Toads And Diamonds

Toads and Diamonds 1 - Toads And Diamonds

Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters. The elder was very disagreeable and arrogant, just like her mother and no one could stand her.

The younger girl was kind and good, just like her father and her beauty was remarkable. But the mother loved only her elder daughter, because she had her likeness and disliked the other one, in spite of her beauty and goodness, treating her like a servent.

Her mother used to send her twice a day to a spring a half mile away, to bring water into a pitcher. One day when she arrived at the spring an old woman appeared before her, begging for a drink.

“I will gladly help you. Here is some water for you to quench your thirst” said the beautiful girl, handing her the pitcher, full of water, lifting it up so that she could drink more easily.

The girl didn’t know that the old woman was, actually, a fairy who wanted to test the girl’s generosity and good heart, so she took the humble appearance of an old poor woman.
“Your generosity is equal to your beauty” she said, when she had finished drinking. “Thank you very much for helping me. I want to reward you with a wonderful gift. From now on, with every word you speak, a flower or a precious stone shall fall from your mouth.”

When the beautiful girl reached home, her mother was very angry with her for being late.

“Forgive me, mother,” the poor child cried, “for being so late,” and as she spoke these words, two roses, two pearls, and two large diamonds fell from her mouth.

“What are these?” her mother asked astonished. “Are there really pearls and diamonds falling from your mouth? What happend to you, my daughter?” This was the first time she had ever called her “daughter”.

The girl told her what had happened, scattering precious diamonds, flowers and pearls, as she spoke.

“I must send your sister there, too,” her mother said. “Come here, Fanchon. You must go to the spring right away and give water to drink to an old woman and she will make precious stones fall from your mouth.”

“You send me to the spring?” replied the arrogant girl, frowning.

“Yes, I do, hurry up,” her mother urged her.

She obeyed at last, though unwillingly. When she finally arrived at the spring, a beautiful lady, very well dressed came out of the woods, instead of an old woman as her mother had told her and she asked for a drink. This was the same fairy who had appeared to her sister, but she was disguised as a princess this time in order to see how far this girl’s bad manners would go.

“I’m sorry, but I am not your servant, so help yourself,” the rude girl said. “I am not going to dirty myself, just to give madam some water.”

“Your heart is already dirty,” replied the fairy, not angry, though. “It’s your choice! In return for your rudeness and wicked nature I grant that for every word you speak a snake or a toad shall drop out of your mouth.”

When she returned home, her mother was very anxious to know what happened. But as soon as her daughter opened her mouth and began talking, two vipers and two toads fell from her mouth.

“That’s not possible!” cried the mother. “Your sister is guilty for this and she is going to pay for it.” She went out of the house to punish her, but the poor girl managed to run away into the woods.

Now it happened that the king’s son was passing through the woods just then, returning home from hunting, and noticing how beautiful she was, he asked her why she was so grieved and how he could help her.

“Alas, sir, I ran away from home, because I am afraid of my mother who is angry with me.”

As she spoke the king’s son was surprised to see pearls and diamonds fall from her mouth. He begged her to tell him how this was possible, and she told him the whole story.

The king’s son fell in love with her, and considering that such a gift as had been bestowed upon her was worth more than any dowry that he might receive from someone else, he took her to his father’s palace, where he married her.