[La Fée Carabosse]



[La Fée Carabosse ou le poignard fatal]

The Witch


1. The Witch’s Den.- In a gloomy tower of a tumble-down old castle a witch has taken up her abode. Surrounded by her retorts and books, she makes her customary incantations and starts to prepare poisons, philters and charms which she sells, at fabulous prices, to the various patrons who seek her wisdom and her baleful influence.

2. The Troubadour.-A young and beautiful Lothaire is the last survivor of a family of valiant knights who, because of long periods of fighting in many lands, have wasted their fortune. His only heritage is a guitar, and his purse is empty. He is too proud to stoop to manual labor, so he […] a troubadour, leading a gay and careless life in wandering about from castle to castle, paying for his board and lodging by composing verses complimentary to his hosts or by singing ballads which celebrate the charm of love and the power of beauty.

3. The Palmist.-Since his wanderings have brought him to the abode of the witch, he determines to have a peep into the future so as to know what fortune awaits him. The old hag examines thoughtfully and carefully the lines of his left hand and predicts for him the acquisition of great riches. It is not riches that he wishes to know of, it is love. When she has examined more closely the markings of his hand, she announces to him that he will be loved by a beautiful young girl who is now imprisoned in a cold, damp dungeon of her father’s castle, who has locked her up so as to appropriate her inheritance. It is predicted that this lovely girl will only love and marry the man who rescues her from captivity. In undertaking to liberate her he will have to expose himself to terrible dangers which will probably cost him his life. The troubadour, although he has not a single penny of ready money, evinces no embarrassment; he accordingly requests the fortune-teller to show him the portrait of this unfortunate maiden so that he may be sure of his quest, and he promises to pay well for the rendering of such valuable services.


4. The Portrait.-Two deformed dwarfs, summoned by the sorceress, bring a frame: and, after a few passes by the old woman, there gradually appears the likeness of a charming girl fastened in a pillory. Then the vision slowly vanishes. Meanwhile, an ardent passion for this entrancing lady has sprung up in the breast of the troubadour and has kindled a keen enthusiasm to rescue her from her bondage and to marry her.

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5. The Four-Leaf Clover.-He begs the witch to give him a charm which will overcome all obstacles, and thus enable him to succeed in reaching the object of his desires. The sorceress grants his request by handing over to him a four-leaf clover which possesses a marvelous power, but she does not deliver it until he has first made a heavy payment for it.

6. A Clever Ruse.- When pay is demanded, the troubadour seems at first perplexed for his purse is empty. But while the old woman is looking through some of her books a clever idea occurs to him. He runs to the door, stoops down, and quickly fills his purse with sand; then, with a noble and dignified gesture, he gives to the witch his bulging purse in payment for the four-leaf clover. She is caught by the trick. She clutches her recompense with hoy for the purse is heavy, and the coveted clover is so trifling to her. The young man rushes away with all speed fearing the rage of the sorceress when she should learn of the trick perpetrated upon her.

7. The Dagger of Fate.-The troubadour has hardly left the den, when the old woman is seized by a desire to examine the gold in the purse. She accordingly opens it, but to her dismay she finds it stuffed with sand. Bursting into a furious rage and vowing eternal vengeance on her late guest, she immediately takes a brazier, lights a fire in it, and plunges the point of a dagger among the flames, and while doing so, she enchants it so it will fly of its own accord, while spurting out infernal fires to the one against whom it is aimed and thus do bloody work. Armed with this formidable weapon she dashes out in hot pursuit of the escaping Lothaire.

8. The Pursuit.-Once outside the tower, the troubadour takes measures to rid himself of the witch. So when she appears, he topples over upon her huge masses of rocks, and she succumbs beneath them, but only momentarily, for through her allegiance to the infernal spirits she is endowed with extraordinary powers, and they enable her to get from under the debris. She seizes her broom on which she rides to witches’ vigils and starts in search of Lothaire, more and more determined to avenge herself upon him.

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9. The Druid Sacred Stones.-In his rapid course the young man traverses an arid space over which are scattered, far and wide, huge monoliths which the ancient Druids erected for their religious rites. The witch quickens her pace and is soon close upon him, astride here broomstick.

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10. The Graveyard.-He reaches the cemetery. As he passes before a huge cross which looms up over the tombs, he recalls the dangers to which he is about to expose himself; and he sinks upon his knees before it to pray for the aid of the Most High in his perilous undertaking.

11. The Phantoms.-While he is at prayer, the tombs open, and out of their chambers there emerge shadowy phantoms which rise up and seek to bar his passage. But he lifts his magic four-leaf clover, and, at its appearance, the phantoms fade away into nothingness. The old witch, following behind, fumes more and more at the power which she has been cheated into giving over to Lothaire.

