Robin Redbreast

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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cinderella #30 Bopuluchi, an Indian Cinderella

Illustration by Corr. C.

Once upon a time in Punjab there lived "a brave girl, Bopaluchi, all  alone in  a hut " in Northern India. Every morning, she went with all the girls of the village down to the river to fill clay jugs with water. Often, they chatted as they filled their jugs, and one day, the talk turned to weddings.  "I will marry a rich raja's son.' said one. ' I will marry a skillful archer like Arjuna.' said  another. 'And I  will marry a valiant warrior as invincible as Lord Indrus. ' said yet another. But Bophaluchi was silent. She had no parents, and therefore no dowry. How could she get married?  When her turn came to dream aloud, she simply said, " I hope the gods will send someone for me." Now, as it happened, a robber was hiding in the brush, listening to the gossip. This bad man followed Bopaluchi home, waited for her to go in, then knocked on her door.  When she answered, he told her a lie: I have come from far, far, away to visit my niece, Bopaluchi. I am your mother's brother, your Mama-Ji!" Poor Bopaluchi believed him! And when he told her that he wanted her to marry his son, she immediately wanted to  run and share this joyful news.  But Mama-Ji was in a big rush to get going. He said, "Why don't you surprise your friends later? You can throw a  big party when you return with your handsome groom. " And with that, he threw her onto his horse, and galloped away. The morning air was sweet and Bopaluchi enjoyed the ride. But then she became aware of the song which the" white cheeked Himalayan bulbuls sang. " CAW-CAW-CAW- Beware! Beware!  Smell the danger in the air!" But when she asked her uncle if he had heard, he said only that the birds must be afraid of him, and he kept riding. Soon they were deep in the forest and Bopaluchi heard frogs croaking another warning: Ribbit! Ribbit! Ribbit! Beware! Beware! Smell the danger in the air!" But Mama-Ji only said that the frogs were surely afraid of him, and kept on riding. On and on they rode, and the sun set and the sky became black, and it was night. Now the owls were out, and they too called to Bopaluchi: Too whit-too-too, Too-whit-too-too! Beware! Beware! Smell the danger in the air. Again, the robber told the girl not to worry. Now they were in a clearing with a dimly lit hovel.  The door opened and an ugly old woman came out. Mama-ji jerked the girl off the horse and threw into the hovel. " Bopaluchi felt weak. Why was her uncle suddenly so rude?" That's when she found out he wasn't her uncle at all. "I am the Fearless Robber of Mumbai!" her proclaimed, "I have not sons,  and I am going to marry you!' 'You liar, you cheat! I will never marry you!"said brave Bopaluchi. But the witch cackled, and the robber rode away and left them alone. Now the birds outside began to sing again, saying " You are as witty as you are  pretty!" And this helped her to think of a plan. When the witch began to stroke  Bopaluchi's thick , black hair, saying how shiny it was, and how she would like it for herself , she lay still. When the witch got a  knife and threatened to cut it off, the girl spoke, telling her that she would prepare a magic pudding that would help the old lady's hair grow shiny and full. So the witch brought her rice and sugar, milk and almonds, cardamom and saffron, and the girl boiled a pudding. She added a secret ingredient though: a whole bottle of liquor! Of course the witch was greedy, and of course she ate the whole thing...and fell fast asleep. That's when Bopaluchi climbed out the window and ran, and ran, and ran, all the way back to her own little hut. And when the robber returned, "with a jug of rose sherbet and a box of sweet, golden jalabi" for the bride, didn't he get a surprise? Now, of course he came looking for beautiful Bopaluchi, whose skin was as brown as polished wood, and whose hair was as black as midnight. But she was ready for him.  She kept a big bag of white flour and a broom with a thorny handle by her bed. On the night that the robber snuck back into her hut, clever Bopaluchi dusted herself in flour until she was as white as a ghost. She whacked the robber with the broom so hard that he cried like a baby, and ran into the woods, never to be seen again. Now that she had peace and quiet, Bopaluchi lived happily alone for several years. And one day, a handsome young man moved to the village and fell in love with her! He cared not for a dowry, but only wanted this wise and wonderful woman to marry him. The entire village" celebrated her wedding with feasting, music and bhangra dancing. Bopaluchi wore a richly woven, red sari. Her arms were covered with bangles, and a golden ticca, or disc, crowned her forehead." She and her young man lived happily ever after." And if you are ever invited into her house, you may still find the bowl of flour and a long, thorny, broom right beside her bed. "  

 Notes: This book is a marvelous introduction to India. It is divided into sections about each province, and gives basic demographics.
Montessori Connection 6-12: Fundamental  Needs India.
1. Find India on the globe. 2. Find the small island off its coast. This is Sri Lanka, a neighbor of India.  It is called The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. 3. Choose either heads or feet to look at in the book. 4. Read the book, looking closely at the pictures. Now try to find: a man with a turban that is pink with white polka dots; a man with flat, white hat; a man with a feather on his hat. Find a woman with a white veil; a woman  with a pink veil that goes down to her feet; a woman with no hair at all; and a woman with a white crown. To learn about shoes in India, try the book, Feet and Footwear in Indian Culture, available from Amazon or the Berkeley Public Library. To learn about foods of India, try to make a rice pudding with cardamom and almonds. See if you can find a recipe in Cooking the Indian Way, by Vijay Mandavan.   

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cinderella #29 Walt Disney's Cinderella

