Once upon a time, there was a king and queen who had two sons and later had a daughter whom they named Rosette. At that time, it was customary to hold a feast when a child was born, and all the fairies in the land were invited to attend. It was also customary for the fairies to make a prediction about the child’s future.
When the queen asked the fairies for their prediction about Rosette, they hesitated at first. But the queen persisted, and the head fairy eventually said, “Dear queen, we fear that Rosette will cause a great misfortune to her brothers and that a love affair will cost them their lives.”
The king and queen were at their wits’ end until someone told the queen that there was a hermit living in a hollow tree in a great forest who gave advice to people from all parts of the world. So, the queen went to visit him, and the man advised her to lock the princess up in a high tower for the rest of her life.
When the king heard this, he immediately had a high tower built and put his daughter in it. Shortly thereafter, the king and queen became very ill and died.
The eldest son became the new king and said to his younger brother, “Now that I’m in charge, it’s time to free our sister from the tower.” And they did.
Rosette was overjoyed when her brothers freed her from the tower. She enjoyed the castle garden and the beautiful flowers with her little dog Frisk. Suddenly, she saw a beautiful peacock hiding in the bushes. She was very impressed by the bird and asked her brothers what it was.
They said it was a bird that was occasionally eaten. “How terrible!” she exclaimed. “I declare that I will never marry anyone other than the King of the Peacocks.”
“But sister,” the king said, “where could we find the King of the Peacocks?”
“Wherever you like,” the princess replied, “but I will marry no one else.”
At their sister’s request, the king and prince left the castle to find the King of the Peacocks. Rosette was incredibly beautiful, as well as honest, kind-hearted, and very polite. The brothers were convinced that the King of the Peacocks would be delighted to have her as his queen.
So, the brothers had a portrait of her made to show the King of the Peacocks. The king and prince traveled for miles and miles, but no one knew where the King of the Peacocks could be found. Until they arrived at the palace of the Mayflies. The King of the Mayflies received the guests and told them where they could find the King of the Peacocks.
It didn’t take long before they reached the city of the King of the Peacocks, which luckily was inhabited by people and not just birds that the king and prince were a little afraid of. The King of the Peacocks turned out to be a very attractive young man with curly light hair and a crown of feathers from the tail of a peacock.
The king showed him the portrait of Princess Rosette and told him that their sister would like to marry him. The King of the Peacocks immediately found her very beautiful but didn’t fully trust it. So, he said, “I will marry her with all my heart, and she will want for nothing at my court. But if she is not as beautiful as she is in the portrait, then I will have to kill you.” The brothers knew that the princess was even more beautiful in real life and weren’t worried, even when they were temporarily put in jail awaiting the princess’s arrival.
In the meantime, the message was sent to the princess requesting her to come to the King of the Peacocks. A ship was prepared for her, and she would travel in the company of a boatswain, her governess with her daughter, and her little dog Frisk.
When the governess had a moment alone with the boatswain, she asked him: “Do you want to become a rich man? You just have to throw the princess off the boat. My daughter will take her place. She will marry the King of the Peacocks, and I will pay you with diamonds, as many as you want.”
When it became dark, Rosette went to bed to sleep. Little Frisk lay at the foot of the bed. When she slept, the governess brought the boatswain and together they picked up the mattress and threw the princess, bed, and dog into the water.
Then she woke up! To her horror, she saw that she was floating on the water! The mattress was lined with luxurious feathers, which prevented it from sinking. So she floated around at sea.
The ship was already off the coast of the land of the King of the Peacocks. The governess’s daughter put on a dress belonging to Princess Rosette. But oh, how ugly she was! When the fake princess landed, the people of the land of the King of the Peacocks were already waiting for her in great numbers. A beautiful carriage would take her to the king. No one dared to say anything about the future queen’s terrible appearance. They could do nothing but stare at her, and she responded by saying very ugly things to them. But the people said nothing and brought her to their king.
“What an ugly creature!” the boatswain kept hearing them say, and he turned to the governess and said, “The plan will fail, your daughter should have been prettier.” She replied, “Fool, keep your mouth shut, you are bringing us bad luck!”
The King of the Peacocks was horrified when he saw her. Her appearance frightened him, and he shouted: “Those two scoundrels in prison have fooled me! It’s a disgrace!” Then he ordered the boatswain, governess, and her daughter to be locked up in one of the prisons.
The king and the prince were in another prison, but they were transferred to a filthy cell that was underwater. “Who brought us so much misery?” they wondered.
The King of the Peacocks didn’t really want to kill them and thought about letting them go with their sister. But a trusted advisor to the king told him that he had to publicly take ‘revenge’ on both men, or the people would think he was a coward. So the king let the judge decide. The judge ruled that the brothers would be convicted as traitors. The brothers declared that they had not committed any lies and that their sister was definitely a princess. They asked the judge for a seven-day extension to prove their innocence. The judge agreed.
In the meantime, Princess Rosette had been floating on the mattress off the coast of the land of the King of the Peacocks for a while. She thought she had been thrown into the sea by order of the king. “Maybe he changed his mind?” was all she could think of.
An old man helped them out of the water. They were soaked, and the man made a fire in his hut on the beach where they could warm up.
She told the old man what had happened to her. The old man said, “Go to the king and tell him who you are. I’m sure that when he sees you, he will want to marry you immediately.” But the princess said she was afraid he would kill her. The old man had no food in the house, so she asked Frisk to go to the city and bring back something delicious.
Frisk went straight to the king’s kitchen and took all the food out of the pan. He put it in the basket that Rosette had hung around his neck and walked back to the hut with it.
Frisk did the same thing for three days. Three evenings, he stole all the food from the kitchen of the Peacock King. The king had not eaten for three days and was very sick on the third day. His confidant hid in the kitchen on that third day and watched as a little dog stole all the food, put it in his basket, and ran away with it. He followed the dog and saw the food being brought to a small hut on the coast.
The king wanted to see with his own eyes who was stealing his food, but his confidant insisted on going himself. He saw the old man in the hut eating the stolen meat with the princess. He tied the old man, the princess, and the dog securely and took them to the castle.
When they arrived at the castle, the king said, “They will be condemned to death together with the two deceivers.”
The old man fell to his knees, apologized for stealing the food, and explained that Princess Rosette had been thrown into the sea. When the king then looked at the princess, he felt butterflies in his stomach, so immediately smitten was he with her. He jumped up, ran to her, hugged her, and freed her. He told her that he loved her with all his heart.
The king and the prince were asked to come to the palace square. They went, but thought their last hour had come. The boatswain, governess, and her daughter were also brought to the palace square.
When Rosette saw her brothers, she flew into their arms. The boatswain, governess, and her daughter begged for mercy. The king was so happy that he forgave them. The old man received a great reward and was allowed to stay in the king’s castle. The wedding celebration lasted 15 days, and everyone lived happily ever after.