Dedicated to Alyssa May Fairly, from Georgia USA.
In the first part we heard how young Yvon set out from his father’s castle in search of fame and fortune. He has met a mysterious and magical young woman called Finette. They have escaped from a giant, and are on their way back to the Kerver castle, belonging to Yvon’s father.
Adapted by Bertie.
Read by Richard.
Proofed and audio edited by Jana Elizabeth.
Yvon and Finette continued their sea journey until they arrived safely in Brittany. It was not far from the port to Kerver castle. When they arrived at the drawbridge, Yvon looked at his bride to be, the brave, ingenious, and enchanting Finette, and saw her in a new light. Yes, she was beautiful, but she was dressed in gypsy clothes. This was not the first impression he wanted his fiancé to give to his father.
“Dear Finette,” he said. “Wait here for a short time. I need to go into the castle alone to borrow some of my sisters clothes for you. I really want you to arrive in the home of my parents looking like a lady.”
As soon as he said this, a tear appeared in Finette’s eye. She held onto him and begged him not to leave her, for she was sure that he would forget her as soon as he entered the castle. This suggestion seemed preposterous, even insulting, to Yvon.
“Wait here,” he commanded haughtily. “I will not be long.”
Yvon took a secret passage into his family home. Once inside, he found the castle was full of music and dancing. He soon learned that guests had arrived for the wedding of his eldest sister, and there would be celebrations all week. He slipped unnoticed through the crowd and made his way to the room of his old nanny. She was delighted to see young Yvon safe and sound, and even more thrilled by the news that he had brought a fiancé with him. Of course she was only too happy to go to the room of one of his sisters and pick out a satin robe embroidered with pearls. As he passed back through the courtyard carrying this prize, his thoughts were full of how lovely Finette would look in the dress. However, a woman, one of the guests, stopped him and begged that he drink to the health of his sister. She offered him a goblet filled to the brim with red wine. It seemed rude to refuse. He took the goblet, and declared, “Here’s to the happiness of my beloved sister,” before gulping it down. And in that instance, he forgot all about his darling Finette, for the wine was enchanted with a forgetfulness spell.
Yvon joined in the merry making and the celebrations. His whole family was delighted to see him, and congratulated him on returning just in time for the happy occasion. Meanwhile, outside the castle, by the drawbridge, Finette waited, and wept.
In the early evening, she set off on her own in search of a place to stay for the night. On a little road, not far from the beach, she came across an old lady milking a cow outside her cottage.
“Good lady,” said Finette. “Can you spare a corner of your cottage where I may rest my head tonight?”
The old lady looked Finette up and down with astonishment. Finette seemed bright, gaudy, foreign and strange to her eyes.
“No I can’t,” she said firmly.
“In that case, may I sleep in your barn?” pleaded Finette.
“There is no room in my barn for a witch,” insisted the old lady.
“Please, do not call me a witch,” replied Finette. “I have fairy blood in my veins, and we fairies detest witches more than any other living things on earth.”
A glint appeared in the old lady’s eyes. “A fairy you say. It is well known that fairies have gold. If you pay me properly, you may stay the night in my barn.”
“Agreed,” said Finette. Then she plucked a gold bullet from her necklace and threw it into the old lady’s bucket with the spell:
"Golden bullet, precious treasure,
Save me, if it be thy pleasure."
And in the next instant the bucket filled with gold coins. The old lady ran her fingers through the coins, delighting in the music of money and its lovely clinking.
“For a payment like that, you can keep the house, the barn and the cow,” she said with generosity in her heart. “From now on I’m going to live the life of a true lady,” and with a long, loud and toothless cackle, she picked up the bucket and she strode off to Kerver town.
Finette bowed her head and stepped through the low door of her new home. She held her nostrils to save her nose from the pong.
“Phwaa,” she said, “I’ll have to do something about this.” She stepped out of the cottage and threw a golden bullet inside.
