Robin Redbreast

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cinderella #56 Thousandfurs (1819)

From The Brothers Grimm:Two Lives, One Legacy, Hettinga,D.

Once upon a time, in Hesse, a kingdom of Germany, there was “ a king whose wife had golden hair and was so beautiful that there was none on earth to compare with her.  It so happened that she fell ill, and when she was about to die, she called the king and said, ‘If you decide to marry after my death, don’t take anyone who isn’t as beautiful as I am and who hasn’t got golden hair like mine.  You must promise me that.’ When the king had promised, she closed her eyes and died. “ Well, the king was overcome with grief and for quite some time would not think of taking another wife.  His councilors advised that he do so, however, and began a search for a woman as beautiful as the queen, with golden hair.  But they could not find such a one.  The years passed by and one day, when the king’s daughter had grown up, he “looked at her and saw that she resembled his dead wife in every way.  He fell passionately in love with her, and said to his councillors, ‘ I am going to marry my daughter for she is the living image of my dead wife, and I shall never find another like her.’  His councillors were  shocked and said, “ A man cannot marry his daughter.  God forbids it.”  His daughter was even more shocked, but knew she had few options.  Thinking to delay the ceremony, she said, “ Before I consent to your wish I must have three dresses, one as golden as the sun, one as silvery as the moon, and one as glittering as the stars.  In addition, you must give me a cloak made of a thousand kinds of fur, a snippet of which must be taken from every animal in your kingdom.” Well, the girl had underestimated her father’s resources.  The dresses were quickly made, and before long, the thousand furs had been made into a cloak. “The wedding will be celebrated tomorrow.” announced the king.  That’s when the girl decided to run away.  “That night, when the whole palace was asleep, she got up and took three things from among her treasures: a gold ring, a little spinning wheel, and a golden bobbin.”  She also gathered her three dresses and  put them into a nutshell.  “Then she blackened her face and hands with soot.  After commending herself to God, she slipped out of the palace.”  All night long she walked, and finally she came to a deep forest.  Here she crawled into a hollow tree, wrapped herself in her fur cloak, and fell asleep.  The sun rose, and she slept on.  The king who owned the forest formed a hunting party, and went into the forest to hunt. Still, the girl slept on.  When the king’s dogs bayed at the tree, men were sent to see what was there.  “ There’s a strange animal in that tree, we’ve never seen anything like it.  It has a thousand different kinds of fur, and it’s lying there fast asleep.’ The king said,’ See if you can catch it alive, then tie it up, put it in the wagon, and we’ll take it home with us.”  This they did, and when they found that the creature was just a sooty girl in a fur cloak, they sent her to the kitchens to serve as a drudge, “made to do all the nasty work, hauling wood and water, keeping up the fires, plucking fowls, cleaning vegetables, and sweeping up the ashes. For a long while, Thousandfurs led a wretched life.  Ah, my fair princess! What’s become of you? “ It happened that the king decided to give a ball, and Thousandfurs begged permission from Cook to go and peek at it. Kind Cook replied, “Why not? Just so you’re back in half an hour to sweep up the ashes.’ So she quickly bathed and slipped into her dress “that shone like the sun. “  The courtiers were taken with her beauty, and wondered from whence she had come.  The prince would dance with none other, but in no time at all the music ended.  The girl in the golden dress curtsyed and was gone so quickly that none could follow.  She scurried back to her room, blacked her face and hands, took off the dress, and put on her cloak.  Then she went back to the kitchen and began to sweep the floor.  But Cook said, “ Let that go until tomorrow and make the king’s soup instead, because I’d like to go up and look on for awhile.  But don’t drop any hairs in it or you won’t get any more to eat. ‘  The cook went upstairs, and Thousandfurs made bread soup for the king, as best she knew how.” She also dropped her golden ring into the bottom of the tureen.  The soup was so good that the king ate every spoonful, and when he got to the bottom of the tureen and found the ring, he was mystified. He sent for Cook, who admitted that Thousandfurs had mad the soup.  So the girl was sent for and questioned.  In answer to her origins, she said only, “ I’m a poor child who’s lost her father and her mother.”  As to her job at the palace, the girl claimed, “ I’m good for nothing but having boots thrown at my head.”As for the ring, she insisted she knew nothing.  So she was sent back to the kitchen.  Some months later another ball was held.  Again the girl begged to go and peek, again Cook gave permission, so long as she was back in time to make the king’s favorite soup.  This time, Thousandfurs wore the dress “as silvery as the moon, and when she went upstairs, she looked like a king’s daughter.”  But again she vanished in a wink, ran back to “her den, made herself a furry animal again, and went to the kitchen to make bread soup.”  Now she dropped her tiny golden spinning wheel into the king’s bowl.  Again she was sent for, again questioned.  Again she answered that she was an orphan, good only for having boots thrown at her head.  She said nothing about the spinning wheel.  Some time passed and another ball was held.  Now Thousandfurs wore her dress that glittered like the stars.  The prince had given orders to the musicians to play for a long, long time.  As the dancers grew tired, the prince pulled the golden ring from his pocket, and stealthily put it onto the girl’s finger.  So gentle was he that she did not notice. But she had tarried too long! She fled from the ball, but the prince held onto her hand.  Tearing free she ran for her den, threw the cloak over her dress and rubbed herself with soot.  In her haste, she left one finger clean.  It was the one with the ring on it.  In the kitchen, she fixed the soup and popped her little gold bobbin into the dish.  Now when the king ate the soup and saw the bobbin, he called for the scullion in the furs.  The moment she appeared he grabbed her hands, triumphantly shouting when he saw the white finger with the ring. He ripped the fur cloak off her back, “and there she stood in all her glory.  unable to hide any longer. When she had washed the soot and ashes from her face, she was more beautiful than anyone who had ever been seen on earth.  The king said: “You are my dearest bride.  We shall never part.” Then the wedding was celebrated and they lived happily until they died."
From Grimm’s Tales for Young and Old, ( Trans. Manheim, R. 1977. p.245).
Notes:  A classic Catskin, very similar to Princess Furball.  We have the unlawful marriage, the flight from the father, and the three dresses evoking the sun, moon,  and stars. This is a "Kind Cook" variant, nice in contrast to those where Cook hurls meat forks at the girl's head!  We have the same saucy answers to the prince, as though the princess in disguise knows she must provoke to get what she wants. She is, after all, quite bold in this tale. She does not have even a hen-wife to advise her, and concocts her plan of putting things into the soup all on her own.  She seems to dare him to throw boots at her head, and his gentle treatment of her is noteworthy.  Princes commonly throw all manner of things at kitchen girls (shovels, whips, spoons, ladles, and boots for example).  
Montessori Connection Ages 6-12:  Fundamental Needs/Food/Foods of Germany in the 18th century and before.
1. Read Thousandfurs.
2. Pay special attention to the parts where food is being served. 
3. Make a list of food referred to in the story. (Bread, soup, vegetables, fowl).
5. Think about the thousand animals skinned for the cloak. Concise Field Guide to the Animals and Plants of Britain and Europe (Concise field guides)
7. Do you think any of the animals whose skins were used for the cloak were eaten?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cinderella #55 The Little Girl Sold With the Pears (1956/1980)

