Riquet with the Tuftpage 1 / 7
Once upon a time there was a Queen who had a son so ugly and so misshapen that it was long disputed whether he had human form. A fairy who was at his birth said, however, that he would be very amiable for all that, since he would have uncommon good sense. She even added that it would be in his power, by virtue of a gift she had just then given him, to bestow as much sense as he pleased on the person he loved the best. All this somewhat comforted the poor Queen. It is true that this child no sooner began to talk than he said a thousand pretty things, and in all his actions there was an intelligence that was quite charming. I forgot to tell you that he was born with a little tuft of hair upon his head, which made them call him Riquet1 with the Tuft, for Riquet was the family name.
Seven or eight years later the Queen of a neighboring kingdom had two daughters who were twins. The first born of these was more beautiful than the day; whereat the Queen was so very glad that those present were afraid that her excess of joy would do her harm. The same fairy who was present at the birth of little Riquet with the Tuft was here also, and, to moderate the Queen's gladness, she declared that this little Princess should have no sense at all, but should be as stupid as she was pretty. This mortified the Queen extremely; but afterward she had a far greater sorrow, for the second daughter proved to be very ugly.
"Do not afflict yourself so much, madam," said the fairy. "Your daughter shall have her recompense; she shall have so great a portion of sense that the want of beauty will hardly be perceived."
"God grant it," replied the Queen; " but is there no way to make the eldest, who is so pretty, have any sense?"
"I can do nothing for her, madam, as to sense," answered the fairy, "but everything as to beauty; and as there is nothing I would not do for your satisfaction, I give her for gift that she shall have power to make handsome the person who shall best please her."