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!)