Robin Redbreast

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cinderella #330 The Girl in the Chest (1875)

Cinderella #330 The Girl in the Chest (1875)
Got pigs?
Once upon a time, in Barcelona, there lived a wealthy man. He had a wife and a young daughter, but one day, his wife fell sick. Before she died, she begged him to make her a promise. This was that if he remarried, it would be only to a woman who resembled her in every way. So the father made the promise, and his wife died. The lonely years passed, and his daughter became a young woman. One day, the man looked at her and become convinced that his own daughter was the woman he would marry. She, of course, objected, and fled from his sight. It was to church she fled, to receive counsel from the priest. He advised her that she must ask her father for three dresses in turn. The first must be the color of all the birds in the sky, the second colored like all of the flowers of the earth, and the third should be the colors of the fishes of the sea. If he were able to provide these, said the priest, then she must consider marrying him. Yet her father did provide these dresses, and still the girl shrank from the thought of marriage to him. So she went back to the priest, who told her that she must ask her father for his prized chest, which could fly. If he gave this to her, then she must agree to marry him, he said. So she went and asked her father for it, and he brought the magical chest to her. Then she got into it, and flew away. But after awhile, the chest came to earth. There the a merchant saw it land. He took it to market the following day, and the prince saw it. He loved the chest so much that he bought it, and brought it home at once. Later that night, the prince was surprised to hear moaning coming from within the chest. When he opened the lid, he found a young girl, nearly dead from hunger and thirst. So he shared his supper with her, and gave her a flagon of water, and then one of wine. From then on, the girl spent her days in the chests and her nights with the prince. He fed her each evening from his own plate, and gave her a ring. It happened that war broke out, and the prince rode out with his army. He left word with his servants that they were to continue bringing food to his rooms as usual, even in his absence. Of course they obeyed, and were astounded when it disappeared each night. So they spied through the key-hole, and saw the maiden emerge from the chest. In jealousy, they "cast her into [a] pit of thorns" and sold the chest. Fortunately, some peasants came along and pulled her out of the pit. Unfortunately, they forced her to work as a swineherd. Soon, "the prince returns, seeks [her] in vain, and falls ill." At length, his father the king offers a rich reward for the person who can cheer his son and bring about a cure. This is how the new swineherd comes to hear of the reward, and so presents herself at the castle. The prince recognizes her by the ring at once, and they are married.
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p.68

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cinderella #329 Les Deux Frères

Cinderella #329  Les Deux Frères
Not Lucifer's Garden, but
Descanso Gardens, Pasadena, CA
Once upon a time, in France, there lived a peasant who had two sons. The younger "was called Cendrillot, because [he was] stupid." The elder son, who was "a journeyman cobbler, was a haughty young man who bowed to no one. It happened one day, while the elder was eating some cake, that he noticed a long line of ants moving across the ground. To his astonishment, one of them spoke to him, begging for  a crumb of cake! At this request the young man laughed, saying that he gave charity to no man, and would surely not do so for a lowly ant. He finished his cake and continued on his way. As he neared the creek, he heard a  low gasp, and saw that a large fish had jumped out of the water and lay gasping in the road. He bent to kick it out of his way and was dumbfounded to hear it beg him to be tossed back into the stream. But the haughty young man gave it a brisk kick into the dust instead, and continued on his way. He soon came to town where he was drawn to a crowd that had gathered in the street. A pair of devils were fighting there, their forked tails lashing one another, and their black blood spilling in the gutter. Just then the priest came by and called on the devil's to stop fighting, in the name of The Lord. But they only jeered at him, saying that if a cobbler should beg it of them, they would stop. Barring that, they would duel till doomsday. At that the priest looked round and spotted the young cobbler. He begged the man to beseech the devils to stop fighting but the journeyman said no, he did not care to waste his time in conversation. Leaving the priest and townspeople begging for his help, he instead turned on his heel and went home. The next day, Cendrillot sets forth to see what he can see. His mother gives him plain bread and a jug of "healing water" for the journey. At noon, he sits down under a tree to eat his bread. Idly watching a line of ants moving along, he is astounded to hear one of them call to him, begging for a crumb of bread. Telling the little creature to take it and welcome, Cendrillot breaks off a large crumb and gently places it upon the ant's back. Then he continues on his way to town. Soon he nears the creek, and sees that a large fish has landed in the dry dirt of the road. Thinking it dead he bends over to touch it, and is surprised to hear it gasp out a request for help. With a good will he throws the fish back into the water, and continues on his way. Reaching the town he is disturbed to hear a terrible commotion in the square. Rushing over to see what is transpiring, he is appalled to see that the two devils are still fighting, though the town square is awash with their foul black blood. When the priest approaches him Cendrillot declares that he too is the son of a cobbler, and commands the devils to stop fighting. At once they disappear, and the slime of their battle vanishes from sight. Now Cendrillot continues along the road, wondering what else he may find. He comes to another town, ruled by a good king. But the king's daughter is dying, and Cendrillot soon learns that "whosoever can cure [her] may wed her." Remembering his flask of healing water he rushes to the princess' bedside and gives her a sip. At once, she sits up, completely cured! Now the king is grateful that his daughter is well, but reticent to marry her to a peasant. So he commands the young man to perform the task of separating ten bushels of poppy seeds from the ash on the princess' hearth. Now, ever since the youth had given bread crumbs to the ant, the little insect has followed in his footsteps. Now he calls his million ant-brethren, and they commence to separating the seeds. In a twinkling, the task is done. But the king is not yet satisfied, and orders Cendrillot to fetch a pearl from the throne of the Queen of the Sea. No sooner has Cendrillot bent to the river than the fish whose life he saved jumps up! He tells Cendrillot to go back to the palace, for their he will see the princess already in possession of the pearl. So Cendrillot goes, and finds that this is true. Next the king orders him to  "pick a rose from Lucifer's garden". At this, Cendrillot runs into out to the courtyard, where he can think of no other course of action but to throw himself to the ground and weep. But as soon as he has cast himself down, he hears the roar of the two fighting devils, and sees that they bear him Satan's rose. Now Cendrillot returns in triumph to the palace. He and the princess are married, and live forever in happiness. 
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 442

