Robin Redbreast

Robin Redbreast
Birds can represent the fluttering, darting thoughts of intuition. This is why little birds helped Cinderella help herself.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

 


Cinderella #362 The Story of Hanchi
Moo! Cows help Cinderella in
at least 26 of the
365 Cinderellas featured here. 
Once upon a time, in Kannada, there was a girl named Hanchi.  Her mother was an old woman. She had a brother, who was not very observant. For example, he had never noticed that Hanchi's hair was golden. "One day, when both of them were grown up and Hanchi was a lovely young woman", he noticed her hair and fell instantly in love. He demanded to marry his sister. His mother, however, was shocked and instead tricked him into going into town. She told him to shop for "all the rice and flour and lentils" for the wedding feast that he could find. Meanwhile, back at home, she called Hanchi to her and said, "Daughter, the time has come for you to leave me. You're as good as dead to me after this day. You are too beautiful to live here in safety." So the mother gave her "a mask of clay" and made her put it on. She told her to "Never remove the mask from your face, till you situation is better." And Hanchi put it on and left. Then the mother poisoned herself and died. When her son returned, "he found his sister gone and his mother dead; he went mad and became a wandering madman." But Hanchi wandered on, "eating at noon and by moonlight". One day she came to a town where she was befriended by an old woman. This lady soon discovered that Hanchi could make "dishes of sweet rice" like no one else. So Hanchi cooked, and the woman invited all of her friends over to sample the food. Everyone marveled at the masked cook. One night, when Hanchi thought she was alone, she removed the mask to take a bath. But, "the youngest son of the Saukar" was present, and happened to observe her when "he peeped into the bath house and saw her in all her beauty. He was still young", and so fled. Yet he "fell deeply in love with the glory that was her hair and decided at once to make her his wife." But when he told this news to his mother she would not hear of it, and promised instead to seek him a fine, more suitable wife. Just then Hanchi walked by and in a heat of passion, the young man snatched her mask away. Then "the mother was struck dumb by her extraordinary beauty" and agreed at once to the wedding. For a brief time, "the newlyweds were as happy as doves". The influence of a self-styled "holy man, called Guruswami" threw things out of balance. Guruswami was "the rich man's chief counselor and had a reputation for secret lore and black arts of many kinds." He lusted after Hanchi himself, and decided to charm her. He summoned the girl for a so-called spriritual ritual, then tried to hypnotize her and feed her drugged fruits. But she would not eat them, nor submit to his suggestions. In fact, she tossed the drugged plantains into the drainage dtich, where "a she-buffalo" who was "in heat" was drawn like a magnet to Guruswami with irresistible love. She chased him down and "he was badly mauled by the amorous buffalo." The second time he came to call on her and she actually opened the door. But "instead of caresses he received hard blows from inanimate vessels which were" attracted by his magical spells. When he sent her enchanted betel nuts the next day, she "threw the nuts at the broomstick in the corner." When he came calling that evening, he opened the door and got "a thorny broomstick into his greedy arms instead." So he conceived a plot against her. Going to her chambers when she was not in, he carefully placed "plantains, almonds,betel leaves, and nuts." Then he ran to tell her family that Hanchi was "a whore". He said that he had "surprised her with a lover," Then, "with righteous indignation, Guruswami showed them the hidden clothing and the telltale cheroot stubs and betel pieces". They proved her sinfulness, he claimed, and ordered her capture.Then he imprisoned her and beat her, but still, she would not confess to her supposed crimes. As for her family, apparently they would follow like sheep anyone who flashed some fancy words. Poor Hachi! Her very own family had her "dragged out, shut up in a box and handed over to Guruswami." He had a truly nefarious plan for getting his revenge on this girl. He  told his servants that there were "ferocious mad dogs in the box" and that they were to be drowned next day. He had the box delivered to the home of an old who happened to live on the riverbank. So the servants left the box there and told the old lady the most horrific things they could think of so that she would not dare to open the box. But as soon as they had left, the old woman "heard peculiar noises coming from the box". In fact she recognized her own name! So she "pried open the lid and to her great astonishment found Hanchi crouching inside the box." The poor thing was miserable, cramped, cold, hungry. She fed Hanchi all that she cared to eat, and dressed her in warm, clean clothing. As the girl told her story, "the old woman listened carefully and her mother-wit soon found a way out." Leaving Hanchi resting comfortably, the dame went to town and procured a mad dog, bound and muzzled. Once she had transported it home and put it into the box, she made sure to unbuckle the dog's muzzle. Soon Guruswami arrived to take possession of the box. "He came perfumed and singing", planning to have his way with captive Hanchi. Then he shoved the old woman out of her own home, locked the door from the inside to ensure privacy, and opened the crate. Didn't he get a surprise when "a hideous dog, foaming at the mouth...sprang upon him and mangled him horribly with its bites." He spat curses upon himself in his pitiful attempt to atone to a god who he believed had "transformed a woman into a dog" to teach him a lesson. The horrified neighbors came upon the bloody spectacle and killed the dog but Guruswami was already done for. He died after being "fatally infected with the dog's lunacy". Now it was up to the old woman to help Hanchi clear her name. So she secretly had the girl prepare sweet rice and other delicacies and invited the whole town to a feast. Everyone said that the food was delicious, and that the smell and taste was identical to the way that wicked Hanchi had used to prepare. But "instead of a reply, the old woman presented Hanchi in flesh and blood.' She told the true story of Guruswami, and all agreed that the wicked man and come to the end he deserved. They begged Hanchi's pardon for their own past ignorance and cruelty. She forgave them, of course. Her "good days had begun; her luck had turned and brought her every kind of happiness from that day."
From: Dundes, A. (1983) Cinderella: A Casebook. (p.263, contributed by A.K. Ramanujan) New York: Wildman Press
Notes: What a very satisfying ending Hanchi's abuser comes to! I especially enjoyed the prelude to his ultimate demise involving the rabid she-bufflao! This story had clear elements of Catskin, or Cap O' Rushes, as the incestous relationship threatened (here by brother, not father) is what causes the girl to flee. Notice the Baba-Yaga like character of the old woman, and that a cow, (water buffalo) aids the girl. And how does she aid the girl... This story is evocative of the Ramayana for its totally over the top imagery and moral teachings. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

