The Ugly Maiden

The Ugly Maiden

A Story by Kia
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The fairytale of an ugly girl who seeks beauty through an evil sorcerer

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La Jeune Fille Laide

(The Ugly Maiden)

 

          There lived a Woodsman, once, in a small wooden cottage that was given three young daughters by a wife who died of illness. The first one’s name was Chanteur because she was blessed with a voice that could command the winds and weaken the hearts of all the young men. When she would sing, the townspeople would gather around her window scratching and clawing at each other to hear her voice. She was very beautiful, with hair that shined like the morning sun and eyes that twinkled like the midnight stars. The second daughter was named Grace, because she was very graceful in her steps. When she would dance, the flowers would sway along with her, corresponding with her elegance. With her movement, she could easily put men in a trance. Hundreds of them, even the princes begged to dance with her at gatherings and balls. She, too, was very beautiful with hair that shined like the morning sun and eyes that twinkled like the midnight stars.

            Now, the third daughter was quite shy and feared being seen by people. Unlike her sisters, she did not have hair that shined like the morning sun and eyes that twinkled like the midnight stars. Instead, her hair was dull and thinning, and her eyes were a doleful grey that turned people away. She had a wart on the tip of her nose and pale colored skin. Boils covered her face, and a large scar lay bare on her left eye. Because of her unattractive looks, the people called her La Jeune Fille Laide (The Ugly Maiden), and so much that her true name had been long forgotten. But although the maiden was very foul in appearance, she was quite pure at heart. When a beggar would come to her doorstep in need of food and money, she would give him all of what little she had. She loved the beggars, for only they knew her true heart. Her favorite was a young blind man, who wasn’t too many years from her own age. He was very kind in words and spoke with an honest tongue. When the maiden would cry, he would always cheer her up and make her forget about her burdens. The beggar wished that he could make a better life for her, but he had such little that he could care for no one, not even himself.

            Ashamed of his daughter’s appearances, the woodsman wouldn’t let the maiden go about the town like his other daughters. Instead, he kept her hidden; only allowed to venture a few yards away from the cottage, but the maiden would sneak away, hide her face in her hood, and go about the town.  

 Almost every evening, Chanteur and Grace would put on their finest dresses and finest shoes and appeal to the eyes of the civilians. It was one night that Chanteaur asked, “Dear Father, may I go to the ball, so that I may sing to the King and Queen and all of the royal peoples?”

“Yes, my daughter, but you must return before the midnight owl awakens for his nightly duties, for much evil waits in the darkness,” replied the woodsman. And Chanteur went along to the ball, sang with her lovely voice to the King, Queen, and royal peoples, and returned before the midnight owl had awakened.

The next night Grace asked, “My dear father, may I go to the ball so that I may dance with the prince and before all of the royal peoples?”

“Yes my daughter, but as I told your sister, you must return before the midnight owl awakens for his nightly duties, for much evil waits in the darkness,” replied the woodsman. And Grace went along to the ball and danced gracefully with the prince and before all of the royal peoples.

It was now that the maiden wished to go to the ball as well, in hopes of winning the heart of the prince whom she loved so dearly. She begged her father to let her go, but alas, he did not approve. Burdened by her father’s disapproval, the maiden hid her face away in her hood and snuck about to the ball. Now the maiden dared not stray too far into the woods, for deep beyond their bearing trees dwelled an evil sorcerer, The Black Prince, well known for stealing the innocence of many virgins and ridding them of their souls. He was so evil, that he had eaten the hearts of his own parents, and stolen the lives of a thousand dwellers. But although black at heart, the sorcerer was very beautiful in appearance, and no lady could deny him. And thus, the maiden stayed along the path that lead out into the palace.

            Now, when the maiden entered the King’s home, she saw all of the beautiful damsels and became quite envious, and this caused her to weep. And thus, a young man’s voice asked her, “Why dost thou shed a tear?”

