FOLK TALES: courtesy of Mary Mark Ockerbloom, A Celebration of Women Writers

"Yvon and Finette." by Lilian Gask (1865-)
From: Folk Tales From Many Lands. retold by Lilian Gask (1865-). Illustrations by Willy Pogany (1882-1955). New York, T.Y. Crowell & Company [1910] pp. 82-110.

FROM MANY LANDS: courtesy of Mary Mark Ockerbloom, A Celebration of Women Writers


YVON and FINETTE  A BRETON FOLK STORY

A MONGST the ancient nobles of Brittany was a Baron so brave and good that no one had aught to say against him. It seemed indeed as if he were a favourite of fortune, for his six tall sons were well built and handsome, his six fair daughters the loveliest in the land, and his wife as sweet as she was beautiful. When a thirteenth child was born to them, the good Baron declared that they could scarcely find room for another baby, so numerous was his family; but the little fellow soon became as dear to him as the rest.

They called him "Yvon," and as he grew up he was beloved by all for his courage and good temper. From his earliest childhood nothing could daunt him, and when he was one-and-twenty he longed to go out and fight the world. Approaching his father, he explained his wish to him.

"Let me seek my fortune!" he cried. "There are so many at the castle that there is really no place for me, and I have nothing to do. The world is wide and I would prove my courage. Dear father, let me go!"

The Baron demurred at first, but in the end he agreed, and Yvon, bidding them all farewell, set off in excellent spirits. The motto of the Kerver family–"Forward!"–rang in his ears, and he sang to himself as he stepped out blithely.

On reaching the coast he found a vessel ready to set sail, and gladly embarked. What hopes were his as the great sails filled with wind, and bore the vessel high over the crested waves! When the storm blew up and the sky grew dark, he began to think his adventures had begun, and as the great ship struck upon a rock, and word went round that she was sinking, he was still undismayed. Forgetful of his own safety, he gave up his place in the boats, first to one and then to another, and in the midst of that panic-stricken crew he alone was calm and collected.

I T was well for him that he stayed on deck, for the boats were scarcely launched when they were overturned by the raging sea. Yvon alone, out of all that crew, was able to fight his way to shore, and as he battled with the waves the family watchword "Forward!" rang in his ears and mingled with the storm.

When at last he reached the land he was all but exhausted, but after having rested awhile on the wreck-strewn beach, he climbed the nearest hill. The sullen waters stretched on every side, so he knew he was on an island. From his post of vantage he saw a great house standing alone, and hastening towards this, he found it even larger than it had at first appeared to him. The doors and windows were fully sixty feet in height, and when he gained the entrance he found it quite impossible to touch the knocker of the huge door. Undaunted by this, he picked up a stone, and hammered loudly on the panels.

His summons was quickly answered. A Giant, so tall that his head towered above Yvon like that of some mighty forest tree, glared at him angrily from the threshold.

"Who are you?" he thundered, in a voice that shook the walls. "Who are you, and what do you want?"

"I am Yvon, son of the Baron Kerver in Brittany, and I am come to seek my fortune," replied the youth.

"Good," cried the Giant. "Then your fortune is made. I am seeking a servant, and you can have the place. If you serve me well I will pay you well, but if you do not do exactly what I tell you I will eat you."

"Agreed," said Yvon cheerfully, wringing the water from his coat and making to step inside. But the Giant moved farther forward and barred his way.

"I shall be busy to-day," he said in a curious voice, "for I am taking my flocks to the mountains. During my absence you must clean out the stables thoroughly, and, whatever you do, don't attempt to enter my house. Mind this, on pain of my displeasure." And with a threatening scowl he drew the door close to and strode away. Yvon looked after him reflectively.

"There must be something very interesting in the house," he said, "or my new master would not have forbidden me to enter." Finding the door unlatched, he strolled leisurely through the hall and into the first room. This was completely empty, with the exception of a large iron pot hung over the grate. Peering inside it, Yvon discovered a strange thick fluid that appeared to be bubbling with heat, although there was no sign of any fire.

