Four and Twenty Fairy Tales: Selected from Those of Perrault, and Other Popular Writers | Annotated Tale

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Perfect Love

IN ONE of those agreeable countries subject to the Empire of the Fairies, reigned the redoubtable Danamo. She was learned in her art, cruel in her deeds, and proud of the honour of being descended from the celebrated Calypso, whose charms had the glory and the power, by detaining the famous Ulysses, to triumph over the prudence of the conquerors of Troy.

                She was tall, fierce-looking, and her haughty spirit had with much difficulty been subjected to the rigid laws of Hymen. Love had never been able to reach her heart, but the idea of uniting a flourishing kingdom to that of which she was Queen, and another which she had usurped, had induced her to marry an old monarch, who was one of her neighbours.

                He died a few years after his marriage, and left the Queen with one daughter, named Azire. She was exceedingly ugly, but did not appear so in the eyes of Danamo, who thought her charming, perhaps because she was the very image of herself. She was heiress also to three kingdoms, a circumstance which softened down many defects, and her hand was sought in marriage by all the most powerful princes of the adjacent provinces. Their eagerness, joined to the blind affection of Danamo, rendered her vanity insupportable. She was ardently besought--she must, therefore, be worthy of such solicitation. It was thus that the Fairy and the Princess reasoned in their own minds, and enjoyed the pleasure of deceiving themselves. Meanwhile, Danamo thought only of rendering the happiness of the Princess as perfect as she considered was her due, and, with this object, brought up in her palace a young Prince, the son of her brother.

                His name was Parcin Parcinet. He had a noble bearing, a graceful figure, a profusion of beautiful fair hair. Love might have been jealous of his power, for that deity had never, amongst his golden-pointed arrows, any so certain to triumph irresistibly over hearts as the fine eyes of Parcin Parcinet. He could do everything well that he chose to undertake--danced and sang to perfection, and bore off all the prizes in the tournament whenever he took the trouble to contend for them.

                This young Prince was the delight of the Court, and Danamo, who had her motives for it, made no objection to the homage and admiration which he received.

                The King who was the father of Parcinet was the Fairy's brother. She declared war against him without even seeking for a reason. The King fought valiantly, at the head of his troops; but what could any army effect against the power of so skilful a Fairy as Danamo? She allowed the victory to remain in doubt only long enough for her unfortunate brother to fall in the combat. As soon as he was dead, she dispersed all her enemies with one stroke of her wand, and made herself mistress of the kingdom.

                Parcin Parcinet was at that time still in his cradle. They brought him to Danamo. It would have been in vain to attempt hiding him from a Fairy. He already displayed those seductive graces which win the heart. Danamo caressed him, and a few days afterwards took him with her to her own dominions.

                The Prince had attained the age of eighteen, when the Fairy, desirous at length of executing the designs which she had so many years contemplated, resolved to marry Parcin Parcinet to the Princess, her daughter. She never for a moment doubted the infinite delight which that young Prince, born to a throne, and condemned by misfortune to remain a subject, would feel at becoming in one day the sovereign of three kingdoms. She sent for the Princess, and revealed to her the choice she had made of a husband for her. The Princess listened to this disclosure with an emotion which caused the Fairy to believe that this resolution in favour of Parcin Parcinet was not agreeable to her daughter. "I see clearly," she said to her, as she perceived her agitation increasing, "that thou hast much more ambition, and wouldst unite with thine own empire that of one of those kings who have so often proposed for thee; but where is the King whom Parcin Parcinet cannot conquer? In courage he surpasses them all. The subjects of so perfect a prince might one day rebel in his favour. In giving thee to him I secure to thee the possession of his kingdom. As to his person, it is unnecessary to speak--thou knowest that the proudest beauties have not been able to resist his charms." The Princess, suddenly flinging herself at the feet of the Fairy, interrupted her discourse, and confessed to her that her heart had not been able to defy the young victor, famous for so many conquests. "But," added she, blushing, "I have given a thousand proofs of my affection to the insensible Parcin Parcinet, and he has received them with a coldness which distracts me." "'Tis because he dares not raise his thoughts so high as thee," replied the haughty Fairy. "He fears, no doubt, to offend me, and I appreciate his respect."

                This flattering idea was too agreeable to the inclination and the vanity of the Princess for her not to be persuaded of its truth. The Fairy ended by sending for Parcin Parcinet. He came, and found her in a magnificent cabinet, where she awaited him with the Princess, her daughter. "Call all thy courage to thy assistance," said she to him as soon as he appeared--"not to support affliction, but to prevent being overcome by thy good fortune. Thou art called to a throne, Parcin Parcinet, and to crown thy happiness, thou wilt mount that throne by espousing my daughter." "I, Madam!" exclaimed the young Prince, with an astonishment in which it was easy to perceive that joy had no share, "I espouse the Princess," continued he, retreating a few paces. "Hah! what deity is meddling with my fate? Why does he not leave the care of it to the only one from whom I implore assistance?"

                These words were uttered by the Prince with a vehemence in which his heart took too much part to allow it to be controlled by his prudence. The Fairy imagined that the unhoped-for happiness had driven Parcin Parcinet out of his wits; but the Princess loved him, and love sometimes renders lovers more keen sighted than even wisdom. "From what deity, Parcin Parcinet," said she to him with emotion, "do you implore assistance so fondly? I feel too deeply that I have no share in the prayers you address to him." The young Prince, who had had time to recover from his first surprise, and who was conscious of the imprudence he had committed, summoned his brain to the assistance of his heart. He answered the Princess with more gallantry than she had hoped for, and thanked the Fairy with an air of dignity that sufficiently proved him to be worthy not only of the empire that was offered him, but of that of the whole world.

                Danamo and her proud daughter were satisfied with his expressions, and they settled everything before they left the apartment, the Fairy deferring the wedding-day a short time, only to give opportunity to all her Court to prepare for this grand solemnity.

                The news of the marriage of Parcin Parcinet and Azire was spread throughout the Palace the moment they had quitted the Queen's cabinet. Crowds came to congratulate the Prince. However unamiable the Princess, it was to high fortune she conducted him. Parcin Parcinet received all these honours with an air of indifference, which surprised his new subjects the more, for that they detected beneath it extreme affliction and anxiety. He was compelled, however, to endure for the rest of the day the eager homage of the whole Court, and the ceaseless demonstrations of affection lavished upon him by Azire.

                What a situation for a young Prince, a prey to the keenest anguish. Night seemed to him to have delayed its return a thousand times longer than usual. The impatient Parcin Parcinet prayed for its arrival. It came at length. He quitted precipitately the place in which he had suffered so much. He retired to his own apartments, and, having dismissed his attendants, opened a door which led into the Palace Gardens, and hurried through them, followed only by a young slave.