The maiden turned around and saw that it was the fair prince. Fearing that he would rebuke her because of her foulness, the maiden hid her face more in her hood and said, “Why is it thy concern to worry over one such as me?”

“If one hears the sound of a virgin mourning, it is his place to dry the tears from her face,” replied the prince.

“I thank you, dear prince, but do not look upon my face for it is not what one wishes to see,” said the maiden.

“Do not be absurd!” Said the prince, “I only wish to see the fairness of a lady.”

“But, alas, Prince! Fairness is not something I possess,” cried the Maiden, and she began to scurry off. Because the maiden loved the prince so much, but was not courageous enough to speak to him, she did not pay attention as she was running and fell about over her dress. Upon the floor, she saw that her hood had fallen off of her, and alas, her face was revealed. The maiden feared this, for she had been banished from the palace before because of her foul appearances. And it was there that the people scoffed at her, and dared not look too hard upon her, for she was very ugly.

Then the King cried, “Fille Laide, you dare step foot into my castle! Alas! Be gone with you, and never return!”

And the maiden scurried for the castle doors as the people cried, “Fille Laide, you are banished from this land! How dare thou refuse the law!” and, “Fille Laide, do not look upon me! I do not wish to be cursed by your foulness!” and, “Fille Laide, you dare come upon these lands! Alas! Do not return to this palace!” And there was much more, but because there was so much cruelty and woe, not even I can reveal it all.

The maiden ran deep into the woods and fell about on her knees where she wept, and because she was so sad about the cruelty of the people and the heartbreak of the prince, she remained there to midnight after the owl had gone about his nightly duties. It was there that a mischievous old dwarf came upon her and said, “Fille Laide, what be the matter?”

And she looked upon his old, wrinkled face and saw that he was as hideous as she and felt quite secure to speak with him. “Oh dear wood dweller,” replied the maiden, “I went about to the ball and was shamed by the people. They laughed at me, scoffed at me, and filled my heart with woe. If only I were beautiful like the other damsels. Only then will I be happy.”

“Oh Maiden, ugly you are, indeed, but I am only a wee dwarf, and I have not the power to make thee beautiful, but perhaps the sorcerer can,” replied the dwarf.

“Alas, wood dweller! The Black Prince can only bring about black magic and would be of no good to me.”

“But, oh Fille Laide, his power be the greatest in the land. Only he is capable to help thee with thy problem,” said the cunning old dwarf.

 “But the sorcerer is evil! He is a seducer! With his charm, he steals the innocence and souls of many virgins!”

“But he wouldn’t dare take the innocence of one as foul as thee.”

“But, alas, his heart is black! He has devoured the flesh of man and taken the lives of a thousand!” Cried the maiden, “Oh, you foolish old dwarf! He even ate the hearts of his own father and mother as he would bread and drank the blood from their veins as he would wine.”

And the sly old dwarf, with his sinister slur said, “It is quite true what is said about the sorcerer, but my dear maiden, is it not so that thou art scorned by her own family and the people of the palace? Dost thou not shed a tear once a day? Thou fears to lose thy soul, but why not fear keeping it with a life as such?”

And the maiden began to believe that the dwarf’s words were quite becoming. Fearing that her decision would be changed by the foolishness of her heart, she said, “I no longer wish to speak with thee, you foolish old dwarf. Now, be gone with you!”

Then the dwarf, with his mischievous tongue said, “If thou wisheth to hold the heart of the prince, then change thy appearance.”

And the dwarf’s final words convinced the naïve little maiden, and with one last moment of hesitation she said, “If I have a change of heart, where would I go to look for this malevolent prince.”

And with a sinister snicker, the old dwarf pointed towards the woods, “Follow the dark path further into the woods and thou will be led to his cottage. Stay along the path and do not make any wrong turns for many beasts live among the woods, and one could quickly become lost. And though you will fear many things along the way, do not turn around, for then your wish will not be granted. Now go! Hurry! It be known that The Black Prince despises late visitors.” And the maiden hurried along her way into the woods.