A real glass slipper. 
Once upon a time, "in a faraway kingdom, there lived a widowed gentleman and his lovely daughter, Ella. Ella was a beautiful girl. She had golden hair, and her eyes were as blue as forget-me-nots. The gentleman was a kind and devoted father, and he gave Ella everything her heart desired. But he felt she needed a mother.  So he married again, choosing for his wife a woman who had two daughters. Their names were Anastasia and Drizella." Alas for Ella, her father died soon after, and she was alone with her stepmother, and her two new sisters. They were not very nice to her. "The stepmother gave Ella a little room in the attic, old rags to wear, and all the housework to do. Soon everyone called her Cinderella, because when she cleaned the fireplaces, she was covered with cinders.  But Cinderella had many friends. The old horse and Bruno the dog loved her. The mice loved her, too. She protected them from her Stepmother's nasty cat, Lucifer. Two of her favorite mice were Gus and Jaq. Cinderella was kind to everyone - even to Lucifer. But Lucifer took advantage of her kindness. " He chased those little mice right onto the table, as step mama was having breakfast! Oh how she screamed! And oh boy, was Cinderella in trouble. Meannwhile, "In another part of the kingdom, the King was worrying about his son. "It's high time he married and settled down!' he told the Grand Duke. 'But Sire', said the Grand Duke, 'we must be patient.' 'No buts about it! ' shouted the King. 'We'll have a ball tonight. It will be very romantic. Send out the invitations. " And so the Grand Duke did, and when one arrived at Cinderella's house, and she heard what it was all about, she said, " That means I can go too!".  And her stepmother agreed, on condition that Cinderella get all her chores done. And then, of course, she gave her so many extra chores that it was impossible for them to be finished. Unbeknownst to Cinderella, her friends the mice had " managed to find ribbons, sashes, ruffles and bows. The mice had sewn them to her party dress, and it looked beautiful." At least it did to the mice. To  the stepsisters, it looked like someone had taken their best notions for herself. They ripped that dress to shreds, and went off to the ball. Cinderella went into the garden and "wept and wept. Suddenly, a hush fell over the garden, and a cloud of lights began to twinkle and glow around Cinderella's head. " That's when she heard a kind voice, fretting about a magic wand, and offering to help her get tot the ball. She waved her wand and " A cloud of sparkles floated out over the garden. A pumpkin rose up and swelled into an elegant coach. The mice turned into horses, the old horse became a coachman, and Bruno became a footman. " And then it was Cinderella's turn for magic. After she reminded her fairy godmother that could not go dressed in rags, the kind old lady "turned the rags into an exquisite gown. On Cinderella's feet were tiny glass slippers." Away dashed the horses, and in an instant, Cinderella was at the palace gates. Inside, the prince was bored to tears by party his father had wanted him to attend. But when he saw this girl with the glass slippers, he was enchanted, and danced with no one else all evening. But suddenly, as the clock began to strike midnight, the girl fled. The prince called to her but she was gone. Only a little glass shoe was left behind.  Cinderella made it home just in time, and dashed to the attic before her sisters came in. The very next day, the stepmother announced that the "Grand Duke was coming to see them. 'He's been hunting all night for that girl - the one who lost her slipper. That girl shall be the prince's bride. Cinderella smiled, and hummed a waltz that had been played at the ball. The stepmother became susspicious. She locked Cinderella in her room. " That's when her little mice friends came to her rescue. While Anastasia and Drizella were trying the shoe on downstairs, the mice brought the key, very quietly, upstairs. They pushed it under the door, and Cinderella set herself free. She walked right out and asked, " May I try it on?'. The wicked stepmother fumed. She tripped the footman who was holding the glass slipper. It fell to the floor and broke into a thousand pieces. 'But you see, ' said Cinderella, reaching into her pocket, 'I have the other slipper." And of course it fit her perfectly! "From that moment on, everything was a dream come true...Cinderella and the prince were soon married. In her happiness, Cinderella didn't forget about her animal friends. They all moved into the castle with her. Everyone in the kingdom was delighted with the prince's new bride. And Cinderella and the prince lived happily ever after!"

Notes: Where to begin? First the good, then the bad, and then the just plain strange! This is the version of Cinderella that many American kids grow up with. It is also the version that many people love to hate, myself included. On the other hand, one could argue that reading a book, any book, is better than not reading a book. So: looking on the positive side: the book has a copyright date of 2005, is very widely available, and is published by Millions of children read these books and they are delightful in some ways, less so in others. I love many Golden Books, and I collect vintage editions. Among my favorites are Goldilocks and the Three Bears, (1948), illustrated by F. Fojankovsky; The Color Kittens (A Little Golden Book) (1949) by Margaret Wise Brown, and  The Bunny Book (Little Golden Book)(1960?) by Richard Scarry. As for this edition of Cinderella, I note three positive facts.
1. Archetypal images of animals are retained in the story. Especially relevant are the mice. More unusual choces are the the horse and the dog.  Mice are one of the traditional Cinderella helper animals, with deep symbolism.  Marie Louise von Franz, in The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, writes that in European culture, "mice belong to the devil, who is the ruler of mice and rats. " The naming of the cat Lucifer in this Disney version is therefore intriguing.  Additonally, von Franz states that in Germany, mice are considered "soul animals, and represent the unconscious personality of the human being."  (p. 87) If this is so, then we see that, far from being a helpless girl, Cinderella helped herself.  It is also interesting to note that in this version the mice were not released from a trap: they were already free pets, running around, and thus able to free Cinderella from the locked room. As for the transformation of the "old horse into a coachman" Disney might have reconsidered this had they known that Bruno Bettelheim, in The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Vintage), says that , " both dangerous and helpful animals stand for our animal nature, our instinctual drives, " (p. 77), and that horses, " can stand for many different emotional needs which a girl is trying to satisfy. For example, by controlling this powerful animal, she can come to feel that she is controlling the male, or the sexually animalistic within herself." (p. 56). So, by having the trusty old horse turn into an actual man, Disney makes more explicit the growth of Cinderella from girl to young woman. In other words, she no longer is satisfied with her pets: she wants a real man, and she's going to the ball to find one!
2. Despite condensing and simplifying the plot, they have remained true to the Perrault Cindereall in many ways.
3. Maybe some children will read this book, and then have more familiarity with the story when they read better versions!
The Bad: 1. Blatant racism.  Since when does "golden hair and blue eyes" equal beauty? This is inexcusable in the 21st century, and description of Cinderella's appearance as anything other than "beautiful" is an add-on not found in other versions. For this reason alone, I do not recommend this book for classroom use.  On a bizarre note, there is some historical precedence for the golden hair, but, as related in my Cinderella #25, O Conto o'' Bella Pillosa, or The Hairy Belle, (1883, Naples, Italy) both Cinderella and her mother have "hair and teeth of gold"!
2. Ugly illustrations. I hope that Ron Dias and Bill Lorencz have greater talents than they were able to display here. Simplistic images, garish colors, and a general feeling of phoniness dominate. 3. An especially American ignorance of royalty, tradition, and protocol. To imagine the stepmother breaking the glass slipper out of spite, and not being thrown in the dungeon for it is silly.  And to portray the palace, the prince, and the entire idea of their existence as television-style fantasy is unfortunate.