Monday, November 28, 2011

Britney - Cinderella (Luin's Spellbound extended mix)

Cinderella #328
Notes: And now, for something completely different!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cinderella #327 Die Kaisertochter Gänsehirtin (The Princess Goose Girl)

Cinderella #327 Die Kaisertochter Gänsehirtin (The Princess Goose Girl)
A goose at Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA
Once upon a time, in Stuttgart, there lived an emperor. His second wife was incurably jealous of the emperor's beautiful  daughter, and made her life miserable whenever she could. It happened that the emperor was called away on business. In his absence, the cruel stepmother locks the princess in her room, with neither food nor water. On the fourth day, the girl's stepmother brings her "a small piece of bread and a jug of water, in which she has thrown a young snake." In her terrible thirst, the girl drains the jug in a single gulp, not realizing that she has swallowed a snake. Yet the snake grows rapidly, causing the girl's belly to protrude.When her father returns, the stepmother spreads rumors that the girl has become pregnant. Though he knows that death is the sentence which he must pass on his daughter, he cannot bear to do it, and so the emperor instead "has twelve handsome dresses made for her, all of which she must put on, and outside all, a mantle of wood." Thus clothed, the princess is driven from the palace, and ordered on pain of death never to return. She wanders through the woods and at length "applies for service at the palace of another emperor". Of  course the other servants mock her, making fun of her wooden cloak. But the prince himself happens to pass by and is struck by the sight of the weeping girl in the wooden gown. She begs for some task to set her hands to, and he assigns her as gooseherd. Additionally, he orders that a room be set aside for her, and warns the staff not to ill treat her. In the morning she sets out to pasture the flock of geese. Coming to a clear pond she decides to bathe, and removes her wooden cloak, and each of the twelve dresses in turn. Not realizing that she is being watched by shepherds, she bathes, and then redresses. It is not long before rumors of the beautiful girl in the wooden dress, who secretly wears gorgeous gowns beneath it, reach the ears of the prince. He hides in the bushes near the pond, and when he observes the maiden stripping off some of her magnificent gowns, "is entranced with her beauty". Now the maid feels thirsty, but she has dirtied the water with her bathing. To forget her thirst on this hot day, she lies down under a tree in some cool shade, and goes to sleep. While she is sleeping, the prince peeps at her. He is horrified to see "from between her half closed lips, a hideous snake of great length crawl slowly forth." He throws his golden ring at hit, striking the snake's head as it slithers away. Later, when the princess awakens, she finds the ring and puts it on, along with her twelve dresses and cloak of wood. She is delighted to realized that her bloated belly had receded, and she feels better than she has in some time. As she drives the geese back to the palace, whom should she meet but the prince! He questions her as to the golden ring on her finger and she tells him that she found it under a tree. That is when he declares his love for her, and begs her to marry him! She does not believe in his sincerity, until he marries her in secret, and against his father's will. Then comes a time of secret marital bliss, with the princess continuing to work as a gooseherd. At last, one Sunday, the princess goes to church, dressed in one of her dozen gowns. When the emperor asks his son who the lady might be, the prince replies, "Oh, father, why have you not such a lovely wife?"This is repeated twelve times. On the twelfth Sunday, the emperor stations guards to keep watch over every exit. In this way, they trap the young woman. Now the prince comes and cries out to his father, "Send the watch away for the lovely damsel is none other than the goose-girl, my wooden bride." Now the emperor rejoices at his son's choice of brides. He orders that a second wedding ceremony shall be held. All of the emperor of the area are invited, and so it is that the princess's own father attends. When he hears the tale of the snake and the ring, and how his wife starved the princess and secretly fed her the snake, he is righteously angry and sends orders that his own wicked wife shall be "instantly beheaded."
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 370
Notes: Here we find some interesting echoes of other snake characters. In the Cinderella story from Zimbabwe, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, a snake friend transforms into the prince. Here we find some very obvious sexual symbolism with regards to the snake, and a round-about way of the snake leading the prince to the goose-girl. Also: remember Katie Woodencloak? See stories #16 Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, and #138 Katie Woodencloak

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cinderella #326 Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Maguire, G., 1999)

