Cale$ of Eanogudoc
Limited to one hundred and fifty copies
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Cales of nsuedoc
WOith an Introduction by
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THE MURDOCK PRESS
THE MEMORY OF
THE STORT- TELLERS
THE "TALES OF LANGUEDOC" 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
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
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 so, that
the author is encouraged to invite to the hearth a wider
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
d'oc, the apt rendering of the vernacular.
With gratefulness I acknowledge the deep obligation
I owe to my uncle, M. C16ment Brun, of Fontanbs, 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.
MY GRANDFATHER'S TOUR OF FRANCE 15
HOW YOUNG ANGLAS BECAME A MARQUIS, OR THE STORY OF
THE DUCKS, THE ANTS, AND THE FLIES 23
THE CHINA-VENDER OF QUISSAC 56
THE ADVENTURES OF MESTE REGE 62
THE STORY OF THE THREE STRONG MEN: CROWBAR, HOOK-
BEARD, AND THE MILLER 71
THE HAUTBOY PLAYER OF VENTABRbN 123
CYPEYRE OF ST. CLEMENT AND LOU DOUNA OF LECQUES 133
A BLIND MAN'S STORY OF THE MIRACULOUS TREE 143
THE MARRIAGE OF MONSIEUR ARCANVEL; OR THE STORY OF
THE GLOVES OF LOUSE-SKIN 199
3. Head-piece 7
4. "LISTENING TO THE STORIES OF OUR WHITE HAIRED
5. "THE SUPERB ANIMAL HELD HIS HEAD PROUDLY HIGH 29
6. ANGLAS ARRIVING AT THE INN 33
7. TAP, TAP, TAP, AT THE WINDOW-PANE' 38
8. ON THE WATERS OF THE STREAM, ARRANGED IN BAT-
TALIONS, THOUSANDS OF DUCKS" 41
9. THEY MADE HIM WIND THROUGH CORRIDORS" 47
10. Tail-piece 54
11. THE MARKET-PLACE OF QUISSAC 59
12. "MEANWHILE THE EAGLE WAS SOARING HIGHER" 65
13. "WHICH ROAD GOES TO LECQUES? 77
14. WITH A JERK, HOOKBEARD SENT HIM FLYING OVER THE
15. "CHILDREN FOLLOWED THEM THROUGH THE STREETS 83
List of Drawings
16. CROWBAR AND THE DEVIL 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" 137
21. "SHEPHERDS LED THEIR FLOCKS UNDER THIS TREE" 147
22. "LET US COUNT OUR MONEY" 151
23. "THEY GREETED EACH OTHER AS THEY CAME" 161
24. A STREAM OF PEOPLE WERE POURING INTO THE
25. "GOING STRAIGHT TO THE OLD CHERRY TREE, GAVE
ORDERS TO DIG IT UP" 177
26. "HE FELT HER PULSE AND FOUND NONE 181
27. "LOUISET WENT TO THE GATE". .. 187
28. "GIRLS WERE COMING AND GOING 195
29. "WITH THE STORM RAGING ABOUT HIM" 205
30. THE POOR MISS LIFTED HER HAND FOR THE BEGGAR 219
31. "WHAT IS YOUR MASTER'S NAME?" 225
32. "YONDER IS MR. ARCANVEL'S CASTLE 229
33. "THE COCK CREW, AND THE STORY ENDED" 240
IT 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 Provencal 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
upon principle their pictures of Provencal life and
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,
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 Rhone 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 have 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.
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 MGrchen 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-
doc 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-
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-
venqal proverb: "Lesfemmcs 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
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 1st, 1896.
Cour or France.
My Grandfather's Tour of
DURING 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.
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 Uzes, 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
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
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 2
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
I shall let my grandfather speak and be only the
scribe taking down the story as faithfully as my memory
"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.
"He told me what my conduct should be towards my
2 2 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,
'I 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.'"
how young Anslas
Became a M~arquis,
or the Storp or
ane Ducks, the Ants,
and the f lies.
How Young Anglas Became a
NOT 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 1 He could leap a twelve-foot ditch
at a bound, and the rider was fearless as the steed was
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
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
of him ?" 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
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
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 as a 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
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
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 Jonquibres, 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
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
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,
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 cov-
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,
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, I 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, I 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,
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
king was in despair. He needed money-kings always
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.
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
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;
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
/-- i r --- :i'.
'A'!1 1 6 F
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.
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
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
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:
Tales of Languedoc
"Children, carefully examine the mud. Ready?
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
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,
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:
I 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.'"
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
"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
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:
If the 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.
In 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
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-
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 I am more sorry. Poor father, how little you
know the trials of your son!"
As he was saying this, he felt something biting his
Tales of Languedoc
leg. He turned up his trousers' and saw a large ant,
which said to him:
"Horseman, 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
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
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
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 went in. 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
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 in a day!" The mystery was greater than
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,
Anglas calmly, but manfully, replied : "I am here to
see it through."