                A beautiful, but not very extensive, river ran at the end of the gardens, and separated from the magnificent Palace of the Fairy a little Château, flanked by four towers, and surrounded by a tolerably deep moat, which was filled by the river aforesaid. It was to this fatal spot that the vows and sighs of Parcin Parcinet were incessantly wafted.

                What a miracle was confined in it! Danamo had the treasure carefully guarded within it. It was a young Princess, the daughter of her sister, who, dying, had confided her to the charge of the Fairy. Her beauty, worthy the admiration of the universe, appeared too dangerous to Danamo to allow her to be seen by the side of Azire. Permission was occasionally accorded to the charming Irolite (so was she named), to come to the Palace, to visit the Fairy and the Princess her daughter, but she had never been allowed to appear in public. Her dawning beauties were unknown to the world, but there was one who was not ignorant of them. They had met the eyes of Parcin Parcinet one day at the apartments of the Princess Azire, and he had adored Irolite from the moment that he had seen her. Their near relationship afforded no privilege to that young Prince; from the time Irolite ceased to be an infant the pitiless Danamo suffered no one to behold her.

                Nevertheless Parcin Parcinet burned with a flame as ardent as such charms as Irolite's could not fail to kindle. She was just fourteen. Her beauty was perfect. Her hair was of a charming colour. Without being decidedly dark or fair, her complexion had all the freshness of spring. Her mouth was lovely, her teeth admirable, her smile fascinating. She had large hazel eyes, sparkling and tender, and her glances appeared to say a thousand things which her young heart was ignorant of.

                She had been brought up in complete solitude. Near as was the Palace of the Fairy to the Château in which she dwelt, she saw no more persons than she might have seen in the midst of deserts. Danamo's orders to this effect were strictly followed. The lovely Irolite passed her days amongst the women appointed to attend her. They were few in number, but little as were the advantages to be gained in so solitary and circumscribed a Court, Fame, which feared not Danamo, published such wonders of this young Princess, that ladies of the highest rank were eager to share the seclusion of the youthful Irolite. Her appearance confirmed all that Fame had reported. They were always finding some new charm to admire in her.

                A governess of great intelligence and prudence, formerly attached to the Princess who was the mother of Irolite, had been allowed to remain with her, and frequently bewailed the rigorous conduct of Danamo towards her young mistress. Her name was Mana. Her desire to restore the Princess to the liberty she was entitled to enjoy, and the position she was born to occupy, had induced her to favour the love of Parcin Parcinet. It was now three years since he had contrived to introduce himself one evening into the Château in the dress of a slave. He found Irolite in the garden, and declared his passion for her. She was then but a charming child. She loved Parcin Parcinet as if he had been her brother, and could not then comprehend the existence of any warmer attachment. Mana, who was rarely absent from the side of Irolite, surprised the young Prince in the garden; he avowed to her his love for the Princess, and the determination he had formed to perish, or to restore her one day to liberty, and then to seek, by a personal appeal to his former subjects, a glorious means of revenging himself on Danamo, and of placing Irolite upon the throne.

                The noble qualities which were daily developed in the nature of Parcin Parcinet, might have rendered probable his success in still more difficult undertakings, and it was also the only hope of rescue which offered itself to Irolite. Mana allowed him to visit the Château occasionally after nightfall. He saw Irolite only in her presence, but he spoke to her of his love, and never ceased endeavouring, by tender words and devoted attentions, to inspire her with a passion as ardent as his own. For three years Parcin Parcinet had been occupied solely with this passion. Nearly every night he visited the Château of his Princess, and all his days he passed in thinking of her. We left him on his road through Danamo's gardens, followed by a slave, and absorbed in the despair to which the determination of the Fairy had reduced him. He reached the river's bank: a little gilded boat, moored to the shore, in which Azire sometimes enjoyed an excursion on the water, enabled the enamoured Prince to cross the stream. The slave rowed him over, and as soon as Parcin Parcinet had ascended the silken ladder which was thrown to him from a little terrace that extended along the entire front of the Château, the faithful servant rowed the boat back to its mooring-place, and remained with it there until a signal was made to him by his master. This was the waving, for a few minutes, of a lighted flambeau on the terrace.

                This evening the Prince took his usual route, the silken ladder was thrown to him, and he reached, without any obstacle, the apartment of the youthful Irolite. He found her stretched on a couch, and bathed in tears. How beautiful did she appear to him in her affliction. Her charms had never before affected the young Prince so deeply.

                "What is the matter, my Princess?" asked he, flinging himself on his knees before the couch on which she lay. "What can have caused these precious tears to flow? Alas!" he continued, sighing, "have I still more misfortunes to learn here?" The young lovers mingled their tears and sighs, and were forced to give full vent to their sorrow before they could find words to declare its cause. At length the young Prince entreated Irolite to tell him what new severity the Fairy had treated her with. "She would compel you to marry Azire," replied the beautiful Irolite, blushing; "which of all her cruelties could cause me so much agony?" "Ah! my dear Princess," exclaimed the Prince, "you fear I shall marry Azire! My lot is a thousand times more happy than I could have imagined it!" "Can you exult in your destiny," sadly rejoined the Princess, "when it threatens to separate us? I cannot express to you the tortures that I suffer from this fear! Ah, Parcin Parcinet, you were right! The love I bear to you is far different from that I should feel for a brother!" The enamoured Prince blessed Fortune for her severities; never before had the young heart of Irolite appeared to him truly touched by love, and now he could no longer doubt having inspired her with a passion as tender as his own. This unlooked-for happiness renewed all his hopes. "No!" he exclaimed with rapture; "I no longer despair of overcoming our difficulties, since I am convinced of your affection. Let us fly, my Princess. Let us escape from the fury of Danamo and her hateful daughter. Let us seek a home more favourable to the indulgence of that love, in which alone consists our happiness!" "How!" rejoined the young Princess with astonishment. "Depart with you! And what would all the kingdom say of my flight?" "Away with such idle fears, beautiful Irolite," interrupted the impatient Parcin Parcinet, "everything urges us to quit this spot. Let us hasten--" "But whither?" asked the prudent Mana, who had been present during the entire interview, and who, less pre-occupied than these young lovers, foresaw all the difficulties in the way of their flight. "I have plans which I will lay before you," answered Parcin Parcinet; "but how did you become so soon acquainted here with the news of the Fairy's Court?" "One of my relatives," replied Mana, "wrote to me the instant that the rumour was circulated through the Palace, and I thought it my duty to inform the Princess." "What have I not suffered since that moment!" said the lovely Irolite. "No, Parcin Parcinet, I cannot live without you!" The young Prince, in a transport of love, and enchanted by these words, imprinted on the beautiful hand of Irolite a passionate and tender kiss, which had all the charms of a first and precious favour. The day began to dawn, and warned Parcinet, too soon, that it was time for him to retire. He promised the Princess he would return the following night to reveal his plans for their escape. He found his faithful slave in waiting with the boat, and returned to his apartments. He was enraptured with the delight of being beloved by the fair Irolite, and agitated by the obstacles which he clearly perceived would have to be surmounted, sleep could neither calm his anxiety, nor make him for one moment forget his happiness.

