There was once upon a time a very great Queen who gave birth to little twin girls. She immediately sent out invitations to twelve fairies in the neighbouring countries to come to the feast according to the custom of the country - a custom that was never by any means overlooked, because it was such a great advantage to have the fairies as guests.

When the twelve fairies were all assembled in the great hall where the feast was to be held, they took their seats at the table - a very big table laden with such good things to eat, and so rich, that it was past all comprehension. No sooner had all the guests seated themselves, than who should enter but the wicked fairy Magotine!

Now the Queen, when she saw her, felt that some disaster would follow because she had omitted to send this fairy an invitation; but she hid the thought deep in her mind, and off she went and found a beautiful soft seat all embroidered in gold and inlaid with sapphires; then all the other fairies moved up and made room for Magotine to seat herself, saying at the same time, 'Hurry up, sister, and make your wish for the little Princesses, and then come and sit down.'

But, before Magotine came to table, she said rudely that she was quite big enough to eat standing. There she made a great mistake, because the table was very high and Magotine was very small, and, in reaching up, she fell. This misfortune only increased her bad temper.

'Madam,' said the Queen, 'I beg you to be seated at table.'

'If you had so much wished to see me here,' replied the fairy, 'you would have sent me an invitation the same as the others. You have only invited to your court the most beautiful, well-dressed and good-tempered fairies, like my sisters here. With them I have no fault to find; I, however, have one advantage over them, as you will see!'

Then all the fairies begged her to seat herself with them, and she did so. In front of each fairy was placed a beautiful bouquet made of all kinds of precious stones. Each took the bouquet immediately in front of her, and there remained none at all for Magotine; and she growled furiously between her teeth.

The Queen, quickly noticing the awful error, ran to her cabinet and came back with a large cup all perfumed and studded outside with rubies, and inside full of diamonds that gave forth a thousand different colours. Going up to Magotine, she begged her to receive the present. But Magotine only shook her head and replied: 'Keep your jewels, madam, I do not want them. I came simply to see if you had thought of me, and I find that you have forgotten me altogether.' And with this she gave a tap with her wand on the table and at once all the good things were turned into serpents, which wriggled about and hissed viciously. The other fairies, seeing this, were filled with horror; they threw down their serviettes and quitted the table.

While they were leaving the table the wicked little fairy Magotine, who had come to disturb the peace, made her way to the room where the little Princesses were asleep in a golden cot covered with a canopy studded with diamonds, the most beautiful ever seen in the world. The other fairies followed her to watch. Magotine stopped beside the cot, and, taking out her wand quickly, she touched one of the little Princesses, saying at the same time: 'I wish that you become the most ugly person that it would be possible to find.' Then she turned to the other little Princess; but, before she could do anything further, the other fairies interfered, and taking a great pan full of vitriol, threw it over the wicked Magotine. But not a drop touched her, for, before it splashed upon the floor, she had disappeared before their very eyes.

The Queen then made her way to the cot and took out the little Princess that Magotine had wished to be so ugly; and the Queen cried with sorrow because, every minute as she looked at it, the child was becoming uglier and uglier, until at last any one could see she was the ugliest baby in the world.

Now the other good fairies consulted amongst themselves how they could lighten this great sorrow, so they turned to the Queen and said: 'Madam, it is not possible to undo the evil that the fairy Magotine has put upon your child, but we will wish for her something that will help to balance that evil.' And then they told the Queen that one day her daughter would be extremely happy. With this the fairies took their departure, but not before the Queen had given them all some beautiful presents; for this custom goes on amongst all the peoples of the earth, and will continue when other customs are forgotten.

The Queen called her ugly daughter Laideronnette, and the beautiful daughter Bellote; and these names suited them perfectly, because Laideronnette was frightfully ugly, and her sister was equally charming and beautiful.

When Laideronnette was twelve years old, she went and threw herself at the feet of the King and Queen, and begged them to allow her to go and shut herself up in a castle far away near the Light of Dawn, and to let her take the necessary servants and food to live there. She reminded them that they still had Bellote, and that she was enough to console them.

After a long while they agreed, and Laideronnette went away to her castle near the Light of Dawn. On one side of the castle the sea came right up to the window, and on another there was a great canal; from still another view was a vast forest as far as the eye could see, and beyond again a great desert.

The little Princess played musical instruments beautifully, and also had a sweet voice just like a bird, and sang divinely; and so, with these delights, she lived for two whole years in perfect solitude. Then, at the end of the two years, she began to feel homesick and wished to see her father and mother, the King and Queen; so she started on the journey home at once, and arrived just as her sister the Princess Bellote was going to be married.