Robin Redbreast

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cinderella #297: Barbarella


Cinderella #297: Barbarella
Illustration by
W.H.Robinson
Once upon a time, there was "a widower, with a daughter named Barbarella." Then this man "marries a widower named Tatiana, with a daughter named Juliana." In short time,, Tatiana began to dislike Barbarella for her fairness of face, and industrious ways. Her own Juliana seemed to pale by comparison. Before long, she has begun to starve the girl, grudging her anything at all to eat. One day, Barbarella is sent to the well for water. There she sees "a fairy in a robe of silk and shoes of silver"". This fairy asks her for a sip of water, which Barbarella graciously grants. Now the fairy gifts her, saying that "may she be so fair that a king's son will fall in love with her." She also gives her "a calf with golden horns, which she must take of all its life, and always obey." When Barbarella goes home, and her stepmother sees the calf, the woman is enraged. She orders Juliana to go to the well and find the fairy. So Juliana goes, and she does find the fairy, And when the fairy asks her for a sip of water, Juliana is distasteful of sharing her flask. So the fairy curses her "so that she becomes obnoxious to all. She shrivels up and looks like an old woman." The years pass, and Barbarella cares for her calf tenderly. But one day, when her father is away on business, her stepmother orders the calf to be slaughtered. Before this is done, Barbarells creeps out to visit her beloved companion.  All of a sudden, "the calf speaks, bids her collect all its bones wrap them in a napkin, and put them in a certain grotto. The calf tells her that if she does all of this, then every Sunday it will give her a new silk dress. She is to wait until her stepmother and sister have gone each Sunday, then furtively change, and follow them to church. So this just what Barbarella does. Every Sunday she dons a new frock and sits in church. Soon, none other than the son of the king himself has taken note of her. He becomes enamored of her as the weeks pass. One Sunday, as the maiden flees before the benediction, as the calf made her promise to do, she loses a shoe in her haste. But the king's son "finds it, and proclaims that he will wed whomsoever it fits." Every girl in the land tries that shoe on, but none can wear it. At last, Barbarella, "shy and full of doubt" steps forward. Her foot slides right into the shoe, and "the King's son, rejoiced at recognizing her, marries her." As for Juliana the ugly, she "remains unsavoury and ashamed."
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) Three Hundred Forty Five Variants of Cinderlla, Catksin, and Cap O'Rushes (p.137)
Notes: This seems, somehow, an almost realistic tale. No big plot about the shoes, she just loses one. No exotic means of transport to church, she just walks. How interesting it must be to have "an unsavoury sister."

No comments: