Tuesday 28 April 2020

Strong Fairy Tale Heroines #10: WHUPPITY STOORIE

 Illustration by Kate Leiper: www.kateleiper.co.uk/Instagram:kate_leiper_artist

This Scottish tale is included in Robert Chambers’ ‘Popular Rhymes of Scotland’ (1841 edition) and comes from the manuscript of Chambers’ friend Charles K. Sharpe. It’s presented as if narrated by one ‘Nurse Jennie’ of Annandale whose Lowland Scots tongue is so vivid and racy (whether she actually existed or not!) that it would be a shame to anglicize it. So I have simply added a variety of explanatory notes, some within the text and some footnotes. I'm sure we Sassenachs can manage! 

The heroine of the story is ‘the goodwife o’ Kittelrumpit’. The narrator suggests this place may be situated “somewhere amang the Debatable Ground”. In fact I think it’s a joke, a made-up name with a comic and mildly rude meaning;‘Tickle-arse’ would be my best bet, though I’m no Scots scholar, so if anyone knows better, do let me know. The Debatable Ground does exist: it is the much fought-over area between Scotland and England which, in the 16th century, was the haunt of the Border Reivers.

The tale is one of the many variants of the Rumpelstiltskin story, but a lot funnier and livelier. The goodwife and the green fairy woman are splendidly-matched antagonists – two energetic, determined women with sharp tongues in their heads: but the goodwife wins hands down when she turns the tables on her foe. The lovely illustration is by Scottish artist Kate Leiper and you can see more of her beautiful work by clicking the link below the picture: also here: http://kateleiper.co.uk/

The story begins when the goodwife’s husband goes off to the fair one day and never comes back: he was “a vaguing sort of body” anyway and not to be depended upon. Left to fend for herself – “A’body said they were sorry for her but naebody helpit her, whilk’s a common case, sirs,” – she has nothing left but her cottage a “sookin’ lad bairn” (that's a baby boy still at the breast) and her pride and joy, a “soo” (sow) which is about to give birth to piglets. If all goes well, the goodwife’s stock will be much increased. But one day she goes to the pigsty to fill the sow’s trough, and shock! horror! what should she find but the sow “lying on her back, grunting and groaning and ready to gie up the ghost”? 

Read on! 

I trow this was a new stoon [blow] to the goodwife’s heart; she sat doon on the knocking-stane[1] wi’ her bairn on her knee and grat [cried] harder than she ever did for the loss of her ain goodman.

                Noo, the cot-hoose of Kittlerumpit was built on a brae[2] with a muckle fir-wood behind it, o’ whilk ye’ll hear mair afore lang. So the goodwife, while she was dichtin her een [wiping her eyes] chances to look doon the brae, and what does she see but an auld woman, almost like a lady, coming slowly up the way. She was buskit in green, all but a white short apron, and a black velvet hood, and a steeple-crowned beaver hat on her head. She had a lang walking stick, as lang as herself, in her hand – the sort of staff that auld men and women helpit themselves with lang syne; I see nae sic staffs noo, sirs.

                Aweel, when the goodwife saw the green gentlewoman near her, she rose and made a curtsie; and “Madam,” quo’ she, weeping, “I’m the maist misfortunate woman alive.”

                “I dinna wish to hear pipers’ news and fiddlers’ tales,” quo’ the green woman. “I ken ye’ve lost your goodman – we had waur losses at the Shirra Muir[3]; and I ken that your soo’s sick. Noo, what will ye gie me to cure her?”

                “Onything your leddyship’s madam likes,” quo’ the witless goodwife, never guessing who she had to deal with. 

                “Let’s wet thumbs on that bargain[4],” quo’ the green woman, so thumbs were wet, I warrant ye, and into the pigsty madam marches. 

                She glowers at the soo for a lang time, and then begins to mutter to herself what the goodwife couldna well understand; it soundit like “Pitter patter, Haly watter.” Then she took oot of her pouch a wee bottle wi’ something like oil in it, and rubs the soo with it around the snout, behind the lugs and on the tip o’ the tail. “Get up, beast,” quo’ the green woman, and nae sooner said than done – up bangs the soo wi’ a grunt and awa’ to her trough for her breakfast. 

                The goodwife o’ Kittelrumpit was a joyful goodwife noo, and wad hae kissed the very hem o’ the green madam’s gown-tail, but she wadna let her. “I’m no fond o’ demonstrations,” said she, “noo that I hae righted your sick beast, let’s finish our bargain. Ye’ll no find me an unreasonable, greedy body – I like aye to do a good turn for a small reward – all I ask, and will have, is that lad bairn in your bosom.”