Cinderella #326 Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Maguire, G., 1999)
Illustration by
Sanderson, B.
Once upon a time, there lived two sisters. One was skinny and one was fat, and their names were Iris and Ruth. This is the story of what they found when they fled England one awful night in the year 1652. We see them now, two big girls and their mother, Margarethe,, who "is bad-tempered because she is terrified". She has traded her last valuables for passage and gnawed scraps of bread. They three stand in Haarlem, Holland,bound desperately for the home of Grandfather, a wealthy man. Surely he will take them in, feed them, and give them shelter? But now, 'the sun rolls westward, the light falls lengthwise, the foreigners step into their shadows." Picking their way through ice cold puddles, they reach Grandfather's at last. That's when they find out that "he has died a few years ago, and those who live inside are not family and and have no obligation to take in the hungry strangers." Yet their path does cross with someone who will play a role in their future. She's a girl who "has hair as fine as winter wheat" and eyes that are "the blue of lapis lazuli or the strongest cornflower". Her name is Clara, and she will, of course, become stepdaughter to wiley Margarethe. First, however, mysterious Master Schoonmaker, the painter, gets involved, when he takes the trio in as housekeepers. He is a  man who paints religious iconography for pay, but his private works are a a catalogue of  "God's mistakes". One day a dwarf man comes to the door, and it is Iris who answers the knock. She is appalled to hear him declare to the Master, "For half a loaf of bread, I'll remove my smalls and and show you how the barber tickled my gangrenous limbs with his knives." Schoonmaker responds curtly by saying, "Get out. I'm interested in the varieties of the fallen, to be sure, but right now I'm busy with flowers. And I don't like you uncivil tongue when there's a girl present." As time passes, Iris will become tutor to mysterious Clara of the white-blond hair, which leads to the family moving into the girl's stately home. And that is how Master Schoonmaker meets Clara, and how he comes to paint her portrait. It is this magnificent painting which will provide Margarethe and her girls an introduction to the Dowager Queen of France some years later. But Clara is as enigmatic as she is beautiful, claiming to be a changeling. The girl refuses to leave her home, and her mother colludes in her seclusion from the world. When Clara's mother dies and Margarethe jumps at the chance to marry the wealthy widower she leaves behind. Papa Cornelius, as he is now known by Iris and Ruth, agrees with his new wife that Clara's circumstances must be changed, and orders her to venture forth. But after some disastrous excursions outside, Clara retreats to the kitchen hearth. She declares herself happy in this "private place" and commands her stepsisters to "call me Ashgirl, Cinderella, I don't care. I am safe in the kitchen." Thus begins the series of events that lead to the Dowager Queen's interest in the reclusive Clara. Meanwhile, Margarethe is settling in comfortably as wealthy matron. She has extravagant clothing made for herself, and a special pair of shoes. They are of "leather pounded so smooth as to fit like a skin" which "shines with an oil so it's like looking at shoes of porcelain or cloudy glass." These are the very shoes that Clara will later wear to a ball hosted by the Dowager Queen. Gossip has it that the reason for the ball is "to introduce one of her relatives or godchildren to Dutch society". Perhaps this relative "may even be looking for a bride among the assembled ranks of young women." With such high stakes, it is no wonder that Iris, Ruth and Clara are thrust into the limelight of the ball by Margarethe. But something goes horribly awry, quite suddenly, with Papa Cornelius' fortunes, tied as they are to the tulip trade. Nonetheless, "the great evening arrives at last. The girls at the door of the house, caught in a sweep of updraft that makes an airy rustle of silks." As they skim along the road in their carriage, "the stars shimmer in their fastenings and a moon releases a bruising pinkness upon the world.". They arrive at the ball's location, the private home of the Pruyn family. It is made of stone, which "is a golden pink,lit by several well-trimmed torches, giving an ample, even light. Servants suited up in French fashion stand in two ranks, one on either side of the door." They enter without notice. But later, when Clara strides through the door, "a small but palpable gasp rises from the crowd." The prince cannot take his eyes off of her, and the rest, as they say, is history, though twisted and distorted by angle. 
From: Magquire, G. (1999) Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister. (368 pages) New York: Harper

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cinderella #324 Sesame St - News Flash - Cinderella

Cinderella #324
Notes: I used to love watching these; I'm sure it whetted my future appetite for fairy tales! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cinderella #323 The She-Donkey's Skin

Cinderella #323 The She-Donkey's Skin 
A girl on a donkey, somewhere in Greece. 
Once  upon a time, in France, "there was a gentleman who had a beautiful wife." As she died, she implored him, "Do not marry again unless you find  a woman as beautiful as I am." But he could not, and, as his daughter grew up in her mother's image, he "wanted to marry her. The girl would not listen to him," and ran to find solace with "her godmother, who was a fado (fairy)". This one told her that she should not answer her father's desire, but instead ask him for "the most beautiful dresses in the whole world, and see what he does." This she did, but the finer the dress her father brought, the finer she asked for next. At last he said, "You'll bring me to ruin!" and her godmother hid her and said,"You are to run away from your father. I will give you a chest, which goes underground, and a wand to make it do your bidding. You shall hide under the donkey's skin (p'eau d'anisso), bringing the ear's down over your face." So the girl put all of her dresses into the chest, and fled. The following day, "she showed up at the King's farm. She was hired as turkey girl." She was so dirty-looking herself that she was left to sleep among her birds and "the turkey rubbed against her and made her even more dirty".  But as the days went by and the Prince took notice of the strange girl in the donkey skin cloak. When he quizzed her on her abilities, and found that she " made the beautiful lace in the world"  her gave her lodgings in the castle. One day, as he passed by her, he began to tease her about her dirty looks, and pester her for her name. She told him, "I'm called Peau d'Anisso." He laughed at this. Now every night, Peau d'Anisso cleaned herself up and changed into one of her dresses. In passing her door, the Prince decided to peer thru her keyhole, and there he saw a lovely maiden in fine clothes! But the next day, as he passed dirty Peau d'Anisso, he shoved her with the fire poker because he said she smelled bad. It happened that soon after that, the King held a ball. Of course, Peau d'Anisso simply had to sneak in! She put on the first of her dresses, and all took her for a princess. When the prince danced with her and begged to know her name, she told him, "I'm called Poker Poke." He laughed and said he would remember. The next week, there was another ball. Again Peau d'Anisso snuck in, and again danced with the prince. Now it so happened that earlier in the day, the prince had teased the turkey girl, saying she wasn't as lovely as the maiden he'd seen at the ball. Then he squeezed the bellows at her, and laughed. At the ball, when the prince asked the maiden's name, she said to call her "Bellow's Puff". Then she ran away. When the King held a third ball, Peau d'Anisso snuck in again. This time she told the prince to call her, "Blow from the Stick" because he had struck her with one earlier. Then "Peau d'Anisso, thanks to her chest, fled underground". Now, the prince soon began to have second thoughts about who Peau d'Anisso might really be. He remembered the girl he had seen through the keyhole, and wondered if she could be the same who came to the ball? He was so distraught that he stopped eating, and, of course, fell ill. At last, when he was near death's door, his mother begged him to say what would help. He gasped out that he must have soup made by Peau d'Anisso. Of course the Queen was aghast, yet seemed to have no choice. So she gave the order for the turkey girl to prepare soup for her son. Then she bathed herself and dressed in her finery, and simmered a pot of the most delicious soup. When she came to the prince's chamber, he knew her at once! "I don't know whether he ate the soup made by Peau d'Anisso, but what is certain is that he married her and they both were very happy."
From Massignon, G. (1968) Folktales of France. University of Chicago Press
Notes: This is very cool because it seems to be the template for the American folk tale of Ash Pet. She, too, had a chest that could fly, and she too gave such names when asked. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cinderella #322 The Ogre