"I wonder what it tastes like?" he thought, but prudently deciding to get some idea of what it was made before he tried it, he cut off a lock of his hair and dipped it into the seething mass. On drawing it out again, he found to his surprise that the dusky lock was coated over with copper.

"Dear me!" he cried, "the Giant must have a very strong digestion to be able to eat this. I hope he won't give any of it to me."

More curious than ever, he entered a second chamber, where everything was just the same as in the first. There was no furniture of any kind–only a great iron pot in the fireless grate. On dipping a lock of hair into the midst of this, he found it coated with silver.

"This new master of mine must be rich indeed," he thought, "to feast on silver soup. I should not care to drink it myself, but every one to his taste."

The third room he entered was no different from the others, but here the big iron pot contained a yellow liquid that gleamed like gold. Yvon was greatly impressed by the Giant's wealth, and without any scruple entered the fourth room. As he did so, a lovely girl ran hastily towards him, exclaiming: "Who are you, sir, and what are you doing here? Unhappy youth! You know not the dangers round you. If the Giant should find you he would kill you at once. Hasten away, I pray you."

"I am Yvon, the son of Baron Kerver," he replied. "I am seeking my fortune, and am not at all afraid of the Giant. He has engaged me to be his servant."

W HILE he spoke, Yvon was gazing at the girl's fair face, and admiring the exquisite violet of her eyes. As these met his she blushed divinely, and her eyelids drooped over them like snow-white satin curtains.

"What has he given you to do?" she faltered. When Yvon told her, her cheeks lost all their delicate colour.

"To sweep out a stable sounds an easy task," she said, "but you would not find it so. The Giant's stable is a magic one, and he has laid it under a spell. When you sweep the dust through the door it flies back through the window, but if you use the handle of the broom instead of the other end, the stable will empty itself, and not a speck of dust will remain."

I AM glad to hear that," said Yvon contentedly, "and when I set to work I will do as you say. But now, since I have found you, let us talk together. I want to hear everything you have to tell me, and why you are living in the Giant's house."

The fair young girl allowed him to lead her to a seat in the deep window, and her voice was like sweetest music as she told him how she had become a captive of the Giant. Her name was "Finette," she added, and Yvon thought it the prettiest in the world. He in his turn told her where he came from, and all he could remember of his past life, and they were too much engrossed in each other to notice that the shadows were lengthening in the west. It was not until the twilight spread her purple haze that Yvon thought of the hour.

"Make haste, my friend, and sweep the stable, or the Giant will be here first," cried Finette anxiously; and with one more look into her violet eyes, Yvon obeyed her.

He was thinking so much of her gentle ways that he did not at first remember her instructions, and the dust flew round him in such clouds that he was almost stifled. He immediately reversed the broom, and at once it happened as she had said. The stable swept itself without any further trouble on his part, and, folding his arms, he sat down on a bench outside to await his master's return. The Giant looked anything but pleasant when he caught sight of the young man.

"Why are you sitting there, you lazy scoundrel?" he shouted angrily.

"Because I have nothing to do," was Yvon's cool reply.

"What!" cried the Giant; "I told you to sweep out the stable."

"It is done," replied Yvon, and away went the Giant to see if this were true. He came back angrier than before. "You rascal," he exclaimed, "you never did that unaided. You have seen my Finette."

Yvon met this accusation with affected stupidity.

"'Mifinet'?" he cried. "What is that, good master? Is it an animal, a thing, or a person? Show it to me, I beg you."

"Idiot!" roared the Giant, gnashing his teeth. "Begone to the barn, where you must sleep on the ground; to-morrow I will set you another task, and then you will see that I am not to be trifled with."

Yvon woke next morning at break of day, and while his eyes were yet heavy with sleep, he heard the Giant's voice calling him. Stepping outside the barn, Yvon gave him a civil "good morning." This was met by an angry stare.