                The goodwife o’ Kittelrumpit let oot a skirl like a stickit gryse [stuck piglet]. The green woman was a fairy, nae doubt of it, so she prays and weeps and kneels and begs and flytes, but it wouldna do.  “Ye may spare your din,” quo’ the fairy, “skirling as if I was a deaf as a doornail; but this I’ll tell ye – by the law we live on, I canna take your bairn till the third day after this; and no then, if ye can tell me my right name.” And off gaes madam around the pigsty end,  and the goodwife falls down in a swoon behind the knocking-stane.

                Aweel, the goodwife couldna sleep that night for weeping and a’ the next day the same, cuddling her bairn till she near squeezed its breath out; but the second day she thinks o’ taking a walk in the wood, and wi’ the bairn in her arms she sets out and gaes far in amang the trees where there was an old quarry hole grown o’er wi’ gorse, and a bonny spring well in the middle of it. Before she came very nigh, she hears the birring of a lint-wheel [a wheel for spinning flax], and a voice lilting a sang; sae the wife creeps quietly amang the bushes, and keeks [peeps] ower the brow of the quarry, and what does she see but the green fairy kemping at her wheel and singing:

“Little kens our good dame at hame
That Whuppitie Stoorie is my name!” 

                “Ah ha!” thinks the wife. “I’ve gotten the mason’s word at last: the de’il gie them joy that tell’t it!”  And she gaed hame far lichter than she came out, as you may guess, laughing like a madcap wi’ the thought of begunkin [befooling] the auld green fairy.

                Aweel, ye must ken that this goodwife was a jocular woman and aye merry when her heart wasna sair overladen, sae she thinks to have some sport wi’ the fairy: and at the appointit time she puts the bairn behind the knocking-stane and sits down on it hersel’. Syne she pulls her nightcap ajee [awry] ower her left lug [ear], crooks her mouth on t’ither side, as if she were weeping – and a filthy face she made, ye may be sure. She hadna lang to wait, for up the brae mounts the green fairy, neither lame nor lazy, and lang afore she got near the knocking-stane, she skirls out, 

                “Goodwife o’ Kittelrumpit, ye ken weel what I come for – stand and deliver!” 

                The wife pretends to greet sairer [weep more sorely] than before, and wrings her nieves [fists], and falls on her knees, wi’: “Och, sweet madam mistress, spare my only bairn and take the weary soo!”

                “The de’il take the soo, for my share,” quo’ the fairy. “I come na here for swine’s flesh. Dinna be contramawcious, hizzie [hussy, wench], but gie me the gett [child; begotten] instantly!”

                “Ochone, dear leddy mine,” quo’ the goodwife, “forbear my poor bairn and take mysel’!”

                “The de’il’s in the daft jade,” quo the fairy, looking like the far-end o’ a fiddle[5] [sour], “She’s clean dementit! Wha in all the earthly warld, wi’ half an ee in their heads, would ever want wi’ the likes of thee?”

                I trow this set up the wife o’ Kittelrumpit’s birse [put up her hackles]; for though she had two bleared een and a lang red neb [nose] forbye, she thought hersel’ as bonny as the best o’ them. Sae she bangs aff her knees, sets her nightcap[6] straight, folds her two hands in front of her, makes a curstie down to the ground, and, “In troth, fair madam,” quo’ she, “I might hae had the wit to ken that the likes o’ me is nae fair to tie the warst shoe strings o’ the high and mighty princess, Whuppity Stoorie!

                Gin a fluff o’ gunpowder had come out o’ the ground, it couldna hae made the fairy loup [leap] higher than she did; then down she came again, thump on her shoe-heels, and whirling around, she ran down the brae, screeching for rage like an owlet chased wi’ the witches.

                The goodwife o’ Kittelrumpit laughed till she was like to ryve [split]; then she takes up her bairn and goes into her hoose, singing all the way; 

A goo and a gitty, my bonny wee tyke,
Ye’s noo hae your four-oories;
Sin’ we’ve gi’en Nick a bane to pyke
Wi’ his wheels and his Whuppity Stoories.”[7]

[1] ‘the knocking-stane’: a stone with a hollowed out basin in which grain could be ground by pounding it with a wooden mallet.

[2] ‘brae’: a steepish hillside; the brow of a hill.