California Cookin', a story about fire, family and food.

From Post to Print Publishing comes this anthology of stories "from a cat's view". Mine is CALIFORNIA COOKIN', a what-if story about fire, family and food in a future that might be closer than it seems.

FROM A CAT’S VIEW VOLUME II

Available now on Amazon
in e-book and paperback

 

…18 new stories written by the cats who lived them. Translated by brilliant authors from around the world who understand a cat's unique sensibilities.

You'll never look at a cat the same way again!


Paranormal, fantasy, contemporary and historical fiction—there's something for everyone.

Like volume one, you can expect to be terrified and delighted; to laugh... and to cry. But know: These aren’t grandmother's cat stories.

CALIFORNIA COOKIN' - Mega-fires ravage the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range. Ash blankets communities as far away as San Francisco. Now, even the ‘hangers-on’ must let go. The responsibility to lead Gloria thru the devastation to shelter falls to Miss Molly, a 15-pound house cat with a silicon skeleton.

BLACK CATS - Carmine’s beloved servant, Jessica, knew he liked things comfy and cat-centric. She dutifully kept them that way. But his comfy world shuddered the day Jessica brought home the sinister figurine. Did Carmine detect the faintest twitch of its porcelain tail?

SMILE - City cats have it posh. For feral cats in the Outback it’s a differentstory. He is hunted by wild dogs, snakes, hawks, and the indigenous folk. But this Tommo—with his mesmerizing smile—is unlike any predator the feral cat has faced before.

THE OUT WORLD - His master put on the uniform with the shiny buckle and many buttons and left for the out world. When the boy didn't come home, Bear was determined to find him. Quite the challenge for an unsophisticated house cat who's never ventured past the front porch before. 


And many more amazing stories... the purrrfect gift for you and your favorite cat lover.
Buy FROM A CAT'S VIEW VOL. II in e-book or paperback.
FROM A CAT'S VIEW (vol. 1), Amazon e-book best seller.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Henna Leaf, A Cinderella Story from Yemen retold by Carolyn Han
and translated by Kamal Ali al Hegri. Thank you to Nail Ahmed of Yemen for this suggestion.
ISBN 1-566-56-571-5
(grains; 3 rings, bird)