B E off to the mountain," said the Giant in a very masterful fashion. "My black horse is grazing on the topmost height. You must catch him at once, and bring him back to the stable, or I shall put an end to your useless life. Don't dare to go into my house while I am absent."

Scowling at Yvon as if he hated the sight of hini, he strode away in his seven-league boots at a great pace. He was hardly out of sight before the adventurous youth, caring nothing for his injunctions, made his way to the forbidden door. He was already deeply in love with the fair Finette, and counted each moment an hour until he could see her. She greeted him tenderly, with the softest look in her violet eyes, and a blush that reminded him of the rosy clouds at dawn.

"What task has he set you to-day?" she inquired timidly, drooping before him like some sweet flower.

"Nothing to trouble me," the youth replied, "Only to find his horse. That will be easy enough, and I shall enjoy climbing the mountain."

"You would not find it so easy if I were not here to tell you what to do," said Finette shudderingly. "That horse of his is a monster, and the fire from his nostrils would burn you up if you approached him rashly."

"Then I shall stay here instead of climbing the mountain," declared her lover. "I don't mean to die now that I have found you."

Finette laughed joyously, and crept a little closer within the circle of his arm.

"If you take the magic bridle you will find behind the stable door," she murmured, "you will be quite safe, for at the sight of this he becomes as gentle and docile as a lamb."

"That is well," said Yvon. "I will fetch him presently." And making his way with Finette to a leafy grove, he passed the time in pleasant converse. They had so much to say to each other that the afternoon had almost flown when he once more bethought him of his second task.

"Take the bridle and go," said pretty Finette; and with a light heart he started to climb the mountain-side.

He had not gone far when a monstrous animal galloped wildly towards him, snorting like thunder, and throwing out fire and smoke from his open nostrils. Not in the least alarmed, Yvon awaited him in the centre of the path, gently shaking the magic bridle. At the sight of this the horse stopped short, and kneeling down meekly, allowed Yvon to mount and so to ride him home. When the horse was safely shut in the Giant's stable, the young man took his seat upon the bench, and whistling softly a merry tune, closed his eyes to think of Finette. Thus his master found him soon afterwards.

"You lazy creature," he exclaimed, "why have you not done what I told you? Where is my horse?"

"In your stable, good master," was the unexpected reply. "He's a nice animal–I should not mind owning him myself."

"My horse a nice animal?" thundered the Giant. "You must be mad!" And he hurried off to the stable to see if Yvon had really succeeded in carrying out his orders. There stood the great horse, looking cowed and frightened, while the magic bridle hung in its usual place behind the door.

"You wretch," cried the Giant, as he went back. "My Finette must have helped you again!"

"'Mifinet'–what's that?" inquired Yvon with the air of stupidity that he had worn the day before.

"You wil1 know soon enough," growled his master, going off to bed. As Yvon slept on his own hard couch, he dreamt of the day when his fortune would be made, and he could make Finette his wife. It was still quite early when the Giant aroused him by calling his name.

"Go to my mountain cavern," he commanded, "and bring me a sack of my buried treasure."

"Very well, good master," Yvon replied, without betraying the slightest astonishment; and he pretended to sweep the stable until the Giant had gone off for the day. He then hastened to Finette, who was waiting for him just inside the door, anxious to know what task the Giant had set him now.

"Where is his mountain cavern, and how can I reach it?" Yvon inquired. "Can you help me again? I confess I am at a loss as to how to find it."

"You must take this wand," said Finette, handing him the little switch of hazel she had been hiding behind her apron, "and strike it three times against that huge black rock you see half up the mountain. A hideous goblin will at once appear, and ask you roughly what you want. 'My master's treasure,' you will reply. 'How much?' he will ask you next. 'Not more than I can carry,' will be your answer.

"He will then lead you into a deep grotto with walls of gold, where there are lustrous gems strewn all around. Fill your sack with these, and be careful not to speak. When you have taken as much as you can carry away comfortably, pass out in silence, and hasten back to me."