[3] ‘waur losses at the Shirra Muir’: Chambers notes: “This was a common saying formerly, when people were regretting trifles.” The Battle of Sherrifmuir near Stirling in 1715 ended the Jacobite Rebellion and the Earl of Mar’s attempt to place James Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’, on the throne

[4] Licking thumbs and pressing them together (an exchange of bodily fluids) was a country way of sealing a bargain. 

[5] “looking like the far-end o’ a fiddle’: ‘A person of sour countenance is said to ‘hae a face like the far en’ of a French fiddle’: G. Fraser ‘Lowland Lore’, p156, 1880

[6] Nightcap: in the original Scots, ‘mutch-croon’.

[7] ‘A goo and a gitty’: nonsense words to coo to to a baby. ‘Tyke’: literally a dog: naughty little lad. ‘Four-oories’ – I have no idea; Scots speakers please help!  ‘Nick’: Old Nick, the devil, to whom the goodwife assumes the fairy belongs. ‘a bane to pyke’: a bone to pick.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Strong Fairy Tale Heroines #9: EDERLAND THE POULTRY-MAID

This light-hearted story comes from 'Danish Fairy Tales', collected by Svendt Grundtvig, (1824-1883) and is a good follow up to last week's tough Cinderella, employing several of the same motifs to very different effect. A dying mother leaves most of her possessions to her two eldest daughters, gifting the youngest, little Ederland, with nothing but a dough pan, an apron and a broom. Her sisters deride her, telling her that their mother thought nothing of her, but Ederland holds fast to a belief in her mother's love. When her sisters make further difficulties for her, she visits her mother's grave - again like Cinderella - where her faith in her mother is upheld, and her apparently poor legacy turns out to be the very thing that makes her fortune. 

Buoyed by her mother's advice, Ederland sets off on her adventures. With cheerful élan she tricks a family of trolls and wrests three precious things from them, one of which - the pig that never diminishes no matter how much bacon is sliced from it - perhaps hails back to the boar Sæhrímnir on which the Norse gods feast nightly in Valhallr (besides irresistably reminding me of the Dish of the Day in Douglas Adams'  'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe': see link here.) Ederland's marriage to a distinctly selfish master ('You could easily do it if you wanted to!' he keeps moaning) is the traditional fairy tale coda, denoting her worldly success. Fairy tales are almost never romances. 

I hope you'll agree with me that Ederland is another tough cookie. Just don't feel too sorry for the trolls!

Once upon a time there was a woman who had three daughters. She was very ill and she expected to hear death knock at her door from day to day; so she called together her three daughters and divided what she had among them. But she did not make an equal division: she gave the two older daughters, who were always nice to look at, and kept themselves well dressed, all that she had; and the youngest, little Ederland, received only a dough-pan, a broom-stick and an apron.

The mother lived but a short time, and when she had died, what she had left was divided between her children as she had arranged. Then the two older sisters said to Ederland, "That shows you once more, Ederland, that our mother thought more of us than she did of you, for all she gave you was that wretched dough-pan, and the broom-stick and apron."

But little Ederland was patient, and held her tongue, and still believed that her mother had loved her just as much as she had her two sisters.

In the course of time all three sisters took service in a fine house. The two older sisters were in the house itself, and helped with all the housework; but little Ederland was only the poultry-maid. Yet before long the master of the house noticed that his poultry had never been in better condition than since Ederland had taken charge; and therefore he praised her continually in her sisters' presence.
They did not enjoy hearing it at all. At last they decided to tell their master that Ederland could do much more, if only she felt like it. They knew positively, that she could get him a candlestick that would give light without a candle; and if she said she could not, it merely showed that she would not.

When their master heard this, he at once sent for Ederland and said to her, "I hear that you can get me a candlestick that gives light without a candle. I want to have it very much, and you must get it for me. It is useless for you to refuse, for I know that you can if you feel like it."

Little Ederland cried, and said she would like to oblige him if only she knew how; but that he had set her a task she really could not accomplish. Yet her master would not believe her.

"All your speeches won't help you," he said. "You must get the candlestick for me, but you shall have two bushels of gold for getting it!"

Little Ederland left the house in tears, and went straight to her mother's grave. As she stood there and cried, her mother rose from the grave and said, "Do not cry! Go back home, and ask your master for two bushels of salt, take your broomstick, set it up as a mast in the dough-pan, tie your apron to it for a sail, and sail out to sea with your two bushels of salt. Then you will come to the place where you can get the candlestick that gives light without a candle!"