"Golden bullet, delightful gleam, Make my house nice and clean."
Kapow! The whole house and all the furniture inside, turned to glistening gold, and so too did the cow shed and the cow’s horns. The cow mooed in wonder.
At the same time, not so very far away, Yvon and the mysterious lady stood on the tallest tower of Kerver Castle and looked out in the direction of the sea. Yvon recalled dimly that he had enjoyed some adventure involving a ship, but he could not remember fully what had happened - no doubt, he thought, it had been a dream. He sighed,
“Don’t you love this time of day?” he said. “See, even that old hovel on the cliff looks like it has turned to gold in the light of the sunset.”
“Yes,” said his companion. “The walls glisten like fairy gold.”
“That’s a romantic thought,” said Yvon, “but I don’t believe in magic or fairies.”
“I am glad to hear it,” said the woman who had bewitched him.
Meanwhile, the old lady soon made her way to town, where she moved into the bridal suite on the top floor of the best hotel. The next morning she toured the shops, buying fine clothes in keeping with her new wealth and status. In the lobby of the hotel, she bumped into the Steward of Kerver. The pair knew each other. A few years back he had hit her with his riding crop after her cow had strayed into a field belonging to Kerver Castle.
“Hélène!” he exclaimed. “Is that really you? My, my, how you’ve changed. Tell me how you came by such fair and well deserved fortune?”
The old lady spilled out the whole story. The steward listened to her with a grave expression on his face.
“Do not repeat this to anyone, for less kindly souls than I would accuse you of black magic or some crime.”
As soon as he left the hotel, he climbed up on to his white horse and rode straight to the place of the old woman’s house. He found Finette on a golden stool outside the golden walls of her house, arranging some meadow flowers in a golden vase. He sprang from his horse, and went down on one knee.
“Good lady, I am the steward of Kerver, no less, and I have come all this way with an offer to marry you.”
Finette looked him up and down. “Marry you? How do I know you will be any good as a husband? You look like you’ve never done a days work in your life.”
“My shoulders are good and strong!” claimed the steward.
“Well, make yourself useful,” said Finette. “You see that rock of gold? Pick it up, take it inside my house, and put it down by the fireplace.”
“With pleasure my fair lady,” said the steward. But when he stopped to pick up the rock of gold, it was too heavy for him to lift, and when he tried to take his hands away, they stuck fast to the rock. Only then did the rock become lighter and lighter, but he did not lift it. It lifted him, and he rose off the ground and up, up into the air. He floated all the way back to Kerver Castle where he dropped straight down into the moat with a splash.
Back in town, the old lady was unable to keep her story to herself, and soon a penniless young soldier learned about Finette and her wealth. Early the next morning he arrived on foot at her golden cottage where he found Finette sweeping up the gold dust on her patio.
“Good fair lady, with your eyes so blue, you have won my heart, it is love at first sight. Will you may me this evening?” he asked.
“No,” she said. “Why should I?”
“Because if you don’t,” he said with his hand on the hilt of his sword, “I’ll drag you by your hair into town where they will burn you as a witch for all your evil magic!”
He was walking towards Finette in a menacing way when he felt something warm and soft nudge him in the back. He turned round and saw that it was a golden horned cow who was pressing him with her large nose.
“Be off with you!” he exclaimed. But the cow stood up on her hind legs and, taking the soldier with her front legs, began to dance. When he tried to free himself, he was unable, and he had to trot the two step with the cow all day long until she released him at sunset. After that, he was less keen on marrying Finette.
The next day a man in a white wig paid a visit to Finette’s gold cottage. He brought with him a parchment which he commanded her to sign.
“I cannot read,” confessed Finette. “Tell me what it says, and I will make my X where you suggest.”
“It is a contract of marriage,” said the lawyer. “You are a fortunate lady because if you marry me, you do not have to grow tired of seeing me every day. I am happy for us to live apart. Is that not the perfect marriage? The very definition of happiness? No quarrels, no irritations, just a legally binding contract.”
