Robin Redbreast

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cinderella #239 Kari Trestakk (Zealand)


A sparkly gold shoe!

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who was left an orphan. Her mother was dead and her father was dead. At last, her ragged clothing fell off of her. All she could find to dress in was "a wooden petticoat." So, with this garment on, she set out to find a position in the king's castle. Knocking at the back door, Kari Trestakk meets Cook, who is lazy, and looking for a slavey to do the dirty work. So Cooks orders Kari Trestakk to lug the bathwater upstairs to the king. The girl makes so much noise, clattering up the stairs in her wooden petticoat, that the king is startled. He jumps out of the bath, causing much of his heated water to spill out, and hurls insults at Kari Trestakk. Then Cook sends the girl down the "the rivulet", to fetch more water. As she wades into the river to fill her jug, a large fish swims into it. At first, Kari Trestakk thinks that it will be a fine thing to take the fish to Cook. Then she hears a voice! It is the fish, and it says, "Oh, maiden grant me the boon of my life. In exchange  I will give you "a gold dress, a horse, and a golden saddle"." Kari Trestakk accepts this bargain, and releases the fish. She "gets the promised reward", and hides her treasures by the river. The next Sunday, she asks for permission to go to church. Cook says, What do you want with going to church, having nothing but a wooden dress?.'But she gets permission, and then hies to the rivulet where she gets her golden dress and all." She does go to church, and who should sit next to her but the King himself? When he tries to speak to her she calls out," Light before me, behind me, dark. Whither I ride, shall no one mark!" And with that, she disappears. But she loses one of the golden shoes that came with her golden gown, and the King finds  it. The next day, he commands that every girl in the kingdom shall try on the shoe. Although many try, and some come close, no one can fit the shoe on her foot. One young lady even "cuts her heel and toe and squeezes her foot into it. But a small bird in a tree warbles,"Cut off your heel, cut off your toe. The gold shoe fits a girl I know." Then the King knows that the bloody-footed girl is not his true bride. That is when Kari Trestakk steps forward, wearing the other shoe. They are married with great ceremony. 
From Cox, M.R. (1893/2011) p. 326
Notes: This seems to be a story with strong parallels to the one we typically think of  as "Cinderella", if Grimm is your touchpoint. It has the lost shoe, the golden slipper, the cutting off heel and toe, and the bird as give-away. However, my favorite part is the startled King jumping at the sound of the wooden petticoat in the hall! Talk about PTSD. 

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