And with that the mother sank back into her grave, and little Ederland went home and asked her master for the two bushels of salt. She got them, and then set up her dough-pan with the broom-stick for a mast, and the apron for a sail, took her two bushels of salt, and sailed out on the stormy sea, letting the waves carry her along as they chose.

She sailed a long way, but at last she landed on the island of the trolls, and went ashore with the two bushels of salt. Somewhere about she saw a house. She went up to it, climbed on the roof, and looked down the chimney. Down below stood the old troll mother, cooking mush for her sons. On the hearth, beside the kettle of mush, stood the candlestick that gave light without a candle. This was just what Ederland wanted, and when the old troll mother turned her back, she poured down her two bushels of salt into the mush. The old troll mother turned right around again, and tasted the mush; but it was terribly salty. So she took up a bucket to get some water to cook over the mush. Then Ederland slipped down the chimney in a trice and ran after her, and as the old troll mother was stooping over the edge of the well to draw up the bucket, Ederland gave her a push so that she fell in head over heels, and did not come up again. Ederland now quickly secured the candlestick and ran down to her ship. She was no more than a short distance from land, when she saw the trolls come home, and a moment later they ran down to the strand and called after her, "Ederland, Ederland! You have thrown our mother into the well and taken our candlestick! If you ever come here again you will have to pay the price!"

But Ederland called back, "Well, I am coming back twice!" and sailed gaily home.

Her master was filled with joy when he saw the candlestick that gave light without a candle, and little Ederland received her two bushels of gold and was happy as well. But her two sisters grew more angry with each passing day at her good fortune, and their only thought was of how they might mar her pleasure. At last they again told their master that Ederland could do much more if she only would. She could get a horse with bells on all four legs, one that could be heard long before it was seen, and that could be found again, no matter how far it had strayed. Their master would much rather have had a horse of that kind even than the candlestick he already possessed. He had Ederland called at once, and told her that he was well aware that she could obtain a horse that had bells on all four of its legs, which one could hear in the distance, and could always find if it strayed. She must get him that horse! Ederland cried and said she was only too willing to get it, but she did not know how. Yet her master would not content himself with her answer.

"You could, if you only would," he said. "You must get that horse for me and I will give you three bushels of gold for it."

Again Ederland went to her mother's grave and cried, and was very unhappy. And again her mother rose from the grave and said to her, "Do not cry, my little Ederland! Go home and ask your master for four bunches of tow, take them and sit down in your dough-pan with the broomstick and the apron as before. Then you will reach the place where you can obtain the horse with the bells on all four legs."

Thereupon her mother sank back into the grave; while little Ederland went home and asked her master for the four bunches of tow. He gave them to her at once, and she sailed out to sea in her dough pan, with the broomstick for a mast, and her apron for a sail. This time she also landed on the island of the trolls. 

It was just at the time when the trolls were at home, and were eating their dinner, and the horse with the bells on all four legs was grazing in the field before the house. Ederland slipped up to him, tied a bunch of tow around each leg, so that the bells could not ring, and led him down to the strand. Just as she was leading him into the boat, however, the bunch of tow about one of his legs fell off, the bell at once began to ring, and all the trolls hurried down to the strand. Little Ederland had led the horse safely aboard, and had just put a bit of water between the boat and the shore, when the trolls reached the beach. They fell into a terrible rage when they saw that Ederland was escaping with their horse, and called after her, "Ederland, Ederland! You pushed our old mother into the well, and took our candlestick, and now you have stolen our horse! When you come again you will have to pay for it!"

But Ederland called back to them, "Well, I am coming back once more!"

When Ederland reached home with the horse, her master was filled with joy. He gladly gave her the three bushels of gold he had promised her, and Ederland herself was very happy. But her two sisters were not at all pleased with her good fortune, and day and night they thought only of what harm they might do her. Before long they said to their master, "Ederland could get you something far better than she has already obtained for you: a pig that stays just as fat as it was, though you cut as much bacon from it as ever you will."

That seemed the best of all to their master. Ederland had to come to him at once and he said to her, "I have heard that you can get a pig for me from which I may cut as much bacon as ever I will, while it stays as fat as it was. That pig I must have."

In vain Ederland wept and said, "I would, if only I could; but I cannot get any such pig for you."
Her master would not listen to her. "You can and must obtain that pig for me," he said, "and in return I will give you all the beautiful things which you see here."

