Every summer, they would move to their summerhouse in the country to vacation. The house was set between a deep forest, full of game and good for hunting, and a swiftly flowing river. There, servants maintained the estate and farms, while the family enjoyed their time in the countryside.
One summer day, the youngest daughter, Esmeralda, and the youngest son, Orléans, were playing near the edge of the forest. A sharp gust of wind blew their silken kite far into the trees, until they could no longer see it. They tugged hard at the string, but it would not come, and so they knew it was stuck somewhere.
They returned to the house in tears, and made such a commotion that their eldest brother agreed to retrieve the kite for them. He took his dogs and entered the forest, intent on following the kite string. However, he hadn’t gone ten steps before the dogs began to bark and snarl, the hairs along their backs standing on end. They would not go any further into the forest.
The eldest brother returned to the house and gathered the huntsmen. Intrigued by the dogs’ behaviour, they all set out to discover what lay within the forest. Again, they hadn’t gone ten steps before the dogs began to snarl and bark, however, they urged them on to the scent. They were soon led into a swamp. Near the middle of the swamp, the dogs stopped, and began to circle a pool of water. The huntsmen and the eldest brother crept up and peered into the depths.
Suddenly, an arm broke the surface of the pool and grabbed on to the eldest son’s cloak. It quickly disappeared beneath the surface again, pulling the son in up to his chest. The huntsmen quickly took hold of the young man’s arms and pulled with all their might. Ever so slowly, they dragged the eldest son from the pool, but it took all of their strength combined. As soon as the pool creature’s hand broke the surface at the end of the cloak, it let go, and disappeared into the water again.