The Three Old Ladies

Once upon a time there were three sisters, all three very young: one was sixty-seven, the other seventy-five and the third ninety-four. So these girls had a house with a nice little terrace, and this little terrace in the middle had a hole, to see the people passing by on the street. That ninety-four-year-old saw a handsome young man go by; immediately, she took her more fragrant tissue and while the young man was passing under the balcony she let it fall. The young man picked up the handkerchief, felt the sweet smell and thought: “It must be of a beautiful girl.” He took a few steps, then came back, and rang the bell of that house. One of the three sisters came to open the door, and the young man asked her: “Please dear lady, is there a young girl in this palace?”
“ Surely my lord, and not just one!”
“ Do me a favour: I would like to see the one who has lost this handkerchief.”
“ No, it is not allowed,” she answered , “ in this palace it is used that as long as one is not married, she can not be seen.”
The young man, who had already got carried away as he imagined the beauty of this girl, said: “Good enough. I will marry her without seeing her. Now I will go to my mother to tell her that I found a beautiful young woman and I want to marry her.”
He went home, and told everything to his mother, who said to him: “Dear son, be careful what you do, for they do not deceive you. Before doing something like this you have to think about it.”
And he answered: “ Good for me. Word of the King does not come back anymore”. Because that young man was a king.
He went back to the bride’s house, rang the bell and went upstairs. The usual old woman came and he asked: “By grace, are you her grandmother?”
“ Yes, yes, I am clearly her grandmother.”
“ Since you’re her grandmother, please do me this: show me at least one finger of that girl.”
“ Not for now. You must come tomorrow.”
The young man greeted and left. As soon as he was outside, the old women made a fake finger, with a glove finger and a false nail. Meanwhile, he, with the desire to see this finger, could not sleep at night. Day came, he got dressed, ran to the house.
“Dear lady, “ he said to the old woman, “ I am here: I have come to see that finger of my bride.”
“Yes, yes,” she said, “immediately, immediately. You will see it for this door hole.”
And the bride put the fake finger out of the patch. The young man saw that it was a beautiful finger; he gave it a kiss and put a diamond ring on it. Then, furiously in love, he said to the old woman:
“You know, grandmother, that I want to marry her as soon as possible! I can not wait any longer.”
And she: “ Even tomorrow, if you want.”
“ Good! I will marry her tomorrow, Word of King!”
As rich as they were, they could have their wedding set going from one day to the next; nothing was missing; the day after the bride was getting ready, helped by the two little sisters. The King came and said, “Grandma, I’m here.”
“Wait a moment here, now we’ll accompany it.”
And the two old women were holding the third under their arms, covered by seven veils. “Remember well,” they told the groom, “that as long as you are not in the bridal chamber, you are not allowed to see her.”
They went to church and got married. Then the King wanted to go to lunch, but the old women did not allow it. “You know, the bride is not used to these things “. And the King had to shut up. He could not wait for the evening to come, to be alone with the bride. But the old women escorted the bride to her room and did not let him in because they had to undress her and put her to bed. Finally he came in, still with the two old ones behind, and the bride was under the covers. He undressed and the old women went away carrying the light. But he had brought a candle in his pocket, lit it and who was in front? An old decrepit and wrinkled!
At first he remained motionless and speechless in fright; then he became really angry, so angry that he seized the bride with violence, lifted her up, and made her fly from the window.
Beneath the window was a vineyard pergola. The old woman broke down the arbor and hung on a pole for a corner of her nightgown.
That night three fairies went for a walk in the gardens: passing under the arbor they saw the old dangling. At that unexpected spectacle, all three fairies burst out laughing, laughing, laughing, which eventually hurt their hips. But when they had laughed well enough, one of them said, “Now that we have so much laughter behind her, we need to give her a reward.”
And one of the fairies did: “ Of course we reward her. Command, command, that you become the most beautiful young you can see with two eyes.”
“Command, command,” said another Fairy, “that you have a beautiful husband who loves you.”
“Command, command,” said the third, “that you become a great lady all your life.”
And the three fairies left.
As soon as day came, the King woke up and remembered everything. To make sure it was not just a dream, He opened the windows to see that monster that he had thrown down the night before. And here he saw, a beautiful young woman laying on the vine-covered pergola. He put his hands in his hair.
“ Poor me, what have I done!” He did not know how to get her up; at last he took a sheet from the bed, threw a piece of clothing to hold on to it, and pulled it up into the room. And when he got close, happy and full of remorse, he began to ask her forgiveness. The bride forgave him and so they stayed in good company.
After a while he heard a knock. “It’s Grandma,” said the King. “Come on, come on!”
The old woman came in and saw in the bed, in place of her ninety-four-year-old sister, that beautiful young woman. And this beautiful young woman, as if nothing had happened, said to her: “Clementine, bring me coffee.”
The old woman put her hand over her mouth to stifle a cry of amazement; he pretended nothing happened, and brought her coffee. But as soon as the King left for his business, she ran to the bride and asked her: “How is it, how is it that you have become so young?”
And the bride: “Shut up, shut up, for heaven’s sake! Oh what I did! I made myself plan!”
“Plan it? Tell me tell me! From who? I want to do it myself too.”
“ From the carpenter!”
The old woman ran down to the carpenter and asked:” Carpenter, can you give me a plan?”
And the carpenter: “Oh, well: it’s okay that she’s as dry as a board, but if i give you a plan you will go to the other world.”
“ Don’t you think about it.”
“And how should i do not think about it? What will happen when I kill her?”
“ Do not think about it, I said. I give you a silver coin.” When he heard “silver coin”, the carpenter changed his mind.
He took the coin and said: “Lay down here on the bench, and I’ll give you as many as you like,” and he began to plan a jaw.
The old woman screamed for pain.
“ What now? If you scream, the deal is broke.”
She turned away, and the carpenter planed the other jaw. The old woman no longer cried out; she was already dead.
Of the last one sister, nobody knew anything: if she is drowned, shaken, dead in her bed or who knows where.
But the bride was left alone at home with the young King, and they were always happy.