Cinderella #253 Krakskinns-raja (The Crow Skin Cloak)
|"Im cold!" complained the apple.|
Once upon a time, in Upland, there lived a sad orphaned girl. Her mother had died, and her father remarried. Alas, her dear father then died, leaving her with her stepmother and stepsisters. They were cruel, and ill-treated her. The slow years passed until all three girls were of age. Then there came an invitation that they, along with other maidens in the kingdom, were summoned to the palace. From among them, the prince would choose his bride. The cunning stepsisters would risk no chance of their puny step-sister winning the prince, so they give her "a sleeping draught". By the time the poor girl awakens, they have nearly reached the palace. Meanwhile, Little Crow Skin has awakened. Realizing what has happened, she sets off down the road. As the stepsisters travel the last mile towards the palace, they have some unusual encounters. First an apple, "complaining of cold" is passed on the street. The stepsisters "urge the driver to lash it with a whip". But shortly, they pass a pear blocking the road, complaining loudly of the cold. Again, the stepsisters command their driver to beat the fruit. Next they are blocked by a plum, which is beaten nearly to jam with the whip, and on they go to the palace. When along comes the girl in the Crow Skin Cloak, she too finds a large, red apple in her path, shivering and complaining of the cold. "Poor thing!' she said, and popped it "into her bosom". Along she went, and soon came to the pear. It was yellow, with a green stem, and plump with juice. But it cried out, saying that the weather had turned cold. So Little Crow Skin tucked this fruit into her bosom as well. And no sooner had she taken a dozen steps than she came across a ripe, purple plum, plop! in the middle of the path. It too eyed Little Crow's bosom and said it was cold. Little Crow skin squeezed it in with the apple and the pear, and went along her way. She planned to take service at the castle, and see if she couldn't meet the prince in that way. When she knocked at the kitchen door, the Cook said that she could use a scullery maid, and so began Crow Skin's time of menial service. When Sunday came, she got permission to go to church. First she went into her chamber and drew out the apple, to ask its advice. But it had changed into a fine gown of apple red! So she put it on, and went to church. Who should sit next to her but the prince himself, and so nervous was Little Crow Skin at his presence that she fled as soon as she could. The following Sunday, she thought to consult the pear for advice. When she drew it out, it transformed into a lovely dress of sunshine yellow, a green ribbon at the throat. Again she entered the church, and again the prince sat next to her. The moment the service was over, she fled. On the third Sunday, Crow Skin went to church one more time, this time in a gown of plum-purple. And this time, the prince tried to grab the girl before she could run. Yet he so startled her that as she ran, she lost one of her shoes. All the prince could do was clutch this as she disappeared. The next day, the prince decreed that all maidens must assemble at the palace. They were to "sit behind a curtain and put their foot out", so the girls all went over. A great long curtain had been hung and the line of maidens passed behind this barrier. At a signal, each put out her foot, and the prince tried the shoe upon it. The foot it slides onto is none other than that of Crow Skin. She is pulled from behind the curtain and revealed in her tattered cloak of feathers. That is when she takes it off, revealing the purple gown. Of course the prince recognizes her now, and she has passed the "shoe marriage test"! The wedding is held the following week, and they live happily on.
From Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 49
Notes: OK, this is a very cool transformation, from fruit to gown. I love the colors invoked by the apple, pear, and plum. They are so rich and vivid when you are fortunate to have real ones around in abundance. I am thankful for that, and so very grateful that I live with fresh fruit outside.