The Enchanted Canary
Long ago there lived a certain Lord Thunderguts. He ate six huge meals a day and slept for twelve hours every night. And when he woke up, he started shouting at people.
Lord Thunderguts had a very thin son called Désiré who wandered about, making up poems about fish.
“Get married and you will be very happy and we won’t have to listen to any more of your stupid fish poetry!” shouted his father.
One day someone sent a basket of oranges and inside was a letter saying that they had come from a land where the sun always shone.
That evening Lord Thunderguts and Désiré ate the oranges and thought they were delicious.
Next morning Désiré saddled his horse. Then he went to his father, who was shouting at a servant.
“Father,” he said, “last night I dreamt that I was in a wood and saw an orange tree. I picked one and when I opened it, out came a beautiful princess. I fell in love at once. That is the wife I want, and I am off to look for her.”
Lord Thunderguts laughed and said, “You think you will find your future wife inside an orange? Ha, ha, good luck!”
Désiré went straight out, jumped on his horse and galloped away.
He travelled for days and the further south he got, the weather got sunnier and warmer.
One morning, Désiré felt so warm, he thought he must be near the place of his dream.
Sitting outside a little hut was an old man with a white beard.
“You look like you have come a long way,” said the old man, “come into my house to rest.”
“That’s kind of you,” said Désiré.
They went inside and the old man gave him some crackers and cheese.
“So, where are you heading, young man?”
“I dreamt of a wood with an orange tree, and in one of the oranges I’d find a beautiful princess who is to be my wife,” answered Désiré.
“Ah, the wood is not far from here,” replied the old man, “this road will lead you there. Look for the biggest orange you can find.”
In the wood, Désiré looked and looked. Finally, he found the orange tree. And there, at the very top was a great big orange.
He picked it, climbed down and opened it with his knife.
Immediately out came a beautiful princess, just like the one in his dream. She had golden hair and beautiful dark eyes.
He asked her name and she said, “Princess Zizi and a witch has kept me shut up in an orange, in the shape of a canary. Not very nice, is it?”
“Right then, Zizi,” said the young Prince, “let's ride off as quickly as we can to get far away from here.”
“Where to?” asked Zizi.
“To my father’s castle,” he replied, “do you want to hear a fish poem?”
“Erm, no thanks,” said Zizi.
So, he swung her up onto his horse and off they set and after some days travelling, they arrived at a wood near the castle.
“Dearest Zizi,” said Désiré, “wait for me here and I will come straight back with a carriage and horses fit for a princess.”
“Please don’t be long,” replied Zizi.
And off he went.
Suddenly she heard a noise, so she turned herself back into a canary and hid herself in the hollow trunk of a tree.
When Désiré came back there was no sign of Zizi.
So Désiré set off looking very sad.
Lord Thunderguts waited at the castle gate to meet him and his new princess.
“Where!” he shouted, “is this wonderful beauty?”
“Maybe it was something I said,” answered Désiré.
“Well, it's time for lunch,” said Lord Thunderguts, “roast goose today!”
They all waited for the roast goose to come to the table.
Thunderguts licked his lips.
But while the goose was cooking, a beautiful little canary had flown into the kitchen.
“Hello, Mr Cook,” said the canary in a silvery voice.
“Good-morning, lovely golden bird,” replied the cook.
“Mr Cook, I want to give Désiré a lovely surprise.”
“How can I help?” said Mr Cook.
“Put me in that empty dish and we can pretend it has the roast goose inside. Then put the cover on and take it to the table.”
Mr Cook brought the dish to the table and lifted the lid off. But there was no roast goose inside. Instead, a beautiful canary flew out and perched on the table.
“What a lovely bird,” said Lord Thunderguts and he stroked its head.
The canary instantly became a beautiful girl.
“Goodness me!” cried Lord Thunderguts.
“Oh, gosh, it’s Zizi!” yelled Désiré, “I thought it was all a silly dream, but here she is!”
“You left me in the woods,” said Zizi, “I got frightened and turned myself back into a canary.”
“Oh, I’m really sorry!” said Désiré.
“Well, I’m here now and I do like you lots and lots,” said Zizi.
“I fell in love with you the moment I saw you,” replied Désiré.
“And I fell in love with you, too,” said Zizi and they ran into each other’s arms.
Thunderguts plonked himself down on a kitchen chair and said, “So, if you are in love with this lovely princess, you had better marry her.”
Zizi and Désiré looked at each other and nodded, with huge smiles on their faces.
“No fish poems, please”, said Zizi.
“No fish poems,” said Désiré.
The wedding took place a few days later and Zizi and Désiré lived happily ever after.