Pear tree. Sendak, M.
Once upon a time, in Italy, “a man had a pear tree that used to bear four baskets of pears a year.  One year, though, it only bore three bushels and a half, while he was supposed  to carry four to the king.  Seeing no other way out, he put his youngest daughter into the basket, and covered her up with pears and leaves." She was sent to the king’s kitchen where she lived on pears, in the bottom of the basket for some time.  Finally, the servants noticed how few pears were left, and how many cores. “ There must be a rat or a mole gnawing on the pears,’ they said.  ‘We shall look inside the baskets. ‘ They removed the top and found the little girl. “  She was soon put to work in the kitchen.  She was a cheerful child, and a lovely one and they called her Perina.  The king of this castle had a son just the same age as Perina, and the two became fast friends.  The years passed and the other servants became jealous of the friendship this pear-girl had with the prince. They spread a rumor that Perina had boasted that “she would go and steal the witches’ treasure.  The king got wind of it and sent for the girl.  ‘Is it true you boasted you would go and steal the witches’ treasure?’ ‘No, Sacred Crown, I made no such boast.” answered the girl.  But the king did not believe her, and sent her away, not to return without the witches’ treasure.  So she left.  “On and on she walked until nightfall.  Perina came to an apple tree, but she kept on going.  She next came to a peach tree, but still didn’t stop.  Then she came to a pear tree, climbed it and fell asleep.  In the morning, there stood a little woman under the tree.  ‘What are you doing  up there, my daughter?’ asked the old woman.  Perina told her about the difficulty she was in.  ‘Take these three pounds of grease, three pounds of bread, and threepounds of millet and be on your way.’ Perina thanked her very much, and moved on.”  Now her path led her past a bakery.  There she saw three women who were trying to sweep their oven out.  They had nothing to use for brooms but their own hair, which they were pulling out.  Perina gave them her millet.  They swept the oven and let her pass.  On and on she went, and after awhile she came to three mastiffs.  These dogs barked loudly at her but she threw them her three pounds of bread and they gobbled it up and let her pass.  On and on she walked for many miles, until she came to a “blood-red river, which she had no idea how to cross.  But the old woman had told her to say: Fine water so red, I must make haste; Else of you would I taste.   At those words, the waters parted, and let her through.   Just across the river was a very fine palace.  Its doors were slamming quickly open and shut, open and shut, so fast that no one could slip in without being crushed. Perina “ therefore applied the three pounds of grease to its hinges, and from then on it opened and closed quite gently. “  So Perina went in, and found the treasure chest.  She tiptoed over and picked it up but “the chest spoke. ‘Door, kill her, kill her!’ ‘I won’t either, since she greased my hinges that hadn’t been looked after since goodness knows when. ‘  Perina reached the river and the chest said, ‘River, drown her, drown her!’  ‘I won’t either,’said the river, ‘since she called me “Fine water, so red.’  She came to the dogs, and the chest said, ‘Dogs, devour her, devour her!” Butthey said they would not, on account of the bread.  Nor would the oven burn her when they approached, out of gratitude for their sweeping the women had given with Perina’s millet.  Well, Perina had been brave, but she was just like anybody else when it came to holding a treasure chest. She just had to see what was inside!  So she opened the lid and out jumped, “a hen and her brood of gold chicks.” Quick as a wink, they vanished into the brush.  Perina followed them and ran past the apple tree.  No chicks.  She ran past the peach tree. No chicks.  She came to the pear tree, and there the little old woman was again,”with a wand in her hand and hen and chicks feeding around her.” She waved her wand over them and they jumped back into the chest, just as the prince ran up.  “When my father asks what you want as a reward, tell him that box filled with coal in the cellar.”  So Perina named this as her reward when the king called for her.  And “they brought her the box of coal, which she opened, and out jumped the king’s son, who was hiding inside.  The king was happy then for Perina to marry his son.”
Notes: The Little  Girl Sold With the Pears (p.35, Italian Folktales Selected and Retold by Italo Calvino) has elements of the Catskin variant including being sent to seek service at the castle.  The theme of the number 3 continues, as Perina herself prevents three bushels only being delivered to the king; she runs by three trees, the old woman gives her three gifts, and she must pass three obstacles.  It is nice to see a story where the girl is not abused! Also nice is the friendship between Perina and the prince.  The old woman is something of a Baba-Yaga figure as she is in the woods under a tree, yet wields a wand much like Perrault's fairy godmother. 
Montessori Connection 6-9 Vocabulary/Color Words
1. Read the story of Perina and think about colors of fruit, trees, and other things mentioned.
2. Make a booklet by sketching one thing on each small page: an apple tree, a peach tree, a pear tree, a bread oven, a blood-red river, three dogs, and  a treasure chest. 
3. Color the drawings in with wax crayon. 
4. Use watercolor paint to wash over the drawings, covering up the white paper. 
5. Write the word identifying each thing.
6. Bind your book together.
Or: Read Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It is good practice for color words. 
Ages 9-12 Maria Montessori/ Fairy Tales of Italy/Imagination
1. Find Italy on the globe.
2. Make a timeline of Maria Montessori's life: born in 1870, died in 1952. 
3. Understand that The Little Girl Sold With the Pears is one story from the very same place and time in which Dr.Montessori was a child, Italy in the 1870's and 1880's.
4. Read about how Dr. Montessori respected children and wanted to help them become capable, confident people. Try: Maria Montessori: A biography for children, and Mammolina: A Story About Maria Montessori (Creative Minds Biography)
5. Imagine how you would feel, or perhaps how a child a bit younger than you would feel, if your father really did give you away in a basket of pears.  Do you think you would be as brave as Perina?
6. Pretend that you are Perina! Try to re-write the story in the first person. Example: Once upon a time, when I was very small, my father put me in a basket of pears....
7. Write your own adventure: think of three things to run past, three gifts your hero  has been given, and three challenges your hero must pass. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cinderella #54 Läse-och Läro-bok för Ungdom/Cinder-Girl (1830)

A castle, painted by Jacob Grimm, age 10. 

