Monday, November 30, 2009

Reader's Diary #549- Emile Zola: The Fairy Amoureusse

Last week Eva over at A Striped Armchair reviewed a bunch of short stories including, my choice for this week, Emile Zola's "A Fairy Amoureuse." Eva had piqued my curiousity by her mention of the narrator, who remains unknown, but addresses the story to Nanon, a young girl, as the 2nd person. In effect, I, the reader, must become Nanon to hear the tale. Such reader participation is right up my alley.

However, the narrator becomes a little too interesting, for an altogether different reason. Eva had suggested that the narrator is probably an old nursemaid, but a clue at the end, suggests to me that this isn't the case.

The story begins,
Do you hear the rain, Nanon, beating against the windows? And the wind sighing through the long corridor? It’s a horrid night, a night when poor wretches shiver before the gates of the rich, who dance indoors in rooms bright with many gilded chandeliers. Take off those silk slippers of yours, and come sit on my knee before the blazing hearth. Lay aside your gorgeous finery: I’m going to tell you a pretty fairy tale this evening.

and follows with a fairy tale about a young couple whose loving embraces are kept secret and safe from the wrath of a cranky uncle thanks to the protection of the Fairy Amoureuse.

As the fairy tale comes to a close, readers are once again to assume the role of Nanon...
And now, Nanon, when we go to the country, we shall look for the two magic marjorams and ask them in which flower we may find the Fairy Amoureuse. Perhaps, my dear, there is a little moral hidden in this tale. However, I have told it to you here, as we sit stretched out before the hearth, just in order to make you forget the December rain beating against our windows, and in the hope that it will inspire you to love a little more the young man who told it to you.

I'm sorry? The "young man"? Um, what moral is that? That our love might remain a secret? Creepy!

With that new hindsight, go back and read the intro again and the part about laying aside my finery. No thanks, Humbert, my finery's staying put!

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday this week? If so, please head over to Sasha's to leave a link. She's hosting this week!)


Eva said...

That does make it MUCH creepier, lol. I don't know I misread that sentence-I read it as "love a little more the young man you've been telling me about" or something like that.

John Mutford said...

Eva: I had to get my wife to read it afterward, just in case I too had missed something. I almost wish I had! A couple weeks ago I did miss a detail in a story by Lee Henderson-- a detail that would have made a difference to my understanding of it. Easily done!

Anonymous said...

Hi, John -- I just put up the post. Do drop by. :)

- Sasha

Anonymous said...

PS - I had to access you site as a "cache" -- I can't go to you through Chrome, or Firefox. :(

JoAnn said...

I like Zola and have printed this story out to read later. My short story Monday is on Tuesday this week, since I wanted to wait until December to start Christmas stories.

Unknown said...

I think zola had written such a wonderful work ... After reading this the fairy amourese... I prefer to read other works of him

BUVANESH B E said...

Plz send me i want to read this

Unknown said...

How is it creepy? It's cute! The narrator narrates the story in hopes that Nanon would be moved to love him even more

John Mutford said...

Buvanesh: I've updated the link to the story in the post. Should work now.

Unknown: It's been a while. I don't recall!