                The morning sun had scarcely lighted his chamber, when a dwarf presented him with a magnificent scarf from the Princess Azire, who in a note, more tender than Parcin Parcinet would have desired, entreated him to wear it constantly from that moment. He returned an answer which it embarrassed him much to compose; but Irolite was to be rescued, and what constraint would he not have himself endured to restore her to liberty. He had no sooner dismissed the dwarf than a giant arrived to present him, from Danamo, with a sabre of extraordinary beauty. The hilt was formed by a single stone, more brilliant than a diamond, and which emitted so dazzling a lustre that it would light the way by night. Upon its blade were engraven these words--

"For the hand of a conqueror."

                Parcin Parcinet was pleased with this present. He went to thank the Fairy for it, and entered her apartment, wearing the marvellous sabre she had sent him, and the beautiful scarf he had received from Azire. The assurance of Irolite's affection for him had relieved him from all anxiety, and filled his bosom with that gentle and perfect happiness which is born of mutual love. An air of joy was apparent in all his actions. Azire attributed it to the effect of her own charms, and the Fairy to satisfied ambition. The day passed in entertainments which could not diminish the insupportable length of it to Parcin Parcinet. In the evening they walked in the Palace gardens, and were rowed on that very river with which the Prince was so well acquainted. His heart beat quickly as he stepped into that little boat. What a difference between the pleasure to which it was accustomed to bear him, and the dreary dulness of his present position. Parcin Parcinet could not help casting frequent glances towards the dwelling of the charming Irolite. She did not make her appearance upon the terrace of the Château, for there was an express order that she was not to be permitted to leave her chamber, whenever the Fairy or Azire was on the water. The latter, who narrowly watched all the Prince's actions, observed that he often looked in that direction. "What are you gazing at, Prince?" said she. "Amidst all the honours that surround you, is the prison of Irolite deserving so much attention?" "Yes, Madam," replied the Prince, very imprudently, "I feel for those who have not drawn on themselves by their own misconduct the misfortunes they endure." "You are too compassionate," replied Azire, contemptuously; "but to relieve your anxiety," added she, lowering her voice, "I can inform you that Irolite will not long continue a prisoner." "And what is to become of her, then?" hastily inquired the young Prince. "The Queen will marry her in a few days to Prince Ormond," answered Azire. "He is, as you know, a kinsman of ours; and, agreeable to the Queen's intentions, the day after the nuptials he will conduct Irolite to one of his fortresses, from whence she will never return to the Court." "How!" exclaimed Parcin Parcinet, with extraordinary emotion; "will the Queen bestow that beautiful Princess on so frightful a Prince, and whose vices exceed even his ugliness? What cruelty!"--The latter word escaped his lips despite himself: but he could no longer be false to his courage and his heart. "Methinks it is not for you, Parcin Parcinet," retorted Azire, haughtily, "to complain of the cruelties of Danamo."

                This conversation would, no doubt, have been carried too far for the young Prince, whose safety lay in dissimulation; when, fortunately for Parcin Parcinet, some of the ladies in waiting on Azire approached her, and a moment afterwards the Fairy having appeared on the bank of the river, Azire signified her desire to rejoin her. On landing, Parcin Parcinet pretended indisposition in order to obtain at least the liberty of lamenting alone his new misfortunes.

                The Fairy, and more particularly Azire, testified great anxiety respecting his illness. He returned to his own apartments. There he indulged in a thousand complaints against destiny for the ills it threatened to inflict on the charming Irolite, abandoned himself to all his grief and all his passion, and beginning at length to seek consolation for sufferings so agonizing to a faithful lover, wrote a letter full of the most moving phrases that his affection could dictate, to one of his Aunts, who was a Fairy as well as Danamo, but who found as much pleasure in befriending the unfortunate as Danamo did in making them miserable. Her name was Favourable. The Prince explained to her the cruel situation to which love and fate had reduced him, and not being able to absent himself from the Court of Danamo without betraying the design he had formed, he sent his faithful slave with the letter to Favourable. When every one had retired to rest, he left his apartment as usual, crossed the gardens alone, and stepping into the little boat, took up one of the oars without knowing whether or not he could manage to use it: but what cannot love teach his votaries? He can instruct them in much more difficult matters. He enabled Parcin Parcinet to row with as much skill and rapidity as the most expert waterman. He entered the Château, and was much surprised to find no one but the prudent Mana, weeping bitterly in the Princess's chamber. "What afflicts you, Mana?" asked the Prince, eagerly; "and where is my dear Irolite?" "Alas! my Lord," replied Mana, "she is no longer here. A troop of the Queen's Guards, and some women, in whom she apparently confides, removed the Princess from the Castle about three or four hours ago."

                Parcin Parcinet heard not the last of these sad words. He had sunk insensible on the ground the instant he learned the departure of the Princess. Mana, with great difficulty, restored him to consciousness. He recovered from his swoon only to give way to a sudden paroxysm of fury. He drew a small dagger from his girdle, and had pierced his heart, if the prudent Mana, dragging back his arm as best she could, and falling at the same time on her knees, had not exclaimed--"How, my Lord! would you abandon Irolite? Live to save her from the wrath of Danamo. Alas! without you, how will she find protection from the Fairy's cruelty?" These words suspended for a moment the despair of the wretched Prince. "Alas!" replied he, shedding tears, which all his courage could not restrain, "whither have they borne my Princess? Yes, Mana! I will live to enjoy at least the sad satisfaction of dying in her defence, and in avenging her on her enemies!" After these words, Mana conjured him to quit the fatal building to avoid fresh misfortunes. "Hasten, Prince," said she to him; "how know we that the Fairy has not here some spy ready to acquaint her with everything that passes within these walls? Be careful of a life so dear to the Princess whom you adore. I will let you know all that I can contrive to learn respecting her."