Once upon a time, in Sweden, there lived a queen. She had a stepdaughter and a daughter of her own.  She treated the stepdaughter cruelly.  One Sunday, before taking her own child to church, she dumped a bushel of peas on the floor and ordered poor Cinder-Girl to gather them all up before her return.  Leaving her a “morsel of black bread and a little milk in a cat’s saucer” the stepmother and daughter jeer at Cinder-Girl, threatening her with a beating if she had not gathered the peas.  Left alone, the child sits down to cry.  That’s when she hears a sound.  A “little white ermine “ comes near her, drawn by her tears.  Cinder-Girl gives her milk to the animal with silky-soft fur, and tells it of her troubles.  Now the ermine blows onto the scattered peas, and they “fly back into the measure.”  Thanking the animal profusely, Cinder-Girl follows the ermine deep into the forest.  Here it shows her an enormous oak tree, “where she gets dresses, a palfrey, and little pages, and goes to church.”  Everyone is amazed at the beauty of this mysterious princess and her retinue of pages, but no one recognizes her.  After the church service, Cinder-Girl runs back to the oak tree and changes clothes, then quickly hurries home.  For three Sundays this is repeated.  The third time that Cinder-Girl returns from church, the little white ermine is waiting for her with a special request.  It begs her to “stab a knife into its heart, in return for its services to her.”  With much reluctance, the girl complies.  Stabbing the ermine in its chest causes, “three drops of blood to fall, from which springs a comely prince, who instantly vanishes.“ 
Notes: This Swedish Cinderella is titled,  Läse-och Läro-bok för Ungdom, and identified as being collected in Stockholm, 1830. Cox, (1892/2010)  p. 402.  It is the first time we have encountered a stepmother who is a queen, and the first appearance of an ermine as helper animal. It ends surprisingly: Cinder-Girl does the good deed of releasing the prince from his animal state, but is not herself rewarded. 
Montessori Connection 6-12: Mammals of Europe/ Mustelidae/Stoats and Weasels
1. The Little Oxford Dictionary defines the ermine as, " a stoat, especially in its white winter fur. "
2. It is related to the weasel. 
4. Learn how stoats (ermines) are turned into coats: Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs to Know

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cinderella #53 Fair, Brown, and Trembling (2000)

She wished for a white mare with diamonds. Illustrate by Sharkey, N.

Once upon a time, in Ireland, “ before you were born, or your grandmother was born, or your great-great-great-grandmother before her, there was a king in Tir Chonaill and he had three daughters, Fair, Brown, and Trembling.”  Brown and Fair lived in comfort and style, but Trembling, “the youngest, was kept home to clean and cook.  Her sisters wouldn’t let her out of the house at all, for she was by far the most beautiful of the the three and they were afraid she might marry first. This went on for seven long years” at which point King Omanya’s son noticed the eldest daughter.  One Sunday when her sisters were at Mass the henwife came into the kitchen and asked why Trembling had not gone as well.  “How can I go?” she answered. “ My clothes are in rags and if my sisters saw me, they’d kill me for leaving the house. ” But the henwife said, “ I’ll give you a finer dress than either of those two lumps has ever seen.” Then she “put on her magic cloak of darkness and took out her scissors.  She clipped a piece from Trembling’s rags, and called for the whitest robes in the world and a pair of emerald-green shoes.” Then she added, “ I have a honey-bird here to sit on your right shoulder and another for your left.  At the door stands a milk-white mare, with a golden bridle to hold in your hand and a golden saddle to ride on.” So Trembling dressed and went to church, and the people were amazed when they saw her.  When mass was over Trembling raced home again.  The hen-wife had cooked the dinner while she was out, and it was ready when the mean sisters came home.  Full of news, they were, of the fine lady who had come to church that morning.  The following Sunday, the hen-wife looked in on Trembling again.  She was at home because her sisters had not allowed her to go to church.  So the hen-wife asked Trembling what kind of a dress she would like to wear and the girl said, “ Oh, the finest black satin that can be found, shimmering with pearls, and ruby shoes for my feet.’ The hen-wife put on a cloak of darkness, called for the robes and the mare, and that moment she had them!” This time, both saddle and bridle were of silver, and the mare glossy and black. Now the hen-wife warned, “ Remember, don’t go inside of the church and be sure to leave before any man can stop you.”  So Trembling followed these directions, and went to church again, and came home again before her sisters knew  a thing. Well, weren’t her sisters in a state about when they got home! Such news of the fine lady and her dresses, and now they had the dressed copied by their dressmaker.   The next Sunday, Trembling went to church again, this time with a dress that  she had chosen.  “I’d like a gown as red as a rose from the waist down, and white as snow from the waist up. I’ll have a cape of green on my shoulders; a hat of red,white, and green feathers on my head; and shoes for my feet with toes red, the middle white, and the back green!”  Declaring that Trembling would be a “sight for sore eyes” the hen-wife donned her cloak of darkness and fetched the dress.  “ And what kind of mare would you like?”  Came the answer, “ White, with blue and gold diamonds all over its body, and a gold saddle and bridle.”  And there it was, “ by the door with a skylark sitting between her ears. The bird began to sing as soon as Trembling was in the saddle, and never stopped till she came home from church. “   Now, by this time, word had spread far and wide of the lovely lady in the mysterious gowns who stayed outside the church on her splendid mare each Sunday. Kings and princes came by the dozens this Sunday, hoping to wed her.  The son of King Omanya, who had previously been eying the eldest daughter, now left off paying attention to her.  When Trembling arrived that morning, he observed her carefully.  “As soon as people were rising up at the end of Mass, Trembling ran to the glittering mare, sprang into the golden saddle, and was away.  But the Prince of Omanya was at her side and holding onto her leg.  He ran with the mare for thirty strides and never let go till the shoe was pulled from Trembling’s foot.”  And of course now he must have the other shoe, and the lady who wore them as well.  The next day all of his brothers followed along and they “travelled the length and breadth of Ireland to find the lady whose foot would fit the red, white, and green shoe.  North, south, east, and west they went and there wasn’t a house in the kingdom they didn’t search.”   Many lasses tried the shoe, and many lasses tried to trick the prince with “ cutting their toes and stuffing their stockings”.  Yet no one could wear that shoe.  At last they came to Trembling’s house, and “when the company came into the house, the prince of Omanya gave the shoe to Fair and Brown and, though they tried and tried to put it on, it would fit neither of them. ‘Is there any other young woman here?’ asked the prince.  The sisters were just about to say no, when Trembling piped up from the closet.  ‘There is! In here! ‘ ‘Oh, don’t bother with her, ‘ said Fair and Brown, ‘she’s just a silly wee thing we keep to put out the ashes.”  Well, the prince would let Trembling out, and he would let her try the shoe and of course  it “fitted exactly.  ‘You are the woman I love,’ said Prince Omanya, ‘ and the woman I’ll marry.  Say you’ll be mine.’ ‘I will, ‘ said Trembling, for she knew she love him also. ‘But wait till I prove who I am.”  Then she ran to the hen-wife who helped her dress first in the white gown, then in the black, and finally in the colored gown from the third Sunday.  Each time, she asked the company if they knew her as the lady from church.  In each gown, all said they recognized her now.  Weren’t the sisters green with jealousy? Yes, and red with rage as well.  The other princes were not so sure it was fair that Omanya had proposed to this exotic woman without giving them a chance, and began to swing their swords and fight.  “But the hen-wife appeared and put a spell on them all so they couldn’t speak or move until the brave prince had climbed up behind Trembling and the two of them galloped off into the sunset. “  And they lived happily ever after with their fourteen children! 
Notes: Doyle, M. (2000). Tales from Old Ireland.  This collection of stories is wonderful. It is very Irish and this Cinderella story is very ritualistic, with elements of a Catskin tale. The hen-wife so often found in those tales appears here and gives advice. As in Catskin, there are three dresses and three event to attend.   Here the number three is repeated on 3 Sundays, 3 dresses, 3 times that Trembling asks the prince if he recognizes her.  This book has a delightful glossary of 25 place names and how to pronounce them. Example: Tír na nÓg (teer na noag).  This is The Land of Eternal Youth. 
Montessori Connection: Fundamental Needs/Religion/Ireland/Catholics and Protestants. History:Celts and Druids
1. Find Ireland on the globe. 
3. Learn about the religions of Ireland and the troubles associated with them: The Struggle for Shared Schools in Northern Ireland: The History of All Children Together.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cinderella #52 Ashputtle Number Two (1812)

