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Rationale - Re-telling - Translation - Activities - Reflection

Country: Belgium
Language: French
Title: Un jour mon Prince viendra (One day my Prince will come)
Author: Nève A. & Crowther K.
Publisher: Pastel, l'ècole des loisirs (1995)
ISBN:2 211032 94x
Chosen by: Michel Defourny
Maître de Conferences, Université de liège, Lange-voie 65, 4040 Herstal, Belgium.


Rationale for Choice:
This book has been chosen to represent the French language speaking part of Belgium and to complement the theme of 'witches' represented in 'Lotje is Jarig'.

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 waits.
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 for home.
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 for you!
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 one go!'
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 the village.
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.

Activities 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.

Reflection: Similarities and differences that occur in folk/fairytales when they move from one culture to another.

NB Further literature and language-based activities can be found in
Picture Books sans Frontières
available from or

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ncrcl november 2004