But little Ederland was very sad. She went to her mother's grave and wept bitterly. Then her mother rose from her grave, and said to her, "Do not cry, my little Ederland! Go home and ask your master for two flitches of bacon, seat yourself in your boat, and sail out to sea. Then you will come to the place where you can get the pig. " " When she had said this she sank back into her grave.
But Ederland went home and got the two flitches of bacon, put them in her dough-pan with the broomstick for a mast and the apron for a sail, and the wind blew her across the sea to the island of the trolls. It was just the time when the trolls were taking their after-dinner nap. The pig was in the meadow, but the trolls had hired a little boy to watch it.

Ederland ran up to the little boy and said to him, "These two flitches of bacon are for the trolls. Will you carry them over to them while I take care of the pig for you in the meantime?" The boy saw no harm in this, so he took the bacon and ran with it to the house. But as he was telling the trolls how he came by the two flitches of bacon, they at once thought that Ederland might have a hand in the matter again, so they ran down to the beach as fast as they could. And there Ederland had been unable to get the pig into the boat.

So the trolls seized her as well as the pig. They dragged Ederland into the house, and handed her over to the old troll father, telling him to slaughter her, and dish up a real tasty supper for them when they came back from work. Then the trolls went off, and Ederland stayed behind with the old troll father. He dragged up a great block of wood, put down the axe beside it and said to her, "Now lay down your head on the block so that I can chop it off."

"Yes," said little Ederland, "I'm willing to do so, but I do not know how. First you will have to show me."

"Why," said the old troll father, "it is quite simple, you only need to do like this," and as he spoke he laid his head down on the block. In a moment Ederland had seized the axe and chopped off his head with a single stroke. She at once put a nightcap on the head, laid it in bed, and thrust the body into the soup-kettle that hung over the hearth. Then she ran down to the beach, took the pig and sailed away in her boat.

Not long after the trolls came home, and at once fell on the supper cooking over the stove. They were much surprised to find the meat so tough, when the person who had furnished it was so young. But they were hungry and managed to get it down. At last it occurred to one of them that their old father should also have his share. He went over to the bed and shook him; but they all were much frightened when they realized that his head alone was lying on the bed. At last they saw how everything had happened, left their supper and ran down to the beach. But by that time Ederland was far out to sea. The trolls came down in the most furious rage, and called after her, "Ederland, Ederland! You pushed our old mother into the well, you took our candlestick, you stole our horse, and now you have killed our old father and robbed us of our pig. If you come here again you will have to pay for it!"

But Ederland called back, "I shall never, never come back, and you need not expect me!"

So little Ederland sailed home, and her master received her very joyfully, and soon after they married and lived in peace and contentment. Her sisters lived with her, but they did nothing day by day, save brood over Ederland's good fortune.

One day Ederland said to them, "If you feel like sailing, you are welcome to my boat." The sisters decided to try it at once. They got into the boat, set sail and came to the island of the trolls. But when they got there the trolls seized them, cooked them and fried them, and were pleased as pleased could be to have made such a haul. 

Picture credits: 

Ederland the Poultry Maid: 'She sailed out upon the stormy sea, letting the waves carry her as they chose' : by George W Hood
Troll mother and son, by John Bauer

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Strong Fairy Tale Heroines #8: ASCHENPUTTEL

 Aschenputtel: The Cinderella of the Brothers Grimm

The most familiar of fairytales can seem strange when we read a different version from the one we’re used to. Most of us know the one generally offered to children, the one Disney adapted, the one based on Charles Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’. That Cinderella is a long-suffering, patient, gentle girl; her fairy godmother is a civilised sponsor who launches her protégé into society with the aid of delightful conjuring tricks, transforming pumpkin and mice into a splendid coach and uniformed servitors. At the end of Perrault's tale, Cinderella forgives her stepsisters and marries them off to ‘two great lords of the court’. Everything is in excellent taste.

But the heroine of the Grimms’ ‘Aschenputtel’ is different. Her story is less literary, more magical: almost savage in tone and detail. There is blood within the shoe. The dead return as birds. There's no pumpkin coach, no fairy godmother. No panic, no deadlines, no clocks striking twelve. No glass slipper – and no forgiveness.