"I will do exactly as you tell me, dear Finette," Yvon assured her. They talked together until the sun told them it was midday; then he bade her a tender farewell, and set off again for the mountains.

When he came to the black rock, everything happened as he had been told, and he followed the goblin into a cavern stacked with the most brilliant rubies and pearls, and emeralds, that he had ever seen. Stifling his exclamation of wonder, Yvon filled his sack as calmly as if they were only dried peas, and followed his strange guide back to the open air. It did not please him to be impolite, but remembering Finette's warning, he refrained from bidding his goblin guide farewell.

He had acarcely reached the Giant's house when his master reappeared.

"Have you carried out my command?" he asked in tones that would have made a man less brave than Yvon tremble.

For answer the youth opened the sack, and displayed the shining treasure that it contained. Instead of thanking him for his services, the Giant became convulsed with rage.

"This is the work of my Finette!" he roared, and for the third time Yvon feigned ignorance of his meaning, and anxiously inquired what "Mifinet" might be.

The Giant did not sleep that night, but paced his room as if in deep perplexity. In her cheerless chamber below poor little Finette heard the thud of his footsteps, and wondered what fresh harm he was planning against her lover. When morning came, he rode away without setting Yvon another task, and this she felt was a bad sign.

"Go and sit on the bench," she entreated, as Yvon hastened to her when the Giant had gone. So he sat in the sunshine and whistled merrily until the Giant returned. Directing upon him a look of the direst hatred, the ferocious monster told Finette to fetch a knife.

Y OU must kill that youth," he said, "for I want some soup. He is good for this, if for nothing else. I will take a nap while you prepare it. See that you flavour him properly, and put in plenty of salt."

Very soon his deep breathing told Finette he was asleep, and she flew back to Yvon with a knife in her hand.

"You are not going to kill me, sweetheart, surely?" he said, as he glanced at its gleaming blade.

Finette's laugh was her only answer, and putting her golden head very close to his dark one, she whispered in his ear.

H OLD out your hand," she said.

Yvon did so smilingly, and with a deft stroke of the sharp knife she cut his finger, so slightly, however, that only three drops of blood fell on the stone-paved yard.

"Now come with me," she cried, and led him into the house.

Filling one of the big iron cauldrons half full of water, she placed this over the fire which she and Yvon had lit between them, and flying back to the garden, threw a heap of onions and other vegetables into a deep bag. Returning with these, she poured them into the cauldron, adding a measure of pepper and two of salt. She then entreated Yvon to throw in also his cap, his jacket, and his leather gaiters.

When this had been done, she left the cauldron and its contents, and entered the third chamber that led from the hall. From the golden soup in the iron pot there, she made three gold bullets, and slipped these into her pocket. In the second chamber she made two silver bullets from the silver soup, and in the first a large bullet of copper.

"Now let us escape," she cried, "before the Giant awakes." And hand in hand they flew down the road as fast as their feet could carry them.

Presently the Giant awoke.

"Finette," he cried; "is that soup ready?"

"Not yet, dear master," replied the first drop of blood, and the Giant turned over and went to sleep again. When next he woke and called "Finette," the second drop of blood answered his question about the soup in the same manner, and when he demanded it for the third time, the third drop cried "Not yet."

A little while later he woke again, and this time there was no response, so grumbling and threatening, he slouched to the kitchen, where the cauldron was bubbling merrily. A savoury smell greeted him as he entered, but his suspicions were aroused by Finette's absence. He seized a huge fork, and stirred the soup vigorously, fishing out Yvon's boots and coat, and even his cap. These did not deceive him, however, as Finette had vainly imagined they would; with a howl of rage, he quickly drew on his seven-league boots, and started in pursuit of the fugitives.

S 0 swiftly did he travel in their wake that before long Yvon and Finette heard his panting breath. With much presence of mind, the maiden threw the copper bullet behind her, exclaiming, "Save us, bullet!" The ground immediately opened, and a huge chasm now separated them from their pursuer. The enraged Giant tore up a great tree as if it had been a sapling, and throwing it over the chasm thus made a bridge, by means of which he crossed the gap, and again overtook Finette and Yvon just as they reached the coast.

