Saturday, 7 May 2011

Friday is for Fairy-Tales: Graciosa and Percinet

This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.

My post today is about: Graciosa and Percinet by Madame D'Aulnoy (French fairy-tale)

A king and queen had a beautiful daughter, Graciosa, and an ugly duchess hated her. One day, the queen died. The king was so grief-stricken that his doctors ordered him to hunt. Weary, he stopped at the duchess's castle and discovered how rich she was. He agreed to marry her, although she demanded control over her stepdaughter Graciosa.

Princess Graciosa was reasoned into behaving well by her nurse. A handsome young page, Percinet, appeared. He was a rich young prince with a fairy gift and he was in her service. He gave Graciosa a horse to ride to greet the duchess. It made the duchess's own horse look ugly and she demanded that Percinet lead her horse as he had led Graciosa'a. Nevertheless, the duchess's horse ran away and her disarray made her look even uglier. The duchess had Graciosa beaten with rods, except that the rods were turned into peacock feathers, and the princess suffered no harm.

The king wed the duchess and arranged a tournament to flatter the new queen. The king's knights overthrew all the challengers, although their queen was ugly, until a young challenger overthrew them and showed the portrait of the princess as the most beautiful woman in the world. The queen had Graciosa abandoned in the woods. Percinet rescued her, but she wished to return to her father and when Percinet showed her how the queen had claimed her dead and buried a log of wood in her place, she insisted to return home. He told her that she would never see his castle again until she was buried.

The king was glad to see his daughter, but when the queen returned and insisted that Graciosa was an impostor, he seemed convinced that was true. The queen imprisoned Graciosa and, with the aid of a wicked fairy, set her to disentangle a skein, on pain of her life. Graciosa thought Percinet would not aid her, but she called on him in her despair and he disentangled the skein for her. The outraged queen set her to sort a room filled with feathers and Percinet did that as well. Then the queen set her to bring a box to her own castle and forbade Graciosa to open it. Curiosity got the better of the princess and Graciosa freed a swarm of little men and women whom she could not get back in. Percinet helped her.

The queen suggested that they lift a stone in the garden which covered a well, on the grounds that she had heard there was treasure to be found. When the stone was lifted, she pushed Graciosa in and dropped the stone. Percinet and his mother rescued her, and this time, Graciosa agreed to marry him.


This fairy-tale was fun to read, but the story is a bit all over the place and I miss the sense of justice being served. Graciosa married Percinet, but she was never acknowledged as the real princess again and her stepmother wasn't punished. It would have been nice if the stepmother received some sort of punishment for her wicked deeds.



The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

It's so weird how the duchess has this pretty irrational hatred of the princess; I mean it's not her fault she's pretty and she's only a baby at the start.

Blodeuedd said...

What a silly story. Yes the stepmum needs to suffer, why is her dad such an idiot? I mean I would "get" it if the stepmum was pretty. Sigh

Enbrethiliel said...


You're right that the story is all over the place and that there is no closure at all to the ending. =S That definitely accounts for its obscurity.

I wonder whether the names are allegorical. Graciosa is easy enough to figure out, but what about Percinet? My rudimentary French lessons totally fail me here.

Unknown said...

Oh dear this one really is unsatisfactory. One of the things to love is the sense of everything being right with the world at the end and it seems that this doesn't really come off. I am also annoyed with the King for marrying so soon after the loss of his wife.