                The Prince departed after this promise, and regained his chamber, oppressed with all the grief which so tender and so luckless a passion could inspire. He passed the night on a couch on which he had thrown himself on entering the room. Daybreak surprised him there: and the morning was advanced some hours, when he heard a noise at his chamber door. He ran to it with the eager impatience which we feel when we await tidings in which the heart is deeply interested. He found his people conducting to him, a man who desired to speak with him instantly. He recognised the messenger as one of Mana's relations, who placed in the hand of Parcin Parcinet a letter which he took with him into his cabinet to read, in order to conceal the emotion its receipt excited in him. He opened it hastily, having observed it was in Mana's handwriting, and found these words:--

                "Mana, to the greatest Prince in the world. Be comforted, my Lord; our Princess is in safety, if such an expression be allowable, so long as she is subjected to the power of her enemy. She requested Danamo to permit my attendance on her, and the Fairy consented that I should rejoin her. She is confined in the Palace. Yesterday evening the Queen caused her to be brought into her cabinet, ordered her to look upon Prince Ormond as one who would be in a few days her husband, and presented to her that Prince so unworthy of being your rival. The Princess was so distressed that she could answer the Queen only by tears. They have not yet ceased to flow. It is for you, my Lord, to find, if possible, some means of escape from the impending calamity."

                At the foot of the letter were the following lines, written with a trembling hand, and some of the words being nearly effaced. "How I pity you, my dear Prince; your sufferings are more terrible to me than my own. I spare your feelings the recital of what I have endured since yesterday. Why was I born to disturb your peace? Alas! had you never known me, perhaps you might have been happy."

                What mingled emotions of joy and grief agitated the heart of the young Prince in reading this postscript. What kisses did he not imprint on this precious token of the love of the divine Irolite! He was so excited that it was with the greatest difficulty in the world that he succeeded in writing a coherent answer. He thanked the prudent Mana; he informed the Princess of the assistance he expected from the Fairy Favourable; and what did he not say to her of his grief or his love! He then took the letter to Mana's kinsman, and presented him with a clasp set with jewels of inestimable beauty and value, as an earnest of the reward he had deserved, for the pleasure he had given him. Mana's kinsman had scarcely departed, when the Queen and Princess Azire sent to enquire how the Prince had passed the night. It was easily seen by his countenance that he was not well. He was entreated to return to his bed, and as he felt he should be under less restraint there than in the company of the Fairy, he consented to do so.

                After dinner, the Queen came to see him, and spoke to him of the marriage of Irolite and Prince Ormond as of a matter she had decided upon. Parcin Parcinet, who had at length made up his mind to control himself, so as not to awaken suspicions which might frustrate his designs, pretended to approve of the Fairy's intentions, and only requested her to await his perfect recovery, as it was his wish to be present at the festivities which would take place on the occasion of these grand nuptials. The Fairy and Azire, who were in despair about his illness, promised him everything he desired; and Parcin Parcinet thus retarded, for some days at least, the threatened marriage of Irolite. His conversation with Azire, when on the water with her, had hastened the approach of that misfortune to the beautiful Princess he loved so tenderly. Azire had related to the Queen the words of Parcin Parcinet, and the pity he had expressed for Irolite. The Queen, who never paused in the execution of what she had determined on, sent that very evening for Irolite, and decided, in conjunction with Azire, that the marriage of the former should immediately take place, and that her departure should be expedited before Parcin Parcinet was established in the higher authority his match with Azire would invest him with. Before ten days had expired, however, the Prince's faithful slave returned from his mission. With what delight did the Prince discover in the letter Favourable had written to him, the proofs of her compassion and of her friendship for him and for Irolite. She sent him a ring made of four separate metals, gold, silver, brass, and iron. This ring had the power to save him four times from the persecution of the cruel Danamo, and Favourable assured the Prince that the Fairy would not order him to be pursued more often than that ring was able to protect him. These good tidings restored the Prince to health, and he sent with all speed for Mana's kinsman. He entrusted him with a letter for Irolite, informing her of the success they might hope for. There was no time to be lost. The Queen had determined the wedding of Irolite should take place in three days. That evening there was to be a ball given by the Princess Azire. Irolite was to be present. Parcin Parcinet could not endure the idea of appearing "en négligé," as his recent illness might have permitted him, he dressed himself in the most magnificent style, and looked more brilliant than the sun. He dared not at first speak to the fair Irolite; but what did not their eyes discourse when occasionally, they ventured to glance at each other. Irolite was in the most beautiful costume in the world. The Fairy had presented her with some marvellous jewels, and as she had only four days to remain in the palace, Danamo had resolved, during that short period, to treat her with all due honour. Her beauty, which had hitherto been unadorned, in such splendour, appeared wonderful to the whole court, and, above all, to the enamoured Parcin Parcinet. He even imagined he could read in some joyous flashes of her bright eyes an acknowledgment that she had received his letter. Prince Ormond addressed Irolite frequently; but he was so ill-looking, notwithstanding the gold and jewels with which he was burthened, that he was not a rival worth the jealousy of the young Prince. The ball was nearly over, when Parcin Parcinet, carried away by his love, wished with intense ardour for an opportunity to speak for one moment to his Princess. "Cruel Queen, and thou, also, hateful Azire!" he mentally exclaimed; "will ye still longer deprive me of the delightful pleasure of repeating a thousand times to the beautiful Irolite that I adore her! Jealous witnesses of my happiness, why do ye not quit this spot? Love can only triumph in your absence." Scarcely had Parcin Parcinet formed this wish, than the Fairy, feeling rather faint, called to Azire, and passed with her into an adjoining apartment, followed by Ormond. Parcin Parcinet had on his finger the ring which the fairy Favourable had sent him, and which had the power to rescue him four times from the persecutions of Danamo. He should have reserved such certain help for the most pressing necessity; but when did violent love obey the dictates of prudence?

                The young Prince was convinced by the sudden departure of the Fairy and Azire, that the ring had begun to favour his love. He flew to the fair Irolite. He spoke to her of his affection in terms more ardent than eloquent. He felt that he had perhaps invoked the spell of Favourable too thoughtlessly; but could he regret an imprudence which obtained for him the sweet gratification of speaking to his dear Irolite? They agreed as to the place and hour at which, the next day, they would meet, to fly from their painful bondage. The Fairy and Azire, after some time, returned to the ball-room. Parcin Parcinet separated with regret from Irolite. He looked at the fatal ring, and perceived that the iron had mixed with the other metals, and was no longer distinguishable, he therefore saw too clearly that he had only three more wishes to make. He resolved to render them more truly serviceable to the Princess than the first had been. He confided the secret of his flight to no one but his faithful slave, and passed the rest of the night in making all the necessary preparations. The next morning he calmly presented himself to the Queen, and appeared even in better spirits than usual. He jested with Prince Ormond on his marriage, and conducted himself in such a manner as to lull all suspicions, had any existed as to his intentions. Two hours after midnight he repaired to the Fairy's Park; he found there his faithful slave, who, in obedience to his master's orders, had brought thither four of his horses. The Prince was not kept long waiting. The lovely Irolite appeared, walking with faltering steps, and leaning upon Mana. The young Princess felt some pain in taking this course. It had needed all the cruelties of Danamo, and all the bad qualities of Ormond, to induce her to do so. Love alone had not sufficed to persuade her.