Cinderella #322 The Ogre
This is not an ogre, but a troll. Perhaps
they are cousins?
Once upon a time in France, there "were two little boys" whose mother was heavy with another child. The boys said, "We do not want a sister. If our mother has a girl, we shall take off for the woods." But the baby was a girl. Soon after its birth, this mother of three died. What could their father do, but find another wife as fast as he could? The new wife "did not like the poor little thing," left alone since her brothers had run off to the woods. Luckily for her though, "The Holy Virgin was her godmother." It happened one day that the girl overheard the neighbors gossiping about her family. They said that she had two brothers! Could this be true? She was determined to find out. But the thought of leaving home made her so sad that she burst into tears. That's when the Holy Virgin appeared and said, "Why are you crying, Godchild?" And the girl told her of her wish to find her brothers, and the Virgin "gave her a little ball. Perhaps it was even a little nut." Then she told the girl to throw it out in front of her, and it would show the path to her brothers. It would also cause a "ponne (laundry vat)" to appear, so that she could sleep underneath it if need be. So that is what the girl did: walk in woods and throw the nut. When she had walked deep into the woods and night was falling, she threw it watched a vat appear before her eyes. She slept underneath it, and continued her strange progress through the woods in the morning. Late that day she came to "a gabiote (little shack)". She went in and found it in need of tidying, so she set to work. It was the home of her brothers! But she did not know this, so, when her cleaning was done, she set about finding something to eat. She fixed a pot of stew, ate some, then crawled under ponne to sleep. When the brothers returned to their shack and found it clean, with a hot supper on the stove, "they were astonished". Now the eldest said,"I am going to have a good look and see if anyone has been here." But he could not see the vat, so did not find the girl. His brother said, "Now I'll watch and I'll not go to sleep." He was true to his word, and when "the girl came out from under the laundry vat and she began sweeping the floor" he roused his brother. They shouted at this strange maiden, and demanded that she tell why she had come. Then she recognized them as her brothers, and they knew her for their sister, and were overjoyed. Then they told her, "You shall stay at home to do the work, but be careful. We have a neighbor, and he's the malbrou (ogre)" They warned her never to go his house, and to especially careful of fire. They cautioned her to keep the dog away from it, saying, "If the dog peed on the fire" it would go out, and the only place to get more from would be the ogre's house. One day, while her brothers were in the forest cutting wood, the dog peed on the fire and put it out. Of course the only place that the girl could get more fire was in the ogre's house, so that is where she went. But the ogre had gone out, and his wife opened the door instead. The girl asked for fire and the ogre's wife said that she might give her some but they must hurry before her husband came back. He would eat the girl if he saw her. Suddenly, the ogre walked in. The girl ran and made it home just in time! Whew! She thought she was safe. But the very next day, the ogre came to her door complaining that he was hungry, and owed him for the fire she had taken. He said to her "I let you have some fire. You shall give me your little finger to suck every day at such and such a time." So she did this for many, many days, even as she herself grew thinner and thinner. Finally, her brothers noticed her plight. They implored her to tell them what was wrong, and when she did, they were furious. Then they said that she must trick the ogre into putting his head "through the cat hole " the next time he came. So she did, and "the two boy's cut the ogre's head off." When the ogre's wife came looking for her husband, they "sold the ogre's head to her. So his wife made combs out of the bones from his head and then she sold them." But they were maliciously enchanted combs: those who used them sickened, and remained unwell. As for the girl and her brothers, they lived happily ever after. 
From: Massignon, M. (1968) Folktales of France. p. 147 University of Chicago Press

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cinderella #321 Gor!The Tale of Miggery Sow (Di Camillo,K.)

Cinderella #321 Gor!The Tale of Miggery Sow
 (Di Camillo, K.)
Illustration by
Ering, T.B.
Once upon a time, there lived an unfortunate girl named Miggery Sow. She had been "born into this world many years before the mouse Despereaux and the rat Chiaroscuro, a girl born far from the castle, a girl named for her father's prize-winning pig."  The poor little thing was only six when "her mother, holding tightly onto Mig's hand and staring directly into Mig's eyes, died." Though the girl cried and begged her mother not to die, saying, "But I want you to stay here."her mother used her last breath to answer,"You want. Ah, child. What does it matter what you are wanting?" Then she died. On the very next market day, Mig's father took her town and "sold his daughter into service for a handful of ciggarettes, a red tablecloth, and a hen." So Mig had to go and live with a mean man and clean and cook for him, and call him Uncle. When she screamed and clutched at him, he simply "untangled her fingers from the cloth and turned her in the direction of the man who had bought her. As for what happens next, and how her story intersects with that of the Princess Pea (whose mother has died abruptly as well, from the shock of finding the rat, Chiarscuro, in her soup. That  story intersects with Mig's.)  An unexpected consequence of the Queen's death by soup was that the King outlawed broth, consommé and cream of anything. When soldier's went door to door confiscating soup spoons and tureens, they came to find Uncle and Mig. His foolish protest, that next, the King would be "wanting his sheep and his girl, seeing as those are the only possessions" which remained to him, set Mig free. Sort of, anyway. For the soldier brought her along to the palace kitchen, where she went to work as a drudge. Thus, she became acquainted with the princess, and her dream of transforming into one born.  Unbeknownst to her, there was someone else very close to her in the palace as well, deep in the dungeons. This was her father. Fortune would have it that the rat, named "Roscuro, reader, told the princess about the prisoner who had once owned a red tablecloth, and the princess" let him out. There he found his daughter, Miggery. She did not, "as you might have guessed, get to be a princess. But her father, to atone for what he had done, treated her like one for the rest of his days."
From: Di Camillo, K. (2003) The Tale of Despereaux being the story of a mouse, a pincess, some soup, and a spool of thread. MA: Candlewick Press. Winner of the John Newbery Medal

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cinderella #320 Marie Louise von Franz on Baba Yaga, Doves, and Fire

Mourning dove in my back yard. 

