PD PRESS April 2022

Peau d'âne by Charles Perrault

Above: Bilingual Thornwillow edition

Though some not know the name Charles Perrault, everyone has heard of his fairy tales, which include Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood  and Sleeping Beauty.

Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703)

The tale is classic for the period, with a happy beautiful Princess, and a happy King married to a beautiful Queen whom he loves dearly, but upon her passing he can only marry someone more beautiful than her. After failing to find someone suitable, he goes amd  and realises that the only person matching that description is his daughter the Princess, who becomes distressed at this proposal. With the help of the Lilac Fairy she tries to avoid this by putting on impossible conditions, which are all met. Eventually she runs away from the Palace covered in a donkey's hide and ends up working in another castle on a farm as an ugly, smelly servant. In that castle there is a Prince in search of a bride, who falls in love with her, and the rest of the story is as expected: after a search for the owner of a ring which accidentally ends up in a cake, the story ends with everyone living happily ever after.

Gustave Doré

Though a traditional child's fairy tale, the book is also fun for adults wishing for a reminder of their childhood reading.