When she got deep beyond the trees, she became frightened, for it was quite dark and no one was around besides her and the forest beast. She rapped herself in her hood from the cold and stayed along the path as the old dwarf had told her. It was there that she came across a spider that spun down from her web and said unto her, “My dear maiden, art thou a fool?! For what purpose dost thou have to wonder about the woods by thyself? Dost thou not know about the many dangers beyond the trees? Go home before death pursues thee!”

And the maiden said, “Dear, spider, I cannot go home, for my quest is very dear to me.”

“And what is this quest that be so dear?” Asked the spider.

. “Hideous and outcast, I no longer wish to be, and thus, I am going to see the Black Prince so that he may make me beautiful.”

“Alas, girl! Do not ye know of the wretchedness the Black Prince possesses? He will steal thy soul! He thirsts for the blood of his own kind even more than I, a spider!” Surely, you are not be so foolish to visit such a wretch.”

“But, oh, my dear spider, I must, or I will be burdened forever.” And tears ran down the maiden’s cheeks.

Then the spider, with her kind and compassionate heart, felt pity for the very unfortunate maiden and said, “Very well. If thou choose to stay along this foolish journey, then I will grant thee with a gift of protection.” Then the spider went into the tree, for her web was connected to its branches, and brought down sacred golden leaves. Then she said, “It is known that sorcerers adore these magical leaves, for no other creation posses as great of power as these. Bring this to him, and he may spare thy life.”

“Thank you, kind spider,” said the maiden, and as she went further into the woods, the spider called to her.

“Be safe along thy journey, and pray for thy protection, for I live within these woods and have seen many dangers far more frightening than the violence of any man.” And the maiden took the advice of the kind spider, and disappeared further into the woods.

It was then that the maiden came across a crow. And the crow said unto her, “Alas, Maiden! Does not ye know what awaits her in the deathly woods?”

And a tear came from the maiden’s eye. “Oh, dear, Crow. I know such a frightening journey may be bewildering to thee,” said she, “But with a life such as mine, I am willing to face such treacheries. I am quite hideous to all of those who behold me, and I seek The Black Prince so that he may make me beautiful.”

“But oh, dear maiden! You mustn’t visit one so vile! He wishes not to make thee happy but only to steal thy life.”

“But no happiness shall await me if I do not see him.” And the maiden continued to cry.

Because of her vigor and bravery, the crow said unto her, “Very well then, maiden. But before you visit him I ask that you take these divine grapes. Their juices create the finest wine in all the land, and no one, not even a sorcerer, could turn them down.” And he flew about to his nest and brought unto her the grapes.

“Thank you, kind Crow,” said the maiden. And she continued about on her journey.

It was soon that she came about an old bridge, and across its tarnished wood laid the sorcerer’s cottage. “At last” cried she, “My search is complete.” And the gallant little maiden crossed o’er the bridge and entered the abode. Oh, that it was empty! Even the rats feared to be in its presence. Cobwebs laid about its walls and dirt its floors, and the maiden with her little voice cried, “Dost no one dwell here?”

And from the darkness she heard a great voice cry, “Alas! Who dares intrude upon my rest?” And there about the sorcerer came before her, and the frightened little maiden fell upon her knees.

“Oh, forgive me,” cried she, “I mean not to intrude. I only seek to ask thee for thy service.”

“Fool!” Cried the sorcerer. “You dare step into my home and ask that I assist thee. To think that I should help one as hideous as thee! Be gone from presence!”

“Oh no, great prince! With a begging heart I ask that ye grant me with beauty.”

“Alas! I will not grant thee with a single blessing, for you have broken into my home and cursed my sight with thy foulness. Instead, I shall rip thy heart from thy chest, and eat it for my supper!”

“Oh, no! Please don’t eat my heart! I will grant thee with anything thou may wish for if thou will grant me my wish.”

“What could one, such as yourself, possess for one as great as I?”

