Robin Redbreast

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cinderella # 37 Little Gold Star: A Spanish American Cinderella Tale

Inez got donkey ears for her punishment. 

Once upon a time, “ in what is now New Mexico”, there lived a kind shepherd and his little girl, Teresa.   She tended the house while he minded the sheep, and together they lived happily.  Until one day, a neighbor lady began to coming to visit.  Soon, she was suggesting they marry, saying that he must be as lonely as she, a widow.  But Tomás the shepard did not want to marry her.  That’s when the widow started crying, and now Tomás felt that he must marry her.  So he did.  No sooner had she moved in with her daughters, Isabel and Inez, than she became cold and cruel to Tomás’ girl.  Poor little Teresa had to do all the chores.  Now her father went to market one day, and brought gifts back for the family.  For the stepdaughters and their mother,“ gifts of flowers and oranges.  To Teresa, he gave a lamb with soft white fleece.  As soon as her husband returned to his flocks, Teresa’s stepmother killed the lamb.  Handing the heartbroken girl the fleece, she ordered, ‘ Go wash this in the river so I can make myself a soft pillow.” So Teresa ran to the river and tried to wash the fleece, but a fish jumped up, grabbed it and swam away.  That’s when she heard a woman’s voice asking her, “ Why are you crying?”  And the girl told her why, and the woman, who was wearng a blue gown and shawl, with gold edging, said, “Go up to that little shack on the mountainside.  Tend the old man and the child there, and sweep the floor, and I will bring the fleece back to you. “  So the girl went to the hut, where a baby wailed in his cradle, and an old man with long, tangled hair snored by the fire.  She rocked the baby and sang to him while she combed the old man’s hair.  Then she swept, and the woman returned.  “ Good child, your kindness carries its own blessing. ‘She touched Teresa’s forehead with her finger, and a little gold star appeared there. Teresa did  not know it, but the woman was  Blessed Mary.  The old man was Saint Joseph, and the baby was the Holy Child, the Baby Jesus. “ Now Teresa ran home with the snow white fleece, but all she got was a beating.  Her stepmother grabbed the fleece from her: it turned muddy brown.  So she sent her own daughter, Isabel, to the river to wash it the next day.  That’s where the woman in blue found her, screaming at the fish who had just carried the fleece away.  “ She told the girl to tend the old man and the baby and to take the stewpot off the fire.  In return, she would restore the fleece.  But inside the shack, Isabel spanked the Holy Infant because he was crying, pulled Saint Joseph’s beard, and dropped the pot, spilling stew all over the floor.  When Blessed Mary returned, she gave Isabel the now-spotless fleece .  But, as she touched the girl’s forehead, she said, ‘ Your unkindness carries its own penance. ‘ At this, horns grew out of the sides of Isabel’s head.”   Her mother was furious when she saw them, and but the harder she pulled on them, the longer they grew, and the dirtier the fleece became! The next day, Inez must have her turn to clean the fleece.  The same fish grabbed it for the third time, and for the third time, Blessed Mary appeared.  She sent Inez to the hut and the girl, “ scolded the Holy Infant, ignored Saint Joseph, and strewed the hearth ashes all over the floor.  For her punishment, the girl sprouted a pair of donkey’s ears.  All her mother could do when she got home was to cover them up with a black mantilla. Now Teresa’s life became much worse.  Her stepsisters jeered at her all the time, mocking her for the star out of shame for their own ugliness.  Soon, the day to honor the patron saint of the town came, and there was a big fiesta planned.  Early that morning, Teresa and her family went to church.  While there, Don Miguel, the rich man who “whose mansion overlooked the plaza” noticed the girl with the star on her forehead.  When church was over, Teresa was sent home to clean and cook, while her sisters went on to the plaza.  Later that night, Don Miguel invited all to come to his home to celebrate.  Isabel and Inez went with their mother in a carriage, but Teresa walked alone.  She sipped refreshments in the plaza, and danced with Don Miguel when he asked her to.   But now her hateful stepmother recognized her, and Teresa fled before she was beaten again.  Poor Don Miguel! Where had the girl gone? He looked all over the plaza, but she was gone.  The next day, Don Miguel visited each house in the village.  He was determined to find that girl!  At Teresa’s, the step sisters each tried to outdo the other with their hospitality.  They “brought hot chocolate and little cakes” which they had made, but Don Miguel would not catch their eyes.  Meanwhile, Teresa’s stepmother had locked her into her bedroom.  All she could do was to sit and listen.  That’s when she heard the cat say, “ Narow, narow! Little Gold Star is here, right in the house!” 