                It was autumn. The night was beautiful, and the moon, with a host of brilliant stars, illuminated the sky, shedding around a more charming light than that of day. The Prince eagerly advanced to meet his beloved, there was no time for long speeches, Parcin Parcinet tenderly kissed the hand of Irolite and assisted her to mount her horse. Fortunately she rode admirably. It was one of the amusements she had taken pleasure in during her captivity. She had frequently ridden with her attendants in a little wood close to the Château she resided in, and of which the Fairy allowed her the range. Parcin Parcinet, after the interchange of a few words with the Princess, mounted his own horse. The other two were for Mana and the faithful slave. The Prince then drawing the brilliant sabre he had received from the Fairy, swore on it to adore the beautiful Irolite as long as he should live, and to die, if it were necessary, in defending her from her enemies. They then set out, and it seemed as if the Zephyrs were in league with them, or that they mistook Irolite for Flora, for they accompanied them in their flight.

                Morning disclosed to Danamo the unexpected event. The ladies in attendance on Irolite were surprised that she slept so much later than usual; but, in obedience to the orders the prudent Mana had given them over-night, they did not venture to enter the Princess's apartment without being summoned by her. Mana slept in Irolite's chamber, and they had quitted it by a small door that opened into a court-yard of the Palace that was very little frequented. This door was in Irolite's cabinet. It had been fastened up, but, with a little trouble, in two or three evenings, they had found means to open it. The Queen at length sent orders for Irolite to come to her. The Fairy's commands were not to be disobeyed by any one. They accordingly knocked at the chamber door of the Princess. They received no answer. Prince Ormond arrived. He came to conduct Irolite to the Queen, and was much surprised to find them knocking loudly at the door. He caused it to be broken open. They entered, and finding the little door of the cabinet had been forced, no longer doubted that the Princess had fled the Palace. They bore these tidings to the Queen, who trembled with rage at hearing them. She ordered a search to be made everywhere for Irolite, but in vain did they endeavour to obtain a clue to her evasion, no one knew anything about it. Prince Ormond himself set out in pursuit of Irolite. The Fairy's Guards were despatched in all haste, and in every direction it was thought possible she might have taken. It was observed, however, by Azire, that amidst this general agitation, Parcin Parcinet had not made his appearance. She sent an urgent message to him, and jealousy opening her eyes, she felt certain that the Prince had carried off Irolite, although she had not until that moment suspected he was in love with her. The Fairy could not believe it; but she hastened to consult her books, and discovered that Azire's suspicion was but too well founded.

                In the meanwhile that Princess having learned that Parcin Parcinet was not in his apartments, and could not be found anywhere in the Palace, sent some one to the Château in which Irolite had so long resided, to see if they could find any evidence that would convict or acquit the Prince. The prudent Mana had taken care to leave nothing in it that could betray the understanding that had existed between Irolite and Parcin Parcinet; but they found near the seat on which the Prince had lain so long insensible, the scarf Azire had given to him. It had been unfastened during his swoon, and the Prince and Mana, absorbed in their grief, had neither of them subsequently observed it. What were the feelings of the haughty Azire at the sight of this scarf? Her love and her pride were equally wounded. She was exasperated beyond measure. She flung into the Fairy's prisons all who had been in the service of Irolite or of the Prince. Parcin Parcinet's ingratitude to the Queen also goaded her naturally furious temper into madness, and she would have willingly parted with one of her kingdoms to be revenged on the two lovers.

                Meanwhile the fugitives were hotly pursued: Ormond and his troop found everywhere fresh horses in readiness for them by the Fairy's orders. Those of Parcin Parcinet were fatigued, and their speed no longer answered to the impatience of their master. As they issued from a forest, Ormond appeared in sight. The first impulse of the young Prince was to attack his unworthy rival. He was spurring towards him with his hand on the hilt of his sword, when Irolite exclaimed, "Prince! Rush not into useless danger! Obey the orders of Favourable!" These words calmed the anger of Parcin Parcinet, and in obedience to his Princess, and to the Fairy, he wished that the beautiful Irolite was safe from the persecution of the cruel Queen. He had scarcely formed the wish, when the earth opened between him and Ormond, and presented to his sight a little misshapen man in a very magnificent dress, who made a sign to him to follow him. The descent was easy on his side, he rode down it accompanied by the fair Irolite. Mana and the faithful slave followed them, and the earth reclosed above them. Ormond, astonished at so extraordinary an event, returned with all speed to inform Danamo.

                Meanwhile our young lovers followed the little man down a very dark road, at the end of which they found a vast Palace, lighted only by a great quantity of lamps and flambeaux. They were desired to dismount, and entered a Hall of prodigious magnitude. The roof was supported by columns of shining earth covered with golden ornaments. The walls were of the same material. A little man all covered with jewels was seated at the end of the Hall on a golden throne surrounded by a great number of persons as misshapen as the one who had conducted the Prince to that spot. As soon as the latter appeared leading the charming Irolite, the little man rose from his throne and said, "Approach, Prince. The great Fairy Favourable, who has long been a friend of mine, has requested me to save you from the cruelties of Danamo. I am the King of the Gnomes. You and the fair Princess who accompanies you are welcome to my Palace." Parcin Parcinet thanked him for the succour he had afforded them. The King and all his subjects were enchanted with the beauty of Irolite. They looked upon her as a star that had descended to illuminate their abode. A magnificent banquet was served up to the Prince and Princess. The King of the Gnomes did the honours. Music of a very melodious, though somewhat barbaric, character, formed the entertainment of the evening. They sang the charms of Irolite, and the following verses were frequently repeated:--

What lovely star hath left its sphere     
This subterranean realm to cheer?     
Beware! for in its dazzling light     
Is more than danger to the sight.     
The while its lustre we admire     
It sets the gazer's heart on fire.

                After the concert the Prince and Princess were each conducted to magnificent apartments. Mana and the faithful slave attended on them. The next morning they were shown all over the King's Palace. He was master of all the treasures contained in the bosom of the earth. It was impossible to add to his riches. They presented a confused mass of beautiful things; but art was wanting everywhere. The Prince and Princess remained for a week in this subterranean region. Such was the order of Favourable to the King of the Gnomes. During this time entertainments were made for the Princess and her lover, which, though not very tasteful, were exceedingly magnificent. The eve of their departure, the King, to commemorate their sojourn in his empire, caused statues of them to be erected, one on each side of his throne. They were of gold, and the pedestals of white marble. The following inscription, formed with diamonds, was upon the pedestal of the Prince's statue:--

"We desire no longer to behold the sun,--             
     We have seen this Prince;     
He is more beautiful and more brilliant."