Then the maiden remembered the leaves that the good spider had given her and took them from her cloak. “Alas, great prince! I may not have much but I shall grant thee with these enchanted leaves if thou will bless me with beauty.”

And The Black Prince looked upon the leaves and saw that they were of great value to him. And there upon, he said unto her, “Alright, foul maiden. I will grant thee with beauty, but the spell will last for three days. When it wears off do not return to me or else I will eat thy heart. Tonight, I do this one good for you, but alas foul maiden, it will never be done again. For one as handsome as myself to speak to one as hideous as thee is foolish, but I cannot deny the gift of which you bring.” And The Black Prince set six candles around the maiden, three on one side, three on the other, and lit them one by one. Then he cut the palm of his hand with a dagger, placed the blood on the maiden’s face and repeated:

 

“Blood from my veins, incense in the air,

make the maiden, beautiful and fair.”

 

And, alas! The maiden’s face melted away until all of the ugly was gone, and beneath it lied a face more beautiful than any woman in the land. And the maiden looked upon her reflection, and oh that she smiled so great, that the dead creatures and plants that were around came back to life! Then the maiden hurried on her way home so that she may show her sisters and father how beautiful she had become.

When the maiden came upon her family they were bewildered for they did not know who she was, but she explained to them all that the sorcerer had done for her and they welcomed her, and were so pleased of her new appearance that her father allowed her to go to the ball with her sisters, and the prince was so awed by her beauty, that he asked that she would come back to the castle every night. So every night, the maiden returned the castle and the palace, and everyone was blessed by her sight and wondered where such a beautiful damsel had come from; all except for the beggar that is. He knew the damsel was Fille Laide, for he was too blind to see that her appearance had changed, and when she would ask him of her changes, he became bewildered.

It wasn’t long before the maiden’s beauty began to fade, so on another night she went about into the woods seeking the castle of The Black Prince. When she came upon him he grew very angry and said unto her, “Alas, Maiden! You dare return to me?! Did not I warn you never to come upon my castle again?! Now, for what you have done, I will devour thy heart!”

“Oh, please, Great Prince!” Cried the maiden. “Do not eat my heart! My beauty is fading and I cannot bare to show my foulness to the people of the land once again.”

“You have disobeyed my command, and for that you will be punished!”

But the maiden remembered the grapes that the crow had given to her, and she said to the sorcerer. “I bring you these in return for your forgiveness.”

And the sorcerer took the grapes from her and saw that their juices were of good to him. “These grapes will make the finest wine in the land,” said he, “Very well then. I will make thee beautiful, but again, the spell will last for three days. When it wears off, do not dare return to me or I will surely eat thy heart.” And, once again, The Black Prince set six candles around the maiden, three on one side, three on the other, and lit them one by one. Then he cut the palm of his hand with a dagger, placed the blood on the maiden’s face and repeated:

 

“Blood from my veins, incense in the air,

make the maiden, beautiful and fair.”

 

Again, the maiden was beautiful, and she hurried home to show her father and sisters. When she came upon them, they still could not believe what the sorcerer had done for her, but they knew that it was her for her character had not changed. And every night the maiden returned to the palace to see the prince of whom she had found love with, and all the people were blessed by her beauty; all except the beggar, of course, for he was still blind and new not the changes that came upon the maiden.

But three days had again passed and the maiden saw that her beauty was fading. And although she remembered all that the sorcerer had heeded, she still feared becoming hideous far more than any of his powers. So it was on another night that the maiden returned to the woods, seeking the castle of The Black Prince, and when she got there, he became so enraged the entire castle shook, “Alas!” Cried he. “You dare return to me after I had warned thee again, not to return? Tonight, I will surely devour thy heart!”

“Oh, please!” Cried the maiden. “I only long to be beautiful!”

“Silence! I have warned you before, but you again have disobeyed me.”

And the maiden began to weep, for she knew that she had nothing to give to The Black Prince in return for his forgiveness and the gift of beauty. “I’ve not much, oh great prince. I have little and I am far too ugly to please thee.”