Cinderella #320 Marie Louise von Franz on Baba Yaga, Doves, and Fire
Once upon a time, in Zurich, there was a woman who studied fairy tales, and lectured on their meaning. Here is what she had to say about the Russian tale of Vasilisa, or Wassilissa, who is sent out into the woods to fetch fire from the witch, Baba Yaga. After the girl has overcome several trials with the witch, keeping house and cooking and cleaning for her, Baba Yaga returns home in her flying mortar and pestle. Then the witch took "from the fence the burning skull with the flaming eyes, put it on a pole and gave it to Wassilissa, saying,'This is the fire for your stepsisters, take it and carry it home." So the girl does of course, but the light from the eyes follows the sisters no matter where they turn, driving them to madness, and then death. Thus, Wassilissa inherits the house and lives comfortably on alone. Here is what von Franz had to say about the burning eyes. "If we put [the fire] into psychological language, they refused to become conscious and unrealized consciousness becomes a burning fire, coals of fire on their heads!" Dr. C.G. Jung believed, according to von Franz, that "not becoming conscious when one has the possibility of doing so is the worst sin." On helper animals: "If you do not listen tot the helper animal or bird, or whatever it is, if any animal give you advice and you don't follow it, then you are finished. In the hundreds and hundreds of stories that that is the one rule which seems to have no exception." On doves and ravens: "...Then Noah sent a dove, which brought him back a twig, so he knew that there was land again. From this, the Church Fathers in the Middle Ages took the raven to be representative of the devil and the dove representative of the Holy Ghost and the good principle in the Godhead."
From: von Franz, M.L. (1957) Shadow and Evil in Fairytales. Dallas, TX: Spring Publications, Inc. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cinderella #319 Lentil Stew and a Crust of Bread

Cinderella #319 Lentil Stew and a Crust of Bread
Hey Cinderella! How's about something
for the turtles!
Why let the turtledoves get all the snacks?
Once upon a time, there was a girl whose name was Cinderella. She toiled all day on the hearth of her step-mother's home. Her stepmother was the kind of person who is never satisfied, and often makes things much harder than they need to be. For example, one of her favorite things to do was to throw a basin of lentils into the ashes, then order her stepdaughter to pick them out.  Another ploy was to demand that Cinderella accomplish some gargantuan task before sundown or face a beating. Often this was to harvest a wheat field, or spin one hundred pounds of wool. Fortunately, Cinderella had a lot of friends in the animal world. They helped her in many ways, including cows who let her pull their horns to receive food and drink, and birds who flock to help her sort lentils from ash. As you may imagine, Cinderella learned how to hustle some good meals out her days pickings. Here are some of her  favorite recipes: 
Cinderella's Lentil Stew
Sort three pounds of lentils from the ashes on the hearth.
Put the good ones into the pot, and the bad ones into the crops of all the pigeons and turtledoves.
Cover with half of a bucket of water (usually all that's left in the bucket after carrying it back from the well some miles away.)
Add celery root, beetroot or rutabaga as available. 
Simmer from noon to sundown.
A Crust of Bread
Thresh one pound of wheat. Mix the flour with a scant handful of yeast, and half as much salt. Set yeast to rise in small amount of warm water. Return to well for another half bucket of water and mix with the flour, salt, and yeast mixture. Knead for ten minutes and leave to rise while taking cows to pasture. Push down and put in well-greased iron skillet. Bake over back coals, covered, while you feed the chickens. Cool before slicing. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cinderella #316 The Brother Who Was a Lamb

Cinderella #316 The Brother Who Was a Lamb
Baa,baa, black sheep!
Have you any wool?
Once upon a time, in France, there lived "three children, two brothers and a sister. They had lost their parents." Alone in the world, they stumbled forward seeking a fountain to quench their thirst and a place to rest their feet. Yet they found none, so had to trudge on and on. At length, a man passed by. Then they begged of him directions to the nearest water. He said,"There are three fountains over their. Do not drink from the first or the second,but drink from the third." So the three continued on, and soon they came to the first fountain. The younger brother was so thirsty that, although she tried, the sister could not stop him from drinking there. "And so he disappeared." The brother and sister walked on, and soon they came to the second fountain. Without warning, the brother rushed to it and drank deeply. At once he was transformed into a lamb. So the girl walked on, found the third fountain, and slaked her thirst. Suddenly, she "was turned into a beautiful princess who was well dressed." Now, even though she was princess, and her brother was a lamb, they still loved each other. So the princess took the lamb out to pasture each day, and in this way, they passed the time. "One day, the King's son went by, and found her so attractive he saw a lot of her. And the he asked her to marry him." But the princess refused him, saying that she could not leaver her brother, the lamb, behind. So the King's son said, "If you come with me, he will not be unhappy at home. He will have the courtyard and the room in which to play and run about in." So the princess married him, and she and her brother, the lamb, went to live in the castle. Alas, soon war came, and the King and his son went out to fight. Meanwhile, the Queen had taken a dislike to her daughter in law and her strange pet. She devised a plot to kill them. The next morning she bade the princess draw water from the well. Then she tricked the lamb into coming along, and, when the princess was at the well's edge, the cruel woman pushed her in! Well, she did not realize that her daughter in law was pregnant, but she was. So the girl fell down the well and "that is where her baby was born, on a fine, white bed which happened to be there." Meanwhile, the lamb ran away. The servants could not catch him. Soon the King and his son came home. Now the Queen faked being sick in bed, and implored her husband to slay a lamb for her, that she could eat its meat and grow well. He tried to catch the enchanted lamb but is started singing in a loud voice, "Therėse, Therėse, my friend! Here are your husband's servants, coming to kill me!' So she called back,"Jump and skip, my friend! Make them run hard!" And though the King, and then his son, and then the valet, and then the maids all tried to catch the lamb, none could. And they all kept hearing the princess's voice coming from the bottom of the well, calling to the lamb. But finally, the lamb perched on the edge of the well, When the King's son came nearer, he heard a voice calling out,"Papa!' It was the child who had been born at the bottom of the well." So the King's son pulled out his wife and child from the well, and "to end off, instead of burning the lamb, they burned the mother in law."
From: Massignon, G. (1968) Folktales of France (142)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cinderella #315 Eschenfidel