Dorothea Viehmann, "the fairy tale wife",
who passed on 35 stories to Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm in 1811. 

 Note: Contains violence. Once upon a time, in what is now called Germany,” a rich man’s wife fell sick, and feeling that her end was near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, “Dear child, be good, and say your prayers; God will help you, and I shall look down on you from heaven and always be with you.’ With that, she closed her eyes and died.” The child did as her mother asked, and was good, and said her prayers. Not long after, the rich man married for the second time.  This stepmother had two daughters of her own.  “Their faces were lily-white but their hearts were ugly and black.  This was the beginning of a bad time for the poor stepchild.”  She was put to work like a servant, “getting up before daybreak, carrying water, lighting fires, cooking and washing. In addition, the sisters did everything they could to plague her.  They jeered at her, and poured peas and lentils into the ashes so that she had to sit there picking them out.  At night, when she was tired out with work, she had no bed to sleep in but had to lie in the ashes by the hearth.  And they took to calling her Ashputtle because she always looked dusty and dirty.” So the dreary days passed.  There came at length a day when Ashputtle’s father was going to the fair.  He promised to bring back what each girl wanted.  “Beautiful dresses” for the elder and “diamonds and pearls” for the younger stepdaughter.  Ashputtle had no use for such things, and instead requested that the first branch which brushed against his hat on the way home be broken from the tree.  This was the gift she wanted.  Her father went to the fair and he brought back two beautiful dressed for the elder, and pearls and diamonds for the younger stepsister.  For Ashputtle, he brought back a hazel branch.  She thanked him and took it to the garden, where she planted it.  Thoughts of her mother filled her mind and she cried so hard that “her tears fell on the sprig, and watered it. It grew and became a beautiful tree.  Three times a day Ashputtle went and sat under it and wept and prayed.  Each time a little white bird came and perched on the tree and when Ashputtle made a wish the little bird threw down what she had wished for. “  It was announced that there would be a royal celebration three days long.  All of the unmarried girls of the kingdom were invited, and the prince was going to choose a bride from among them.  Such exciting news! All three girls danced with anticipation but the stepmother said to Ashputtle, “ You little sloven! How can you go to a wedding when you are all dusty and dirty?”  The girl begged so hard that Stepmother relented.  “ Here, I’ve dumped a bowlful of lentils in the ashes.  If you can pick them out in two hours, you may go.”  So Ashputtle went out to the garden and called, “O tame little doves, O turtledoves, and all the birds under heaven, come and help me put THE GOOD ONES IN THE POT.  THE BAD ONES IN YOUR CROPS”.
Birds of all kinds fluttered down and in less than an hour they had pecked the good lentils into the pot and eaten the bad ones.  Yet when the girl ran to tell her stepmother, the woman betrayed her promise. Now she said, “ No Ashputtle.  You have nothing to wear and you don’t know how to dance; the people would only laugh at you.”  But the girl begged so hard that she relented and said, “ If you can pick two bowlfuls of lentils out in an hour you may come.”  So Ashputtle called again for the birds, and they came and once more put the bad lentils in their crops and the good ones in the pot.  But once again, Stepmother broke her promise.  When she saw the bowl full of lentils she said, “ We’d only be ashamed of you.”  Then she turned her back and hurried away with her two proud daughters.  When they had all gone out, Ashputtle went to her mother’s grave.  She stood under the hazel tree and cried: SHAKE YOUR BRANCHES LITTLE TREE, THROW GOLD AND SILVER DOWN TO ME!  Whereupon the bird tossed down a gold and silver dress and slippers embroidered with silk and silver. "  The girl changed into the finery and ran to the wedding.  Nobody recognized her and her stepmother and stepsisters were so sure that Ashputtle would be picking lentils out of the fireplace all night that they were sure the young girl could not be present.  All evening the king’s son danced with this lovely stranger, but suddenly, she wanted to go home.   The king’s son offered to escort her because he “wanted to find out who the beautiful girl belonged to.  But she got away from him and slipped into the dovecote.  The king’s son waited until her father arrived and told him the strange girl” was in the dovecote.  So the father got an ax and chopped it to pieces but there was no one inside.  Ashputtle “was lying in the ashes in her filthy clothes and a dim oil lamp was burning on the chimney piece, for Ashputtle had slipped out the back end of the dovecote and run to the hazel tree.   There she had taken off her fine clothes and put them on the grave and the bird had taken them away.  Then she had put her gray dress on again, crept into the kitchen and lain down in the ashes. “  The next day all was repeated.  The sisters mocked, the stepmother called her foul names, Ashputtle cried, and was left home alone.  Again she called to the bird and this time “the bird threw down a dress that was even more dazzling that the first one."  Again she ran to the wedding party and danced with the king’s son, and again she fled rather than allow him to escort her home.  “She ran away and disappeared into the garden behind the house, where there was a big beautiful tree with the most wonderful pears growing on it.  She climbed among the branches nimbly as a squirrel and the king’s son didn’t know what had become of her. “  He waited until her father came out and asked him to chop down the pear tree.  There was nobody in it.  Now for the third evening Ashputtle called to the bird and it threw down, “ a dress that was more radiant than either of the others, and the slippers were all gold.  