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Les Contes (1901)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Musique de scène pour les Chansons de Bilitis

Les Contes

Je suis aimée des petits enfants; dès qu'ils me
voient, ils courent à moi et s'accrochent à ma
tunique et prennent mes jambes dans leurs
petits bras.
S'ils ont cueilli des fleurs, ils me les donnent
toutes; s'ils ont pris un scarabée, ils le mettent
dans ma main; s'ils n'ont rien, ils me caressent
et me font asseoir devant eux.
Alors ils m'embrassent sur la joue, ils posent
leurs têtes sur mes seins; ils me supplient avec
les yeux. Je sais bien ce que cela veut dire.
Cela veut dire: « Bilitis chérie, redis-nous, car
nous sommes gentils, l'histoire du héros
Perseus ou la mort de la petite Hellé. »

The Stories

I am loved by the little children; as soon as
they see me, they run to me and cling to my
tunic and take my legs in their little arms.
If they have picked flowers, they give them all
to me; if they have caught a beetle, they put it
in my hand; if they have nothing, they caress
me and make me sit in front of them.
Then they kiss me on the cheek, they put their
heads upon my breasts; they plead with their
eyes. I know very well what that means.
That means: “Bilitis dear, retell us because we
are good, the story of the hero Perseus or the
death of the little Hellé.”

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(Achille) Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Pierre Louÿs was a French poet and writer, best known for his classical themes and sensual style.

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