Montessori Connection 6-12: Real Royalty
1. Learn about the American Revolution, and how a president is different from a king. Try reading Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?, or The Brave Women and Children of the American Revolution (The Revolutionary War Library)
2. Learn about the real royalty of England. Prince William, his brother Prince Harry, and their father, Prince Charles are some of England's royals. Prince Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth, is reigning now.  The boys' mother, Princess Diana,  died tragically when they were young, and now Prince William is grown up and getting married! Follow the wedding plans at:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cinderella #28 Aschenpuster: Bartsch, K. 1879 Cox #146

Corvus brachyrhynchos, American Crow
Once upon a time, in what is now Germany, there lived a man whose wife had died. He lived alone now, with his daughter, and a strange idea came over him: so like was she to her mother that he thought to take her for his wife. The girl resisted as long as she was able, but at last was compelled to agree. Though she thought to buy herself time with special requests. First, she asked for a dress made all of silver. Yet her father quickly brought such a dress to her. Next, she asked for one "stiff with gold". This too her father brought, and still his daughter tried to delay. Now she wanted a dress "that will stand alone with jewels". Well, this certainly was not an easy, or an inexpensive request. Yet her father was determined to take her, and so, as quickly as he might, sought a seamstress and commissioned the dress. Triumphantly the father brought it to his willful girl. Will she wed him now? he demands. And: she will not! She requires a coat  made " of crow's feathers, and after that, a wishing wand." No sooner are these in hand than she wishes that she were away from her father and in the garden of a nearby castle, where lives a handsome prince. He has heard of her predicament, though is not aware of her arrival. She has brought her dresses, and now wishes for a cupboard to hide them in. Wearing her coat of crow's feathers, she knocks on the kitchen door and begs for work. Cook takes her on as " an Aschenpuster, or scullion" working among the cinders in the tending the boiling pots. And that is how she happens to be in the kitchen when the prince comes in after a successful hunt. Throwing his game onto the table he asks that it be prepared for his dinner, and the young scullion feels herself to be in love. Later, overhearing that there is to be a ball at a castle nearby, she wheedles permission to go and peek  at it from Cook. Secretly changing into her hidden silver dress, she then wishes for a carriage and drives herself to the party palace! The prince dances with her once, then twice. And suddenly, the girl is gone. Chanting, " Darkness behind me and clearness ahead, that none may discover whither I've sped!"She returns home, changes, and goes back to the kitchen. The next morning, the prince is back in the kitchen, this time looking for someone to clean his boots. The task falls to Aschenpuster, who "leaves a speck on the toe. The prince notices it, comes into the kitchen in a rage and throws boot at her head." At the second night of the ball, the sneaky scullion changes into her dress of gold. The prince dances with her and asks where she is from. A place called Boot-Cast she saucily tells him, then vanishes again. The following morning, the prince wants his coat brushed.  The scullion is set to the chore, but does a sloppy job: the prince repays her by throwing the brush at her head. That night there is a ball, and again the girl wears her finery and dances with the prince. Now she tells him she's from Brush-Cast, chants her spell and is gone in a mist. But he grabs her hand and slips a ring onto her finger before she can flee, delaying her. She just manages to get home and get her magic  cupboard open when she hears Cook calling, and so cannot remove her dress. She slips her crow's feather coat on over, and answers Cook. Next morning, Aschenpuster, while stirring the soup, drops the ring into the pot. When Cook ladles a dish for the prince, he finds it sparkling in his spoon! Who was in the kitchen while the soup was cooking, he demands? And down he goes to see. And now, he recognizes the kitchen wench as his dancing partner. The sparkling dress peeking out from beneath the crow's feathers is the confirmation he needs. This is the girl he loves! They are married, and live happily ever after.
Notes: This story has some interesting elements, such as the girl being quite aggressive in seeking the prince. It is very violent, probably reflecting reality: princes throw things when they don't like what they see. The coat of crow's feathers shows an example of what Marie Louise von Franz,in The Interpretation of Fairy Tales describes as the phenomenon of a piece representing a whole: in this case, the feathers of the crow bring the presence of a bird into this story.  Birds are one of the most common animal helpers in Cinderella stories, and represent "the mother's spirit, conveyed to her child through the good mothering she gives". (Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales , (Vintage), p. 258).
Montessori Connection 6-12: Earth Science, Rocks, Minerals and Metals/ Silver and Gold
1. Learn about the properties of silver and gold, and the role they have played in American history. Try: Silver And Gold Mining Camps of the Old West: A State by State American Encyclopedia (Indian Placenames in America). 2. Learn about famous gold treasures, such as The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure (King Tut). 3. Read three fairy tales that feature silver and gold! Try English Fairy Tales Illustrated By Arthur Rackham, and see how many stories feature silver and gold.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cinderella #27 with pictures by Jeffers, S.

