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

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