Get to work!” the stepmother shouted. “You can’t come to the wedding party.”
“Please let me come with you,” Henna Leaf begged. “The Sultan’s daughters invited all the women in our village.”
“Only if you finish separating and grinding the grain.” The mean woman told her, laughing. She had mixed three different grains together and knew it would take too long. Her stepmother and her stepsister Ekrem then got ready for the party, laughing as they dressed. 
“Don’t stay up too late!” they said, slamming the door behind them.
a mourning dove
Tears covered Henna Leaf’s face but even in her sorrow she took care of her kitten, pouring it a saucer of milk. That’s when an old woman wearing a velvet gown appeared out of nowhere and asked, “Why are you crying? And why aren’t you going to the party?”
“Who are you?” cried Henna Leaf and the woman said, “I’ve come to help!” That’s when she produced a silken dress and shoes, along with a sliver necklace, arm and ankle bracelets. Then she found a hairbrush and began to brush the girl’s hair. When she was ready, the old lady led Henna Leaf to the gates of the Sultan’s palace. Then she disappeared. But Henna Leaf could hear her way: she just followed the sound of laughter and the music of the oud. Light shone from the windows and the alabaster stairway seemed to glow. Custom required that she removed her shoes before entering the room, so Henna Leaf did so. When she walked in, everyone stared and said, “Who can she be?”
            And Ekram said to her mother “It sure looks like Henna Leaf!” but her mother said that it couldn’t be. All of the other women began snapping their fingers and clapping their hands, welcoming Henna Leaf to the dance, but her sister was not satisfied. So she stuck out her foot and tripped the poor girl then helped her up to get a closer look. Seeing her beautiful face and sliver jewelry, she was suddenly not so sure who the young woman was, but in all the merriment there was no way to be sure. 
            Just then the Sultan’s son Ali, who had forgotten that his sister was having an all-women wedding party, arrived home. He tried to warn the revelers of his presence, chanting, ‘Allah, Allah, Allah!” as he came. But no one heard him, the music was so loud. Entering the room, the first person he saw was Henna Leaf and he knew that she was the one for him. In the commotion, the girl ran away, grabbing her silken shoes and running down the stairs. She dropped one in her terror and was home before anyone knew who she was. Ali picked up the shoe.
            “Too bad you couldn’t have joined us!” Ekram taunted when they got home. “The Sultan’s son came in and now he wants to marry the mystery woman who lost her shoe.” Too bad nobody knew who she was. The very next day however, Ali sent his manservant around with the shoe. Of course, the man couldn’t speak directly to the women of the village but the shoe was passed to a maidservant in each house so that each girl could try it. At last, they came to the last house on the street, and called at the mudbrick window. Ekram came and grabbed the shoe but it would not fit. Then Henna Leaf had a turn and the little shoe slipped right on! That’s when she drew the other out.
            The very next day a royal summons came, calling Henna Leaf to the palace. But the stepmother’s jealousy knew no bounds and so she made Ekram put on a hijab and veil her hair and face. Surely, the Sultan’s son would not be so rude as to demand to look upon his bride’s face? 
            Arriving at the palace, the first person Ekram met was an old woman who offered her something to eat. Always hungry, Ekram raced to the kitchen and grabbed a big silver spoon. Greedily, she dipped it into each pot, tasting every dish. 
            “Oh!” she exclaimed when it slipped from her hands and to the bottom of a large pot. Reaching for it, Ekram fell in headfirst and when she stood, stew spilled all down her front. She called for her mother who came and hit the soapstone vessel with a broomstick, breaking it open. But the rim of the pot was stuck around Ekram’s neck like a stone necklace and she was trapped. Meanwhile, the Sultan sent an escort to find Henna Leaf. They were married the very next day.
            The stepmother was not ready to give up yet though, and disguising herself as a servant, she snuck into Henna Leaf’s chamber. While the girl slept, the stepmother inserted tiny acacia thorns into the skin on her step-daughter’s face and the girl was transformed into a dove. The little white bird flew out the open window and when Ali found his bride missing he despaired. 
            Not far away, a white dove sat in an apricot tree. An old man approached and his face seemed so kind that Henna Leaf asked, “How is Ali, the Sultan’s son?” and the man told her that the prince was very sad. Hearing this, the dove began to cry and soon the sky filled with clouds, which also wept with sorrow. The old man ran away lest he be swept away in the flood. When he got back to the palace Ali asked if there was news of the girl. “No”, said the old man. But seeing how sad the young man was, he added, “But I did see a talking bird.” He told the story of the flood and Ali set off to find Henna Leaf before she was swept away. He walked the next day until he came to an apricot tree, where a white dove sat. As he approached, it flew right to him and he held it gently and stroked its feathers. That’s when he felt the thorns. Pulling each one out he counted. When he got to the seventh thorn and pulled it, the dove transformed back into a girl and hand in hand, Ali and Henna Leaf returned to the palace. The Sultan banished Ali’s jealous mother-in-law from the palace and Ali lived many years in peace with his new wife, who brought him many children. At last, the Sultan stepped down and appointed Ali in his place and he and Henna Leaf lived happily ever after. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Looking forward to posting a new Cinderella story from Yemen, The Henna Leaf.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Charles Perrault!