Rattus rattus, the black rat. 
Once upon a time, in France, "there was a man whose wife had died and so he took another." She was was a cruel woman, and haughty, and she had two daughters of the same temperament.  The gentleman had a daughter too, who was "as gentle and good as gold, " and so the new wife hated her. It was not long before " the woman began to make her stepdaughter's life a misery" of hard work and little food. The dreary months passed, and the girl's only consolation came to be resting in "the chimney corner" so she soon was called Cinderseat, or Cinderella. Yet " In her ragged clothing, with her dirty face Cinderealla was yet a hundred times more beautiful than her stepsisters." At length, the family heard news that there would be a ball at the palace, and that "all the stylish people in the countrside" were invited. How they tormented Cinderella, taunting her about the dresses they caused her to sew for them, in contrast with her dirty rags. They even asked if she wouldn't like to go too, but she replied, "Please sisters, do not mock me. How could I ever dream of such a thing?' 'You are right, they answered, people would surely laugh to see a Cinderwench at the ball. " At last, the night arrived, and Cinderella was finally alone. "She began to weep, and her godmother, who was a fairy, saw her tears and asked what was the matter. " Upon hearing the wish, she said," Well, then, go you shall!" and asked for a large pumpkin and six mice. She tapped these with her wand and "instantly, the pumpkin turned into a fine, gilded coach...and [the mice] into white horses, a fine set of them." Overcome with joy, Cinderella still had to ask, " But am I to wear these rags to the ball?" and her forgetful fairy godmother "simply touched Cinderella with her wand and and at once her clothes were turned into a gown of silver. Then she gave Cinderella a pair of glass slippers, the most beautiful imaginable". And she was off, with a warning to be back before the clock struck 12:00. The horses trotted gaily through the woods, the scent of blossoms all around. When they arrived at the palace, " So awed were the guests by the mysterious princess that they left off dancing and the musicians ceased to play." The prince took her hand, and kept her by his side all night. Suddenly, the clock began to toll midnight, and the girl broke free and ran. Back in the kitchen at home, she thanked her fairy godmother and asked if she might go back the next night. The promise was made, and so, when her step sisters arrived, and told her of the splendor she had missed, she could bear it. But the following night, she lost track of the time. Stumbling down the stairs of the palace, she lost a shoe, which was snatched up by the prince. This time, she made it home just seconds before her step sisters, who raved about the lovely lady of the ball. The prince had been bereft, they said, when she had fled, and was determined to find her. Sure enough, "A few days afterward, the king's son proclaimed that he would marry the woman for whom the slipper had been made" and the couriers tried the shoe on many a young lady. They "tried it on the duchesses and then on the ladies of the court. But nowhere in the land could they find a woman whose foot was small enough to fit the slipper. " Now it arrived at the unhappy home of Cinderella, and the sisters barged their big feet out to test the shoe. But it would not fit. And Cinderella, who "was in the room and recognized her slipper at once" requested her turn. And the sisters jeered but the courier "looked at Cinderella and saw that she was lovely. He said his orders were that every woman must try it on." Of course it fitted her "as easily as if it had been made out of wax". So did its mate, which the girl drew now from her pocket. And then "Cinderella was taken before the prince. He was overwhelmed with love for her and sometime later they were married. Cinderella, who was as good as she was beautiful, gave her two sisters a home in the palace, and that very same day they were married to two lords of the court."
Notes: The illustrations here are just lovely, so detailed yet calming in their everyday comforts. Note the copper pans on the wall in the kitchen, the blossoms, the snorting steeds, all rendered in line drawing realism. It is also interesting to note that although this is a Perrault based story, and Cinderella does not have an animal friend as such, she is pictured on the cover with a little red bird on her shoulder. It seems that Cinderella and birds are deeply entwined as images. Animals help, of course, in the Perrault Cinderella: mice, rats, lizards and horses play an active role in getting her to the ball, and cats, dogs and birds are commonly included in the illustrations of Perrault-based Cinderella stories. This version, as most produced for children in the 20th century, does not contain the morals at the end. Those, it seems, are to be found only in The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault.
Montessori Connection 6-12: Scientific Classification: Rattus rattus, the black rat.
1. Identify the rat using the circles for the Animal Kingdom, and make the following labels: Order: Rodentia. Suborder: Myomorpha. Family: Muridae. Species: Rattus rattus.
2. Learn about rats in history. A. Learn the natural history of rats:  Around One Cactus: Owls, Bats and Leaping Rats (Sharing Nature With Children Book) B. As vectors for The Plague: Pox, Pus and Plague: A History of Disease and Infection (Raintree Freestyle: A Painful History of Medicine).
3. Learn about rats in literature: a. **REPRINT** Grahame, Kenneth, 1859-1932. The wind in the willows, by Kenneth Grahame; illustrated by Paul Bransom. New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1913.**REPRINT** b. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (Aladdin Fantasy)

Cinderella #26 Cinderella (as if you didn't already know the story) ( 2006)

Barbara Ensor
Once upon a time, during a wedding ceremony between a man with one daughter and a woman with two daughters, a minister declared, " If anyone knows of any reason why this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, let them speak now, or forever hold their peace. ' Nobody said anything out loud during the brief silence that hung over the room after the minister spoke those words. So the wedding ceremony for Cinderella's father and her new stepmother went ahead as planned. In case you want to know if the children of one person not liking the children of the they are marrying would be enough reason to call a wedding off, the answer is NO. Because in a  strict legal sense, only the adults are getting married. " Now, Cinderella tried to do what she thought her mom might have wanted: "First, you have to try to get to know them." Yet it was plain that those girls did not like her one bit and "It made the edges of her smile hard to hold up." She went to bed early that night and wrote her mother a letter: Dear mom, I regret to inform you that Dad your husband has married again a second time."It took her a few tries to get the words right, and yes, she was aware that her mom was dead. But still. It made her feel better to write. She continued: They are moving a bunch of furniture pretty soon, so I gotta go. Your daughter 4ever, Cupcake." Sure enough, the bedroom that Cinderella's mom had helped her decorate just last year was now stripped of her things. She was booted to the attic, while her stepsisters lolled about in her old room. Her next letter to her mom began: Dear Mama, as you might have noticed, I am sleeping in the attic now, where you didn't even think we should put the kittens!" And so it went. One awful day, "her stepsisters burst noisily into the room. Cinderella could tell they were in one of their giddy, giggly, moods. " Atwitter, those two were, over the news that the prince was throwing a ball. and " technically, you see, the invitation is for you as well, ' said one. "Strictly speaking..." said the other. Cinderella got the point. Her clothes were wrong, her shoes were worn..." I think...I better not" she told them, so that was settled. That night, she wrote to her mother once more: Dear Mama, Please Don't be mad at me. I know that you are already. What fun would it be to go to the ball with everyone wishing I wasn't there?"When the big day came, she was worn to a frazzle by the ups, the downs, and the many, many frowns of the day. Later, alone in the laundry room, she "sat down next to a pile of laundry to have a good cry. " That's when she heard the voice of her fairy godmother! Boy, was she surprised! "I don't know why you look so surprised" said the fairy, "We'll have you on your way in no time, Cupcake! There are a few little errands your godmother needs you to help her out with first. Could you get me that rather nice pumpkin I noticed in the garden?"  So the magic was begun, and next thing she knew, Cinderella had a pumpkin coach, with a team of six white mice-horses, tended by six "silk clad coachmen chatting about last night's football game. The former lizards clung effortlessly to the decorative doodads all over the coach.  'And now it's your turn my dear! ...' There was a whooshing sound, then a pop like a cork being pulled out of a champagne bottle" and there it was: a new dress, floaty and elegant.  Gorgeous, ivory colored shoes with curlicued gold trim peeked out below her petticoat. " Wow! Was she ever ready for the ball! Oh, yeah, her fairy godmother yelled after her: Midnight! or there's going to be a very serious consequence!" Since you already know the story, I'll skip most of it. Of course she danced with the prince, and of course he fell in love with her, and of course she  ran away, and you KNEW she was gonna lose a shoe. But here's what happened next: "The prince nervously dropped to one knee. His armor scraped noisily into its new position and made a clanking noise. 'Cinderella, will you do me the honor of becoming my bride, my lawfully wedded wife?" And she had to think about it. " Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm' Cinderella said. Should she marry the prince? She just wasn't sure. She didn't even really know the guy, apart from, well, his favorite foods. He certainly was a good dancer...but then again...Cinderella's heart beat loudly in her chest. " And she said YES! And "as days became weeks, and weeks became months, Cinderella and the prince discovered that they were actually as different as a tree and a lake. It was hard sometimes, but it opened up a big landscape for both of them. As the love between them grew, they began to trust themselves, even the dark scary places."  The prince found his warm, fuzzy spot and began to compose and perform folk songs that made his subjects cry. And Cinderella found her inner iron fist: she'd had enough. Remembering how her only friends had been animals, she threw her family out of the castle and turned it into a sanctuary. And best of all, "Her toughness as a diplomat  brought a period of peace. With no wars, her husband's suit of armor was no longer needed, and it became a curious object that people stared at in a glass case in a museum." And everyone lived peacefully ever after! 
Notes: This is a really cute, fun book! Barbara Ensor, who seems to have done the black ink illustrations as well, has taken a comfortable old shoe of a story and made it into something quite fun, sort of Cinderella-meets-Bridget Jones. A great read for kids 10+ and adults.
Montessori connection 6-9: History, Cinderella's Personal Timeline
1. Read this Cinderella story with a friend.
2. Roll out a long strip of paper to make a time line on, about 3 feet long and tape it down at both ends (either on the floor or a long table).
3. At one end, write"Cinderella is born". Pretend that she is exactly your age, and write your birthday, including day, month and year.
4. In the middle write "Dad remarries".
5. At the end write " Cinderella marries the prince."
6. Fill in the details!
9-12: Grammar Symbols, Personal Pronouns 
1. Read the Cinderella book.
2. In your language notebook, write today's date and the title of this lesson: Personal Pronouns.
3. Now, pretend that you are looking into an empty room and that you are stepping into it. You are the FIRST PERSON in the room, and you say, " --------- am in this room!" (fill in the blank)
4. Now, pretend that your friend steps in. Tell her, " Now --------- are in this room too!" (fill in the blank.)
5. Your dad walks in. Tell your friend, " See that guy? ------- is my dad!" (fill in the blank)
6. Now your mom walks in. Your friend asks you, "Who is ------------?" (fill in the blank)
Imagine that two more  teachers walk in. Say, " It's getting crowded in here. Now ----------- came in."
7. Maybe it is time to get going! Tell your friend, "It's too crowded in here! ------------ should leave."
8. Check that you have these personal pronouns listed: I, (first person); you (second person); he, she (third person, singular); they (third person, plural); we (first person, plural).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cinderella #25 O Conto d''a Bella Pilosa ( The Story of the Hairy Belle, Naples. 1883)

