Flemish Legend The Three Sisters by Charles de Coster Chapter 1

Of the three noble ladies and their great beauty

In the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ 690, lived three maidens, descended, by male issue, from the noble line of the great emperor Octavian.

Their names were Blanche, Claire, and Candide.

Though they had dedicated the flower of their maidenhead to God, it is not to be supposed that this was for lack of lovers.

For, on every day that passed, a crowd of people used to collect for nothing else than to see them go by on their way to church, and onlookers would say of them: “See what gentle eyes, see what white hands!”

More than one, besides, with his mouth watering to look at them, would say sorrowfully: “Must it be that such sweet maids as these should dedicate themselves to God, who has eleven thousand or more in his Paradise already.”

“But none so fair,” answered an old wheezing merchant behind them, who was drinking in the fragrance of their dresses.

And going off on his way, if the old man saw any young fellow loafing by the roadside, or lying on his belly in the grass to warm his back in the sun, he would give him a kick in the ribs, saying: “Well now, dost thou care nothing to see the finest flowers of beauty that were ever blowing?”