Blanche and the old woman approaching the fighting axes.

The talking eggs are a Creole American story of a rags to riches (and inversely a privileged to oppressed) tale of two sisters who on different occasions are led by an old woman to a magical place filled of peculiar behavior that ultimately offers one fortune and the other with misfortune. The folktale was first collected by Alcée Fortier and was published in Memoirs of the American Folklore Society in 1895.

The Talking Eggs

There was once a lady who had two daughters; they were called Rose and Blanche. Rose was bad, and Blanche was good; but the mother liked Rose better, although she was bad, because she was her very picture. She would compel Blanche to do all the work while Rose was seated in her rocking-chair. One day she sent Blanche to the well to get some water in a bucket. When Blanche arrived at the well, she saw an old woman who said to her: "Pray, my little one, give me some water; I am very thirsty." "Yes, aunt," said Blanche, "here's some water;" and Blanche rinsed her bucket and gave her good fresh water to drink. "Thank you, my child, you are a good girl; God will bless you."

A few days later after, the mother was so bad to Blanche that she ran away into the woods. She cried, and knew not where to go, because she was afraid to return home. She saw the same old woman, who was walking in front of her. "Ah! my child, why are you crying? What hurts you?" " Ah, aunt, mamma, has beaten me, and I am afraid to return to the cabin." "Well, my child, come with me; I will give you supper and a bed; but you must promise me not to laugh at anything which you will see." She took Blanche's hand, and they began to walk in the wood. As they advanced, the bushes of thorns opened before them, and closed behind their backs. A little further on, Blanche saw two axes, which were fighting; she found that very strange, but said nothing. They walked further, and behold! it was two arms which were fighting, and which said: "Blanche, good morning, my child; God will help you." At last they arrived at the cabin of the old woman who said to Blanche: "Make some fire my child, to cook the supper;" and she sat down near the fireplace, and took off her head. She placed it on her knees and began to louse herself. Blanche found that very strange; she was afraid, but she said nothing. The old woman put back her head in its place and gave Blanche a large bone to put on the fire for their supper. Blanche put the bone in the pot. Lo! In a moment the pot was full of good meat.

She gave Blanche a gran of rice to pound with the pestle and thereupon the mortar became full of rice. After they had taken their supper, the old woman said to Blanche: "Pray, my child, scratch my back." Blanche scratched her back but her hand was all cut because of the old woman's back was covered with broken glass. When she saw that Blanche's hand was bleeding, she only blew on it and the hand was cured.

When Blanche got up the next morning, the old woman said to her: "You must go home now, but you are a good girl I want to make you a present of the talking eggs. Go to the chicken-house; all the eggs which say 'Take me,' you must take them; all those which say 'Do not take me,' you must not take. When you will be on the road, throw the eggs behind your back to break them."

As Blanche walked, she broke the eggs. Many pretty things came out of those eggs. It was now diamonds, now gold, a beautiful carriage, beautiful dresses. When she arrived at her mother's she had so many fine things that the house was full of them. Therefore her mother was very glad to see her. The next day, she said to Rose: "You must go to the woods to look for this same old woman; you must have fine dresses like Blanche."

Rose went to the woods, and she met the old woman, who told her to come to the cabin; but when she saw the axes, the arms , the legs, the heads, fighting, and the old woman taking of her head to louse herself, she began to laugh and ridicule everything she saw. Therefore the old woman said: "Ah! my child, you are not a good girl: God will punish you.

The next day she said to Rose: "I don't want to send you back with nothing; go to the chicken-house, and take the eggs which say 'Take me.'"

Rose went to the chicken-house. All the eggs began to say : "Take me," "Don't take me;" "Take me." Rose was so bad that she said: "Ah yes, you say 'Don't take me' but you are precisely those I want." She took all the eggs which said "Don't take me, " and went away with them. As she walked she broke the eggs and there came out a quantity of snakes, toads, frogs, which began to run after her. There were even a quantity of whips which whipped her. Rose ran and shrieked. She arrived at her mother's so tired that she was not able to speak. When her mother saw all the beasts and whips which were chasing her she was so angry that she sent her away like a dog, and told her to live in the woods. [1]

Other CollectionsEdit

Other collectors of folklore had found and published the tale, adding things that Fortier's publication did not. Virginia Hamilton's maintained the Louisiana Creole colloquial speech. [2]

Modern VersionsEdit

Elaine Lindy versionEdit

In the Lindy version, the character Rose, is renamed Millison. In this tale, Millison's downfall is not simply due to her desire to challenge the directions of others. The eggs which contain misfortune are decorative with gold and jewels while those containing riches are plain. Millison's inability to see beauty beyond the surface leads her to an unfortunate end, adding an additional theme not to judge by appearance.

Robert San Souci versionEdit

A greater emphasis of the peculiarities Blanche and Rose face following the old woman can be found in this tale that are not Hamilton or Fortier's collections. Such additions involve brightly colored chickens with many legs, anthropomorphic rabbits performing the Virginia Reel, and a cow with curlique horns. The mother and Rose also have a two-faced nature, tricking Blanche and into telling the about the old woman and Rose pretending to be kind to the old woman so that she could be led to the riches.