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12. The Castle Dungeon.-Finally, after a thousand dangers have been safely avoided, the troubadour reaches the walls of the castle where she whom he is so ardently seeking is incarcerated. A large moat separates him from the grim tower in which the lovely princess languishes, bound to the walls of her narrow and dimly-lighted cell. One can see high up the small opening through which she receives air. The is deserted. There is, in sight, a tomb which contains the mortal remains of the founder of the family and the builder of the castle now so badly dilapidated. Nearby is a Druid altar where the knights’ ancestors in bygone days performed the mysterious rites of their barbaric religion.

13. The Weird Reptiles.-The young man hastily rushes to plunge into the moat, but he shrinks back in horror. The approaches are all guarded by terrible monsters which the witch has sent before him. They do not fear the talisman, nor does it possess any power over them. A gigantic toad, an enormous owl with moving eyes, a dragon with a huge mouth bristling with teeth and vomiting fire and flames, and serpents crawling around him and threatening him with their fangs, advance upon him en masse to devour him.

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14. The Druid Priest.-At the moment when he seems to be at the point of perishing under the attacks of these hideous monsters, a Druid appears upon the top of the rude alter, holding in one hand the golden sickle with which he cuts the sacred mistletoe from the oak, and holding in the other a branch of the venerated plant.

15. The Mistletoe.-He gives the mistletoe to Lothaire and tells him to use it against the monsters. As he holds it up, they stop, crouch, and cower beneath its divine influence, for it is vested with a power superior to that which has animated them. One by one they slink out of sight.

16. The Knight and the Sacred Sword.-But Lothaire is without weapons to combat the new dangers which await him in his descent into the moat and in his scaling of the walls of the dungeon. His ancestors have no intention of abandoning him when he is so near to the attainment of his longed-for goal. The top-stone of the sarcophagus which is in sight suddenly lifts itself, and out of the coffin a knight in full armor appears. The knight presents to the troubadour a sacred sword which was udes in the crusades against the Moslems and which was always known to bring victory to the vearer who trusted in its power.

17. The Ascent of the Walls.-The troubadour, with his sword between his teeth, goes down into the ditch which surrounds the castle, and then starts upon his perilous ascent up the crumbling and loose stones to the cell where his future wife is imprisoned, while the knight slowly descends into his tom and while the Druid priest keeps back with his sickle the hateful witch who would like to prevent Lothaire from reaching the unfortunate prisoner.


18. The Celle and the Rescue.-The young man climbs up the wall and through the narrow aperture of the wall into the prisoner’s cell. He rushes up to the fascinating maiden and breaks the chains which bind her. He wonders with anxiety how he is going to bear away the young lady. He knows that they cannot go back the way he came, for the passage is too dangerous for a woman, and, besides, the old witch is outside making the ascent herself.

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19. The Deliverance.-Love and imminent danger redouble the strength of Lothaire. Seizing a beam which happens to be lying on the floor he batters at the rusty door and forces it open wide enough to pass through. The two escape together. Presently the old witch comes in through the window only to find the cell empty. Furious at having been outwitted and outstripped in flight, she straddles her broom and darts through the window out into the air.

20. The Escape.-The troubadour and the fair prisoner grope their way among the passages of the old castle until they find an exit. When once in the open air, they flee as rapidly as they can from the accursed spot.

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21. The Witch Riding the Broom.-But the witch has vowed to wreak her vengeance upon the troubadour no matter what the cost may be. Astride her broom, she darts through the air seeking to catch up with the fugitives who have stolen the march upon her. Her presence among the clouds causes the elements to burst forth with fury. Amid terrific peals of thunder and blinding flashes of lightning she pursues.


22. The Beautiful Lake.-The fugitives have reached the borders of an entrancing lake whose blue waters are silvered with the rays of the rising moon. Upon a rock over-looking the placid surface the happy pair sit in peace planning for the future; they think that they have been fortunate to elude the pursuit of the revengeful old witch.

23. The Witch’s Death.-Alas, their peace is of but short duration. The sorceress has caught up with them at last, and in the pale shadows of the trees, she advances with the enchanted dagger raised aloft. She is just on the point of hurling it at the object of her hatred and thus end his mortal career when the Druid appears upon the scene. He snatches the fatal weapon from her hands, and with a stroke of the broom-stick he sends her into the waters of the lake where she is to lie buried forever. With a splash she sinks out of sight.

24. The End of a Dwarf.-One of her gnomes who was accustomed to accompany her is attracted by her cries and rushes to her aid. He is just on the point of hurling an axe at the Druid when the latter takes the enchanted dagger and aims it at the dwarf. Emitting sparks and flames it darts forward and pierces the heart of the witch’s servant.

25. The Blessing.-The young people realize that they have nothing more to fear. So they fall upon their knees before their rescuer. The Druid holds his hands over them and invokes the protection of heaven for their remaining years.

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26. The Nuptial Kiss.-Delivered of their hated enemy, the troubadour and his fair fiancé swear an eternal affection. With tenderness and love, they exchange the kiss of betrothal.

MEL 1905-A


1 Méliès 877-887  
2 Georges Méliès   
3 1906 236m/820ft
4 France  


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