Robin Redbreast

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

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cinderella #240 Van den Koning en van Jenne Zijn Zoet Liefken (The Story of the King and of Jenny, His True Love".

Deep in the forest, under a mossy bank...

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Sloddeken-vuil. This meant "Little Dirty Slut", and if you think that doesn't sound like a very kind nickname, you are right. It was given to her by her mother and her older sisters, who were not particularly nice people. They made Little Dirty Slut do all of the hard work, One of her chores was to pasture the sheep. Nearly every day Little Dirty Slut tended those sheep, from dawn to dusk. For the most part, she did not mind. The weather always seemed to be fine when  she set out with her flock.  Lest the girl laze the day away dreaming, her mother usually gave her work to carry with her. She always had a tow of flax to spin, and often some embroidery to do as well. One day, when her mother was feeling particularly spiteful, she gave the Dirty Little Slut a "heap of old iron" and told her that if it wasn't polished by nightfall, she would eat no food until the job was done. Little Dirty took one look at the iron, and began to cry. Her mother just laughed, and her sisters actually jumped for joy. Then they left her alone. Dirty sobbed and sobbed until her eyes were red. That's when she heard singing! A band of angels appeared before her and their blinding light polished the old iron clean.  But instead of being pleased when she saw this, Mother was angry. She told Little Dirty Slut that the next day, when she set off with her flock, she would have a new task. A thousand times a thousand kernels of wheat would be scattered among the grass, and if Little Dirty did not gather each and every one, she would not taste food again until she had. So the next morning Dirty got up before dawn, opened the sheep corral, and set off. It was was pretty hard searching for wheat kernels in the predawn light, so she lit a torch. Unfortunately, this only made things worse, and she put it out again, fearing that she would start a forest fire. All day, while the sheep munched grass, Dirty hunted for wheat kernels. By noon, she had found 17. By dusk she had found 438. As night fell, she still only had 512, so she sat down again to cry. That is when the band of angels descends again, turning the darkness into a brilliantly sunny afternoon. Before she could blink, there were two full buckets of wheat kernels before her, and the angels were gone. But instead of being happy, her mother snorted and said, "You could have gathered three bucketfuls." And the next morning, that is what she commanded the Dirty Little Slut to do. As Little Dirty ambled along the road, in no particular hurry to begin her impossible task, she met an old man. He greeted her kindly, and asked whether she might have a bite of bread to spare. Now, Little Dirty Slut never had bread to spare, but she was a gentle hearted girl. The old man had spoken so kindly to her that she without thinking, she drew out the crust of bread her mother had given her for lunch, and gave it to the man. The old one beamed, and drew her "a sheep, which, when tapped, will give her food". So from then on, Little Dirty Slut took out her picture whenever she was hungry, tapped it, and ate to her stomach's content. Life went on in this way for sometime, until, one day, there was news of an exciting event. The prince was hosting a ball, at which he would choose his bride. Of course Little Dirty Slut's mother wouldn't let her go, and of course, her older sisters made her work day and night to sew them new gowns. The day before the ball, as Dirty drove her sheep along the road, she met the same old man as before. Again she gave him her bread, and again, he repaid her kindness by sketching a picture. This one was of a tree. When she tapped it, he promised, "a carriage and eight" would appear! So the next day, when her mother and sisters had left for the ball, Little Dirty took out her picture of a tree and tapped it. Sure enough, a fine carriage and eight horses appeared. So she climbed into the carriage and went to the ball. The prince himself helped her alight, and he danced with her all night. But when the clock began to toll midnight, the girl panicked, and ran away. The king ordered her to halt, and when she would not, gave chase himself. He managed to snatch one of her shoes before she got away, however, and so laid a plan. The very next day he announced that every maiden in the kingdom must come to the palace to try on the shoe. So Little Dirty's mother and sisters join the line. When it is close to their turn, the mother sneaks ahead in line and gets a good look at the shoe. It is tiny, she reports, and the girls will have to trim their feet to fit it. So they take turns with the knife that Mother has so thoughtfully packed. Gritting their teeth against the pain they present themselves to the prince. First one sister and then the other demonstrates that the shoe fits! The prince decides to ask his father which girl he should marry. Before he can summon the King, however, a little bird lands on the windowsill. It sings a cheery tune, then speaks aloud, declaring that there are two bloody liars in the room. So the prince discovers the sisters' trickery, and demands to know if there is not one more sister at home. Of course, there is, and when Little Dirty Slut comes forward, the shoe slides cleanly onto her foot. She and the prince are married at once. 
From Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 
Notes; Again, we find girls willing to cut off their feet for the privelege of being princess. And talk about bitchy sisters! Current mental health practice frowns on nicknames like "Little Dirty Slut" bestowed upon little sisters.