Chen caerulescens: Snow Goose
Once upon a time, in the Province of Naples, lived a man with a beautiful wife, and a beautiful daughter, "each with hair and teeth of gold". Alas, the lady took sick and died. The daughter was bereft, but the husband was mad with loneliness. Such was his insanity that he sought advice from none other than The Devil Himself. So of course he got really, really bad advice. The Devil advised that he marry his daughter, and so the man went home and proposed this idea to her. She was horrified, and fled from him. And where would she seek solace? Only at her mother's grave. Here she poured her heart out, and that's when she hears her mother's voice! It gives her some good ideas, and back she goes to try them out. She will marry her father, she tells, him. But first he must get her a dress made entirely from golden bells. Assuming he will never find this,and that her problems are over, our heroine goes back to her housework. Woe unto her, the Devil is still helping her dad, who quickly returns with the dress of bells. But wait! Begs Cinderella of the gold teeth and hair, I'd really prefer a dress with a sun on the front and a moon on the back. That will surely delay the wedding, she thinks. Alas, she is wrong again. The Devil himself produces the dress, and Dad is back before nightfall, demanding that she put it on. She hastens to her mother's grave to report that the dress delay tactic didn't work out quite as planned. Now her mother calls in the doves. Cinderella returns to her room, calling out to her father that she is just going to wash her feet and change clothes. Her father stations himself outside her door, and after a very long interval of splashing, bursts in. He is deceived! It is only a pair of doves he hears splashing in the foot basin: Cinderella has escaped. By the time Dad is watching the doves cry in her bedroom, she is at the back door of the local castle, seeking work. Clad in a wolf skin cape, she accepts a position as goose heard. The other shephards, enchanted by her golden hair and teeth, yet leery of the wolf skin nick name her Bella Pilosa: the Hairy Beauty. She stains her teeth and rubs mud in her hair to escape the wandering eye of the shepards, but she is too late. She has already caught the eye of the prince! He begins spending time in the hills with the geese and their beautiful, hairy, shepherd girl. One day he begs her to come to the ball his father is throwing. She is horrified, and refuses, running away. On second thought, she bathes in the stream, dons the dress of golden bells, and slips into the ball. There, the prince becomes even more enamored of her and slips a ring onto her finger. This frightens her, and she flees. The next day in the field, the prince  comes and demands to see the ring. But she has hidden her hands under a pile of rags, and feigns no knowledge of the ball or the ring. Again, he beseeches her to come to the second night of festivities, and again she refuses. Yet when he has gone, she pulls out her dress of sun and moon, and, so attired, once again slips into the ball. Now the prince swears he will not let her go, and pushes a bracelet onto her wrist. And again she runs away, and again she hides her hands from him next day. Now the young prince confides in his mother: he has fallen in love with this girl, who looks just like Hairy Belle the Goose Girl. In fact, he declares, he would marry her even if she were Hairy Belle! Well, this is too much for his mother, who forbids further discussion of the matter. But now the prince falls ill. After the doctor has tried many remedies, he decrees that the only cure is a dish made by the woman the prince loves. Begrudgingly, the queen sends flour to Hairy Belle, who bakes a cake. And slips the ring into it! The prince of course eats the cake and finds the ring, and says he feels a bit better. But he needs some more cake to regain his strength. So more flour is sent, and another cake baked. And this time, in goes the bracelet. This is the final proof that the prince needs, and he pulls his mother the queen out to the goose pen to see for herself. There is Hairy Belle, only she is not so hairy now as she has cast aside the wolf skin. And Hairy Belle kept on tending the geese, and the prince kept on calling her Hairy Belle, and the queen was glad of a bit of female company. And they all lived happily ever after! As for her father, that wicked old man never did figure out how his bird had flown, and the Devil wouldn't help him find her. 
Notes: This is a fairy tale collected in the Province of Naples, as told by a gentleman named Vittorio Imbriani in 1883. It is included as story #147 in Marian Roalfe Cox's Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-Five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O'rushes, published in 1892 by the Folklore Society, and available again. Montessori Connection 6-12: History, Western Civilization: Rome. 1. Find Italy on a map of Europe. 2. Get a large, clear map of just Italy such as the one above. 3. Find Naples. 4. Find Rome. 5. Find Chiaravelle, Italy (birthplace of Maria Montessori).  6. Find a biography of Maria Montessori, such as Mammolina: A Story About Maria Montessori (Creative Minds Biography)if you can find it or Maria Montessori: Knight of the Child. Perhaps easier to find is Maria Montessori: A biography for children

