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Tartarin of Tarascon

Tartarin of Tarascon by Alphonse Daudet
By: (1840-1897)

It tells the burlesque adventures of Tartarin, a local hero of Tarascon, a small town in southern France, whose invented adventures and reputation as a swashbuckler finally force him to travel to a very prosaic Algiers in search of lions. Instead of finding a romantic, mysterious Oriental fantasy land, he finds a sordid world suspended between Europe and the Middle East. And worst of all, there are no lions left.

First Page:


By Alphonse Daudet


I. The Garden Round the Giant Trees.

MY first visit to Tartarin of Tarascon has remained a never to be forgotten date in my life; although quite ten or a dozen years ago, I remember it better than yesterday.

At that time the intrepid Tartarin lived in the third house on the left as the town begins, on the Avignon road. A pretty little villa in the local style, with a front garden and a balcony behind, the walls glaringly white and the venetians very green; and always about the doorsteps a brood of little Savoyard shoe blackguards playing hopscotch, or dozing in the broad sunshine with their heads pillowed on their boxes.

Outwardly the dwelling had no remarkable features, and none would ever believe it the abode of a hero; but when you stepped inside, ye gods and little fishes! what a change! From turret to foundation stone I mean, from cellar to garret, the whole building wore a heroic front; even so the garden!

O that garden of Tartarin's! there's not its match in Europe! Not a native tree was there not one flower of France; nothing hut exotic plants, gum trees, gourds, cotton woods, cocoa and cacao, mangoes, bananas, palms, a baobab, nopals, cacti, Barbary figs well, you would believe yourself in the very midst of Central Africa, ten thousand leagues away... Continue reading book >>

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