20. Family Council
While Rosette was only occupied with smiling and pleasant thoughts, the king, the queen and the princesses Orangine and Roussette were choking with rage. They had all assembled in the queen’s room.
“This is too horrible,” said the princesses. “Why did you send for this Rosette, who has such dazzling jewels and makes herself admired and sought after by all these foolish kings and princes? Was it to humiliate us, my father, that you called us to the court at this time?”
“I swear to you, my beautiful darlings,” said the king, “that it was by the order of the fairy Puissante I was compelled to ask her to come. Besides, I did not know that she was so beautiful and that——”
“So beautiful!” interrupted the princesses. “In what way do you find her so beautiful? She is indeed ugly and coarse. It is her magnificent attire alone which makes her admired. Why have you not given to us your most superb jewels and your richest robes? We look like young peasants by the side of this proud princess.”
“And where could I possibly have found jewels as magnificent as hers? I have none which would compare with them. It is her godmother, the fairy Puissante, who has lent her these jewels.”
“Why, then, did you summon a fairy to be the godmother of Rosette, when you gave to us only queens for our godmothers?”
“It was not your father who called her,” cried the queen. “The fairy Puissante herself, without being called, appeared to us and said that she would be Rosette’s godmother.”
“It is not worthwhile to spend the time quarrelling,” said the king. “It is better to find some means of getting rid of Rosette and preventing Prince Charmant from seeing her again.”
“Nothing easier than that,” said the queen. “I will have her robbed tomorrow of her rare jewels and her beautiful robes. I will order my servants to seize her and carry her back to the farm which she shall never leave again.”
The queen had scarcely uttered these words, when the fairy Puissante appeared with an angry and threatening air. “If you dare to touch Rosette,” she said, with a thundering voice, “if you do not keep her at the palace, if she is not present at all the parties, you shall feel the terrible effects of my anger. You unworthy king and you heartless queen, you shall be changed into toads and you, odious daughters and sisters, shall become snakes. Dare now to touch Rosette!”
Saying these words, she disappeared.
The king, the queen and princesses were horribly frightened and separated without saying a single word but their hearts were filled with rage. The princesses slept but little and were yet more furious in the morning when they saw their eyes heavy and their faces contorted by evil thoughts. In vain they used an enormous amount of make-up. They had no longer one iota of beauty. The king and queen were as unhappy and as despairing as the princesses and indeed they saw no remedy for their grief and disappointment.