When she appeared at the wedding, the people were too amazed to speak.  The king’s son danced with no one but her, and when someone else asked her for a dance, he said: “She is my partner.” This night she escaped cleanly.  Or so she thought.  The king’s son “had thought up a trick.  He had arranged to have the whole stair case brushed with pitch, and as she was running down it, the pitch pulled her left slipper off.  The king’s son picked it up, and it was tiny and delicate and all gold.”  The next day he commenced a search for she whose foot would fit this shoe.  When he arrived at Ashputtle’s house the eldest went to try it first.  Alone in the room with her daughter, the mother watched with some concern.  “The shoe was too small and she couldn’t get her big toe in.  So her mother handed her a knife and said: “Cut your toe off.  Once you’re queen you won’t have to walk anymore.” The girl cut her toe off and forced her foot into the shoe, gritted her teeth against the pain and went out to the king’s son. “ At first he was fooled. But as he and his bride-to-be rode past the hazel tree, “the two doves were sitting there, and they cried out: ROOCOO, ROOCOO, THERE’S BLOOD WITHIN THE SHOE.  THE FOOT’S TOO LONG, THE FOOT’S TOO WIDE.  THAT’S NOT THE PROPER BRIDE.” He looked down at her foot and saw the bood spurting.” So he brought her home again and asked to try the other other girl. This time the younger girl was brought out, and her mother went with her into the room.  She “got her toes into the shoe but her heel was too big.  So her mother handed her a knife and said, “ Cut off a chunk of your heel.  Once you’re queen you won’t have to walk anymore.”  This she did, and hobbled out to meet the king’s son.  At first he was fooled, but then they passed the tree and the doves sang out again.  Looking at the girl behind him on the horse, he then “looked down and saw that  blood was spurting from her shoe and staining her white stocking all red. " He took that girl right back home and asked her father if there wasn’t another daughter who might try?  “Only a puny little kitchen drudge that my dead wife left me. She couldn’t possibly be the bride. “  But the king’s son insisted that she be allowed to try.  So Ashputtle quickly bathed and came out “and curtseyed to the king’s son.  He handed her the golden slipper” and of course it fitted perfectly.  As they passed the hazel tree the doves called out: ROOCOO, ROOCOO, NO BLOOD IN THE SHOE. HER FOOT IS NEITHER LONG NOR WIDE, THIS ONE IS THE PROPER BRIDE.” So Ashputtle and the king’s son were married, and the doves sat upon her shoulders throughout her wedding day.  The stepsisters tried to “ingratiate themselves and share in her happiness. On the way to church the elder was on the right side of the bridal couple and the younger on the left.  The doves came along and pecked out one of the elder sister’s eyes and one of the younger sister’s eyes.  Afterward, on the way out, the elder was on the left side and the younger on the right, and the doves pecked out both the remaining eyes.  So both sisters were punished with blindess to the end of their days for being so wicked and false."
Grimm’s Tales for Young and Old (1812) Trans. Manheim, R.(1977) 
Notes: Due to graphic violence I recommend this version for children over the age of 10. This version also includes an explicit and unfortunate juxtaposition of the two words black and ugly, further reason to take care in reading this one.  As Louise Derman-Sparks and the Anti-Bias Curriculum Task Force for the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington D.C ( found, these are loaded words.  This 1989 publication includes a reference guide, Ten Quick Ways To Analyze Children's Books for Sexism and Racism.  "Loaded words" are number 9 on the 10 point checklist, which includes "checking out the author's perspective" and "noting the copyright date." For Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, who lived in Hesse and later Kassel (two of the tiny countries united as Germany in 1806) people with black skin were not a common reference.  Grimms' Tales for Young and Old, the Complete Stories, was published in 1812. There is evidence that the Grimms' love of the newly formed country of Germany and their concern for preserving the stories of the people,  was later high-jacked by the Nazi regime and slanted for Nazi purposes. (Hettinga, D.,  p.142 For a history of the Brothers Grimm try Paths Through the Forest: A biography of the Brothers Grimm.  For children try CHATTERBOX THE BROTHER'S GRIMM: A BIOGRAPHY GRADE 3 2005C (CHATTERBOX SERIES)
 Included among the original 200 tales is the story of The Three Black Princesses, on p.473.  In this story a fisherman's son is captured by an enemy and taken abroad. He escapes and finds himself in East India where a mountain opens and reveals, " a big, enchanted castle where everything is draped in black.  Three princesses came in and they were all black, and dressed in black, but there was a bit of white on their faces."  The prince has the chance to rescue them but his suspicions get the better of him: against their request, he lights a candle in the night and then drips hot wax onto their faces.  "All three princesses turned half-white and jumped up. 'You accursed dog! Our blood shall cry out for vengeance!" they cry.  A reminder why the original title of the book tells us these are not necessarily stories for children.  
Montessori Connection 6-12: Timeline of People/ Human Biology/Colors of our Skin 
1. Check out the free teaching resources from the Southern Poverty Law Center at  DVDs available include a wonderful biography of Rosa Parks.   Also a coloring and naming excercise involving skin tone. 
2. For positive images of the beautiful colors of brown and  black try the reading list compiled by  Dr. Ginger K. McKenzie of Xavier University, Ohio, available through the American Montessori Society Website:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cinderella #51 Big Foot Cinderrrrrrrella! (1998)

Beary-godfather waved his paw and an enormous pair of clogs appeared! 