Celebrating the birthday of  Charles Perrault by recording 159,000 hits!

Once upon a time, long ago in France, there lived a melancholy girl who was called Cinderella.  Her father "was a gentleman who was a widower."

Some time after Cinderella's mother died, he took a second wife. She was "a very proud, disagreeable woman" and she had two daughters of her own, a pair of "haughty, overbearing, and thoroughly unpleasant" young ladies. By contrast, the gentleman's own daughter was "was a young girl of wonderful sweetness and good temper. In this, she was like her mother, who had been the finest mother in the world."  For a brief time after the wedding, Cinderella was treated with some respect.  Before long, however, she was doing "all the meanest household chores to do, from scouring the dishes to scrubbing the stairs to cleaning out the rooms of her" stepsisters. At day's end, poor Cinderella had only "a thin, straw mattress in a tiny room at the top of the house." She dared not complain to her father, who seemed to take no notice of her condition. She shivered in the cold, and took to sitting "quietly near the fire, paying no heed to the cinders and ashes that drifted lazily around her." For this,. they called her Cinderbritches, until the younger stepsister, "who was not quite as rude as the other, called her Cinderella". It happened one day that the King's son invited "everyone of rank and nobility in the land." You may imagine how pleased the stepsisters were to find themselves on the select list. "I,' said the elder,'shall wear my red velvet dress with the English lace.' 'I,' said the younger,' shall wear my gold-flowered cloak and my diamond necklace."  All stylish ladies at that time stuck tiny shapes to their faces to enhance their beauty; these two spent many days in front of the looking glass experimenting with their appearance. "Meanwhile, Cinderella was kept busier than ever ironing her stepsisters' ruffles." On the night of the ball, as she was dressing their hair, the young sister asked, "Do you not wish you were going to the ball?' 'Ah,' replied Cinderella,'now you are mocking me. I would be out of place at such a grand event.' 'For once, you are right, 'said the older sister, 'people would find it very funny indeed to see a Cinderbritches at the ball." Most people would have been tempted to pull the hair of one who spoke to them so, but not Cinderella. So gentle was her nature. When finally they departed, the ragged young girl sat down amongst the ashes. Alone, she began to cry.  That's when she heard a voice! "Her fairy godmother, who had been watching over her,appeared and asked what was the matter." But Cinderella could not get the words out, so heavily did her tears flow. Yet her godmother seemed to know. "You wish to go to the ball, do you not?" And when she heard Cinderella sigh, she knew that this was her wish. "You have been a good girl,' said her godmother. 'I shall see that you go." Now the fairy bade her go to the garden and bring a pumpkin.  Cinderella "found the largest pumpkin in the garden and carried back to her godmother, who hollowed it out so only the rind was left. Then she struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin was transformed into a gilded coach."  But who would draw it? Six little mice from the trap filled  the need. "As each mouse scurried out, the godmother tapped it with her wand. Instantly the mice changed into horses — beautiful gray ones that all matched perfectly." For a coachman, the fairy godmother decided on a rat. She chose from the three that were in the trap "the one with the longest whiskers and tapped it with her wand. Instantly, it became a plump coachman, with a very impressive mustache."  With the six lizards that were behind the watering pot, the old woman created "six footmen dressed in embroidered livery. They leaped onto the coach so nimbly that it looked as if they had done nothing else all their lives." Yet when the fairy asked if Cinderella were not pleased, the girl said," Oh,yes. But must I go as I am, in these wretched rags?'  Her godmother simply touched her with the wand, and Cinderella's rags turned into a gown of gold and silver that sparkled with jewels.  