                And on that of the Princess were these words, formed in a similar manner:--

     "To the immortal glory         
     Of the Goddess of Beauty.         
     She descended to this spot     
Under the form and name of Irolite."

                The ninth day they presented the Prince with the most beautiful horses in the world. Their harness was of gold entirely covered with diamonds. He quitted the gloomy abode of the Gnomes with his little troop, after having expressed his gratitude to the King. He found himself again on the very spot where Ormond had confronted him. He looked at his ring, and perceived that only the silver and brazen portions of it were discernible. He resumed his journey with the charming Irolite, and made all speed to reach the abode of Favourable, where at length they might feel themselves in safety, when all on a sudden, as they emerged from a valley, they encountered a troop of Danamo's guards, who had not given up the pursuit. The soldiers prepared to rush upon them, when the Prince wished, and instantly a large piece of water appeared between the party of Parcin Parcinet and that of the Fairy. A beautiful nymph, half naked, in a little boat made of interwoven rushes, was seen in the middle of it. She approached the shore, and requested the Prince and Princess to enter the boat. Mana and the slave followed them. The horses remained in the plain, and the little boat suddenly sinking, the Fairy's Guards believed that the fugitives had perished in their attempt to escape. But at the same moment they found themselves in a Palace, the walls of which were only great sheets of water, which incessantly falling with perfect regularity, formed halls, apartments, cabinets, and surrounded gardens, in which a thousand fountains of the most extraordinary shapes marked out the lines of the parterres. Only the Naiades, in whose empire they were, could inhabit this Palace, as beautiful as it was singular. To offer, therefore, a more substantial dwelling to the Prince and the fair Irolite, the Naiade who was their conductor led them into some grottoes of shell-work, where coral, pearls, and all the treasures of the deep, were seen in dazzling profusion. The beds were of moss. An hundred dolphins guarded the grotto of Irolite, and twenty whales that of Parcin Parcinet. The Naiades admired the beauty of the Princess, and more than one Triton was jealous of the looks and attentions which were bestowed on the young Prince. They served up in the grotto of the Princess a superb collation composed of all sorts of iced fruits. Twelve Syrens endeavoured with their sweet and charming songs to calm the anxiety of the young Prince and the fair Irolite. The concert finished with these verses:--

Wherever with Love for our leader we stray,     
To render us happy he knows the sweet way.     
Rejoice, Perfect Lovers, who here, in his name     
The floods may defy to extinguish your flame.

                In the evening there was a banquet, at which nothing was served but fish, but of most extraordinary size and exquisite flavour. After the banquet the Naiades danced a ballet in dresses of fish-scales of various colours, which had the most beautiful effect in the world. The horns of Tritons, and other instruments unknown to mortals, performed the music, which, though strange, was novel and very agreeable.

                Parcin Parcinet and the beautiful Irolite remained four days in this empire. Such were the commands of Favourable. The fifth day the Naiades assembled in crowds to escort the Prince and Princess. The two lovers were placed in a little boat made of a single shell, and the Naiades, half out of the water, accompanied them as far as the border of a river, where Parcin Parcinet found his horses waiting for him, and recommenced his journey with the more haste, as he perceived, on examining his ring, that the silver had disappeared, and that nothing remained but the brass; they were, however, but a short distance from the wished-for dwelling of the Fairy Favourable. They travelled unmolested for three more days; but on the fourth morning they saw weapons glitter in the distance in the rays of the rising sun, and as those who bore them advanced, they recognised Prince Ormond and his band. Danamo had sent them back in pursuit with orders not to leave them when seen again, nor to quit the spot where anything extraordinary might occur to them, and, above all things, to endeavour to engage Parcin Parcinet in single combat. Danamo had correctly imagined, from the account of Ormond, that a Fairy protected the Prince and Princess; but her science was so great, that she did not despair of conquering, by spells more potent than her antagonist could cast around them. Ormond, delighted at beholding again the Prince and Irolite, whom he had sought with so much toil and anxiety, galloped, sword in hand, to encounter Parcin Parcinet, according to the commands of the Fairy. The young Prince also drew his sabre with so fierce an air, that Ormond more than once felt inclined to waver in his course; but Parcin Parcinet, observing Irolite bathed in tears, touched at the sight, formed his fourth wish, and instantly a great fire rising almost to the clouds, separated him from his enemy. This fire made Ormond and his troop fall back, while the young Prince and Irolite, closely followed by the faithful slave and the prudent Mana, found themselves in a Palace, the first sight of which greatly alarmed the fair Irolite.

                It was entirely of flame; but her alarm subsided as she perceived that she felt no more heat than from the rays of the sun, and that this flame had only the brilliancy and blaze of fire, without its more insupportable qualities. Crowds of young and beautiful personages, in dresses over which light flames appeared to wanton, presented themselves to receive the Princess and her lover. One amongst them, whom they imagined to be the Queen of those regions, by the respect that was paid to her, accosted them, saying, "Come, charming Princess, and you also, handsome Parcin Parcinet; you are in the Kingdom of Salamanders. I am its Queen, and it is with pleasure I have undertaken to conceal you for seven days in my Palace, according to the commands of the Fairy Favourable. I would only that your stay here might be of longer duration." After these words they were led into a large apartment, all of flames, like the rest of the Palace, and in which a light shone brighter than that of day. The Queen gave that evening a grand supper, composed of every delicacy, and well served.

                After the feast they repaired to a terrace, to witness a display of fireworks of marvellous beauty and great singularity of design, which were let off in a large court-yard of the Palace of Salamanders. Twelve Cupids were seen upon as many columns of various coloured marbles. Six of them appeared to be drawing their bows, and the other six bore a large shield, on which these words were written in letters of fire:--

Irolite, that matchless fair!     
Conqueror is everywhere.    
In vain our flaming arrows fly;     
Those that issue from her eye     
Burn more fiercely, yet are found     
Cherished in the hearts they wound.

                The young Princess blushed at her own fame, and Parcin Parcinet was enchanted that the Salamanders considered her as beautiful as she appeared to him. Meanwhile, the Cupids shot their flaming arrows, which, crossing each other in the air, formed in a thousand places the initials of the lovely name of Irolite, and rose up to the Heavens.

                The seven days she remained in the Palace were passed in similar pleasures. Parcin Parcinet remarked that all the Salamanders were witty and charmingly vivacious, very gallant and affectionate. The Queen herself appeared not to be exempt from the influence of the tender passion, but to be enamoured of a young Salamander of wonderful beauty.

                The eighth day they quitted with regret a retreat so congenial to their feelings. They found themselves in a lovely country. Parcin Parcinet looked at his ring, and discovered engraved upon the metals, which were now all four mixed together, the following words:--

"You have wished too soon."

