book has been chosen to represent the French language speaking part of
Belgium and to complement the theme of 'witches' represented in 'Lotje
Marguerite, a witch, is furious because none of the toad princes will
marry her, so she goes home and talks to Parrot, her only friend. The
next day she seems happier, and goes out into the woods to collect the
ingredients for making potions to sell at the market. After having slept
soundly with Parrot, she wakes up to find that it is snowing and outside
her window is a snowman. Marguerite, however, thinks that this snowman
is her prince who has come at last, so she dresses up beautifully and
Unfortunately nobody comes, so Marguerite goes out and puts a spell
on the snowman and then sleeps for a long time. (You can see in the illustrations
that the mice have reproduced and she has cobwebs in her hair.) Meanwhile,
the village people are talking and Marco, the baker who has loved the
witch in secret for years, prepares two loaves for her. On the way to
her house he borrows the hat from the snowman. As a consequence, Marguerite
thinks that her spell has worked and whispers to Parrot ' You see, I wasn't
dreaming, my prince has arrived!'.
3 Spurring on her billy Margaret galloped through the fields. The
sorceress was mad with fury: she had just been refused by Prince Seemy.
Now he was tied up and gagged and he squirmed.
4 When they reached the pond she freed him. Twelve other toads appeared
at once. The fattest croaked: 'Another one, you wicked witch! Enough is
enough! I command you to free us from your spells!'
5 'My dear Vigor, you still sound like a prince but you are only a bag
of wind! From now on it is me who gives the orders. Goodnight, little
darlings! Sweet dreams!'
6 Crushing bushes of bramble and thistle, the sorceress headed directly
7 'And' asked Tattle, 'did he like you?' 'No,' Marguerite sighed, 'and
what's more, he was the last prince around.'
8 'But why on earth do you want a prince as your man, at any price? Why
not simply marry a sorcerer instead?' 'Pea-brain! Have you ever heard
anybody sing One day my sorcerer will come?'
9 'Uhm, I think so, yes.' 'You are lying, you bag of words! It is about
a prince it is, and I want one too!
10 The next day, Marguerite sawed logs all morning, lit a fire with vervain
plants and simmered a soup made from roots.
11 Then she went picking plants and mushrooms to prepare the potions which
she sold in the market.
12 After dinner she sunk into her big bed, pressed her pillow tightly
to her heart and slept.
13 It had never snowed around here before. Still, that night, the sky
opened wide and millions of flakes descended down to earth.
14 In the morning Marguerite jumped for joy: 'Tattle, wake up! Do you
see what I see? My prince has arrived. He is wearing a white coat and
black hat and he has a pipe between his teeth. He is so handsome.'
15 'Surely, it's an illusion', Tattle grumbled. 'You're jealous', the
sorceress cried out. 'You will spoil everything! Into the cupboard with
you, you blabbermouth!'
16 Marguerite put on her prettiest dress, sat in her armchair and waited.
Since nothing happened, she looked out of the window: her prince had not
moved an inch.
17 She thought that he was shy and that she should wait a bit longer.
But the hours passed and anger rose in her heart. 'Perhaps the scoundrel
has a date with another!', she said to herself.
18 When evening fell, Marguerite went out and shouted: 'Why do you stand
there and torment me? If you don't want to answer me, it will be too bad
19 Marguerite the sorceress knows how to seek revenge On those who will
not love her. By the power of the big crow, may the wolves eat you in
20 She kicked the door shut with her foot and rushed up the stairs four
at a time. The wolves started to howl.
21 In tears, Marguerite collapsed on her bed. She cried and cried, and
then slept for days and nights on end.
22 After a week, the villagers started to wonder about the disappearance
of the sorceress. No longer was she to be seen in the market and her potions
that were so good for you were sorely missed.
23 But saddest of all was Marco the baker. Marguerite was his favourite
client. He was even secretly in love with her. That day, he made up his
mind. He wrapped two big fresh loaves of bread in a white cloth and crossed
24 At the edge of the forest he found a pipe, a broom and a black hat
which he put on. Far away some toads were having a row.
25 With his heart beating fast, Marco arrived at Marguerite's door. The
house was plunged into silence. He knocked. Nothing stirred.
26 Then he knocked with three big knocks that echoed loudly thoughout
the house. Marguerite awoke.
27 She stretched herself and smiled. She tidied her hair.
28 .then she opened the door. 'Mister Marco, so it was you! Where did
you leave your white coat? Don't tell me, I understand: the wolves.
29 Please excuse me! I will make you other more beautiful coats. Come
and make yourself at home. I have been waiting for you for so long.'
30 Marco put the loaves of bread on the table and lit the open fire.
31 . while Marguerite opened the door of the cupboard and whispered to
the parrot in his ear: 'You see, I did not dream: my prince has arrived!'
NB This is a working translation
for educational purpose only.
for use in school:
1. Discuss similarities and differences between other stories relating
to princes/ princesses
eg 'Beauty and the Beast'; 'Princess Smartypants' etc.
2. Ask the children to look carefully at the illustrations. Do they think
that the illustrator has been influenced by other artists/children's illustrators?
You might like to make a collection of any books that you think may have
been instrumental in this process and put them on display in the classroom.
3. The children might like to do their own research into folk/fairy tales
and maybe write their own, perhaps changing the characters or the plot
of the story slightly.
Similarities and differences that occur in folk/fairytales when they
move from one culture to another.
literature and language-based activities can be found in
Picture Books sans Frontières available