Aulnoy, Madame Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Comtesse d’. "Le Prince Lutin." Les contes des fées. Tome premier, Paris, Chez Claude Barbin, au Palais sur la second perron de la Sainte-Chapelle, 1698, pp. 224-335.


Book Title

Aulnoy, Madame Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Comtesse d’. "Le Prince Lutin." Les contes des fées. Tome premier, Paris, Chez Claude Barbin, au Palais sur la second perron de la Sainte-Chapelle, 1698, pp. 224-335.

Book Author/Editor

Aulnoy, Madame Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Comtesse d’

City of Publication


Country of Publication



Chez Claude Barbin, au Palais sur la second perron de la Sainte-Chapelle





Fairy Tale Title

Le Prince Lutin

Author of the Chapter/Fairy Tale

Aulnoy, Madame Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Comtesse d’


A king and queen have a malformed son named Furibon. Though his appearance is frightful, his temperament is truly ugly, causing him to be greatly disliked in the court. The king hires a governor and tells Furibon to obey him, though Furibon is generally incorrigible. The governor's son, Leandre, is by contrast handsome and well-liked. One day, some ambassadors come to the court and, seeing Leandre and Furibon together, bow to Leandre believing him to be the prince. They tease Furibon, believing him to be the prince's dwarf. Furibon is furious pulls out Leandre's hair. Leandre's father sends him to the country to avoid further problems. There, Leandre contentedly hunts, fishes, walks, reads, paints and plays musical instruments.

One day while walking he is approached by a grass snake. The snake looks at him directly, as if asking for mercy. Just then his gardener arrives and says that he has been chasing the snake. Leandre concludes that, since this snake, which has beautiful and colorful skin, has come to him for protection, he will guard her until she sheds. He keeps her in a room and feeds her and gives her flowers to make her happy, and she gives him pleasing glances.

Meanwhile, back at the court, all the ladies are sad that Leandre has gone, and Furibon hears their complaints, which infuriate him. With the help of his mother, he decides to kill Leandre. He goes on a hunt with the assassins, but is attacked by a Lion. His men flee, but Leandre saves him. Nonetheless, once saved, he orders his thugs to continue with the assassination, and Leandre kills them all. Furibon says that he will kill Leandre when he sees him next. Leandre decides that he must leave the kingdom.

Before leaving, he goes to feed his grass snake, and finds instead a beautiful, luminous fairy, la Fée Gentille (the Good Fairy). She explains that for every 100 gay years without pain or aging, she spends 8 days as a vulnerable grass snake. Since he has saved her, she offers him a fairy gift, making several suggestions, but the one that interests him most is to become a lutin (imp or hobgoblin). She explains that a lutin can become invisible, and can travel through water, air, earth and space unimpeded. She turns him into a lutin and gives him a red hat with parrot feathers that will turn him invisible. To test his powers, he transports into the forest where wild roses grow. He brings three back the good fairy, but she says to keep them: one will give him all the money he needs, one held to the throat of his mistress will let him know if she is true, and the last will prevent him from becoming ill. On this, she parts.

Leandre's first stop is to take vengeance, and so, invisible, he nails Furibon's ear to a door where he has stooped to listen, and when Furibon cries out, his mother opens the door and tears off the ear. Leandre then beats them both with rods, and then picks the fruit and flowers from the queen's own orchard. He next uses his invisibility to save a young woman from a forced marriage. Next he gains entry into a court where the queen has invited only the most beautiful people. He attempts to win the heart of Blondine, who remains cold. He uses a rose to discover that she is in love with a musician who is not worthy of her attentions, and so Leandre throws him off of a balcony and moves on. He learns of a girl being forced to become a Vestal, and he disrupts the ceremony. She tells him that she wants to marry a young man, but he has no money, so Leandre shakes the rose and gives them ten million so that they may marry and live happily.

For his final adventure, he sees a young girl, Abricotine, being carried away by four men. He frees the girl and learns her story. She serves a princess whose mother was a fairy who fell in love with a man, but he was not true to her, so she created a society of women, the Island of tranquil pleasures, with Amazons to serve as guards. The princess was now ruler of the island, and she and Abricotine had lived there for 200 years without aging. Abricotine says that the men were sent by Furibon, who is in love with the princess.

Leandre asks if he can accompany Abricotine to the Island of tranquil pleasures and see the princess, but she says it is impossible. After she leaves him, he puts on his hat and wishes himself there anyway. He speaks to the fairy princess in the voice of a parrot, telling her of the brave prince who has saved Abricotine, and that this prince wishes to come to the kingdom to change her mind about men. Abricotine arrives and validates the parrot's story, but the fairy princess refuses. Leandre has fallen hopeless in love with her, and uses his invisibility to continue to interact with her surreptitiously. Invisibly, he undertakes several projects to impress the princess following her desires which he has secretly heard, including bringing in a collection of monkeys to entertain her, delivering verses to her, painting a portrait of himself holding a portrait of her, bringing her fashions from around the world, and singing her a song. His efforts both flatter and frighten her, and she considers the possibility that a demon is involved.

Meanwhile, Furibon has become king, and decides to attack the Island of tranquil pleasures. Leandre dresses as an Amazon, and goes to Furibon's camp to try to bargain with him to abandon his attack. He offers Furibon as much money as he could want, and Furibon agrees, though he plans to take the money and then kill the Amazon and take the princess anyway. Leandre cuts of Furibon's head and, invisible, delivers it to the fairy princess. He returns to the castle and falls asleep without on his cap. The princess sees him asleep. The fairy queen arrives, furious at her daughter for falling prey to tyrannical love after all she has taught her about the horrors of men. Gentille arrives, with the Graces, to convince the queen to forgive her daughter and to accept Leandre. The queen accepts, the lovers marry, and the palace and all the Island of tranquil pleasures is transported to Leandre's kingdom.


In the Palace on the Island of tranquil pleasures there are murals of the Zodiac, of the goddess Diana, and of the Amazons. The fairy princess discusses the virtues of "tranquil" pleasures, that is those that do not involve the heart. The stories of Psyche and Cupid are mentioned as parallels to the princess's conundrum. The fairy queen describes love as tyrannical. Leandre is a sort of hybrid lutin (imp or hobgoblin) and man, able to retain the powers of the lutin while also remaining embodied.

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Le Prince Lutin