Cinderella #315 Eschenfidel 
Why a cow? Why not?
Once upon a time, there lived an old woman. She had two daughters, and, such was her ugly heart that she loved one and hated the other. She modeled the one in fine clothes, showing her off all over the village in hopes that a suitor would espie her. But the other daughter was forced to stay at home in her old dirty clothes. She had to do "menial work in the cowshed, the kitchen, and the garden." The greatest sorrow of all for her was that she was forbidden to go to church. One Sunday, when she was alone, and weeping in the garden, a "little white man" appeared. He told her to take heart, that he would teach her a song that would cheer her, and aid her in getting her heart's desire. This is what he bade her sing,"Little tree, shake yourself, little tree. Shake gold and silver over me." So she sang this song under the biggest tree in the garden, and sure enough! A dress of silver and gold floated down to her! Then the little man told her that she must be the first one to leave the church after the service, and that she is to bring the clothing back to the tree and sing," Little tree, shake yourself, little tree. Draw all the silver and gold to thee!" And that is just what she does. The second Sunday, she repeats her song under the tree and goes to church again. This time, "a young merchant espies her and falls in love with her." By the third week, when Eschenfidel goes to church clad in gold and silver again, she is the talk of the town. Everyone wants to know who the beautiful girl in the metallic dress is. Yet she always runs away before anyone can speak to her. Every Sunday, when her mother and sister come back from church, they tell Eschenfidel about the beautiful stranger who has been coming. This continues until the sixth Sunday. That is when the young merchant puts a plan into action. Lingering outside the church doors until all save himself and the mysterious stranger have entered, he "smears [the] church door with pitch, and waits hard by." Sure enough, the girl comes, and gets caught in the tar. Now the merchant has hoped "to be able to help free her from the pitch and then talk with her" but this is not to be. Eschenfidel, instead of standing immobilized in the tar, simply steps out of her shoe and runs away! Of course, the young merchant snatched up the shoe as the girl disappeared into the distance. The next day, he went from one house to another in the village, seeking the girl whose foot could fit the golden shoe. One young lady tried so hard to fit the she that she "cut off her big toe". It still didn't fit. When the merchant reached the home of Eschenfidel, her mother pushed forward the favored girl. Yet no matter how prettily this one tried to smile, she could not hide the fact that her foot could not fit the shoe. Now the merchant insists that the other daughter be brought out, even though her mother has claimed that she is "too hideous to be shown."Nonetheless, she is brought out. The first that she says when they bring her out is, "Why that is my long-lost shoe!" Then she puts it on. It fits. Of course. Then "the merchant rejoices. They are betrothed and married soon afterwords."
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p.317
Notes: How odd that it is "a little white man". Now would that mean that he is perhaps dressed in white? With a white beard? Is he himself white, as in not black or brown? Here we have no father, but a helpful male spirit, and no stepmother, just a regular old mom with an attitude problem. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cinderella #313 Cendrouliė

Cinderella #313 Cendrouliė
Dogs of the 16th century.
Once upon a time, "there was a widower who remarried, and the stepmother did not like the husband's daughter by his first wife." She began calling her "Cendrouliė, (Cinderella) because she was always to be found in the ashes in the hearth." Her stepsister found Cendrouliė so ugly that she gave her the hideous nick-name of "Ram's Balls". One of Cendrouliė's daily tasks was to milk the cow. She had to walk far to the meadow, and was given only dry bread each day to eat. Yet she still thrived. This was because "the Holy Virgin, who was this girl's godmother" had given her "a hazel wand" and told her how to use it. So every day, she "tapped the cow's behind with it, and out fell bread and cheese". Of course the stepmother became jealous, and sent her own child to spy upon Ram's Balls. That is how the stepsister came to snatch the wand away, beat the cow with it, and hold out her hands...only to get a palmful of cowpat. Guess what the stepmother did when she heard about that? She told Ram's Balls that she was going to kill her cow, and she did just that. But "this time, the Holy Virgin had an apple tree brought to Cinderella so that she could eat apples off it." So the girl kept her fresh complexion by eating the fresh fruit. Now her stepmother was angry, and she locked Ram's Balls in the house, saying, "You will not leave the house." Then she gave her "a mixture of millet and ash to sort out, but poor Cinderella had nothing to pull them out with." So her godmother came again, and "brought her a hazel wand to sort out the ashes and, quick as a flash, the millet seeds were separated from the ash."  The years went on, and "another time it happened that there was a ball in that part of the country." Of course Ram's Balls just had to sneak over! Her godmother, the Holy Virgin, helped her, by providing "a carriage drawn by two shining horses and a coachman to take her to the ball."The Prince saw her there, and was love-struck. But when the music, she ran away. When he held another ball, the girl came again. This time, when she ran away, she lost a shoe, and "the Prince was quick to pick it up." He announced that he would marry the girl who could wear it. When the Prince came to the home of Cendrouliė, her stepmother made her own daughter "trim her foot" but the shoe still would not fit. When Cendrouliė held her foot out it fit! That's when her stepmother dragged her to the attic and locked the door! But "there was a little dog yapping, because Cinderella was shut up in this attic." And the Prince followed the little dog, and found her. Then he let her out, and "the hag and her daughter were turned into stones. There was one on each side of the stairway in that house. And so Cinderella married the Prince."
From: Massignon, G. (1968) Folktales of France

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cinderella #312: As Witnessed and Described by Iris, her Sister

Cinderella #312: As Witnessed and Described by Iris, her Sister
Illustration by
Sanderson, B.
Once upon a time, there was a fabulous writer named Gregory MaGuire. Here is the scene he paints of what Iris, the ugly stepsister (now an old woman) sees in the street: 
"...A group of children...were tossing their toys in the air, by turns telling a story and acting it too. A play about a pretty girl who was scorned by her stepsisters. In distress, the child disguised herself to go to a ball. There, the great turnabout. She met a prince who adored her and romanced her. Her happiness eclipsed the plight of her stepsisters, whose ugliness was the cause of high merriment."
From: Maguire, G. (1999) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. New York: Harper
Notes: OMG I ♡ Gregory Maguire! I read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, when it first came out and was devastated when I finished the book. How could there be no more? What a tragic ending for the diamond-faced boy. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cinderella #311: Golden Hair: Or the LIttle Frog (p.111, Folktales of France)

