Story adapted from Taming the Truffle by Alessandra Zambonelli, Gordon Thomas Brown, and Ian Robert Hall.

There is a legend that is told in the Perigord region about an old woman, tired and hungry, losing her way in the woods. At last she stumbles upon an old house, the home of a man equally poor and old. He invites her in and offers her his meager meal of charred potatoes, cooked in the coals of a dying fire.

The old woman is deeply touched by his generosity and sits down to peel the potatoes. Suddenly she is transformed into a beautiful fairy. “do not be alarmed, old man,” she says. “I am the fairy of the woods. You are a kind and noble person and from these poor potatoes, which you have humbly shared with me, will come the end of your trials and tribulations.”

Before his eyes the charred potatoes are transformed into richly flavored truffles. Despite becoming wealthy and respected throughout the region, the old man continues to be kind and helpful to all those less fortunate than himself, but the same cannot be said for his children.

They grew up spoiled and lazy, and when many years later the good fairy returns, disguised as an old woman, they refused her hospitality and food. To punish them, the fairy buries all of the truffles underground and turns the selfish children into pigs to root them out.