The mother’s deathbed adjuration, that if her daughter remains good, she will watch over her from heaven, is less a pious wish than a supernatural promise, fulfilled when her father asks his daughters what he should bring them as gifts and Cinderella asks not for beautiful clothes, pearls and jewels as her step-sisters do, but for ‘the first branch which knocks against your hat on the way home’. Like the rose in Beauty and the Beast, this humble gift will prove the most precious, as well as being something that will certainly pass under her step-mother and step-sisters’ radar. Cinderella plants the hazel twig on her mother’s grave and waters it with her tears. And in contrast to the civilised patronage of Perrault’s fairy godmother, the power the girl derives from her true mother’s grave is a miraculous inheritance that rises from the earth in green sap and leaves, with spirit-like birds sitting in the branches.

At her call, these birds flock down to perform the impossible tasks her stepmother sets for her – and each time Cinderella succeeds, the stepmother breaks her promise to allow her to go to the festival. We are not meant to view this realistically, or ask why the stepmother and Cinderella should expect any different outcome from each other after the first demonstration. We are witnessing the breaking of a ritual, magical contract which will earn a ritual, magical punishment.

The unbroken bond between Cinderella and her dead mother trumps the step-mother’s broken promises. For the next three nights, as the white birds in the hazel tree shower down upon her their transformative gold and silver,  Cinderella stage-manages the whole affair. She goes to the dance alone. She leaves when she pleases. She runs, climbs trees and jumps out of them. She performs lightning costume-changes, and she lies low to deceive the family.

It's a story which pulls few punches. Quite frankly, a great deal of the pleasure it affords is the pleasure of revenge. This Cinderella gets her own back on everyone who has ill-treated her. When her neglectful father’s pigeon house is destroyed, we shouldn't think of a cute ornamental dove-cot sitting on a pole. We should imagine the pigeon-house of a grand mansion: a great, circular, stone-built affair with hundreds of niches inside it for nesting places, and a revolving ladder from which servants might collect eggs and young birds. Its destruction would be a social and financial blow. Her father also loses his magnificent pear tree - it is chopped to pieces and her ambitious step-sisters fare even worse. And, an incidental detail - the prince doesn't need to try the slipper on the foot of every girl in the kingdom. By the third night he's got a very good idea of where Cinderella lives, so the mysterious maiden has to be one of the three daughters.

The translation is by Margaret Hunt.

The wife of a rich man fell sick, and as she felt that her end was drawing near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, “Dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect you, and I will look down on you from heaven, and see you.” Thereupon she closed her eyes and departed. Every day the maiden went out to her mother’s grave and wept, and she remained pious and good. When winter came the snow spread a white sheet over the grave, and by the time the spring sun had drawn it off again, the man had taken another wife.

The woman brought with her into the house two daughters, who were beautiful and fair, but vile and black of heart. Now began a bad time for the poor step-child. “Is the stupid goose to sit in the parlour with us?” they said. “He who wants to eat bread must earn it; out with the kitchen-wench.” They took her pretty clothes away from her, put an old grey bedgown on her, and gave her wooden shoes. “Just look at the proud princess, how decked out she is!” they cried, and laughed, and led her into the kitchen. There she had to do hard work from morning till night, get up before daybreak, carry water, light fires, cook and wash.  Besides this, the sisters did her every imaginable injury – they mocked her and emptied her peas and lentils into the ashes, so that she was forced to sit and pick them out again. In the evening when she had worked till she was weary she had no bed to go to, but had to sleep by the hearth in the cinders. And as on that account she always looked dusty and dirty, they called her Cinderella.

It happened that the father was once going to the fair, and he asked his two step-daughters what he should bring back for them. “Beautiful dresses,” said one, “pearls and jewels,” said the second. “And you, Cinderella,” said he, “what will you have?”  “Father, break off for me the first branch that knocks against your hat on the way home.” So he bought beautiful dresses, pearls and jewels for his two step-daughters, and on his way home as he was riding through a green thicket, a hazel twig brushed against him and knocked off his hat. Then he broke off the branch and took it with him. When he reached home he gave his step-daughters the things which they had wished for, and to Cinderella he gave the branch from the hazel bush. Cinderella thanked him, went to her mother’s grave and planted the branch on it, and wept so much that the tears fell down on it and watered it. And it grew and became a handsome tree. Thrice a day Cinderella went and sat beneath it and wept and prayed, and a little white bird always came on the tree, and if Cinderella wished for anything, the bird threw down to her what she had wished for. 