 11/11/11 Cinderella #311: Golden Hair: Or the LIttle Frog (p.111, Folktales of France)
Illustration by Palazzo
Once upon a time, in Lower Marche, Frace, "there was a little girl. She was so pretty she was called Golden Hair. The Holy Virgin was godmother to this pretty girl." The Virgin visited the girl almost every day when she was small, and she also gave her a parrot to keep as a pet. This smart bird soon learned to talk. It happened one day, some years after the gift of the parrot, that hte Virgin paid a visit to her goddaughter. She was by now a young lady, and "she had a suitor, a good-looking man who was very much in love with her. (He may well have been a king's son.)" When Golden Hair heard the knock, she "made her lover hide in the space between the bed and the wall." That's when the parrot yelled,"Madam, the gentleman is hiding behind the bed." So the Virgin knew something was up, and she left. A few days later she came back, and this time Golden Hair and her boyfriend saw her coming. So they ran away. But when the Holy Virgin came into the bedroom and saw the open window, she looked right at the parrot. Now it called, "Madam, the gentleman is taking her very far off into those woods." So the Virgin ran after them. Soon she found her god child, about to jump across a river to join her lover. The Virgin knew this and was angry. She cursed the girl, saying, "You shall become as ugly as you are pretty now." And turned her into a frog. Golden Hair, who still felt like Golden Hair, even though she was a little green frog, jumped into the river. Her lover, who had witnessed the whole thing, ran back and embraced the clammy little creature, and swore that he would remain by her side. One day, this young prince (for he was a prince, with two older brothers) went home to see his father. The king told his three sons, "I shall give my castle to the one who brings me back the finest horse." The older boys rode out to all the villages to seek fine horses, but the third son went back and spoke with the frog. He asked her to request a horse from her godmother. So the frog begged this of the Virgin and "then a fine horse was discovered on the banks of the stream." And of course, it was finer than the ones the prince's brothers brought. Now the king did not want to give the castle to his third son, so he said that each lad must also bring back a do. The one with the best hunting dog would get the castle. So the lad went to the frog, and his brothers rode through the villages, and they each brought back a dog. Of course the third son won that contest, because "the Holy Virgin brought back the finest dog in the world for him." So the king ordered a third contest: finding "the prettiest girl". So the third son ran back to his beloved frog, and asked her to  beg forgiveness from the Virgin and have her beauty restored. So this the girl did, and "the Holy Virgin forgave her god child, and the little frog turned into Golden Hair again. Then the two ran back to the castle, When they appeared before the king, he said, "There can be no doubt about this. It really is your younger brother who has won my castle." So they got married and lived in the castle, and lived happily ever after. 
From Massignon, G. (1968) Folktales of France. The University of Chicago Press
Notes: This is so funny, because a cat played the same role that the Holy Virgin does here, in a a recent story, The Piece of Cloth. I love this sexy maid and her studly prince!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cinderella #310: Sharing Folk Literature with Elementary and Middle School Kids

Mount Olympus, backdrop for Greek Skit.
Spring, 2010
by Maile and Grace

Cinderella #310: Sharing Folk Literature with Elementary and Middle School Kids
Once upon a time, there lived an associate professor of literacy instruction, who taught at the of Washington State University. One day, he edited a book which "provides teachers with foundational understanding of the folk literature genre". It has four parts. Part 1 is the big picture of world folklore. Part 2 is breaks down and defines the sub-genres of folk tales, fairy tales, myths, tall tales, etc. Part 3 discusses the literary traditions of the "African, Asian, European, Jewish, Latino, Middle Eastern and South Asian, and Native American folklore." Part 4 is directed at teachers in the field who wish to "use folk literature in their classrooms through comparing versions of a single tale type." Here is what he has to say about Cinderella: "Cinderella is not a single text but an entire range of stories with the common element of a persecuted heroine who responds to her situation with defiance, cunning, ingenuity, self-pity, anguish, or grief." He also says that "it can be safely said that no other tale has so many early, independently created, and widely scattered versions." He concluded that "the process of listening to and reflecting on traditional stories can be an important component of literacy instruction. Teachers can use these stories as models for building literacy skills, encouraging critical thinking, and reflection as well as for presenting multi cultural and equitable perspectives."
From:Young, T.A. (2004) Happily Ever After: Sharing Folk LIterature With Elementary and Middle  School Students. International Reading Association, Inc.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cinderella #309 The Piece of Cloth