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cinderella #24 Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal

Do you trust this crocodile? Indonesian Cinderella did!
Once upon a time, on Planet Earth, a rich man lived with his "gentle eyed, good hearted, daughter." His wife had died. He was lonely, and it seemed only natural that after awhile he marry the widow woman who was his neighbor. She had two daughters as well. At first she was kind, giving her step daughter treats. But not for long. Soon she had that girl doing all the rough stuff, while her own daughters just sat around thinking of more orders to their new step sister. And they barely fed her. Instead, the new wife and her girls grabbed all the juiciest bits, leaving a scrap or two for the poor little girl. Poor little rich girl, that is. Her father still had his fortune; how was he to know if one child went without? She did not complain to hin because she "recalled how she'd begged her father to marry. 'I picked up the scorpion with my own hand." she said to herself, and just carried on. One day, when she was hungrier and tireder  than usual, she began to cry. And that's when the magic happened. In Russia, they say that a cow heard her and said, " Don't weep.' And poured honey for her from its horns." In Iran, a fairy appears and gives her " figs and apricots". In India it is " Godfather Snake who gave her the rice". In any case, soon she felt much better, and gained strength from the rich food the animals gave her. Now her stepmother grew suspicious. In Ireland, the stepdaughters were so "sourfaced...they would curdle milk if they looked at it twice. " Kings all over the world threw balls that year, and invited every eligible girl in the land. In Zimbabwe, their wore linen robes of bright colors. But in Cinderella's house, all she wore was rags. Her stepmother and sisters dressed themselves up, model-pretty, and left her behind, working down a chore list a mile long. 1. Pick apronful of lentils out of ashes ( German step mom).
2. Scour all pots and pans ( Appalachia step mom).
3. And so on (step moms of the world.) Well, the girl knew she'd never be done, so into a miserable little heap the poor thing collapsed. And the magic sparkled once more: it made the sparrows in Germany fly in to pick out lentils, a witch woman in Appalachia "speak a spell - and up jumped the pots and pans and scoured themselves." Well, one way or another, those chores got done. But what to wear? The girl " looked into her mother's sewing basket (Laos); reached into the hole in the fruit tree (Russia); took from a crocodile who swam up a sarong made of gold ( Indonesia); accepted from the fish "a cloak sewn of king fisher feathers ( China); found a "kimono, red as sunset (Japan). " Her footwear was  not forgotten either. In France glass slippers clinked on her feet. Indians say it was diamond anklets. In Iraq, she recieved "sandals of gold". And now her coach appeared. It was made from " a big round breadfruit" ( West Indies); a pumpkin (France, USA).  Whisked to the ball, she stepped out. In Poland, they say that "so great was her beauty that the musicians stopped playing. No one, not even her stepmother knew who the beautiful stranger was.". Every where she went, the king's sons fell in love with her. She danced with him all night, and her feet did not hurt a bit. But suddenly: the first rooster crowed ( Indonesia); the clock began to strike twelve (France, Germany, England, USA). How she ran! Quick as a wink, "She leaped onto her mare's golden saddle. 'Who are you?' called the prince. The girl had no time for words and charged down the lane. The prince sprinted beside her, got a hand on her shoe - and the dainty thing  pulled off in his fingers as she galloped away" (Ireland). Well, princes all over the world had pretty much the same experience, and they all wanted that girl. And all of them were used to getting what they wanted. So they set out to find her, and wherever she was, her stepmother hid her. In China, she actually rolled her up in a mat, with only her hair sticking out. In France they locked her in the henhouse, and then "grunting and sweating" the stepsisters try to get the shoe on. But they can't. Birds all over the world help girls in need, and in Iraq, a rooster gave the stepsisters away. He crowed out, " They put the ugly one on show and hid the beauty down below!". That old trick didn't work in Korea either. There, the magistrate " looked into the girl's eyes, took the straw sandal in his hand - and slipped it onto her foot with ease." And oh, what a wedding feast! In Zimbabwe it was " mangoes and melons", in India " rice seasoned with almonds". In Ireland they ate "beef stew and lamb stew", in Mexico, " anise cookies and custards".  In fact, it was the biggest, best, most wonderful wedding that anyone can remember, and "such a wondrous turn of events, that people today are still telling the story." 
NOTES: Paul Fleishman is the author of this compilation, and Julie Paschkis did the fabulous illustrations. Montessori Connection: Maria Montessori encouraged children to develop their sense of stereognosthic memory, that is a sense of the shape, weight, and feeling of an object in one's hand, by handling her geometric metal insets. The illustrations in this book beg to be studied. Use of the metal insets, often used to teach fractions, is ideal here. They can be used as templates for tracing, creating patterns of geometric shapes. Examples below from my geometry album and from my classroom. See M.M's  The Montessori Elementary Material, ISBN 978-1-44374-274-0, (p. 311)
Paschkis, J. 
table top drawings with insets
Children learn a great deal simply by handling the metal pieces. My class of eight to ten year olds strengthened their sense of fractions dramatically while illustrating our paper table cloth, below. The set is made from heavy steel, red circles cut into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 pieces. These are used for introduction of the concept of fractions; for teaching addition and subtraction of fractions, and for many other geometry lessons. In my classroom, with children unfamiliar with the material, I encourage them to follow up lessons from it by decorating our lunch table. The interest held for over a week, and every set was traced and colored. More creative scenes followed.
the decagon
houses traced from geometric insets

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cinderella #23 The Gospel Cinderella