Once upon a time, in California, “in an old-growth forest, a band of Bigfoots lived.  An enormous snag towered above the other trees close to their camp.  Inside its hollow balls of bark lived a dashing Bigfoot prince.  He was tall and dark as a Douglas fir—with feet like cedar stumps.  He was as odiferous as his tree-home was coniferous.  And so horrendously hairy that Bigfoot women near and far longed to marry him." He was also a nature lover.  “No pick flowerss!” he barked when he saw the girl Bigfoots making daisy chains.  Especially the Bigfoot woman who had three daughters.  The youngest was her stepchild.  “The daughters were puny little things with dinky feet, almost  furless as Bigfoots go, and as sour as little green berries.   They spent their days bathing and picking their teeth with fishbones and sleeking their fur with pincones.  For fun, they threw rocks at spotted owls.  The stepdaughter was just the opposite—nearly as wooly as a mammoth, golden as a banana slug, with fee like log canoes.  She loved nature and would harm no creature. “ All day, her stepsisters and her stepmother ordered her around the forest.  “The roared at her so much that everyone called her Rrrrrella. ‘Rrrrrella, fix fire!’  ‘Rrrrrella! Catch fish!" Big, gentle Rrrrrrella was so kind that one day, when she had been catching fish all day and throwing them into her basket, she let a hungry grizzly bear fill his belly with her fish.  When she came home with an empty basket, her family “rubbed their bellies and bellowed,’ Food! Food! Food!’ They forced her to fish all night.  Life went on like this for some while.  One day, they heard that it was time for the Bigfoot prince’s annual “fun-fest, with gifts and food, and games—like jump-the-fire, bear-cave hide-and-seek, and hurl the hemlock.  But logrolling was the favorite.  This year whichever woman rolled the prince off a log and into the river would become his wife. “  But when Rrrrrella asked to go along, “her sisters hooted so hard, they fell down. ‘You stay. Catch plenty fish.  We catch prince.” And with that, they left her all alone.  When she could no longer hear them crashing through the forest, she let her tears flow.  She wished aloud that she could join the fun-fest, and that’s when she heard  a voice! “Heartfelt wish is true wish," it growled gruffly, " And so, you go!’ Rrrrrella spun around.  She was staring at a bear, the very one she had given fish.  ‘Who you?’ she asked.  ‘Me you beary-godfather.’ Rrrrrella was overjoyed—then underjoyed...” Whatever would she wear?  The grizzly bear “swiped the air with a paw, and, instantly, an enormous pair of clogs appeared.  Rrrrrella tried them on.  They fit perfectly.  Then the grizzly waved a paw over her and —poof—the wildflowers she wore were dust.  He patted and matted her fur, and it tangled like the forest floor.   ‘Be back sundown!’ warned her beary-godfather as she skipped off happily, “shaking the whole forest as she went.”  When she got to the fun-fest, she saw a huge crowd.  All the Bigfoot clans were there, and all the Bigfoot girls tried to dunk the prince.  But no one could.   Finally, just as the prince was going to give up, Rrrrrella “bounded onto the log, pounding her chest and whooping, ‘ME DUNK PRINCE!’  Grunting with all her might, she spun the log like a big twig.  Then she gave it a twist and—floop!—the prince flopped into the river. ‘ Just then, Rrrrrella realized that the sun was setting! She fled, and “the prince lurched from the water, dripping and crushed.  His dream woman—shaggy as the forest flootr, smelly as a fish, and strong—was gone....he gnashed his mossy teeth. ‘Where my stinking beauty go?’  Then he saw one big bark clog.  Hers!  Now perhaps he could find his princess.   The prince shuffled from snag to snag, cave to cave, lugging the lost clog.  But though all the Bigfoot women tried it on, it was too large for anyone. “  That’s when Rrrrrella ran up yelling, “ ME! ME! ME!’ She did.  And her foot fit the clog like a seed in a pod.  When she pulled out its mate, the Bigfoot prince knew he’d found his bride.  He thumped his chest and roared with joy.  Soon there was a rowdy wedding in the old growth forest.  Everyone was invited.  Even Rrrrrella’s stepmother and stepsisters could come—if they followed these rules careful”
No pick flower.
No pull tree.
No kick royal family. "
Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella (Picture Puffins) By Johnston, T. Illustrated by Warhola, J. 

Notes: This is a very cute retelling, with a strong Northern California twist.  The reference to "throwing stones at spotted owls for fun" is partially explained in the glossary of California forest terminology.  The bird is idenified as an" Endangered bird dwelling chiefly in old-growth forests of California and the Pacific Northwest".  The part that is not mentioned is that the spotted owl became the poster child of the environmentalists trying to preserve the forest, and its image was used for target practice by the loggers who stood to lose work if they could not cut down trees.  
Montessori Connection 6-9: Botany/Seeds/Cones/Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) and Sequoia sempervirens (California Redwood)
1. Read the story again and pay close attention to the pictures of trees.
2. Now go back and read the part that describes the "dashing Bigfoot prince" who is "as tall and dark as a Douglas fir".
3. Read the ending, where Rrrrrella's foot "fit like a seed in a pod". 
4. Learn about the Douglas Fir: Did you know that it grows to be as tall as 250 feet?
5. Learn about California's state tree, the Redwood. (Read:Redwoods) Did you know that it can grow to be 300 feet tall, yet it begins life as a cone that is only 3 cm. long?
Ages 9-12 Botany/Old Growth Forests/ Conservation of Species AND USA/Folklore of Pacific Northwest/ Legend of Bigfoot
1. Use the glossary at the beginning of the book to write sentences using these words: old-growth forest, deadfall, sapling. 
2. Learn about the Redwood forests of California: The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring, or Northern California nature Guide.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cinderella #50 from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (1961)

"She's prettier without her head." Illustrated by Blake, Q.

