Robin Redbreast

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

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cinderella #290 Allerleiraugh

Cinderella #290  Allerleiraugh
Glittering gold! 
Once upon a time, there lived a wealthy man, whose wife and daughter were as beautiful as a summer day. Alas, tragedy struck the family: the rich man's wife fell ill. Before she died, she extracted from her husband a promise.  That if he remarried, it would be only to a woman who bore her exact resemblance.  Then she was gone. The little girl, whose name was Allerleraugh, was heartbroken but her father went grimly on with life. One day, when the girl's grief was too much for her to bear, she went into her dead mother's chambers and took out one of her best gowns. Wanting only to feel the softness of it enveloping her, she slipped it on. At that very moment, her father passed by in the corridor. The sight of a beautiful young woman, in his wife's chambers and wearing her gown, caused him to stop in his tracks. That is when his own sorrows overcame him: blinded by grief, he mistook his own daughter for her mother, and swept her off of her feet. Then he demanded to marry her, the very next day.  Now Allerleiraugh demanded the right to consult with her old governess. So her father released her and she fled.She found the old woman and this is the counsel she gave: Allerleiraugh must consent to marry him only after she received a gown woven entirely of sliver. Since this could never be produced, the girl would be safe.  So Allerleiraugh returned to her father and made this request. For two weeks she felt at ease. Then, one morning, her father knocked at her chamber door. She opened it to find him holding out a gown of silver. So Allerleiraugh thanked him and put it on, and then ran again to consult her nurse. Now the old one said that she must consent to marry her father only after she was given a gown woven entirely of gold. So Allerleiraugh returned to her father, and asked for that dress. For one week, she felt at ease. Then, one morning, there was a knock at her chamber door. It was her father, holding a golden dress. Allerleiraugh thanked him and put it on, and fled to her nurse once more. This time she counseled that only after receiving a gown made from nothing but diamonds, rubies and pearls should Allerleiraugh marry her father. When she had gone back to her father's hall and made this demand, she felt at ease for one day. Then her father knocked on her chamber door and presented her with such a jeweled dress as she desired. And that is when Allerleiraugh took all three dresses and ran away. She ran all day and when darkness fell, she climbed a tree and went to sleep. That is where the king's men found her in the morning, asleep in one of the king's trees. So they took her back to the castle and put her to work as a kitchen drudge.A ball is held, and Allerleiraugh secretly attends, dressed in her silver gown. When she flees at midnight, the prince still hasn't learned her identity. The following night a second ball is held, and the drudge attends in her gown of gold. Once more, the prince is enchanted by her, but fails to learn who she is. On the third night, Allerleiraugh goes in dress of jewels. But this time, when she tries to run, the prince manages to push a ring onto her finger. Now comes a time of trial for the prince, as he yearns to identify the mysterious woman he has fallen in love with. As his illness deepens, Allerleiraugh begins to slip trinkets into his food to give him clues. First she drops the ring into his dish.  When he finds it, his suspicions are aroused. The next day, she lets fall a "golden reel" in his plate, and on the third day, "a golden spinning wheel". The prince has meanwhile added up the clues and demands that the kitchen drudge be brought before him. She "flings a disguise over her ball dress [but] omits to blacken one finger", thus giving herself away. Allerleiraugh and the prince are soon wed, and live on in happiness. 
From: Cox, M.R. (1893/2011) p. 63
Notes: It may seem absurd to picture a golden spinning wheel floating (or sinking!) in a bowl of soup. It becomes more believable, however, when we do a bit of archeological research into women's work, especially the spinning of cloth. This was such a time consuming task, apparently, that even noble women and princesses often did their own spinning. But they spun finely dyed linens and wools on golden spindles, and wrapped the finished thread on gold and silver bobbin wheels.(From: Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years. Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. (1994) Fairy tales, understood in their historic context, make a bit more sense!