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