Robin Redbreast

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cinderella #187 Toads and Diamonds (Retold by Huck, C. & Lobel, A.)


Lobel, A.

Once upon a time, "there was a widow who had a daughter, Francine, and a stepdaughter, Renée." Francine was as proud as her mother; Renée was gentle and kind. Renée never complained, though she did much work for the family. Each day, she had to "weed the vegetable garden, milk the goats" and walk over a mile to the spring. This she had to do both morning and night. The walk was long, and the water jar heavy, but the girl enjoyed it as her only escape from abuse. One fine day, she began singing as she walked. "One bird flew to her shoulder to peck" at it. She also tamed a rabbit. When she got to the well, she found an old woman waiting there. This one asked for a drink and Renée gladly gave her one. For this kindness, the woman rewarded her, saying,"For every word you speak, a flower or a jewel will drop from your lips." This would continue so long as it was needed. Renée accepted the gift, and returned home. But when she got there, her mother scolded her harshly. When Renée made excuse, a torrent of jewels poured from her mouth. Seeing this, the widow insisted that Francine fetch water from the same well. Francine was a sulky lass, and poked along the way, carrying "her mother's silver wedding pitcher". As she walked through the woods, a bird began following her, pecking at her clothes. She shooed it away roughly. When a little rabbit hopped over, pausing shyly to look at her, she said to it, "Hmmm....you'd make a good stew." She swiftly grabbed its leg, and only by a great kick did it free itself and run away. And when she got to the spring and found there "a beautiful young lady in a rainbow colored dress."  Yet Francine had no patience at all for this one. In response to the lovely one's request for water she puffed air out of her nose and said,"What do you think I am, your servant?" Then she told her to "hobble down to the spring" herself. When the lady declared, "What a rude girl. But I have a gift for you anyway." Now the girl said,"I thought it was the old woman who gave gifts." That's when the woman told her that she was indeed the old woman, and the bird, and the little rabbit. And that the gift she was getting was that each time she spoke a word, "a toad or a snake will fall from your lips."Later that day a prince passed by, and paused to speak with the two girls in front of a house he passed. One was lovely, and dripped jewels; the other not only plain but seemed to have the unfortunate affliction of spewing toads and snakes as she spoke. He married the bejewelled girl, and they left the other with her mother. But even the cruel mother could not stand the sight of the amphibious and reptilian speech impediment her daughter had developed. At last, she drove the girl away and Francine "found shelter in a cave in the forest and was never heard from again."

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