Then the sorcerer came up with a sinister idea. And he said unto the maiden, “Okay, Fille Laide, I will have compassion. I will grant thee with beauty that will last until the day of thy death, but if thee wishes to find love and happiness in thy beauty then thou must prove that she can do so. Before the beginning of the new year, thou must get someone to fall in love with thee for thy true self, but if thou should fail, then thy soul becomes mine.”

The maiden feared to bargain with the sorcerer, but was willing to give up anything for beauty, so she said unto The Black Prince, “I will do it.”

And he set six candles around the maiden, three on one side, three on the other, and lit them one by one. Then he cut the palm of his hand with a dagger, placed the blood on the maiden’s face and repeated:

 

“Blood from my veins, incense in the air,

make the maiden, beautiful and fair.”

 

And again the maiden became beautiful. Glad about her new appearance, the maiden ran home to her father and sisters, and once again astonished them with her beauty, but she had not forgotten the bargain she had maid with sorcerer, and she rushed to the palace to make the prince fall in love with her. She danced with him at the ball and spent every night and day with him, and it wasn’t long before the prince proposed to her, and she grew very delighted, but the heart of the beggar had become broken, for he had loved her all along. And on the night before the year was over, the prince and the maiden were married and she rejoiced, for she knew now that she would forever keep her beauty. But the next morning that the maiden awoke, she saw that she had become weak. She could hardly move and all around her grew darker. The maiden could not understand what was going on, but that night the sorcerer appeared to her in a dream, and she said unto him, “I have done what you said, Black Prince. I have made the prince fall in love with me, so why art thou stealing my soul?”

“You fool!” Cried he. “The prince has married thee but never truly loved thee. Once thou became beautiful, he refused to marry any woman of less fairness.”

“Oh, Black Prince, give me another chance. I will show thee that I can be loved for who I truly am.”

And The Black Prince considered this and said, “Very well, Maiden. I will grant thee with one last chance, but alas, thou will be granted with only one day to prove that one can love thee for thy true self, and if thou cannot, then I shall take thy soul.” And The Black Prince left into the darkness.

The next morning the maiden hurried in search of the beggar, for she knew that he was the only one who could ever see her for who she truly was on the inside. She searched the whole palace, but alas, he could not be found. And night fell, once again, when the maiden began to give up, and she returned to the old cottage where stood the blind beggar. And she hurried to him, gave him a kiss and cried, “Oh, beggar! It is I. I will grant you with my care, and bless you with all my love.”

But the beggar did not recognize her.

“Oh, beggar,” cried she, “dost thou not know who I am. I am the one they once called Fille Laide. I wish to share my love with you.”

But the beggar did not believe her and was unaware of who was speaking to him.

“Oh, begger,” again, cried she, “Dost thou not remember me?”

And the beggar said unto her, “Be gone stranger! Thou surely cannot be the woman I love! For the woman I love does not seek riches and beauty. She is kind at heart and cares for those who care for her.” And because the beggar knew not who she was, he could not love her. And the maiden hurried off into the woods, but it had become too late. The Black Prince had taken from her her soul, leaving behind what she had so many times begged him for; a beautiful body. And when the sorcerer collected her soul, he said one more thing unto her…

 

TRUE BEAUTY LIES IN THE SOUL.”

© 2012 Kia


Author's Note

Kia
I am a very big fan of classic fairy-tale authors such as The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, and I thought I'd write a fairytale of my own in their original style. I even jumped into Aesop a little by adding a moral at the end :) ... I am still practicing with old english, so if you find any words being used improperly, please inform me in a respectful way.

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Added on October 19, 2012
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Tags: fairytale, story, short story, horror, childrens

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Kia
Kia

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I've been writing poems for a very long time, most of my life, but anything that I write or have ever written has come purely from my heart. I've never written a poem just for the sake of writing a po.. more..

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