Robin Redbreast

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cinderella #236 Lita Kkersti (Little Kristina)

Illustration by
De Angeli, M.

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl whose mother had died, and father remarried. The second wife was a cruel one, and selfish enough to withhold food from her stepdaughter in favor of her own born child. At last, the orphaned girl was near to starving to death. She sat crying one day, shivering with the cold, upon her mother's grave. There she prayed and sobbed, pouring out her heart's desire to her mother's departed soul. All of a sudden, a little bird perched in front of her, upon a slender branch. Then Kristina heard her mother's voice! It told her to break off the branch, for it was a magic wand. If she was hungry, she should use one end of the wand to touch the horns of father's ox. This would produce food. Using the other end of the wand to touch the horns would cause fresh water to appear. So Kristina followed these directions, and in this way, she lived. Years passed and one day, as she was pasturing the ox, she saw a hill which had never been there before. She "walked thrice around' it saying,'White before me, black behind me!' and enters it." And deep under the hillside, Kristina finds victuals and fine wines. After she has eaten and drunk, she explores the cavern more fully. That is when she finds a white dress, hanging on the gate near a white horse. A fine carriage of porcelain is nearby. She continues walking and encounters another horse, this one with coat of shining silver, and a silver carriage nearby. Inside is a dress of threaded silver. She keeps walking and soon finds the most magnificent horse of all, with coat of glowing red-gold. A golden carriage is parked nearby. A dress of pure beaten gold hangs stiffly in the window. The following Sunday, as soon as Kristina's stepmother and stepsister have left for church, she rushes to her underground stable. There she changes into the white dress, hitches her white horse to her white carriage, and drives to church. Just as the service is ending, her stepmother notices the mysterious maiden in white. Kristina is so frightened and being recognized that she runs, losing a glove. The prince, who has been watching the whole time, picks this up. The next Sunday, Kristina prepares for church by dressing in her silver gown. When she arrives, driving her silver steed from her shining silver carriage, the prince helps her alight. But just as the service ends, she again sees her stepmother, gazing at her suspiciously. She flees, this time leaving behind a silver shoe. The prince gathers this up, and gazes thoughtfully after the silver carriage. The third Sunday, Kristina decides to go for the gold. She dons her golden dress and slippers, and adorns herself with several golden rings. Then she hitches her gold colored horse to her gold carriage, and away she goes. The sunlight reflected from her carriage dazzles everyone's eyes when she arrives at church. Now the prince escorts her to a seat and watches her closely throughout the service. As it ends, Kristina tries to run away, but the prince holds her tightly by the hand. There is a tussle, and the prince comes away with one of her rings. When, on the following Sunday, the mysterious lady with the metallic gowns does not come, the prince is desolate. He sends his retinue out looking the maiden who fits the glove, the shoe, and the ring. Though her stepsister tries and tries, she is unable to wear the items. At last, Kristina comes forth. She dons the glove and produces its mate. She dons the shoe and produces the other. Then she slips the ring onto her finger, and that is when the prince recognizes her as the well dressed lady at church. They are married at once. 
From Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p.325
Notes: This story is identified as being "a fragment written down by J. Môe".  I ponder the significance of walking three times round the hill, and of the subterranean treasures.