Once upon a time, deep in the swamp, "Queen Mother Rhythm, leader of the Great Gospel Choir" lived with her little, bitty baby girl.  She sang her child lullabies " in  a voice as flavorful as licorice." But one day, just as her darling little daughter fell asleep, "a hurricane came up out of nowhere. It knocked Queen Mother Rhythm off her feet and swept the sleeping baby downstream and out of reach and out of sight. " How her mama searched for her! Oh, for days she cried, and hunted. She looked for weeks, and then for months and she never stopped looking for her child but never did find her. She kept on singing though, and her voice became "thick with sorrow and joy. Sorrow over the loss of her child and joy over the blessed relief she found in the music." Now, somebody found that child. Crooked Foster Mother, who lived over on the other end of the swamp found her. And since she had two girls already ( a mean pair of twins called Hennie and Minnie) she grabbed the child up saying, " I sure don't need another mouth to feed, but what I could use is another hand in the kitchen. And seein' as how you're as dirty as a cinder pile, I guess I'll call you Cinderella. " So she did, and as soon as Cinderella was tall enough to reach a pot and hold a spoon she put her to work. The years passed, and soon the girl did all "the cleaning, the sewing and the cooking. Every day, Cinderella had to make ten sweet potato pies and ten pots of collard greens, which Crooked Foster Mother and the twins" gobbled. All Cinderella got was the green pot liquor from the bottom of the stewpot. But that was loaded with vitamins! So she grew strong, though she longed for more in life than hard work and pot liquor. Still, she found that if sang while she worked it made it easier, and the years slipped by and Cinderella grew to be a beautiful young lady. Hennie and Minnie grew too.  They became young ladies with sneering faces and sour voices. "Meanwhile, back on the other side of the swamp, Queen Mother Rhythm decided it was time to find a new lead singer for the Great Gospel Choir. 'I'm ready to retire' she told her piano-playing Prince of Music. So all the musicians made signs and stickers calling for gospel singers to audition for the part. That's when Hennie and Minnie made Cinderella teach them to sing. But try as she did, and trust me, she did, they still "sang the notes whop-sided". Well, it would have to do, said Crooked Foster Mother. She told her girls to get a good night's rest, and she ordered Cinderella to stay up all night and make them  new dresses. Or else! So she did. The dresses were pretty, even if the twins weren't, and the next evening, they headed for the Gospel Convention. Leaving Cinderella home alone, of course. And that's when she heard the singing. Lovely gospel music, though she ccouldn't figure out where it was coming from. But she "followed the voice through the swamp. She went right past the hungry crocodiles lying by the river and reached boldly but carefully around their smacking lips to pick wildflowers for her hair. She followed the voice over a dangerous pit of quicksand, leaping up to collect swamp vines which she braided into a lovely belt to wear around her waist. " And, wrapped in greenery and flowers, she blended right into the scenery, and that is how she was able to sneak into the back of the Gospel Convention. Sitting way in the back row, she watched the whole audition. The stood Queen Mother Rhythm, nodding to the Prince of Piano. He would strike a note, a girl would open her mouth, and ...the queen mother  would shake her head: No. She knew what she wanted to hear, and she was not hearing it. Finally it was time for old Hennie and Minnie to sing. Those two croaked and quacked and looked like they each thought the other was singing like a little bird. But, they weren't, and they were hooted back to their seats. Oh, was Crooked Foster Mother mad. But Queen Mother Rhtythm was so very sad: every girl had sung, but no one had the voice she wanted. And that's when she heard the humming. It got louder and sweeter and closer with every note, as Cinderella started singing in the back row and made her way all the way to the front, singing, "From a cup set before me, I sip sorrow each day. Every time I swallow, I find sorrow's come to stay. Then flavors of joy I taste in my cup, easing my pain and lifting me up. "  Queen Mother Rhythm's face shown with joy...but Crooked Foster Mother's face was red with anger. That's when Cinderella made a break for it. "We heard her, but we lost her!" declared the Queen Mother,and she sent the Prince of Music and his Royal Runners out to find her. They went " all up and down the swamp. They went to the north, they went to the south, they went to the east, they went to the west." On and on they went, making all the girls they passed sing, and "disturbing screech owls, wildcats, and resting raccoons." When they got to you-know-who's house, Crooked Foster Mother pushed Hennie and Minnie out front but the prince stuck his  fingers in his ears as soon as they opened their mouths. And even though Cinderella had been ordered to go out back and paint the henhouse with her toothbrush, Crooked Foster Mother hadn't told her not to sing while she did it. So she sang, and that's when the prince heard her. He let his ears lead him to her, and there she was, "behind the henhouse. He stood quietly listening and Cinderella's voice seemed to make everything around her sparkle with an enchanted light. " And the Prince of Music brought her back to the swamp, and  Queen Mother Rhythm "listened again to the golden voice and knew deep in her heart that Cinderella was her long lost child. And so Cinderella took her rightful  place beside Queen Mother Rhythym and the Prince of Music, singing and leading the Great Gospel Choir." And she and her mama lived happily ever after!

Notes: This story, The Gospel Cinderella by Joyce Carol Thomas, is a really cool variation, with Cinderella being reunited with her mama, after being carried downstream. The parallels to the Prince of Egypt story make this book a natural to pair with Lynne Reid Banks' Moses in Egypt.
Montessori Connection: Learn about Gospel music, or share your favorite gospel music with your friends. Try
 by downloading this mp3, If I Be Lifted Up.

Then, try using  the Montessori Bells, if your class has them, or
maybe you will find something at this marvelous

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cinderella #22 Curtain Up! A Photocopiable Play

artwork by Maile Ware

Once upon a time in London, "during 14 hair raising years teaching primary school", Kaye Umansky produced the play of Cinderella with children many times. Here are notes from the version she created for children and teachers everywhere to enjoy!  All material is copyrighted by Kaye Umansky, yet is free for educational purposes if no money is collected.

See notes below for further info. 
 Characters in Order of Appearance:
The Mice: Main Mouse, Swkeek, Tiptoe, Longtail, Wetnose, Snitch, and as many more as you wish!
Grabber the Cat
art by Crossland, C. 
Mean Sisters: Semolina and Ravioli
Buttons the Butler
Gary the Guard
Prince Charming
Old Woman/Fairy Godmother
Baron Hardup
Courtiers and Guests
List of Scenes and their locations:
Prologue: Mouse Talk
Act 1
scene 1- Poor Cinderella/ the kitchen
2-Rotten Relations/ the bedroom
3-Chance Meetings/ the wood
4-Great News!/ the kitchen
Act 2
scene 1- The Transformation/ the kitchen
2-Having a Ball!/ the Palace Ballroom
3- The Shoe Fits/ the kitchen
4-Happy Ever After/ front of stage area
Play length: approx. 45 minutes

Montessori Notes: Many Montessori schools frown on fairy tales, and this is a loss. I did not have the chance to put on  a Cinderella play, but during the 2009/2010 school year, my class wrote and performed a version of the Artemis myth. It was a huge success! The stag painting above is part of the scenery.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cinderella #21 Abadeha, the Phillipine Cinderella

