Robin Redbreast

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

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. 

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