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Alphege, or the Green Monkey

Alphege, or the Green Monkey is a fairy tale. Andrew Lang collected it in The Yellow Fairy Book.

Synopsis

A king lost his wife at the birth of his son, and only the sight of his son could console him; he chose as his godmother a nearby queen, known as the Good Queen, and the Good Queen named him Alphege. After a time, he remarried. His new wife tried to get rid of her stepson, but although she had as a friend the Fairy of the Mountains, the Good Queen had sent Alphege a ruby that magically protected him in his father's lands.

The king's sister had married a distant king and asked her brother to send Alphege to her, that she might know her nephew. On the way, they had to cross a desert. The thirsty Alphege drank from a stream and vanished. The courtiers searched, but a black monkey warned them they would not find him. His father died of grief, and his stepmother was very glad to make her son king. Alphege's governess, deeply grieved, retired to the country with her daughter, Zayda.

The new king loved hunting. One day, he saw a bright green monkey, lured it to him with food, and brought it home, where it delighted the court. It found the governness and Zayda and won them over with its ways. The governess guessed that the monkey was Prince Alphege, transformed, and its tears on hearing that confirmed it. The governess dreamed in the night how she could find a crystal vase with a bright green liquid that she could transform the monkey back with. She did this. The Fairy of the Mountain warned the stepmother that her stepson had been disenchanted. She told her son that the governess conspired against him and raised up an imposter to usurp the throne. He went and accused them, and Alphege said that he should speak with him. The king recognized that this was his brother and the true king and immediately resigned the crown to him. Alphege showed the ruby to prove himself to the court. It split in half, and the wicked queen died at once. Alphege married Zayda.

Commentary

This tale makes use of fairies and shapeshifting in a manner similar to many précieuse writers, such as Madame d'Aulnoy.

References

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