Robin Redbreast

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cinderella #86 Cinderhazel: The Cinderella of Halloween (1997)

By Deborah Nourse Lattimore

Once upon a time, "in the dustbin", Hazel, Hermione, and Hildy were practicing their spells and curse on each other. The two older girls made their little sister, Hazel, do most of the work.  For example she "swept from one end of the room to the other until the entire floor was covered with a thick layer of dust and dirt." Hazel like it like that.  When her sisters told her to go fly her broom, she said she'd rather sweep. Her favorite thing, she said, was "D-I-R-T". So her sisters started calling her Cinderhazel.  That's what she was covered with, was cinders.  Later that night, her mom and big sisters fancied themselves up, as witches do. They "combed their frightful hair and coated their shoes with very clean shoe tar."  They were going to the Witches' Halloween Ball.  "Rumor has it," gossiped Hazel's mother, " that Prince Alarming might come out of hiding" that night, looking for a witch to marry.  Then she and her older girls mocked dirty little Hazel.  They said that she couldn't go to the ball even if she did want to, because of her "cracked broom", then they all jumped on their broomsticks and flew out the window. "Oh, who cares?' muttered Cinderhazel. 'Who wants to dance with some hoity-toity prince anyway?"  Actually, she did.  After an hour or so alone in the dark, she got up, "squished her hat on her head, grabbed her broom, and jumped on. Ker-rrrrrack! The broom broke." Now she gave it every bit of finger crossing, eye-popping, circle-spinning magical skills she had in her...and her had became a pile of dust.  " Ah, nuts! I'm staying home. Besides, there's not a single thing I'd like over at the palace.' 'That's what you think.' said a voice. 'Who's there?' asked Cinderhazel." Out of a smokey cloud of dust the voice came again.  "I'm your witchy=godmother" it said, and "I can't believe you're not going to the Ball.  Didn't you know there are fifteen fireplaces over there?"  When Cinderhazel heard that she said, "By my withchy-wig, you're right!" And she decided to go. There was just one problem: how would she get there with no broom?  That's when her witchy-godmother stepped in with some REAL magic.  " Bad old bats and a toad that's meaner" she chanted, "Make this broom a vacuum cleaner!"  And that's just what the broom turned into. Then Cinderhazel climbed onto it, and flew right up the chimney!  She rode the vacuum cleaner all the way to the palace, and when she got there the machine "swooped down the biggest chimney she'd ever seen."  So she came out right on the hearth of the biggest ballroom, and everyone thought she must be the prince.  That was because she made so much noise and such a big, dirty cloud of dust when she landed.  When they found out that it was just dirty little Cinderhazel, they were mad.  They all laughed at her vacuum cleaner! That's when Cinderhazel got even madder than they they were.  She "crossed her eyes. She crossed her fingers.  She crossed her legs and twisted around in a circle. POOF! All the witches hats broomsticks turned to dirt.  Oh, boy, were they mad.  So mad that Cinderhazel quickly did another spell. She chanted, " Eye of newt and raven's wing, rise up old Hoopler and make them clean!"  So the old vacuum cleaner turned itself on and sucked up all the dirt. Then it sucked up the witches socks.  Then in sucked up all of the party decorations, and the food, and the drinks! No one could stop the crazy thing! Just as it looked like the vacuum cleaner was going to suck up the whole palace — the clock struck midnight! Whew! The magic wore off.  The vacuum cleaner disappeared, and all of the things it had sucked up exploded out into the room.  And Cinderhazel's broken broom appeared in its place.  And while all the witches were arguing over whose socks were whose, "the biggest dirtball Cinderhazel had ever seen walked up to her." Squealing about how dirty he looked, she suddenly realized that he must be the prince.  He was.  Prince Filthy Alarming was his name.  He told her that she was the dirtiest girl he'd ever seen.  Then they took turns doing spells to make each other even dirtier.  Finally, Cinderhazel and Prince Filthy Alarming were so dirty and having such a good time together that they decided to get married.  And "they lived filthily ever after. P. S. Cinderhazel never did have any glass slippers.  But on their first wedding anniversary, the Prince gave her a more useful present: grass clippers.  
From Lattimore, D. N. (1997) New York: Blue Sky Press
Notes:  This is a cute Halloween story, mixing witches and fairy godmothers and magic. Great artwork, amusing storyline. Also interesting choice of "Hazel" as the secondary name for the girl. It is, of course, a hazel branch that Ashenputtle asks of her father in the original Brothers Grimm Cinderella.  She plants the branch and waters it with her tears; from its branches, two little birds throw down the dresses for her to wear to the ball. Hazel trees (Betulaceae corylus) A ccording to the Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore, some of its mythical connotations are that hazel rods were used "as a protection against fairies" during Pagan Beltane ceremonies, best wood to use for a dowsing rod, and empyromancy (divination by observation), in this case placing two hazelnuts in the fire on Halloween Night. Lovers are said to be able to predict their fate by the way the nuts act in the flames. 
Montessori Connection 6-12: Botany/Trees/Hazel Trees
1. Read this book and pay attention to the girl's name. 
2. Look up the word hazel in the dictionary. 
3. Look up the plant Betulaceae corylus in an encyclopedia or tree guide. 
4. Learn that hazel trees are sometimes called filberts. 
5. Learn about hazel trees in Cinderella stories.
6. Learn about hazel twigs as charms and amulets. The Everything Kids' Witches and Wizards Book: Amaze Your Friends, Astound Your Parents, and Outwit Your Enemies! (Everything Kids Series) or Magic Spell (My Secret Unicorn).
7. Read Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg: Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth