Robin Redbreast

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

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.