The Green Serpent


The Green Serpent” by Madame d’Aulnoy is a rich fairy tale that intricately weaves themes of love, transformation, and the overcoming of superficial judgment. Here’s a short retelling.

In an era when magic danced with the wind and fairies whispered secrets in moonlit glades, there reigned a king and queen whose hearts ached for the laughter of a child within their castle walls.

Their longing reached the ears of a woodland fairy, who, touched by their plight, granted them a daughter. Yet, this gift came with a grave admonition:

“Cherish her, for she is both a blessing and a charge. Shield her from the sun’s caress until her fifteenth spring, lest a dire curse befall her.”

In a moment of fervent desire to share their joy, the queen, dismissing the fairy’s stern warning, presented her daughter to the dawn.

This act of defiance incited the wrath of a malevolent fairy, who, in her fury, ensnared the princess in a curse, morphing her into a serpent of emerald hues.

The queen wept, “Oh, what have I done to doom my child to such a fate?”

Shattered yet resolute, the monarcs took the serpent princess to a castle veiled by magic, there she should expend her time until the spell could be broken.

As years wove themselves into the tapestry of time, tales of the enigmatic Serpent’s Castle ignited the imagination of Prince Leander, a young noble of daring spirit.

Prince Leander, having heard tales of the enigmatic Serpent’s Castle hidden deep within the enchanted forest, felt a pull in his heart, a call to adventure that he could not ignore.

With each step deeper into the woods, the air grew thick with magic, and whispers of ancient enchantments filled his ears.

As he finally stumbled upon the clearing where the castle veiled in spells stood, his eyes met with the serpent of emerald hues.

Her majestic sorrow struck him, not with fear, but with an overwhelming sense of compassion.

He approached slowly, his voice soft, “I come not to harm, but to understand. Who are you, and why do you bear such sadness?”

The serpent, taken aback by his gentle demeanor, replied, her voice a whisper of wind through the leaves, “I am a princess, cursed to this form by daylight’s touch, awaiting a love that can break my chains.”

Their conversation unfolded beneath the moon’s watchful eye, each word weaving a bond of empathy and understanding between them.

“Tell me of your life before the curse,” Prince Leander implored, eager to comprehend the depth of her sorrow and the beauty of her spirit.

And so, she shared tales of laughter at the castle halls, of sunlit dances in the garden, and the fateful dawn that sealed her fate. With each word, the prince saw beyond the serpentine guise, finding a soul as radiant as the stars above.

Moved by her resilience and grace, Prince Leander took a breath, his resolve firm, “I have journeyed through shadows to find you, and I shall not rest until the curse is lifted.

In the heart of this enchanted forest, beneath the stars that bear witness, I vow to stand by you.”

Their eyes locked, a silent promise made, marking the beginning of their quest. It was a moment of profound connection, the forging of a bond that would become the key to unraveling the curse.

“Your courage gives me hope,” she whispered, her eyes reflecting the night sky’s infinite beauty. “Perhaps, together, we can find a way.”

With their union, the princess reclaimed her human form each night, her true essence glowing under the moon’s gentle gaze, though dawn’s light forced her back into serpentine solitude.

“Each night, I am yours, and each day, I dream of the moment the sun sets,” she confessed, her heart heavy with love and longing.

United, they embarked on a quest to lift the curse, their love growing stronger with each trial, each moment of shared struggle and triumph.

“Your heart,” she said, “is the truest form of magic I have known.”

Eventually, they stood before the very fairy who had woven the curse. Witnessing the depth of their love and valor, she was moved to tears.

“Never have I seen a love so pure,” the fairy declared, her voice trembling. “The curse is no more.”

Returning to their kingdom, the prince and his no-longer-serpent bride were met with awe and rejoicing. Their rule was golden, defined by wisdom and benevolence.

“And so,” the prince proclaimed, “let our reign be a testament to the power of love, empathy, and the courage to see beyond the surface.”

And so concludes the legend of the Green Serpent, a testament to the fact that within the most unexpected of guises, beauty and love thrive, awaiting only a courageous heart to recognize it.

Close your eyes and allow the enchanting power of love to guide you into relaxation for a peaceful night’s rest.

Also Read: The Iron Stove

Follow Up Questions

What do you think made the queen decide to show her daughter to the dawn, even though she knew it could cause a curse?

How do you feel about Prince Leander’s decision to seek out the Serpent’s Castle and talk to the Serpent? Would you have done the same?

If you were in the story, how would you try to help break the princess’s curse?

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