To return to the castle and learn the fate of her friends, the hind Bonne-Biche and the cat Beau-Minon, Blondine must travel atop Madam Tortoise for a journey of six months. During this time, she is forbidden to alight or ask a single question, lest she remain in the power of the enchanter Perroquet.
Virginia Frances Sterrett illustrated Old French Fairy Tales (1920) when she was just 19. Having been forced withdraw from the Art Institute of Chicago on account of her mother’s ill health, she had been pursuing her artwork independently when she received the commission from Penn Publishing. At about the same time, she was diagnosed with the tuberculosis that would end her life at age 30. Encumbered by declining health, she was only able to illustrate two other works during her lifetime — Tanglewood Tales in 1921 and Arabian Nights in 1928. She was elegized by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a supplement published July 5th, 1931:
“Her achievement was beauty, a delicate, fantastic beauty, created with brush and pencil. Almost unschooled in art, her life spent in prosaic places of the West and Middle West, she made pictures of haunting loveliness, suggesting Oriental lands she never saw and magical realms no one ever knew except in the dreams of childhood…
“Perhaps it was the hardships of her own life that gave the young artist’s work its fanciful quality. In the imaginative scenes she set down on paper she must have escaped from the harsh actualities of existence.”