Robin Redbreast

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

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cinderella #180 The Three Oranges (number two)

Out jumped 3 frogs,
croaking loudly.
Illustration by Kiddell-Monroe, J.

Once upon a time, there was "a king who had a daughter as good as she was beautiful.  But when she reached the age of eighteen years, she suddenly fill ill of a sickness of which no one could tell the cause." So the king invited all of the healers and wise folk to the castle to see if anyone could heal his daughter. He offered "a great sum of gold to anyone who could." So many wise men and wise women came, and healers and physicians, but no one could restore the girl's health. Now one of them said," Far, far away, in the land where the orange trees grow, there is a garden where the snow never falls. In this garden is an orange tree, all covered with white blossom, where seven hundred nightingales sing day and night. From the branches of this tree hang 9 oranges." They told the king that if the princess were to eat 1 of these oranges, she "would rise from her bed." If she ate 2, she would "grow even more beautiful than she is now." And if she ate 3, well, then "she would say, 'I will marry no one but the man who has brought me the three oranges." When the king heard that, he promised that the man who brought 3 oranges to his daughter would, indeed, marry her. "Now, in that country, at that time, a widow lived with her three sons in a tumbledown cottage." Both of her older boys were "lazy, shiftless, good for nothing". He youngest, however, was the apple of his mother's eye. He was a hard worker, cheerful company, and a loyal friend. When the proclamation about the oranges was made, the first son decided that he would seek them. So the widow packed him a sack of food, and he set off. "For 7 weeks he walked from dawn to darkness, and at last, he came to the land where the orange trees grow." He found the garden, and the tree, and the nightingales, just as described, and saw that 9 oranges hung from the branches. He picked 3 of them, put them into his knapsack, and set off for home. 7 weeks later, he was almost there when "he saw an old woman come by." Seeing that he carried a knapsack, she asked, "Young man, what have you in that basket?" He answered her rudely,"What concern is it of yours, old fool?" Then he told her that he had 3 frogs in his sack. And she said, "3 frogs. So be it." And continued on her way. The eldest brother also continued on his way, and quite shortly arrived at the palace. Here he told the guard that he had brought 3 oranges and had come to marry the princess. When the king was called, and the knapsack opened, however, "out jumped 3 frogs, croaking loudly. And in great anger, the king called for the hangman to hang the eldest brother." Seeing that 14 weeks had passed, the second son assumed that his brother had failed the task. Now he said to his mother, "Give me a basket of food for the journey. I have a fancy to marry the princess and be a rich man all my life." So she did, and he followed in his brother's footsteps, walked for seven weeks, from dawn till dark. Sure enough, he was in the land where the orange trees grow. There was the garden, and there was the tree, with 6 oranges on it. He plucked 3 of them, and headed for home and the king's castle. Seven weeks later, he was almost there. He sat down to rest beneath a tree — the same tree, as luck would have it, under which his brother had sat. And along came an old woman, who looked at his basket and said, "Young man, what have you in that basket?' This disrespectful young man replied,"What concern is that of yours, old hag?" Then he added, "3 snakes." And the old woman nodded calmly, and said, "3 snakes. So be it." and went on along the path. Now the second son went straight to the king and boldly announced, " I have here 3 oranges, and I claim the hand of your daughter." With great anticipation, the king opened the basket. When 3 snakes coiled out, he angrily "called for the hangman to hang the second brother." 14 weeks had passed, and the youngest brother declares to his mother that surely his brothers have failed, and that now it is his turn to quest for the oranges. He kissed his mother, and told her, "If I can cure the princess, I may earn a little money for you." So the widow gave her last son provisions for a 14 week journey, and the next day, he set off. Sure enough, when he'd walked for 7 weeks, from dawn till dusk, he found himself standing in front of an orange tree, with 3 oranges hanging from a branch. He picked them, then turned around and walked for 7 more weeks. Feeling tired just as he spied a large tree to shelter under, he stretched out in its shade. Along came an old woman who asked him what he had in his basket. And he said,"3 oranges, good grandmother." The dame now repeated, "3 oranges. So be it. And what will you do with 3 oranges, my friend?" And the lad explained about the princess, and the sorrow that had befallen the kingdom with her illness, and how he hoped to cure her. He added, "I am only a peasant. I am too poor to marry a princess. Yet the king may reward me with a little money which I can give to my mother." Now the old one beamed, and told him that he would indeed cure the princess. She warned him him that the king would require him to complete 3 tasks. With the gifts she was about to give him, she said, he would find the tasks easy. Then she gave him "a whip, a silver whistle, and a golden ring." She explained that, "With this whip one can chase away flies, with this whistle, one can call together hares, and when this ring is placed on the finger of the princess, it will fit so tightly that she will cry out to the king, 'I will die if you do not allow me to marry the man who has brought me the 3 oranges." When the young man got to the castle and asked to see the king, he showed him the fruit. They went straight to the princess, and when she had eaten 1 orange, "she rose up from her bed". She ate the second orange and "became even more beautiful than she had been before." Then she ate the last orange and exclaimed, "I will marry no one but the man who has brought me these oranges." Now the king had had a good chance to look the young orange bearer over, and he found him somewhat lacking. Thinking to get rid of him, the king declared,"You shall marry my daughter if you can drive all the flies from my kingdom." Then the lad went outside, cracked his whip, and "at the sound, all the flies in the kingdom flew far, far away, never to return." When he told the king that all of the flies were gone, instead of announcing the wedding, the king said, "I will give you my daughter if you can gather together all the hares in my kingdom and bring them to my stables." So the lad went outside and blew on his silver whistle and "from everywhere, hares came bounding towards him." Yet now the king said, "Out of those 300 hares, catch for me the 1 I want." Instead of doing this, the lad took out the golden ring and slipped it onto the princess' finger. It squeezed her finger so hard that it made her cry out," Father I shall die if you do not allow me to marry the man who brought me the 3 oranges." That's when the king said, "You shall marry him tomorrow, my child." As he spoke those words, the ring loosened so that the princess could take it off, if she wanted to. But she didn't want to. "And so the youngest brother married the princess, and they lived happily ever after for many, many, years. And he gave his mother money and a fine house besides, and she worked no more for the rest of her days."
From French Legends, Tales, and Fairy Stories, retold by Picard, B.L. (1955) Oxford University Press French Legends, Tales and Fairy Stories (Oxford Myths and Legends)
Notes: This is a story with both a princess (who is not made to work, or abused in any way, but is deathly ill), and a poor peasant/ youngest son as hero. Note that his brothers are arrogant and so pay with their lives, while he is a mother's dream. The use of a ring as something akin to a weapon (used to hold the princess hostage until her father agrees to the marriage) is a new one on me. Yet the ring, the snakes, the frogs, and the old woman who demands respect are Cinderella hallmarks. The old woman is, I believe, a Baba Yaga figure.  Consider that oranges, which appear in several Cinderella stories, are round and orange and have seeds inside. Just like pumpkins. We begin to see where Perrault got the idea for a pumpkin coach. 
Montessori Connection: Writing the Words for the Numerals 1-20
1. Read this story, and notice how many numbers appear here.
2. Make a list of the numbers from 1-20 in your notebook.
3. Now write the word for each next to it. Example: 1 one 2 two
4. If this is hard for you, use the Moveable  Alphabet to form the first sound of each number. Example: 2  starts with t. 

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