Cinderella #309 The Piece of Cloth  
A little green dog?
Once upon a time, in France, "there was a Prince with three children who also had a niece whom he cared for as well." The four children grew up quickly, and soon the boys were ready to seek brides. The first choice of each, however, was their fair cousin.  So the Prince called his sons together and said,"He who brings me the largest piece of cloth shall be the one to have my niece." So the eldest son and the middle son set out at once, each taking one of their father's carriages. When the youngest son was ready to se forth, he found that he must go on foot. But he was a sturdy lad, if simple, so off he set. It was not very long before he came to what looked like "a ruined castle. He could not see the actual castle, but he noticed a fenced-in paddock where a horse was grazing." Then he heard a voice. It was the horse! It said, "Get up on me." So he did, and it carried him right into the castle. There he met a cat. "She made him twist and turn in that castle of hers. There was nothing but gilt and mirrors everywhere. Then she gave him a meal with her claws." The lad liked this cat very much, and the food she brought was good. Suddenly, he heard his older brothers passing by outside, bragging about the lengths of cloth they were bringing back. "Well, then the cat gave him a tailor's box." Inside was "a little piece of cloth showing at the top."  She told him to ask a trusted one to tug the cloth in front of his father the Prince. The lad thanked the cat and rode home again. There he found his brothers showing off yards and yards of brocade. But they were nothing more than lengths seamed together. So the youngest took out his tailor's box and called for his nurse. Then he asked her to tug the cloth peeping out and "she pulled and pulled. The cloth came out of the box. There was not a seam in it, and the more the nurse pulled, the more cloth came out." So the youngest brother won the contest, but his father would not consent to the marriage. Now he told his sons that "He who brings me the finest hunting dog in the kingdom will be the bridegroom." Again the elder sons left together, and the youngest returned to the castle. There he met again with the cat,who "gave him an egg." Then she told him,"You are not going to say a word about it. You are going to keep it in your pocket and hold your hand over it." So the lad did this, and when it was his turn to show off the dog he brought, he drew out the egg and "put his thumb on it" as the cat had told him to. Then "Out of the egg popped a little green dog who yapped and ran ahead of the others." When it had won all the contests, "he jumped back into the egg when the fellow put his thumb on it. You should have seen how that dog obeyed!" But still the father was not satisfied. Now he demanded that each son bring back a maiden. "The one who brings back the prettiest wench shall be the one to have my niece." Of course the older two left first, and returned first. "They brought back all the girls they could find. There were girls with raw, red hands who milked the goats, and old cooks..." The lad went straight to the cat. He asked for her help. She agreed, and gave instructions for him to make certain preparations. She told him,"You'll get a chopping block near the fire.' The fellow looked at her. He was scared stiff...He was so afraid that he was whimpering. 'This is your last trick. Don't bungle it. I shall put my neck on the block. You must cut through it with one blow." So he brought in the chopping block, the cat put her neck on it, he swung the axe and the cat's head "flew into the flames in the hearth. The lad turned his head to look and saw a lovely maiden dressed in gold and silver." She said that she must see his father, the Prince. So the lad brought her home and took her inside. She was "dressed in white satin, trimmed with precious stones and diamonds." The Prince took one look at her and told his youngest son,"Well, you can marry my niece, if you wish." But the lad answered,"I don't want her.' And so the fellow married the cat." You see, she "was a fairy. She helped that fellow because his father and his two elder brothers had always despised him."
From Folkales of France edited by Massignon, G. Trans. Hyland, J. (1968) University of Chicago Press
Notes: Stop and think about how important long pieces of cloth are. Being able to weave a long, uninterrupted piece is a sign of quality weaving, a necessary quality if one wants to be able to sleep on sheets, for example, or have a long tablecloth.  I love the little green dog! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cinderella #308: Diary of a Fairy Godmother (Codell, E.R.)

Cinderella #308: Diary of a Fairy Godmother (Codell, E.R.)
Even fairy godmothers have old friends
from junior high!
Once upon a time, there was a young witch named Hunky Dory. She was bored in school and didn't know who to believe: her mom or her aunt. Her mom said that school was very important and worth the strugggle. Her aunt said that "if you're smart you can do without it and if you're dumb, it doesn't help anyway." Hunky and her friends, Frantic Search, Belladonna,Velvet, and Lemon, cause trouble, explore the forbidden skills of granting wishes, and flirt with the hunky troll from under the bridge, Rumplestiltskin. Their pesky little neighbor, Goldilocks, tags along whenever she can. Hunky thinks she has the worst manners of anyone she has ever known, but her mom says "to be patient; she's just a little kid, and it's not her fault her parents are so permissive." So Hunky has to put up with her. One day Auntie Malice invites Hunky along to the palace, for a christening. All of the witches are going to bestow gifts on the new Royal Infant, Aurora. And that is how Hunky comes to taste petit fours for the first time —and to witness a genuine fairy godmother at work. To be an FG is not an ok option for a young witch, and when Hunky begins to hide in a well granting wishes, a real witches brew erupts! Among the list of good wishes to grant, Hunky lists, "Babies, friends, health, peace..." But when her friends discover that she is the wish granter, they make her barter with them. Velvet demands that she trade "a wish for a curse", and there are unintended consequences. Rushing to save a baby in danger, Hunky is out alone late one night. And that is when she hears somebody crying. Investigating, she finds a woebegone girl crying her eyes out by the fireplace. When she offers to help, the girl turns out to be quite the greedy-guts. First she demands a dress, then a carriage, and harangues Hunky for forgetting the shoes. To find out whether or not Cinderella gets to meet her man, and whether Hunky Dory EVER gets admitted to the Fairy Godmother's Guild, read: Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell (2005) New York: Hyperion
Notes: This book is cute and quirky,with plenty that girls ages 10-14 will love. I remember this author from her first book, Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year. As a teacher myself, I really sympathized with her. And yet, the signs that she might not be a long term teacher were there in  the book. This is too bad; she was clearly such a good one. So telling of our schools that some of the coolest people who become teachers get out of the profession. Fast. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cinderella #307 King Mani and His Beautiful Daughter, Mjadveig (Number Two)

The Grimm Brothers'
version of Cinderella is not
the only one that features a knife. 

Cinderella #307 King Mani and His Beautiful Daughter, Mjadveig (Number Two)
Once upon a time, there was a king whose queen had died. The princess Mjadveig was therefore left without a mother. So the king "marries a woman with two hideous daughters." Soon, this stepmother becomes jealous of Mjadveig's beauty, and begins to hide her whenever suitors come to call. That is when she sends her own ugly girls out. One day however, Mjadveig loses one of her little tiny shoes. "A king's son finds [it] and vows he will only wed [the] woman who can wear it." At length, the king's son reaches the castle of King Mani, and tries the shoe on the oldest stepdaughter. But the girl's mother helps her "cut off her heel, so as to wear the shoe." And so the shoe does fit, and the prince must honor his oath to marry the girl who can wear the slipper. So he takes her aboard his ship and sets out for home. But when they begin to leave the port, the gulls circle, singing, "Hewn-heel sits at the prow, her shoe is full of blood. Mjadveig, Mani's daughter, sits at home, a doubly-deserving bride.
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 316
Notes: This story comes with a footnote, saying that the "narrator could not remember more of the story, except that the prince, in the end, obtained Mjadveig." See Cinderella #135 for Judy Sierra's full length version of this story.