Wednesday, June 16, 2004

L'Aventure d'une jeune fille livresque/The Adventures of a Bookish Young Woman

(Translated from the French because I wrote it for class; in the style of Perrault)

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who loved to read novels and fairy tales. She searched everywhere for good stories from every country and every culture: England, Germany, Japan, and of course, France. She loved les contes by the French writers of the 17th century: La Belle au bois dormant, La chat blanche, L'Aventure de Finette, Cendrillon,etc. She wanted to read them in their original language, and so, she worked very hard and studied for a long time. Finally, she traveled to France, and she settled in a small town. One day, she decided to look for a French edition of les contes des fees. But, unfortunately, she had some trouble. It was very hot that day, and the sun beat down on our heroine, who was not dressed for the weather. First she tried an antique bookstore. She saw many beautiful old books. She looked and looked, but she couldn't find any contes des fees. So, she asked the proprietor:
"Do you have a copy of the 17th century contes des fees?"
He looked at her blankly.
"Les contes de Charles Perrault? Or Madame d'Aulnoy, maybe?"
"Er, I don't know," he replied. "You could look, if you want."
That's strange, thought our heroine. A shop owner who doesn't know his own merchandise!
But, at each bookstore she went to, it was the same story. When she asked, "Do you have the works of Charles Perrault or Madame d'Aulnoy?" they always replied, "No," or "I don't know," or "Maybe." She kept searching, but it was difficult because French bookstores are badly organized. Finally, she found a copy, but she learned that one needs luck and determination in a French bookstore!

FIN (The End)

And when I say French bookstores are badly organized, I'm not kidding. They just kind of pile them willy-nilly, where ever they have room. I've decided that French bookstores exist in an Alice in Wonderland universe. Like in Through the Looking Glass when Alice has to walk away from the house to get to the house, in a French bookstore you'll only find what you're looking for if you're not looking for it. If you actively search, it turns into the Sheep Shop, moving up to the next shelf until it disappears through the ceiling.


At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The internet is a little easier to navigate than a French bookstore, so check out for Dore's illustrations of Perrault's contes, and then there's a general index at .

Probably something to play around with when you're not busy and in France! :) Hope you're having fun. -L.


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