Today’s tale is very similar to one I shared a couple of weeks ago, The Rabbit Herd, but it has May in the name, which is how I found it. “The Three May Peaches” was collected by Paul Delarue in The Borzoi Book of French Folk-Tales, 1956.
A king of Ardenne had a beautiful daughter who was sick. A doctor declared that the three finest May peaches would save her, but then she would have to marry within a week or fall sick again. Many men came with peaches, but none saved the princess. A woman had three sons, and the oldest set out with the finest peaches from their orchard. He met an old woman who asked what he had; he claimed rabbit dung, she said that so it was, and when he got the castle, that was what he carried. When will fairy tale characters learn to be nice to old women? His next brother set out next, told the old woman he carried horse dung, and again found that was what he carried. The youngest, who was short and regarded as a little simple, persuaded his mother to let him try as well, and told the old woman that he carried the peaches to cure the princess, and she said so it was and also gave him a silver whistle. I think he might have just not been smart enough to lie, but it definitely served him well, since when he got to the castle, eating the peaches revived the princess.
The king did not want such a puny little son-in-law. He told the boy he had to herd a hundred rabbits and not lose one for four days. The first day, the rabbits scattered, but the boy used the whistle to bring them back. The second day, the king sent the princess to get one; the boy would only trade one for a kiss, and when she had it and had reached the gates of the castle, he used the whistle, and it came back. The next day, the king sent the queen to get one; the boy would only trade one if the queen turned three somersaults, and when she did, the king locked it in a room but the boy used his whistle and it came back through a window. The fourth day, the king went himself. The boy would only trade it if the king kissed his donkey’s behind. When the king had gotten the rabbit, he had it killed and skinned and put on to casserole, but the boy used his whistle and it jumped out of the dish, back into its skin, and back to the boy. Really, the princess and her family got off easier in this version of the story than in the last.
Then the king said that the boy had to fill three sacks with truths. He said the princess had kissed him for a rabbit, and that filled the first sack; the queen had turned somersaults for a rabbit, and that filled the second. The king stopped him and let him marry the princess. So, I guess the king was more afraid of being embarrassed than of having the boy as a son-in-law. I wonder how the princess felt about it. I can’t tell if the youngest really was a little dull. Usually, the youngest sons are the heroes and he did figure out how to marry the princess.
I have a brother-in-law who loves peaches and I love blueberries. I might try making this cobbler from the Food Network for game night one of these days.
Peach and Blueberry Cobbler
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoons cornstarch
5 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into thick slices
2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
4 tablespoons melted
For biscuit dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
1/3 cup light cream
2 tablespoons each of melted butter and sugar
Whipped cream or ice cream, optional
For the filling mix sugar with cornstarch and toss that with peaches and blueberries. Transfer them to the bottom of a lightly buttered shallow baking dish (9 or 10-inch round pyrex pie plate or 8-inch square one) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
For the dough, in a food processor combine the flour, baking powder and salt; cut in chilled butter and process with cream to make a dough. Roll out to about 1/2-inch thick into a shape to fit your baking pan. Or cut into biscuits and set biscuits, touching each other over fruit. Drizzle biscuits with melted butter and sugar and bake for 40 minutes or until biscuits are golden and fruit underneath bubbling.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with cream or ice cream.
Sounds yummy and pretty easy.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.