Finette now threw a silver bullet into the sea, and at this a ship immediately appeared, in which she and Yvon took instant refuge. As it bore them onward over the swelling waves, the great Giant waded after them. He had all but reached the ship when Finette threw her second silver bullet into the sea. Suddenly a monstrous fish appeared from the depths below, and rushed through the water with open mouth. The Giant, like most bullies, was a coward at heart, and, shaking with fear, he retreated to land as quickly as he could.

"We are safe now, dearest!" cried Yvon joyfully, when they saw his huge black form scuffling away in the distance; but Finette trembled still.

"I am not so sure," she told him doubtfully. "The Giant has a dreadful aunt on the other shore, who will be just as eager to harm us when she hears we have escaped. We shall not be safe until we reach your father's castle."

The rest of their voyage passed uneventfully, and it seemed as if the young couple had come to an end of their troubles. Finette had grown more beautiful every day, but when they had almost arrived at Yvon's home, the young man looked at her critically for the first time.

SUDDENLY A MONSTROUS FISH APPEARED

Y OU are indeed most lovely," he told her ardently, "and as sweet and charming as man could wish. But it would never do for you to enter my father's castle on foot, and in such plain and homely attire. I will leave you here while I fetch you a rich robe befitting the station you are to occupy, and the finest carriage in our stables shall bear you to my home."

Finette demurred at this, with many tears. She feared to be left alone, she said, and entreated her lover to take her with him. But although she looked more beautiful than ever, Yvon refused.

"It is your turn now to trust me, even as I trusted you," he said. "You must believe my word when I tell you that I will soon return."

"Before you go, then," begged poor Finette, "promise me that you will neither eat nor drink until we are once more together."

Yvon promised this with fond caresses, and Finette was forced to let him go.

The sound of music greeted him as he entered the castle by a secret passage, not liking to be seen in his present plight by the gaily dressed throng that filled the courtyard. The marriage of his eldest sister was then being celebrated, and though Yvon loved his sister dearly, and would have liked nothing better than to take part in the ceremony, he would not delay a moment, even to wish her joy. He made a confidante of the old woman who had nursed him in his childhood, and soon obtained from her an exquisite satin robe, embroidered with pearls and diamonds, that belonged to one of her fair charges, and with this in his knapsack, he made his way to the castle gates. As he was passing through them a golden-haired lady offered him a cup of rich red wine.

"You will not refuse to drink my health?" she cried, as he put it aside; and rather than appear ungallant, he raised it to his lips and drank.

Alas! it was magic wine–the wine of forgetfulness; and as he drained the jewelled cup all thoughts of Finette passed out of his mind. The golden-haired lady was the Giant's aunt, and this was just what she had schemed. Looking dazed and miserable, he raised his hand to his aching head; but she led him back into the castle and soothed him with gentle speech. When she saw him among the guests the old nurse thought he had been but joking when he asked her for the dress, which was tossed aside and soon forgotten.

For the first few hours after her lover's departure Finette awaited his return in the happy confidence inspired by his parting words.

"He will surely come soon," she said, as the shadows lengthened; but when the primrose lights faded into a deep violet, and the light of the evening stars shone clear in a sombre sky, her fears came back to her.

"He has forgotten me," she sighed, and sorely perplexed as to what would now be her fate, she wandered on until she came to a little hut, where a peasant woman sat before the door milking a sleek grey cow.

"Will you give me a drink, good dame?" asked Finette faintly, for she was sick with hunger and disappointment.

"Willingly," replied the woman, "if you will give me a cup of gold!"

F INETTE felt in her pockets for one of the golden bullets, and dropped this into the vessel the woman laughingly held out to her. Immediately it filled itself with bright gold coins, which jingled together musically as she poured them into the woman's lap.

