These are tales for the ill, tales for the heavy air of bedrooms with herbal teas and hot infusions, tales to be told between six and seven, the hour when fever increases, when Norine was invited to come and dreamily tell stories at our much-loved childhood bedside.
Stories for Sick Children, Jean Lorrain
Thus begins a set of French fairy tales I’m translating. The next lines after the opener gave me cause to reflect yesterday on Macbeth’s witches and their cauldron:
“Into the bedroom of deepening shadows she would tiptoe, slipping in without a sound, sitting down at the head of our little bed, and in her toneless voice would begin:
Three white cats, with ribbons on their necks, dance around the cauldron.”