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
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.
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
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
Returning to Anglas, she inquired if he was sure of
picking out the princess. Yes, yes; many thanks," said
"Well," said the king, "which do you say is my
daughter? The happiness of your life is in this
If 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
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
ties, horses, and equipages in plenty. And this is how
Young Anglas became Marquis.
The cock crew, the story ended, and my father
Caof ten lou dr6 camin, caou 6s bon, just, aYmable,
Caoi fai pa tor a res, quds umen, charitable,
SE sus terra das omes 6s pa recoumpensa,
Lou boun Diou lou survYia 6 1'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 55
W 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
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
ABOUT 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
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
Oh I 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
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:
"T6, 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
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
laughter, 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:
"T4 paourl MAstd1 Iinaou, td tombs aqui coumu un
paou, ara leva te, nardienna, coutidienna."*
*There, poor Master Rinaou, down you fall like alog: now get up if you can.
The China-Vender of Quissac 6
The children, however, soon drew him away from
himself, by asking for a story.
"Give a story, MBst6 Rinaou; please do, MBst6
What can poor Mbst6 Rinaou tell you ?" said the old
man, with a shade of sadness.
Give Mbst6 RBg6," said the oldest, a boy of ten.
"Yes, Mbstd Reg6, Mbst6 Reg6," chimed in the other
It is Mbst6 Reg6 you want, Mbst6 Reg6 and Moussu
Laouren," said Mbst6 Rinaou; "well, listen."
The Adventures of Meste Rege
MESTE Reg6 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 Mest6 Rg6s'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, Mest4 RIeg thought of taking some
rest and of visiting his friend, Moussu Laouren. Meste
Rneg 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 Meste Rege 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 Mest6 R'eg,
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 MBst6 Reg6,
fastened her beak onto the back of his neck, her talons
onto the seat of his breeches and carried him up in the
MBst6 Reg6 thought himself lost; he prayed God to
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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 Mest6 R'ge's breeches and her beak from the back
of his neck; she dropped him and returned to her nest.
Poor MBstd Rhg6 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. Meste Reg4 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
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 MRste Rege 67
Poor MBst6 Reg6, 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.
MBst6 Reg6 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 Mist6 Reg6, 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
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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,
Mest6 R'eg 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. Mest6 R'eg 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
MBst6 Reg6, thus liberated, looked about him and
said: "Why, this is my 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 console them. Then he related his thrilling adven-
tures; they all thanked God for his miraculous preserva-
The Tour of France
tion, tears were dried, mourning was changed to joy, and
the happy reunion was celebrated by a feast which lasted
When Mest6 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 MBst6 Regd. Pretty soon Mbstd Rinaou
bade us, also, good-bye. I inquired of my host the age
of Mest6 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
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
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-
"TU! 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 FerriBre,
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
of men. 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
"I am surprised you never heard the story. Every-
body in this country knows it as well as I do. It is pretty
long, but we have plenty of time."
ci, Storp or Me,4
Cbree Strong Mecn,-
and tbM e)ller.
Three Strong Men
IN the village of V'eznobre 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
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
74 Tales of Languedoc
When he had attained to manhood, 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 Fontanes. 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
The owner of the castle of Fontanes 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 Fontanes 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
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,
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 't is naughty.
Get up, Falet; that hole won't swallow you up; get
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
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;
He finds his wife beside the fire,
Sad and inconsolable.
He finds his wife beside the fire,
Sad and inconsolable;
Sad and inconsolable.
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 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. We are 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
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,
Take this road; and let them down easy in the fur-
Why," said Crowbar, I should say you have a 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."
Tales of Languedoc
I am willing," replied Hookbeard; "but I have no
money, and to travel one needs money."
Do n't let that hinder you," said Crowbar, I have
enough for both. Besides, we can earn some on the
Hookbeard, without further parley, left his oxen in
the furrow, and arm-in-arm with Crowbar set out for
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 you'll 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,
Three Strong Men
was playing quoits with his millstones on the sand.
When Hookbeard and Crowbar saw the miller, they
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
I 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
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 feast the miller anticipated
his answer, and agreed to go with them.
Early next morning they took a bite to stay their
Tales of Languedoc
stomachs, and were about to start on their journey, when
the miller said to his companions:
"I 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
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:
"If you have the courage you claim, you ought to
render me a service."
"What is it ?" said the three, all at once.
In 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
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
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
Tales of Languedoc
came still nearer, and Crowbar sprang towards it with a
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.
I 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
for a 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
At breakfast she appeared pale, distracted, with black
rings under her eyes, telling the tale of a sleepless
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
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 I am." 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
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.
"If 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
What a surprise to the master it was when he came
into the room in the morning to find the long-bearded
Tales of Languedoc
fellow stretched out, and in his arms the head of the dog,
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
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:
I have a friend who lives not far from Alais, in the
castle of La Ferribre; I believe he needs you."
Let 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