"I am rich! I am rich!" cried the dame in ecstasy. "I will leave you my hut and all that it contains, for I am off to the city, where I shall be a fine lady and live like a queen for the rest of my days." Without waiting even to stall her cow, she ran through the gate of the tiny garden, and was lost to sight in the dusk.

The hut was dirty, and meanly furnished, and the only food in the cupboard was a dry piece of cheese and a loaf of black bread. Finette was almost too weary to care what became of her, but she had just sufficient energy to take another golden bullet from her pocket and to murmur, "Help me, bullet!" as she threw it down. The mean little hovel instantly became a fair and spacious mansion, with staircase and furniture of purest gold, and beds and curtains of softest silk. Throwing herself down upon the first couch she came to, Finette soon fell asleep.

Meanwhile, the delighted peasant woman met the Mayor of the town, and proudly displayed her newly acquired wealth, explaining how she had come by it. The Mayor advised her to keep this to herself in future, since otherwise folk might doubt her word. He said this, however, not from consideration for her interests, but because he had instantly resolved to ask this wonderful girl to wed him, before any one else should learn of her fairy powers.

Next morning he dressed himself in his best, and rode to the beautiful mansion where the mean little hovel had once stood. Finette received him without emotion, and listened quietly as he asked her to be his wife.

"How do I know," she said, "that you would make me a good husband? Let me see the way in which you would set light to a fire."

With this object in view he took up the tongs, thinking unkindly that once she was his wife, he would soon teach her who was master.

"Hold him, tongs," cried Finette quickly, "and do not let him go until after sunset." As she uttered these words she left the house, and the iron tongs began to dance, still holding the indignant Mayor in an iron grasp. He was thus obliged to dance also, and as the tongs did not stop until nightfall, he was so exhausted when they set him free that he could only creep home and go to bed.

Of course the peasant woman had failed to keep her counsel, and by this time every one in the town knew the secret of her riches. A penniless young officer, who had already run through a large fortune thought that to obtain the hand of this strange young girl in marriage would be an excellent way in which to replenish his empty coffers. So he too dressed himself in his best, and donning his handsomest uniform proceeded to call on Finette, who had now returned to her fairy house.

The maiden listened to his proposal as gravely as she had done to that of the Mayor, and hesitated for some moments before attempting to reply. This so enraged the impatient soldier, that he forgot himself as an officer and a gentleman, and actually threatened her with his sword. Finette fled in dismay, for even in her service with the Giant she had not received such rough treatment. Brushing by the sleek grey cow, she took refuge in the stable, and the officer, hastening after her, caught hold of the animal's tail to push it out of the way. Seeing this, Finette exclaimed: "Hold him, tail, until the sun sets!" Deeply angered at the liberty that the officer had taken with her, the cow galloped off at the top of her speed. She raced over hill and dale, over rocky pathways and beds of bramble, so that by the time that dusk had arrived, and her tail let him go, the rude young man was almost dead with fatigue.

The knowledge of the discomfiture of her greedy suitors did not comfort Finette. She guessed by now that Yvon had forgotten her, and could she have seen what was going on at the castle, she would have known that her worst fears were realised. Oblivious as he was of all that had happened on the Giant's island, and unconscious of his dear Finette's very existence, he had fallen a victim to the charms of the golden-haired lady, little dreaming that her lovely form was but a disguise she had assumed to snare him.

In a very short time he had pledged his faith to her, and a second marriage was announced to take place in the Baron's family. The wedding-garments of the bride were a sight to behold, and the sprightliest horses in the castle stables were harnessed to the gilded coach that was to bear her to church with Yvon.

A S they rode on, a strange sadness overcame him. He could not tell why, but his brain was troubled by waking dreams, and he was haunted by the recollection of a pair of violet eyes that were very unlike those of his bride elect. When they neared Finette's house the horses pranced and curveted until one of the traces broke, and this took some time to mend. A few paces farther, this happened again, and so on continually, until it seemed as if the harness would drop to pieces. At this juncture the Mayor came forward.

