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!