“I see what you are saying,” agreed Finette, “but first will you be so kind as to close the door, for I am feeling a draught?”
He obliged, but as soon as he reached the door, a blast of wind from the fireplace propelled him up into the air like a cannonball, and flung him all the way back to Kerver where he landed in a soft pile of horse manure.
While these gallant suitors were paying their compliments to Finette, the celebrations continued at Kerver Castle. The day of the ceremony arrived. The castle’s chapel was too small to fit all the wedding guests in pews. But that did not matter because Kerver town had a most beautiful church. A white coach pulled by six white horses left the castle with Yvon’s sister and her father, Baron Kerver. Where the road passed near the sea, the horses came to a halt. They refused to take another step. The coachmen and the soldiers coaxed and shouted, and hit the horses with whips but they refused to budge. The bride shed tears for she could hear the church bells ringing and she imagined the guests and the groom anxiously waiting for her. Eventually the steward, who was riding along behind the coach, said:
“Sir, over that hill lives a woman who performs magic. She can help you if she wishes, or is made to wish it.”
A young soldier, one of the guards, was sent to fetch the wicked woman. Some time later, he returned with Finette and her cow.
“Sir,” reported the soldier to the commander of the guard. “The woman insists that we must hitch her cow to the coach and it will pull the Baron and the bride to be to the church. I know how it looks sir, but I can vouch that I have seen this cow do things no ordinary cow can do, sir. I must also say sir, that this woman is very wicked, and she needs to be watched carefully.”
The soldiers hitched the cow to the coach, and with a loud moo, she set off down the road. The white coach trundled behind. It was hardly the most conventional way for a bride to arrive at her wedding, but she was happy to arrive at the church before her future husband gave up hope of ever seeing her again. She was married, and she and all the guests returned to Kerver castle.
Yvonne’s sister and her new husband travelled in the white coach pulled by the remarkable cow, and the Baron rode on his finest horse.
On the way back, they passed by the spot where the horses had refused to budge. Finette was waiting by the road, under close guard by three soldiers. The Baron called out:
“Young woman, what is your name?”
“Finette, sir,” she replied.
“Well Finette, you have saved my daughter’s wedding day. Come to the castle for tonight’s celebration. I’ll make sure a place is kept for you at the top table.”
And so it was, that the very same evening, Finette laid eyes once again on her beloved Yvon. But he was next to a woman with blonde hair. The woman who had bewitched him with magic. Finette sat opposite the couple. She looked directly at Yvon. He looked back at her, wondering if he had seen this brightly dressed woman before. His companion gave him a nudge, and he refilled her glass. Finette was not quite sure if she was more furious with Yvon or the enchantress. Eventually she took the last golden bullet from her necklace and tossed it across the table so that it landed with a plop in Yvon’s goblet of wine. She said the words:
“Golden bullet, the last of my charms,
Bring my man back to my arms.”
Yvon raised the goblet to his lips. The woman sitting next to him realised what was happening and tried to seize the cup away from him. Wine spilt on the table and onto her lap:
“Ahhhhh!” she cried because it was too late. Some drops of the liquid had reached his tongue. Memories were coming back to him. He said one word:
And the blonde woman began to grow wings, feathers and claws. With a loud CAWWWWWWW, she flew up to the rafters of the dining hall before swooping out through a window.
And the very next day Finette and Yvon were quietly married in the ancient chapel of Kerver Castle and lived happily ever after.
And I'm delighted to dedicate this story, to Alyssa May Fairly, from Georgia, USA, who turns 5 at the end of February.
Her mum tells me that she really enjoys the Katie the witch and the Bertie stories. But also listens to other stories, like the nutcracker. Alyssa May, I hope you enjoyed Finette and had a truly lovely birthday! And thank you to your family for supporting us on Patreon. We really appreciate your help in our bid to make the world a better place with free stories.
For now, from me Richard, goodbye.