"In that house yonder," he said, bowing respectfully to the bride, "there lives a lady who owns a pair of tongs that would hold together anything in this mortal world! If you send a message by one of your servants, she will doubtless lend them willingly."


"SHE RACED OVER HILL AND DALE"

A messenger was soon despatched to Finette's house, and returned shortly, bearing the tongs in question.

But now a new difficulty presented itself. No sooner had the harness been successfully patched up, than the carriage itself obstinately refused to stir. The splendid horses pulled with might and main, but it remained stationary, and as time was getting short, the bride became very angry. Yvon was marvelling at the change this made in her appearance when the handsome officer approached the carriage.

"If you will pardon the suggestion," he said, "I would advise you to apply for the loan of her cow to the lady who lent you the tongs. If the tail of that creature were switched on to the coach, your difficulties would be over. It could make anything go!"

The unknown lady proved to be as obliging as before, and soon the cow was pulling the carriage along at a furious pace. It arrived at the church in a few moments, but instead of stopping at the door, and allowing the wedding-party to alight, it continued to race round and round the sacred building as if it were urged by evil spirits, and then turned back to the Baron's castle, before the entrance of which it came to a dead stop. It was then much too late to think of returning to the church that day, and the Baron, wishing to lighten his guests' disappointment, decreed that the banquet should proceed as if the wedding had taken place. Before they sat down, however, he determined to invite the unknown lady who had so kindly lent Yvon her tongs and her cow.

I T is the least that we can do," agreed his son, and a messenger was despatched with a formal missive sealed with the Baron's grandest seal. In a short time he returned, but without the lady.

"What did she say?" inquired the Baron, anxious that his guests should be kept waiting no longer.

"She said, sire," returned the man, "that if the Baron desired her company, he must come and fetch her himself."

"She is right!" exclaimed the Baron. "It was most remiss of me not to have thought of this before."

So saying, he bade his guests amuse themselves with dancing until his return, and drove forthwith to Finette's house. Having thanked her with all the grace that he could muster for her services to his son, he handed her into the gilt coach, and she was thus escorted to the castle as if she had been some royal princess. Not only this, but when she arrived at the banqueting-hall, she was given the post of honour beside her host. A thrill ran through the company as they remarked her beauty, and the splendour of her attire; for her dress was of violet velvet, the same deep hue as her eyes, and so encrusted with gems that it flashed with her every movement. She was the centre of attraction to all but Yvon, who had eyes for no one save the golden-haired lady by his side.

Finette watched him with a heart full of anguish, feeling in the bosom of her rich gown for the single golden bullet that remained to her. As she pressed it between her slender fingers she gazed steadily at Yvon; he was whispering now to his lady-love, and Finette could have cried aloud in her pain. "Help me, bullet!" she murmured, and the golden ball became a golden cup, filled to the brim with wine the colour of rubies.

"Will you not drink my health, sir?" she cried to Yvon, who assented with a start. She passed him over the golden cup, and her face was white as a snowdrop. In spite of the detaining hand that the golden-haired lady laid on his arm, he quaffed it to its dregs. The next moment he started to his feet and stared round him in wild amazement.

"Where am I?" he asked, "and how do I come here? Ah, my sweet Finette, so I have found you again!" And hastening round to her side, he embraced her fondly. Once more he remembered everything that had happened since he left his father's house to seek his fortune, and it was well for the golden-haired lady that she made her escape before he had time to reckon with her.

C AN you ever forgive me, sweet?" he asked Finette, when he had received his parents' congratulations, and his brothers were envying him so lovely a bride. Finette smiled happily; she knew that but for the Giant's spells she would not have been forgotten, and her great joy made her lovelier than ever.

Yvon and she were married the following day, and this time, we may be sure, there was no hitch in the proceedings.

 

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FROM MANY LANDS: courtesy of Mary Mark Ockerbloom, A Celebration of Women Writers