In this story, a greedy pig eats the rice Abadeha is preparing.
Note: contains violence. Once upon  a time, "in one of the sunny islands of the Philippines, there lived a man named Abak and his wife, Abadesa. They had a beautiful little daughter whom they loved very much and the called her  Abadeha. " But when Abadeha was 13 years old, her beloved mother died. They buried her "in the cool shade of the forest." When the father remarried some years later, he had no idea how spiteful the woman was. She had three daughters of her own, and hated Abadeha on sight. She vowed to herself to make that poor girl's life miserable, and she did. She soon had her working like a slave. Abadeha " had to clean the house, wash the dirty laundry, fetch water from the river and cook all the meals." Then came the worst: her new mother and sisters actually threw her out of her own room. They made her sleep on the floor in the kitchen, all alone. And how they teased her! " But why do you ever love to powder your face with soot, Kitchen Princess?" they sneered. When Abadeha became exhausted, her stepmother told her" You good for nothing lazy girl. Next time I will whip you with the tail of a stingray to make you move." Every day things got more and more difficult. It seemed that the stepmother would stop at nothing. One day she demanded " Go to the river and wash these two handkerchiefs until the white one turns black and the black one turns white. Do exactly as I tell you or I shall whip you until your bones break." So Abadeha wnet to the river. Remembering how much her mother had loved her, and feeling so alone, she became lost in thought. Without realizing it, she prayed aloud: Oh Bathala, God of the Earth,
"Oh Anitos, spirits of my ancestors,
Hear me please!
Oh dear mother!
I have become a slave in my father's house! "
That's when she heard a rustling and turned to see a "beautiful, radiant lady looking tenderly at her." I am the spirit of the forest and I watch faithfully  over this place." She motioned with her hand, and "out of nowhere, a young man and a young woman appeared and bowed respectfully."  They danced magical steps, into the water and out again, and Abadeha could see now that the black handkerchief had now turned white and the white one, black. Thankfully, she accepted them and ran home. Her stepmother was not happy to see that she had accomplished this task, and the next morning, " commanded her to spread newly harvested rice on a mat to dry in the sun. The she told Abadeha to go to the granary to pound rice and winnow to separate the husk from the grain. Finally, she told Abadeha to go to the kitchen and cook the rice in a clay pot." But while the poor girl was trying to cook a bit of the rice, a bad, greedy pig came and "tore the mat into tatters while gobbling the rice that was drying in the sun. " Now the stepmother pulled the girl's hair and beat her, ordering her to reweave the mat at once. Abadeha cried "all the way to the river bank." The spirit helped her again: three girls appeared who "skillfully started to weave the mat together." Soon, it was as good as new! Now the spirit "invited Abadeha to her home in the enchanted cave under a huge tree deep in the forest. There she showed her a hen with feathers with the colors of the rainbow and a long, flowing tail. 'I have never seen such a beautiful chicken!" said the girl, so the generous spirit gave it to her for a pet. When she got home with the mat and the chicken the stepmother became suspicious. "If I ever find out how you are cheating me, you will be in deep trouble." she screamed. And then, that wicked woman took the chicken, saying that she would care for it. She made her step daughter get back to work. But "early the next day, the stepmother took the chicken from the coop and chopped its head of with a knife." Then she roasted it for dinner. Poor Abadeha was horrified, and the vicious woman said, " This chicken is big and fat. We will have a delicious dinner tonight." And Abadeha ran out to her coop, where she found the dead chicken's feet. Clutching them, she ran to the river, and again, the spirit appeared. She told her to plant the feet on her mother's grave and pray to her ancestors, and the girl did just so.  The rainy season came and went, and the girl went back to check the gravesite. What a surprise she had! "The chicken feet that she had planted had grown into an enchanted tree flowering with all sorts of treasures such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pearly, diamonds and golden dresses. " The girl gathered these and returned home. What a fury awaited her there! Another beating, and now a filthy old blanket to mend and clean. Meantime, the son of the chieftain of that island was out hunting pigs. He suddenly came upon a chicken most glorious, with tail feathers that trailed far behind it and feathers that shimmered with blues, yellows, reds and blacks. It flew to the top of a tree covered in gems and the young man knew he was on sacred ground. He made an offering and said a prayer, and asked permission to take a ring. This, he slipped on his finger and departed. At home, his finger pained him, and he saw that the ring constricted it. His father called the healer who said, " Listen to your heart , perhaps it will tell you what to do." That night, he dreamed of a chicken with streaming rainbow colors, which turned into a maiden, whom he longed to kiss. The pain was gone. And so was the ring! But then he awoke, and the ring throbbed still. His father asked about the dream and then said to the town crier, " Go out and beat your drum and tell everyone that the girl who can remove the ring from my son's finger will become his bride." So the crier did, and all the girls ran out. Abadeha's three sisters went out, but when she begged to be allowed to, her stepmother locked her in the kitchen. That's when the spirit arrived, let her out and said, " The young man is waiting for you. Go and see him now." So she did, but how everyone screamed and sneered when the poor dirty girl showed her face. " All the people looked in disbelief as Abadeha in her ragged clothes approached the young man. " She easily removed the ring, and he kissed her with joy and relief. Then "the whole island rejoiced their wedding. All the best dancers, singers, musicians, poets and magicians came to the wedding". Abadeha wore the jewels from the sprit tree, and "that day was the beginning of a long and happy life for Abadeha and the prince."
Notes: This story has some parallels with both the Grimm version and the Chinese version, Yeh Shen. With Ash Maiden, the traditional story from Germany it shares:

  • tree on grave of mother
  • bird in tree
  • use of knife to cut feet (here, of the chicken)
  • rhymes to invoke magic
With Yeh Shen it shares:

  • step mother kills animal helper
  • bones of this animal retain magic
With The Talking Eggs and Vasilisa (Baba Yaga) it shares:
Montessori globe

  • girl visits the home of the wise woman/witch/spirit 
  • colorful chickens with rainbow feathers, as in Talking Eggs
  • gifts come indirectly from remains of animal helper (in Talking Eggs from the egg shells, here from the tree that haas sprouted from the planted chicken feet). 
With Smoky Mountain Rose:
  • A pig is featured, though here as a hindrance, where in Smoky Mountain Rose it was a friend. 
Montessori Connection: 6-12 Global Cinderella
1. Look at the globe.
2. Find the Phillipines.
3. Find Russia.
4. Find France.
5. Find Germany.
6. Find the United States.