                These words sadly afflicted the Prince and Princess, but they were now so near the abode of the Fairy Favourable, that they were in hopes of arriving there before evening. This reflection consoled them, and they proceeded, invoking Fortune and Love; but, alas! they are frequently treacherous conductors. Parcin Parcinet was, in short, on the point of entering the dominions of the Fairy Favourable; but Ormond, obeying the commands of Danamo, had not retired far from the spot where the fire had risen between him and his rival. He had encamped, with his party, behind a wood, and his sentinels, who kept incessant watch, brought him word that the Prince and Princess had re-appeared in the plain. He ordered his men to mount, and about sunset encountered the unfortunate Prince and the divine Irolite. Parcin Parcinet was not dismayed at the numbers that fell upon him altogether. He charged them with a courage that daunted them. "I fulfil my promise, beautiful Irolite," he exclaimed, as he drew his sabre; "I will die for you or deliver you from your enemies!" With these words he made a blow at the foremost, and felled him to the earth. But oh, unexpected misfortune! the wonderful sabre, which was the gift of the Fairy Danamo, flew into a thousand pieces. She had foreseen this result of the combat. Whenever she made a present of weapons, she charmed them in so peculiar a manner, that the instant they were employed against her, the first blow shivered them to pieces.

                Parcin Parcinet, then disarmed, could not make any prolonged resistance. He was overwhelmed by numbers, taken, laden with chains, and the young Irolite shared his fate. "Ah, Fairy Favourable," mournfully ejaculated the Prince, "abandon me to all the severity of Danamo, but save the fair Irolite!" "You have disobeyed the Fairy," replied a youth of surprising beauty, who appeared in the air. "You must suffer the penalty. Had you not been so prodigal of her favour, we should to-day have saved you for ever from the cruelties of Danamo. All the Empire of the Sylphs laments being deprived of the glory of securing happiness to so charming a Prince and so beautiful a Princess." So saying, he vanished, and Parcin Parcinet groaned at the recollection of his imprudence: he seemed insensible to his own misfortunes, but how deeply did he feel those of Irolite! His remorse at having been the cause of them would have destroyed him, had not Destiny resolved that he should live to suffer still more cruel agony.

                The young Irolite displayed a courage worthy of the illustrious race from which she had descended, and the pitiless Ormond, far from being affected at so touching a spectacle, strove to aggravate the misery he occasioned them. He had the prisoners separated, and so deprived them of the melancholy pleasure of mingling their tears over their departed hopes. Their wretched journey ended, they were taken to the palace of the wicked Fairy. She felt a malignant joy at seeing the young Prince and Princess in a state that would have awakened pity in the heart of any other creature. Even Azire commiserated Parcin Parcinet, but did not dare to evince it before the Fairy. "I shall at length, then," said the cruel Queen, addressing herself to the Prince, "have the pleasure of revenging myself for thy ingratitude. Go! In lieu of ascending the throne my favour had destined thee, enter the prison on the sea, in which thou shalt end thy wretched life in frightful tortures." "I prefer the most horrible dungeon," replied the Prince, looking proudly at her, "to the favours of so unjust a Queen as thou art!" These words increased the irritation of the Fairy. She had expected to see him humble himself at her feet. She sent him instantly to the prison she had fixed upon. Irolite wept as he was dragged away; Azire could not suppress her sighs, and all the Court mourned in secret the merciless sentence. As for the beautiful Irolite, the Queen had her removed to the Château in which she had previously so long resided, placed a strict guard upon her, and treated her with all the inhumanity of which she was capable.

                The prison to which they conveyed the Prince was a frightful tower in the midst of the sea, built on a little desert island. They shut him up in it, laden with irons, and treated him with all the severity imaginable. What an abode for a Prince worthy to reign over the universe! To think of Irolite was his sole occupation. He invoked the help of the Fairy Favourable for his dear Princess alone, and wished a thousand times a day, to expiate by death the only injury he had done her. His faithful slave had been consigned to the same prison, but he had not the satisfaction of serving his illustrious master, and Parcin Parcinet had about him none but fierce soldiers, devoted to the Fairy, who nevertheless, while obeying her orders, respected, despite themselves, the unfortunate captive. His youth, his beauty, and, above all, his courage, excited in them an admiration which compelled them to regard him as a man very superior to all others. The prudent Mana had been dragged to the Château in which they had immured Irolite, as the Prince's faithful slave had been to the prison on the sea. Danamo's women alone approached the Princess, and by the Fairy's orders overwhelmed her every moment with new misery, by their accounts of the sufferings of Parcin Parcinet. The distresses of her lover made Irolite forget her own, and everything renewed her tears in that spot where she had so often heard that charming Prince swear to her eternal fidelity. "Alas!" she murmured to herself, "why have you been so faithful, my dear Prince? Your inconstancy would have killed me; but what of that, you would have lived, and been happy!"

                After three months' suffering, Danamo, who had employed that period in the preparation of a spell of extraordinary power, sent to Irolite one morning a couple of lamps, one of gold, the other of crystal, commanding her to keep one of the two always burning, but leaving her to choose which she would light. Irolite, with her natural docility, sent word that she would obey the Fairy's orders, without even seeking to comprehend their object.

                She carried the two lamps carefully to a cabinet. The golden one was lighted when she received it, and therefore she allowed it to burn throughout that day and night, and the next morning she lighted the other. In this manner she continued to obey the Fairy, lighting the lamps alternately for fifteen days, when her health became seriously affected. She attributed her failing strength to her sorrow, and, to increase her grief, they informed her that Parcin Parcinet was exceedingly ill. What tidings for Irolite! Her deep distress, her utter prostration, affected all her attendants. One evening, when the rest were asleep, one of them softly approached the Princess, and seeing her about to light the crystal lamp, said to her, "Extinguish that fatal light, your existence depends upon it. Save the life of one so lovely from the cruel designs of Danamo." "Alas!" feebly replied the wretched Irolite, "she has rendered my life so miserable, that it is but kind of the Fairy to afford me such means of ending it; but," added she, with an emotion which brought back the colour to her pale cheeks, "what life depends upon the golden lamp, which I have been equally careful to light in its turn?" "That of Parcin Parcinet," answered the confidante of Danamo, for the woman was but obeying her orders in thus speaking to the Princess. The wicked Fairy wished to torment her by this revelation of the cruel task she had imposed upon her. At this intelligence her agony at having unconsciously hastened the termination of her lover's existence, deprived her for some considerable time of her senses. On recovering them, she at the same time returned to her despair. "Hateful Fairy!" she exclaimed, as soon as she had power to speak, "Barbarous Fairy! will not my death satisfy thy vengeance? Wouldst thou condemn me, inhuman, to destroy with my own hand a Prince so dear to me, and so worthy of the most perfect and tender affection? But death, a thousand times more merciful than thou art, will soon deliver me from all the tortures which thy wrath hath invented, to rack such fond and faithful hearts."