Note: contains violence. Once upon a time in England, lived a boy who told stories and made rhymes.  Here is one that he wrote when he grew up:
“I guess you think you know this story.  You don’t.  The real one’s much more gory. The phoney one, the one you know, was cooked up years and years ago, And made to sound all soft and sappy 
Just to keep the children happy.  
Mind you, they got the first bit right, the bit where, in the dead of night, The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all, Departed for the Palace Ball, 
While darling little Cinderella Was locked up in the slimy cellar, Where rats who wanted things to eat, Began to nibble at her feet.  She bellowed, ‘Help!’ and ‘Let me out!’ The Magic Fairy heard her shout.  Appearing in a blaze of light, She said, ‘My dear, are you alright?’  Well, no, Cinderella said, she was not alright.  She wanted to go to the ball.  So the fairy godmother said, " Hang on a tick! ‘ She gave her wand a might flick And quickly, in no time at all, Cindy was at the Palace Ball!  It made the Ugly Sisters wince, to see her dancing with the Prince.  She held him very tight and pressed
Herself against his manly chest....” But when the clock struck midnight, she ran.  Unfortunately for her, the Prince grabbed ahold of her dress. “As Cindy shouted, ‘Let me go!’ The dress was ripped from head to toe.  She ran out in her underwear, And lost one slipper on the stair.  The Prince was on it, like a dart, He pressed it to his pounding heart, ‘The girl this slipper fits,’ he cried, 
'Tomorrow morn shall be my bride! I’ll visit every house in town Until I’ve tracked the maiden down!‘ Then, rather carelessly, I fear, 
 he placed it on a crate of beer.  At once, one of the Ugly Sisters, (the one whose face was blotched with blisters) Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe, And quickly flushed it down the loo.  Then, in its place she calmly put The slipper from her own left foot.  Aha, you see, the plot grows thicker.  Cindy’s luck was looking sicker.  Next day, the Prince was charging down To knock on all the doors in town.  In every house, the tension grew.  Who was the owner of the shoe? The shoe was long and very wide.  (A normal foot got lost inside.) 
Also it smelled a wee bit icky.  (The owner’s feet were hot and sticky.) Thousands of eager people came To try it on, but all in vain.  Now came the Ugly Sister’s go.  One tried it on.  The Prince screamed, ‘No!’ But she screamed, ‘Yes! It fits! Whoopee!  So now you’ve got to marry me!’ The Prince went white from ear to ear.  He muttered, ‘Let’s get out of here.’ ‘Oh, no you don’t! You’ve made a vow!  There’s no way you can back out now!’  ‘Off with her head!’ the Prince roared back.  They chopped in off with one big whack!  This pleased the Prince.  He smiled and said, ‘She’s prettier without her head.’ Then up came Sister Number Two, Who yelled, ‘Now I will try the shoe!’  ‘Try this instead!’ the Prince yelled back.  He swung his trusty sword, and smack— Her head went crashing to the ground.  It bounced a bit and rolled around, In the kitchen, peeling spuds, Cinderella heard the thuds Of bouncing heads upon the floor, And poked her own head round the door. ‘What’s all the racket?’ Cindy cried.  ‘Mind your own bizz,’ the Prince replied.  Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds.  My Prince! she thought.  He chops off heads! How could I marry anyone who does that sort of thing for fun? The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut? Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’ Just then, all in a blaze of light, The Magic Fairy hove in sight,  Her magic wand went swoosh! and swish! ‘Cindy,’ she cried, ‘come make a wish! Wish anything and have no doubt That I will make it come about!’  Cindy answered, ‘Oh kind fairy, This time I shall be more wary.  No more Princes, no more money.  I have had my taste of honey.  I’m wishing for a decent man.  They’re hard to find.  D’you think you can?  Within a minute Cinderella Was married to a lovely feller, A simple jam-maker by trade, Who sold good home-made marmalade.  Their house was filled with smiles and laughter And they were happy ever after.”
Notes:  Roald Dahl lived through a very difficult childhood. (Read, 2 Titles By Roald Dahl: "Boy" & "The BFG") and delights in putting in the gory details.  When people are cruel, he likes to revel in the details. 
Montessori Connection: Literature/Poetry/Verse
6-9: The Real Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne (1924) 
1. Ask an adult to read poems to you from Now We are Six or When we were very young
2. Try to memorize a short one like, Happiness: John had a great big Waterproof Boots on; John had a Great Big Waterproof Hat; John had a Great Big Waterproof Mackintosh—And that (Said John) is That. 
Roald Dahl
1.Try and memorize a longer poem of your choice.  There are some good ones by Roald Dahl, including The Crocodile, from Dirty Beasts: "No animal is half so vile As Crocky-Wock the crocodile. On Saturday's she likes to crunch Six juicy children for her lunch, And he especially enjoys just three of each, three girls, three boys..." (p. 143)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cinderella #49 Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella (1998)

"Come to me, Angkat" the magical fish called. Flotte, E. 

