Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday is for Fairy-Tales: Aurore and Aimée

This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.

Today's post is about: Aurore and Aimée (written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, who also wrote "Beauty and the Beast")

A lady had two beautiful daughters – Aurore, her first-born, who was good, andAimée, who had a bad character. When Aurore was sixteen and Aimée twelve, the lady began to lose her looks. She moved to another city, sent Aurore to the country, and claimed that Aimée was only ten and that she herself had been only fifteen when she had given birth to her. Fearing that someone would discover the deception, she sent Aurore to another country, but Aurore’s guardian abandoned the young woman in a forest. Aurore hunted for a way out and finally found a shepherdess's cottage. She bemoaned her fate and blamed God for it.

The shepherdess, however, told her that God permitted misfortune only for the benefit of the unfortunate person, and offered to act the part of her mother. The shepherdess pointed out that age would make misfortunes less pleasant, and that she herself could teach Aurore how to live without boredom. Aurore agreed and the shepherdess set her to a life divided into prayer, work, reading, and walks. Aurore found this life very agreeable because it was not dull.

One day, a prince, Ingénu, went hunting. He was a good prince, though his brother Fourbin, the king, was an evil king. He fell in love with Aurore and began to court her. The shepherdess gave them her consent, knowing the prince would make Aurore a good husband, and he left, to return in three days. In that time, Aurore fell into a thicket while she was gathering the sheep and her face was dreadfully scratched. She was very unhappy, but the shepherdess reminded her that God doubtlessly meant it for good, and Aurore reflected that if Ingénu no longer wished to marry her because her looks were gone, he would not have made her happy.

Meanwhile, Ingénu told his brother of his bride and Fourbin, angry that he would marry without his permission, threatened to marry Aurore himself if she were as beautiful as Ingénu claimed. He came with Ingénu and when the king saw Aurore's marred face, he ordered Ingénu to marry her at once and forbade the couple to come to court. Ingénu was still willing to marry her. After Fourbin left, the shepherdess cured Aurore's injuries with a special water. Back at court, Fourbin ordered portraits of beautiful women brought to him. He was enchanted by one of Aurore's sister Aimée and married her.

After a year, Aurore had a son, Beaujour. One day, he vanished and Aurore was stricken with grief. The shepherdess reminded her that everything happened to her for her own good. The next day, Fourbin's soldiers came; they had been sent to kill the king's nephew. Not finding him, they put Ingénu, Aurore, and the shepherdess to sea in a boat. They sailed to a kingdom where its king was at war. Ingénu offered to fight for the king and killed the commander of his enemies, making the army flee. The king, who was childless, adopted Ingénu as his son.

Four years later, Fourbin died of grief because of his wife's wickedness and his people drove Aimée away and sent for Ingénu to be king. On the way there, they were shipwrecked; this time, Aurore held that it must have happened for the good, and on the land where they were shipwrecked, she found a woman with her son, Beaujour. The woman explained that she was the wife of a pirate who had kidnapped the boy, but got shipwrecked himself. Ships came looking for his body and bore back Ingénu, Aurore, and Beaujour back to their kingdom. Aurore never again complained of any misfortune, knowing misfortunes were often the cause of happiness.


This was one of the first fairy-tales written for children, as at first, fairy-tales were meant to be read by adults. This is a great example of a story playing with the good vs bad motif, and goodness triumphs. It is a story that is very educational, but also entertaining to read.


Ksenija said...

First time I hear about this one, but I really like the message. This is a fairy tale I would definitely read to my own children (many of the classic fairy tales we grew up with I would not!)

Robert Stephen Parry said...

That's a lovely story.

Blodeuedd said...

I do like the twists and turns of the story. What a romance novel that would make

Jo K said...

This is fascinating - a very good lesson to learn about enduring the bad things because they may turn out to be good for us. I think we all need to be reminded of that.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

What a crazy story with all of those twists and turns; I think the mention of God is really interesting as most of the best-known fairy tales don't really say anything specific about religion.