Diamonds and Toads (The Fairies)

Diamonds and Toads is a French fairy tale by Charles Perrault that was originally titled 'The Fairies.' It tells the story of a grumpy widow and her two daughters. The older daughter Fanny is also bad-tempered and arrogant, and because she was so much like her mother, she was the favoured daughter. Rose, the youngest daughter, was kind and beautiful much like her late father, and as a result was terribly mistreated by her mother.

Illustration by Gustave Doré

One day, Rose went to the well to draw some water. While she was there, an old lady approached and asked her for a drink of water. Rose gave the woman a drink only to discover that she was a fairy who had disguised herself as an old crone to test the character of mortals. Because Rose had been so compassionate, the fairy blessed her with a magical gift. Each time she would speak from then on either a jewel, a precious metal or a flower would fall from her mouth.

Laura Valentine, from Aunt Louisa's Nursery Favourite, 1870.
When Rose returned home, her mother was annoyed that she had been gone so long. When she explained what had happened, her mother was overjoyed to see the jewels and precious metals falling from her mouth. Immediately she wanted her older daughter Fanny to have the same gift and sent her off to the well with instructions to be especially nice to any old women she saw.

Laura Valentine, from Aunt Louisa's Nursery Favourite, 1870.

While at the well Fanny was approached by a beautifully dressed princess who requested a drink of water. It was only after she spoke rudely and insulted the young lady that she was to learn she was in fact the fairy in disguise. As punishment for her awful behaviour and unkind nature, she was cursed by the fairy so that from then on, every time she would speak either a toad or snake would fall from her mouth. 

Lisa Hunt from The Fairy Tale Tarot

When Fanny returned home and explained to her mother was had happend she was spewing the horrid creatures from her mouth. The widow was furious and turned her anger on poor Rose, sending her away from the house for good. Rose wandered alone in the woods and there she met the King's son, who instantly fell in love with her. Of course they married and lived happily ever after, while Fanny died miserable and alone.

Margaret Evans Price

Unknown artist

Illustration from The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 1965.

Lealand Eve
Margaret Evans Price