Note: Contains violence. Once upon a time, “in the land of Cambodia, there lived a lonely fisherman and his daughter, Angkat.  Their riverside home in a quiet inlet was sheltered by waving palms. “ Several ponds away lived another girl, Kantok.  She was as cruel as she was lazy, yet her face was fair to see.  When her widowed mother met Angkat’s father, they married at once.  And the place of Number One Daughter, which by rights goes to the child of the father, ws instead given over to Kantok.  Angkat complained, and the result was that the girls were set to a contest.  They each were given a basket, and sent to the fish ponds.  She who brought back a full basket first would be given the higher rank.  Angkat worked steadily all day, shivering in the water until her lips turned blue.  Her work paid off, and she caught four big fish!  Now Kantok worked her treachery.  Inviting her stepsister to warm up after her cold work. Kantok soon lulled Angkat to sleep.  Then she stole three of her fish and went back home!  Wasn’t Stepmother pleased!  Angkat, knowing that she had lost the competition, released her last fish.  Now Angkat’s life became much harder.   She toiled all day and Kantok taunted her and mocked her.  “No longer did she greet each day with a smile.  No longer did she skip along the path or sing while she worked.  One day, as Angkat set out joylessly to work, she passed by the small pond where she had freed the little fish.  To her surprise, the fish jumped high out of the water.  It spun and gleamed in the shimmering presence of a mystical light, twisting and flashing its iridescent tail.  ‘Come to me, Angkat!’ the magical fish called to her.  ‘How beautiful you have become, little fish, “Ankat said, realizing the presence of a good spirit.  ‘You shall be my special friend. I’ll share my rice with you every day. ‘ Angkat promised with a smile.” The days were much easier to bear now, and Angkat was happy.  Of course her stepmother and sister began to suspect her.  Therefore Kantok followed her stepsister, and observed her feeding the friendly fish.  Now it was an easy task for this wicked girl to imitate Angkat later in the day.  “ Little Fish smelled the rice and rose to the surface.  Its rainbow fins flashed in the golden sunlight.  Too late to realize the danger, Little Fish was scooped into a basket.  Kantok rushed home to cook it for her lunch.”  Of course, when Angkat discovered this butchery she cried as though she would never stop.  That’s when “she was startled by a radiating white light.  Shining with kindness, the Spirit of Virtue stood before her.  ‘ I have been watching over you.  I understand why your heart is broken, my child....tonight, place the fish bones under your mat.  In the morning,  a surprise will await you.”  And the spirit faded.  Angkat followed his directions, and when she woke up, she found a pair of golden slippers under her mat! She did just as the Spirit of Virtue had told her: she put one on the window sill and left the other under her bed.  “Just as the rising sun shone through the mist...there was a great flapping of wings.  She sat bolt upright.  A huge, black bird was at her window.  In a flash, it snatched up one slipper and flew away, high over the palms. “ It flew on and on, and just when if was flying over the king’s garden, the bird dropped the shoe.  And it landed right in front of the king’s son.  Well, wasn’t he enchanted by the pretty little thing?  It seemed to him that a girl who could wear such a lovely shoe would be  fine person, and therefore a good wife.  “An excited buzz grew throughout the court as the prince summoned his courtiers.  In a determined voice he announced, ‘Tell every young woman of the land to come and try on this golden slipper.  Plan a celebration, and the maiden whose foot fits this slipper shall be my bride.”   So this was done, yet none of the young ladies could fit the shoe.  “Timidly, Angkat stepped forward.  She slipped her small foot gracefully into the tiny golden shoe.  She reached inside her sarong and pulled out the other slipper.  A great gasp arose throughout the palace grounds.  At once, the prince understood the reason for his search.  His eyes softened and with a loving look, he whispered to Angkat, ‘It is destiny that we should meet. “ And so they were married, “and became a very happy couple.”  But Kantok and her mother were not happy at all.  They were overcome by such jealousy that it eroded their hearts, and they schemed to commit a murderous act.  Convincing the fisherman to play along, they sent word to Angkat that her father had taken ill.  She was needed at home, they said, and she should come quickly.  Dutiful and loving daughter that she was, she asked the prince for permission to go.  He granted it at once, and sent his wife back home in a fine carriage.  No sooner had she arrived than Stepmother said, “ Hot soup will make your father well.  You know how he likes it.  You make the soup!’  Outside the house, the fire roared and the great iron soup pot came to a boil.  When Angkat leaned down to add more wood to the cooking fire. her cruel stepmother gave the signal. ‘ Now!’ Together, the scheming threesome pushed with all their might.  Over went the cauldron on top of Angkat.  The Princess was crushed and died instantly. “  So Kantok went back to the palace in her place.  The prince did not love her, but did not want to dishonor her family.  He allowed the new wife to stay.  On the way home, Father and Stepmother “found an unusual surprise.  In the very place that Angkat had been killed, a beautiful red-leafed banana plant had mysteriously appeared, its leaves glossy and broad. “ They knew it had some connection to the girl they had murdered.  The father’s guilty conscience caused him to chop the banana tree down with his machete.  But even as he threw the pieces aside, “ sturdy bamboo shoots rose out of the ground.  A massive stand of graceful bamboo appeared, gently waving in the beeze.  The wicked fisherman was amazed and bewildered. “  Meanwhile the prince, who had really loved Angkat, mourned for his young wife.  He fell into a terrible sadness.  “One day, to ease his sorrow, his companions decided to take him hunting.  Together, they all set out for the jungle. last the hunting party agreed to set up camp and rest under a majestic grove of bamboo.  So pure and gentle was the sound of the  evening breeze through the bamboo that the prince grieved all the more for Angkat, his lost love. ‘What I was hunting for, I may have found.  I must have this bamboo at my palace.  Dig it up! “.  And that is  why the hunting party arrived at the palace hauling a catch of bamboo, but no game.  He had it planted, and tended it himself.  It thrived and every day he sat among it to hear the song of the breeze.  One day, “softer than a breath, he heard Angkat’s voice whispering in the bamboo.  ‘I am here with you, my dear prince.’  Falling to his knees, the prince beseeched the Spirit of Virtue for the return of his one true love.  Suddenly, he felt a presence, faintly at first.  he looked up.  In the pale, green bamboo surrounded by a shining light, stood his cherished Angkat, glowing with inner beauty.  The prince reached out to his beloved princess.  Their hands touched and the felt blessed by the spirit.”  As for Kantok, she saw this and then, “shrieked, in  panic she fled from the palace pursued by cats hissing, dogs howling, and birds fluttering. Together with the cruel, scheming, stepmother and father, the three were banished forever from the land.   The prince was crowned King and Angkat became his rightful Queen.  Rising above their tragedies, they brought prosperiry and happiness to the people.  From that day forth the Spirit of Virtue blessed them abundantly.  Peace and joy reigned over the magnificent Kingdom of Cambodia for many years to come. 
Angkat, written by Jewell Reinhart Coburn
Illustrated by Eddie Flotte
Notes: Here we have a spiritual guide in place of the animal helper after its demise.   Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Vintage), (1974, p.257) said that Cinderella's animal helpers are stand-ins for her dead mother.  Here we see the eternal nature of love, first given in the flesh by Angkat's mother, then shown to her in the guise of a fish.  So powerful is the love that even after the fish is killed and eaten, its bones retain magical power. The Spirit of Virtue is powerful enough to absorb and radiate love for the deceased mother as well as the orphaned daughter.  This version contains a satisfying punishment for the stepmother and daughter.  It is interesting to compare this story with the Chinese Yeh-Shen, where they are killed in the end by "a shower of flying stones", and the Korean Cinderella, where no punishment is dished out.  However, my research has shown me that some fairy tale retellings remove violent elements in an attempt to spare children from them.   Perhaps Shirley Climo, in her retelling of the Korean Pear Blossom, did so. 
Montessori Connection 6-12: Geography/Hemispheres of the Earth/Oceans of the World/Southeast Asia/Landforms
1. Read Angkat again, this time paying close attention to the illustrations showing bodies of water.
2. Think about what Angkat's father does for a living.  (He is a fisherman).
3. Using the World Continents and  World Oceans cards (free download at : )
learn about Southeast Asia and Cambodia and the bodies of water there.
4. Learn about the fish that live: a) in the ocean b) in lakes c) in lagoons.