It happened, however, that the King gave orders for a festival which was to last three days and to which all the beautiful young girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose himself a bride. When the two step-sisters heard that they too were to appear among the number, they were delighted, called Cinderella and said: “Comb our hair for us, brush our shoes and fasten our buckles, for we are going to the wedding at the King’s palace.” Cinderella obeyed, but wept, for she too would have liked to go with them to the dance, and begged her step-mother to allow her to do so.  “You go, Cinderella!” said she; “covered in dust and dirt as you are, and would go to the festival? You have no clothes and shoes, and yet would dance?” However, as Cinderella went on asking, the step-mother said at last, “I have emptied a dish of lentils into the ashes for you; if you have picked them out again in two hours, you shall go with us.”

The maiden went through the back door into the garden and called, “You tame pigeons, you turtledoves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me to pick

The good into the pot
The bad into the crop.”

Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen window, and afterwards the turtledoves, and at last all the birds beneath the sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes. And the pigeons nodded with their heads and began pick, pick, pick, and all the rest began also to pick, pick, pick, and gathered all the good grains into the dish. Hardly had one hour passed before they had finished and all flew out again. Then the girl took the dish to her step-mother, and was glad, for she believed that now she would be allowed to go with them to the festival. 

             But the step-mother said, “No, Cinderella, you have no clothes and you can not dance; you would only be laughed at.” And as Cinderella wept at this, the step-mother said, “If you can pick two dishes of lentils out of the ashes for me in one house, you shall go with us.” For she thought to herself, “That she most certainly cannot do again.” 

When the step-mother had emptied the two dishes of lentils among the ashes, the maiden went through the back door into the garden and cried: “You tame pigeons, you turtledoves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me to pick

The good into the pot
The bad into the crop.”

Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen window, and afterwards the turtledoves, and at last all the birds beneath the sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes. And the pigeons nodded with their heads and began pick, pick, pick, and all the rest began also to pick, pick, pick, and gathered all the good seeds into the dishes, and before half an hour was over they had already finished, and all flew out again. Then the maiden carried the dishes to ther step-mother and was delighted, and believed that she might now go with them to the wedding. But the step-mother said, “All this will not help; you cannot go with us, for you have no clothes and can not dance; we should be ashamed of you.” On this she turned her back on Cinderella and hurried away with her two proud daughters.

            As no one was now at home, Cinderella went to her mother’s grave below the hazel tree, and cried,

            “Shiver and quiver, little tree,
            Silver and gold throw down on me.”

             Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and slippers embroidered with silk and silver. She put on the dress with all speed, and went to the wedding. Her step-sisters and the step-mother did not know her and thought she must be a foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in the golden dress.  They never once thought of Cinderella and believed she was still at home in the dirt, picking lentils out of the ashes. The prince approached her, took her by the hand and danced with her. He would dance with no other maiden, and never let loose of her hand, and if any one else came to invite her, he said, “This is my partner.”

            She danced till it was evening, and then she wanted to go home. But the King’s son said, “I will go with you and bear you company,” for he wished to see to what family the beautiful maiden belonged. She escaped from him, however, and sprang into the pigeon-house. The King’s son waited until her father came home, and then he told him that the unknown maiden had leapt into the pigeon-house. The old man thought, “Can it be Cinderella?” and they had to bring him an axe and a pickaxe that he might hew the pigeon house to pieces, but no one was inside it. And when they got home, Cinderella lay in her dirty clothes among the ashes, and a dim little oil lamp was burning on the mantle-piece, for Cinderella had jumped down quickly from the back of the pigeon-house and had run to the little hazel tree, and there she had taken off her beautiful clothes and laid them on the grave, and the bird had taken them away again, and then she had seated herself in the kitchen amongst the ashes in her grey gown.

            Next day when the festival began afresh, and her parents and the step-sisters had gone once more, Cinderella went to the hazel tree and said,

 “Shiver and quiver, my little tree,
            Silver and gold throw down over me.”

Then the bird threw down a much more beautiful dress than before. And when Cinderella appeared at the wedding in this dress, everyone was astonished at her beauty. The King’s son had waited until she came, and instantly took her by the hand, and danced with no one but her. When others came and invited her, he said, “This is my partner.” When evening came she wished to leave, and the King’s son followed her and wanted to see to which house she went. But she sprang away from him and into the garden behind the house. There stood a beautiful tree on which hung the most magnificent pears. She clambered so nimbly between the branches like a squirrel that the King’s son did not know where she had gone. He waited until her father came and said to him, “The unknown maiden has escaped from me, and I believe she has climbed into the pear tree.” The father thought, “Can it be Cinderella?” and had an axe brought and cut the tree down, but no one was in it. And when they got into the kitchen, Cinderella lay there among the ashes as usual, for she had jumped down on the other side of the tree, had taken the beautiful dress to the bird on the little hazel tree, and put on her grey gown.

