Robin Redbreast

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

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

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