A pair of high-heeled slippers appeared on her feet. They were made of glass, and were so lovely that Cinderella exclaimed with pleasure when she saw them." Just as the carriage was about to whisk her away, her godmother warned her not to stay so much as one minute past the stroke of twelve. "If you stay a moment longer, your coach will turn back into a pumpkin, your horses to mice, your coachman to a rat, your footmen to lizards, and your gown to rags." She promised, and was off to the ball. Such an entrance made Cinderella that "the violins stopped playing and the dancing came to a halt." Even the king, "old as he was" found himself drawn to the mysterious young princess. All the ladies meanwhile, "were busily inspecting Cinderella's headdress and gown in hopes of having similar ones made as soon as possible." And the prince would not leave her side. All night they danced, and he saw that she was so graceful that she seemed to be enchanted. When the clock "struck a quarter to midnight, Cinderella quickly made a deep curtsy to the guests and hurried off." Arriving home minutes before her sister, she thanked the fairy and begged for permission to go the following night. It was given, and now Cinderella settled down before the fire. As her stepsisters came in, gossiping and laughing, they bubbled over with stories of the princess who had shared lemons and oranges with them.  "Absolutely no one knew" her name, they said, and "the king's son in particular would give the world to find out." Cinderella smiled to herself.  But the next night, so deeply was she engaged in conversation and dancing with the prince that she forgot the time. "She sprang up and ran out of the ballroom as swiftly as a frightened deer." When the prince followed, and found her shoe, he could not believe that she had departed without a trace. He questioned the guards about which princesses they had seen leave the palace, but they answered that only "a young girl in rags who looked more like a peasant than a lady" had passed through the gates. At home, Cinderella discovered that she was still wearing one glass shoe. This night when her stepsisters came in, they talked of nothing but the prince's discovery of a glass slipper, and rumors of a search to find the one who had lost it. This forecast proved correct, for "a few days later, the king's son proclaimed that he would marry" she who could wear this slipper. "Princesses, duchesses, court ladies, and all manner of highborn women tried to put tghe slipper on, but in vain." When at last the turn came for the stepsisters to try it, no amount of squeezing allowed them to wear it. Then Cinderella said, "Let me try it on.'  Her sisters burst into mocking laughter. But the court envoy who was fitting the slipper thought it only fair that Cinderella try it on — the king's son had decreed that all young women could." When she sat down and slipped her foot right into the shoe, "her sisters were overcome with surprise." And then they were "thunderstruck when she produced the other slipper from her pocket." And now the fairy godmother arrived again, and tapped her goddaughter lightly, and "the girl's sooty rags were transformed onto a gown of silk, lace, and pearls." Her stepsisters, suddenly recognizing the princess who had shared her fruit, begged most humbly to be forgiven for their previous behavior. Cinderella, "whose goodness knew no bounds", forgave them graciously.  Then "the envoy escorted her to the palace, where the king's son  awaited her.  He found her more beautiful than ever, and in a few days, they were married."
MORAL: Woman's beauty is a treasure we never tire of admiring. 
But good grace is far more precious, and forgiveness a jewel beyond price.
This is the moral of Cinderella's story: Only true kindness is worthy of a fairy's gift,
for without it we can do nothing, 
But with it, anything is possible. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Original Cinderella Rhyme to Celebrate 147,000 hits!


Cinderella #365 
Five Original Verses by    Rachel Hope Crossman 
Cinderella, dressed in yella’,
Went upstairs to kiss her fella.
Made a mistake, kissed a snake...
How many doctors did it take?
Cinderella dressed in red,
Got right up and out of bed,
Cooked for the King, dropped her ring,
Hoped he'd find her magic bling.
Cinderella dressed in blue,
Ran away and lost a shoe,
Despite her sisters’ cruel laughter,
She’s the girl the Prince ran after.
Cinderella dressed in green,
Went upstairs to meet the Queen,
She curtsied, bowed, sang acapella:
Your Majesty, I’m Cinderella!
Cinderella dressed in white,
Invited to the ball that night,
One candied quince from that sweet prince—
They’ve been an item ever since.
Slovakian doll
Cinderella dressed in gold,
Kissed by the Prince, who was so bold,
They got married, they grew old. 
Now my story is all told. 
© 2011 Rachel Hope Crossman
Notes: This posting concludes my experiment, 365 Cinderellas, in which I have posted a new Cinderella story for every day of the year 2011. As of December 31, nearly 17,000 people have viewed this site. I hope you have enjoyed the stories!