            On the third day, when the parents and sisters had gone away, Cinderella went once more to her mother’s grave and said to the little tree, 

“Shiver and quiver, my little tree,
            Silver and gold throw down over me.”

And now the bird threw down to her a dress which was more splendid and magnificent than any she had yet had, and the slippers were golden. And when she went to the festival in the dress, no one knew how to speak for astonishment. The King’s son danced with her only, and if anyone invited her to dance, he said, “This is my partner.”

             When evening came, Cinderella wished to leave, and the King’s son was anxious to go with her, but she escaped from him so quickly he could not follow her.  The King’s son, however, had caused the whole staircase to be smeared with pitch, and there, where she ran down it, the maiden’s left slipper had remained stuck. The King’s son picked it up,and it was small and dainty, and all golden. Next morning he went to his father and said, “No one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits.” 

            Then the two sisters were glad, for they had pretty feet. The eldest went with the shoe into her room and wanted to try it on, and her mother stood by. But she could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for her. Then her mother gave he a knife and said, “Cut the toe off; when you are Queen you will have no more need to go on foot.” The maiden cut the toe off, forced her foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain and went out to the King’s son. He took her on his horse as his bride and rode away with her, but the way took them past the grave and there on the hazel tree sat the two pigeons and cried, 

            “Turn and peep, turn and peep,
            There’s blood within the shoe,
            The shoe it is too small for her,
            The true bride waits for you.”

Then he looked at the foot and saw how the blood was trickling from it. He turned his horse around and took the false bride home again and said she was not the true one, and that the other sister was to put the shoe on. Then this one went into her chamber and got her toes safely into the shoe, but her heel was too large. So her other gave her a knife and said, “Cut a bit off your heel; when you are Queen you will have no more need to go on foot.” The maiden cut a bit off her heel, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King’s son. He took her on his horse as his bride and rode away with her, but when they passed the hazel tree, the two little doves sat on it and cried,

“Turn and peep, turn and peep,
            There’s blood within the shoe,
            The shoe it is too small for her,
            The true bride waits for you.”

He looked down at her foot and saw how the blood was running out of her shoe and how it had stained her white stocking quite red. Then he turned his horse and took the false bride home again. “This also is not the right one,” said he, “have you no other daughter?” “No,” said the man, “there is still a little stunted kitchen wench which my late wife left behind her, but she cannot possibly be the bride.”

            The King’s son said he was to send her up to him, but the mother answered, “Oh no, she is much too dirty, she cannot show herself!” But he absolutely insisted on it, and Cinderella had to be called. She first washed her hands and face clean, and then went and bowed before the King’s son, who gave her the golden shoe. Then she seated herself on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe and put it into the slipper, which fitted like a glove. And when she rose up and the King’s son looked at her face he recognised the beautiful maiden who had danced with him and cried, “That is the true bride!” The step-mother and the two sisters were horrified and became pale with rage; however, he took Cinderella on his horse and rode away with her. As they passed by the hazel tree, the two white doves cried, 

“Turn and peep, turn and peep,
            No blood is in the shoe,
            The shoe is not too small for her,
            The true bride rides with you,”

and when they had cried that, the two came flying down and perched on Cinderella’s shoulders, one on the right, the other on the left, and remained sitting there.

            When the wedding with the King’s son was to be celebrated, the two false sisters came and wanted to get into favour with Cinderella and share her good fortune. When the betrothed couple went to church, the elder was at the right side, and the younger at the left, and the pigeons pecked out one eye from each of them. Afterwards as they came back, the pigeons pecked out the other eye from each and so, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness for the rest of their days. 

Picture Credits: 

Cinderella: by Edmund Dulac
Cinderella at the hearth: John Everett Millais
Aschenputtel at her mother's grave: by Liga-Marta
Aschenputtel and the turtledoves: by Alexander Zick 
Aschenputtel and the stepsisters: by Hermann Vogel
Cinderella at the ball: by Edmund Dulac
Shiver and Quiver, Little Tree: by Millicent Sowerby 
Pitch on the stairs: by John D Batten
Cinderella running: by Arthur Rackham
Cinderella tries on the slipper: by Walter Crane