                The young Princess wept incessantly over the fatal lamp, on which depended the life of Parcin Parcinet, and from that moment only lighted the one that wasted her own. That she saw burn with joy, regarding it as a sacrifice to love, and to her lover. In the meanwhile the wretched Prince was a prey to tortures, which surpassed even his powers of endurance. By command of the Fairy, one of his guards, feigning to pity the misfortunes of the illustrious prisoner, informed him that Irolite had consented to marry Prince Ormond, a few days after he (Parcin Parcinet) had been consigned to the frightful dungeon in which he still languished. That the Princess had appeared quite happy since her marriage, that she had been present at all the entertainments given in celebration of it, and had finally quitted the country with her husband. This was the only misfortune the Prince had not anticipated, and it was also the only one too heavy for him to bear. "What!" he exclaimed, despairingly, "Thou art faithless to me, dear Irolite! Thou art the bride of Ormond! Thou hast not even pitied my misfortunes. Thou hast but thought how to end those my love brought upon thyself. Live happy, ungrateful Irolite! Inconstant as thou art, I still adore thee, and desire but to die for love, as thou wouldst not I should have the glory of dying for thee!"

                Whilst Parcin Parcinet was plunged in this affliction, and the tender Irolite wasted her own life to prolong that of her lover, Danamo was moved by the despair of Azire, who was dying with sorrow for the sufferings of Parcin Parcinet. The cruel Fairy perceived at length that, to save the life of her child, it was necessary to pardon the Prince, to permit Azire to visit him, and to promise him all the benefits that had previously awaited him, provided he consented to marry her, and the Fairy determined to put Irolite to death, the moment the Prince had accepted that offer.

                The hope of again beholding Parcin Parcinet restored Azire to life, and the Fairy allowed her to send to Irolite's Château for the golden lamp, which she desired to keep in her own custody, that she might be certain it was not lighted. This mandate seemed more cruel than all the others to the afflicted Irolite. What anxiety did she not endure respecting the fate of Parcin Parcinet. "Do not distress yourself so much about the Prince," said the women in attendance upon her, "he is going to marry the Princess Azire, and it is she who, interested in the preservation of his life, has sent for the lamp on which it depends."

                The torments of jealousy had as yet been wanting, to complete the misery of the unfortunate Irolite. At these words she felt them waking in her heart. In the meanwhile Azire had visited the Prince, and offered him her hand and her kingdoms; then, pretending to be ignorant that he had been told that Irolite had married Ormond, she endeavoured to convince him by citing this example, that he had been more than sufficiently constant. Parcin Parcinet, to whom nothing was valuable without the charming Irolite, preferred his prison and his sufferings to liberty and sovereignty. Azire was distracted at his refusal, and her affliction rendered her almost as unhappy as he was.

                During this time the Fairy Favourable, who had hitherto boasted of her insensibility to love, had found it impossible to resist the attractions of a young Prince residing at her Court. He had conceived a passion for her. The Fairy had considerable difficulty in bringing herself to let him know that his attentions had conquered her pride. At length, however, she yielded to the desire of acquainting him with his triumph. The pleasure of conversing with those we love appeared to her then so charming and so desirable, that, excusing the fault she had so severely punished, she repaired, in all haste, to the assistance of Parcin Parcinet and the beautiful Irolite.

                A little later, and her aid would have been useless. The fatal lamp of Irolite had but six days longer to burn, and the grief of Parcin Parcinet was rapidly terminating his existence, when the Fairy Favourable arrived at the Palace of Danamo. She was by far the most powerful, and made herself obeyed despite the anger of the wicked Fairy. The Prince was released from prison; but he would not quit it until he was assured by Favourable that the fair Irolite might still be his bride. He appeared, notwithstanding his pallor, more beautiful than the day, the light of which he was once more permitted to behold. He repaired, with the Fairy Favourable, to the Château of his Princess. Her lamp emitted but a feeble light, and the dying Irolite would not allow them to extinguish it until she had been assured of the fidelity of her now happy lover. There are no words capable of expressing the perfect joy experienced by the fond pair at this meeting. The Fairy Favourable restored them in an instant to all their former health and beauty, and endowed them with long life and constant felicity. Their affection she found it impossible to increase. Danamo, furious at beholding her authority thus overthrown, perished by her own hand. The fate of Azire and of Ormond was left by the Prince to the decision of Irolite. The only vengeance she took upon them was uniting them in marriage, and Parcin Parcinet, as generous as he was constant, would only receive his father's kingdom, leaving Azire to reign over those of Danamo.

                The nuptials of the Prince and the divine Irolite were celebrated with infinite magnificence, and after duly expressing their gratitude to the Fairy Favourable, and heaping rewards on the slave and the prudent Mana, they departed for their kingdom, where the Prince and the charming Irolite enjoyed the rare happiness of loving as fondly and truly in prosperity as they had done in adversity.


Le Parfait Amour is a story exhibiting considerable talent, although deficient in those lively sallies, those amusing whimsicalities and allusions to the manners and dresses of the period which give so much piquancy to the Fairy Tales of Perrault, and the more elaborate compositions of Madame d'Aulnoy. The interest is entirely of a serious character; but the magic ring, with its power over the four elements--the value of which is destroyed by the too hasty wish of the lover--is an ingenious and dramatic idea, and the fatal lamps a truly affecting situation. This is the first Fairy Tale that gives us a picture of the Gnomes, and their subterraneous magnificence--a superstition existing all over Europe; the Trolls, or underground men of the North; the little people and ground mannikins of Germany; and the Korr or Korred of Brittany.

                                                            "The wise     
And prudent little people, who keep warm     
By their fine fires, many a fathom down     
Within the inmost rocks. Pure native gold,     
And the rock crystals, shaped like towers, clear,     
Transparent, gleam with colours thousand-fold     
Through the fair palace; and the little folks,     
So happy and so gay, amuse themselves     
Sometimes with singing." [1]

                And accordingly we find them singing the charms of Irolite, and entertaining the lovers with "une musique fort harmonieuse, mais un peu barbare."


[1] Idyllen &c., von J. R. Wyss, translated by Mr. Keightley (Fairy Mythology.)

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Perfect Love
Tale Author/Editor: Castelneau, Henriette Julie de (The Countess de Murat)
Book Title: Four and Twenty Fairy Tales: Selected from Those of Perrault, and Other Popular Writers
Book Author/Editor: Planché, J. R.
Publisher: G. Routledge & Co.
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1858
Country of Origin: France
Classification: unclassified

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