Robin Redbreast

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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cinderella #206 The Little Bull Calf (Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society


A fiery dragon.
Illustration by Cole, H.
Once upon a time, in England, there was a little boy who had a little pet bull-calf which his father had given him. But soon after, his father died. The man his mother married was cruel, and had no love for the boy or his bull-calf. Soon, he threatens to kill it. When the boy and his bull-calf go into the forest to eat some barley bread, "an old man appears, and advises him to go away with his bull-calf to seek his fortune."This the boy does, and soon comes to a farmhouse. Here he begs a crust of bread, and when he gets it, shares half with the little bull-calf. He continues on for a very long way, and at last comes to another farm house. Here he is given "a rind of cheese", and again offers to share half with his little bull-calf.  But the animal says,"I'm going across this field into the wild wilderness, where are tigers, leopards, wolves, monkeys, and a fiery dragon. I shall kill every one, except the fiery dragon, and he'll kill me." At that, the little boy began to cry. But the dragon tells him that it must be so, and that, when he is dead, the boy must cout open his gut and take out a length of it. If he blows it up like a balloon, and dries it out, it will kill anything that the boy hits with it. In the meantime, the boy needs to protect himself from the monkeys. This he will do by climbing a tree, then faking like the cheese is a stone, and squeezing the oil from it. So the little bull-calf goes into the wilderness, and the boy climbs a tree. When the monkeys come, he squeezes the cheese, and yells, "I'll squeeze your hearts like this flint stone." Then the boy watches the little bull-calf fight all of the animals and kill them, until at last, the fiery dragon kills it. So the boy comes down from the tree and goes on. "He comes to a king's daughter, staked down by the hair for the fiery dragon to eat." He sits with her and makes conversation, though she implores him to leave before the beast arrives. He will not, When "the dragondraws near with a terrible roar, the little boy hits it about the face with the bull's gut. But the dragon has bitten off his front finger, [so] he cuts out the dragon's tongue." He sits with the girl awhile, and tells her that he must leave. She implores him not to. He insists, and because "she is sad at parting him, she ties a diamond ring into his hair." Then the boy departs. Soon the king comes, expecting to find only the bloody remains of his daughter. When he discovers that she has not been devoured after all, he is overjoyed. And when he hears that his daughter's life was saved by a valiant young man, and that the dragon bit his finger off, he declares that he will find the man. Then he learns that the young man took the dragon's tongue as payment for his finger, so he orders his crier to announce a search for a man who is missing a finger and carrying a dragon's tongue. Then gentlemen come from all parts of England, with their front fingers cut off, and with tongues of every description. But when the boy who has save the princess comes forward, he is scoffed at and turned away. Yet he persists in presenting himself among the king's sons, and at last, manages to "dress a bit better", and the king takes a bit more notice. Then he says to his daughter,"I see you have an eye on that boy, and if it is to be him, It has to be him." When the other suitors hear this, "they are ready to kill him, and ask that he be turned out" but the king asks him to show a claim if he can. And that is when the boy draws out a diamond ring, with the princess's name on it, and the tongue of a fiery dragon, and "is married to the king's daughter, and has all his estate. Then his wicked stepfather comes, and "wants to own him, but the king doesn't know such a man."
From Cinderella: 345 Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O'Rushes. Cox, M. R. (1893)The Little Bull Calf (Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, "Tales in a Tent", by Sampson, J.
Notes: This story has echoes of St. George and the Dragon, in which the hero slays a dragon when it comes to devour a maiden, as well as many classic "dragon-slayer" myths of England and Northern Europe. 
Montessori Elementary Connection: Fundamental Needs of People/Spiritual Needs/Religion/Mytthology
1. Read this story. Does it make you wonder who the gypsies are?
2. Learn more about the Roma people, who are also called gypsies. Gypsy Kids : The Adventures of Colby Myers and Mark Howard or The Gypsy Princess 
3. Learn more about St. George and the Dragon: Saint George and the Dragon or St. George and the Dragon and the Quest for the Holy Grail or St George and the DragonSt George and the Dragon

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