique rays of the
afternoon sun, was the most fairy-like thing I have ever:
seen.

A troop of musicians, ensconced in a clump of trees,
discoursed sweet music, and the rising and falling mur-
murs of the waters flowing over the rocky river-bed
added their charms to the scene.

Dancing followed the feast, and illuminations fol-
lowed the fading day. Through the open house and
grounds we strolled in pairs and groups, viewing the
beautiful sights and joining in the merrymaking until
a late hour, when, amidst shouts of blessing and praise
to the newly married pair and to the good squire, so
much beloved by his people, the crowd dispersed.

Such a wedding was the talk of the country for months
afterwards, and it became proverbial for its splendor and
for the great number of guests.

All of us went away greatly delighted, agreeing that
it was the event of our lives. The blind man said that
in all his life he had not seen such a day. Matthiot, the
rag-peddler, was a little gay,—no wonder! the water
had been changed to wine,—went about the village
street shouting his “rags, sacks, and bottles” at an un-
seasonable hour of the morning. Going to bed very
late, of course, I slept most of the following morning,
breakfasted as usual, and sauntered out for a walk.
238 Tales of Languedoc

There were no portentous omens, and I hope to die if I
had the least idea of what was about to happen.

Strolling about the streets, I happened to see at a
window the young lady who was my partner at the wed-
ding, and on the doorstep, my friend the provost. I was
invited in, and the young lady and I were left to our-
selves. We talked over the wedding and of many other
things. How it all happened, I don’t exactly know, but
before we knew it we had planned our own wedding for
the near future. I dined with her and her friends and
returned to my inn late in the afternoon.

The innkeeper, who missed me at dinner, had made
inquiries and found out that I was at the provost’s.

“That young fellow is going to make the fatal
plunge,” he said to his guests. When I appeared, he
pretended to be surprised; he circled around me, raised
my arms, opened my vest, examined me carefully, to see
if there were anything amiss. I saw the twinkle in his
eye and let him go on. Then, with mock seriousness,
he said:

“Come now, this is not fatal! I see no blood; the
arrow only went skin deep. If it had reached the heart
you had been lost.”

“Oh,” I laughed, “people don’t die of that,—not
immediately at least.”

“No,” said he, prophetically ; “but men are like moths
that circle round the flame; they draw closer and closer,
until they burn their wings.”
Monsieur Arcanvel 220

The day after my betrothal, I started on my way home.

It was sunrise in the month of May. The plain along
the river bank was dripping wet. On every leaf and
blade hung a dewdrop that turned into a diamond in
the sunlight. It looked as if a shower of brillants had
fallen. As the sun rose higher, they disappeared one
by one; they went to freshen the roots as they had
refreshed the foliage. That set me thinking, and from
thinking I fell to rhyming thus:

Lou diaman briia san n’ éstr ’utilé,

Se briian san fairé mai,

Sén coumma I’ estéla qué fila,

Que fila, fila, 6 sen vai.

Mé se pendén nosta carriiéra,

Sén utiles tout en briian,

Avan d’intra din la poussiiéra,

Aouren fa un traval bén gran’.*

With great earnestness and a slight quaver in his
voice, my white-haired grandfather had uttered those
few lines of poetry. :

We were all silent, and not a sound could be heard
save the crackling of the olive-tree leaves in the fire-
place and the monotonous tick of the big clock on the
landing of the stone stairs.

*The diamonds useless shine,
Man strives for glitter-gains,
Like shooting-stars we fall—
A flash, and that is aii.

So let us shape our course
For petter, not for worse,
And snow and shine combine
With deed and work divine.
24.0 Tales of Languedoc

With uplifted eyes we gazed on the bent form and
benign face of our story-teller, who with clasped hands
pensively watched the ascending sparks in the huge
chimney.

Suddenly the old clock groaned; there was a rum-
bling of wheels, and the sound of the bell majestically
swelled in the long corridor and ran from arch to arch
of the vaulted room. At the same moment, the old
cock in the barnyard sent his lusty crowing out into the
starry night.

Those two familiar sounds drew my grandfather out
of his reverie; and with a smile I would fain reproduce,
and a twinkle from his deeply-set hazel brown eyes,
he said:

u Gal cant, é moun vouiiage finigué.
“Lou Gal cante, é moun vouiiage finigue.” *

*Thecook crew and my journey ended.


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