A worried father paced up and down in the castle: Henri d’Albret. He took care of his pregnant daughter, Jeanne, like a real tyrant, since months… But now, the delivery was coming and it made his blood boiled. He thought of those bloody Spanish, mocking, who dared to say “the cow made a ewe” (because of the cow on the family’s blazon) when his wife Catherine gave birth to Jeanne.
Aaaah, revenge!! They’ll see… yes, but for that, Jeanne had to give birth to a boy. Henri hoped! So one day he gave Jeanne a “big golden box with money and jewels inside. He locked the box and said to her: you'll get it, but you have to give me a grandson, a baby boy…”
Oh, he was born, finally! Do you hear him? Henri (the future king of France Henri IV) was born: his grandpa was so happy… he gave the golden box to his daughter, saying: “Here’s yours, my lady, but this is mine” and he took the baby to show him to the crowd, waiting in front of the window’s castle. He yelled, very proud: “See, my ewe gave birth to a lion!!” And he rubbed a garlic on the baby’s lips and gave him a gulp of Jurançon wine, saying: “You’ll be a real man from Béarn”…
The little Henri was raised with the Béarn way, in rude landscapes, with other local kids. When he came back in Pau to see his mother, he led a pretty austere life: he worked hard (his mother didn’t want a “crowned fool”), ate frugally (sweets and sauces forbidden!) and slept on a simple straw mattress, on the floor, with all his clothes… after hours of sleep, he woke up and went to his riding lesson…
When he was a baby, Henri slept in a cradle made of a turtle shell, a big creature about 2 metre long! It had a close shave! Because during the French Revolution, a royalist felt things were going to degenerate. So he exchange the cradle with a common shell and hid the original in a safe place. Phew!
Fury people came few days later and plundered everything, the shell included, burnt. They gave it back to the castle when the Bourbons get their throne back… besides, the trophies on the cradle are a gift from Louis XVIII himself (the duchess of Angoulême sewed herself the flags).