And so Don Miguel insisted that he see her.  He at once asked her to marry him, but Teresa knew that she would need permission from her stepmother to do so.  And the woman told her, “ You must do three things before we return from the market.  If you fail, I will refuse Don Miguel’s marriage offer.  First, you must fill ten bottles with birds’ tears. “ said one  sister. “ Next, you must stuff twelve mattresses with brids’ feathers. “ said the other.  “Finally, “ said the stepmother, “you must prepare a tableful of fine food.”  And with that, they left her alone.  Tereesa did the best she could.  She gathered a few grains of rice and some beans from the cabinets, but there were no birds anywhere that she could see.  “Suddenly, there was a tap on the door.  Blessed Mary stood there.  ‘Do not worry,’she said. ‘Touch your gold star and call the birds of heaven to help.‘ Teresa did, and instantly, the sky was filled with birds.  They wept until she filled ten bottles with their tears.  The second time she touched her star, the birds shed feathers like soft rain, while Teresa stuffed twelve mattresses.  When she touched the star a third time, the birds flew away and came back, carry delicacies of every sort. “   Now her stepmother knew that Teresa “ had been blessed."  The whole village rejoiced, and ‘gradually, Teresa’s stepmother grew less disagreeable and began to treat her as a daughter.  Isabel and Inez grew kinder, and the donkey ears and horns became smaller, then finally disappeared.  Miguel and Teresa lived lovingly all their days.  And the little gold star remained a sign of heaven’s blessing on them and their children.”
Notes:  This tale parallels the wise woman theme of Vasilisa the Beautiful and The Talking Eggs. It has an overtly religious theme, as opposed to some stories which describe the lady who helps as a wise woman or fairy godmother.  It is interesting to note the parallels with Yeh-Shen, the Chinese Cinderella.  In that story a fish also plays a prominent role and  the stepmother also kills the girls' pet.  It is similar to the Grimm version, Aschenputtel,  in that the step sisters are punished for their bad behavior, although there is no shoe.  Birds play a strong role here, as they do in Aschenputtel, and the cat actually speaks out.  This would seem to be a connection to the Catskin variant. 
Montessori Connection 6-9: Reading/ Literature/ Word Knowledge and Mary Had a Little Lamb
1. In your language notebook, make a list of all of the animals that help Teresa in this story. 
2. Notice that the word lamb has a silent b on the end of it. 
3. List three other words that also end with a silent b. ( crumb, dumb, thumb).
4. Learn the song and poem of Mary and her little lamb. Try: Mary Had A Little Lamb (Karaoke Version), and Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Mary Had a Little Lamb (Instrumental Only), as well as many others. 
Montessori Connection 9-12 Symbolism of the Number Three and  Personal Pronouns
1. Notice that in this story, as in many other fairy tales, the number 3 plays an important role. When Teresa/Cinderella's dad remarries, there are usually two stepsisters.  This make three daughters in the new family.  When the step mother joins Teresa or Cinderella, instead of just the two of them, the girl and her dad, now there are three. 
2. In your language notebook, write the title Symbolism of Number Three.  
3. Remember that a symbol is something that carries meaning without actually saying it,  like this☺.  What does this mean? ☹ What do you think this ♡ means? 
4. Think about the number three in this story.  Now think about the personal pronouns me, myself, and I.
5. Write a sentence using each of these three personal pronouns correctly. 
6.  Think about how many nursery rhymes and fairy tales have the number 3. ( Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, The 3 Little Pigs, The 3 Brothers, The 3 Billy Goats Gruff.
7. Think about the religious symbolism of Little Gold Star.  Did you know that Catholics use the term, The Holy Trinity to describe God, the Father and the Holy Ghost? Learn more about that by reading Bible Stories for Children, or Children's Stories of the Bible The Adult Version. Find Little Gold Star in both English and Spanish. 

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