Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, wishes to have his only daughter Doralice to wife, but she, through her father's persecution, flees to England, where she marries Genese the king, and has by him two children. These, having been slain by Tebaldo, are avenged by their father King Genese.I cannot think there is one amongst us who has not realized by his own experience how great is the power of love, and how sharp are the arrows he is wont to shoot into our corruptible flesh. He, like a mighty king, directs and governs his empire without a sword, simply by his individual will, as you will be able to understand from the tenor of the story which I about to tell to you.
You must know, dear ladies, that Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, according to the story I have heard repeated many times by my elders, had to wife a modest and prudent lady of good lineage, and by her he had a daughter who in beauty and grace outshone all the other ladies of Salerno; but it would have been well for Tebaldo if she had never seen the light, for in that case the grave misadventure which befell him would never have happened.
His wife, young in years but of mature wisdom, when she lay a-dying besought her husband, whom she loved very dearly, never to take for his wife any woman whose finger would not exactly fit the ring which she herself wore; and the prince, who loved his wife no less than she loved him, swore by his head that he would observe her wish.
After the good princess had breathed her last and had been honorably buried, Tebaldo indulged in the thought of wedding again, but he bore well in mind the promise he had made to his wife, and was firmly resolved to keep her saying.
However, the report that Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, was seeking another mate soon got noised abroad, and came to the ears of many maidens who, in worth and in estate, were no whit his inferiors; but Tebaldo, whose first care was to fulfil the wishes of his wife who was dead, made it a condition that any damsel who might be offered to him in marriage should first try on her finger his wife's ring, to see whether it fitted, and not having found one who fulfilled this condition -- the ring being always found too big for this and too small for that -- he was forced to dismiss them all without further parley.
Now it happened one day that the daughter of Tebaldo, whose name was Doralice, sat at table with her father; and she, having espied her mother's ring lying on the board, slipped it on her finger and cried out, "See my father, how well my mother's ring fits me!" And the prince, when he saw what she had done, assented.
But not long after this the soul of Tebaldo was assailed by a strange and diabolical temptation to take to wife his daughter Doralice, and for many days he lived tossed about between yea and nay. At last, overcome by the strength of this devilish intent, and fired by the beauty of the maiden, he one day called her to him and said, "Doralice, my daughter, while your mother was yet alive, but fast nearing the end of her days, she besought me never to take to wife any woman whose finger would not fit the ring she herself always wore in her lifetime, and I swore by my head that I would observe this last request of hers. Wherefore, when I felt the time was come for me to wed anew, I made trial of many maidens, but not one could I find who could wear your mother's ring, except yourself. Therefore I have decided to take you for my wife, for thus I shall satisfy my own desire without violating the promise I made to your mother."
Doralice, who was as pure as she was beautiful, when she listened to the evil designs of her wicked father, was deeply troubled in her heart; but, taking heed of his vile and abominable lust, and fearing the effects of his rage, she made no answer and went out of his presence with an untroubled face.
As there was no one whom she could trust so well as her old nurse, she repaired to her at once as the surest bulwark of her safety, to take counsel as to what she should do. The nurse, when she had heard the story of the execrable lust of this wicked father, spake words of comfort to Doralice, for she knew well the constancy and steadfast nature of the girl, and that she would be ready to endure any torment rather than accede to her father's desire, and promised to aid her in keeping her virginity unsullied by such terrible disgrace.
After this the nurse thought of nothing else than how she might best find a way for Doralice out of this strait, planning now this and now that, but finding no method which gained her entire approval. She would fain have had Doralice take to flight and put long distance betwixt her and her father, but she feared the craft of Tebaldo, and lest the girl should fall into his hands after her flight, feeling certain that in such event he would put her to death.
So while the faithful nurse was thus taking counsel with herself, she suddenly hit upon a fresh scheme, which was what I will now tell you. In the chamber of the dead lady there was a fair cassone, or clothes-chest, magnificently carved, in which Doralice kept her richest dresses and her most precious jewels, and this wardrobe the nurse alone could open. So she removed from it by stealth all the robes and the ornaments that were therein, and bestowed them elsewhere, placing in it a good store of a certain liquor which had such great virtue, that whosoever took a spoonful of it, or even less, could live for a long time without further nourishment.
Then, having called Doralice, she shut her therein, and bade her remain in hiding until such time as God should send her better fortune, and her father be delivered from the bestial mood which had come upon him.
The maiden, obedient to the good old woman's command, did all that was told her; and the father, still set upon his accursed design, and making no effort to restrain his unnatural lust, demanded every day what had become of his daughter; and, neither finding any trace of her, or knowing aught where she could be, his rage became so terrible that he threatened to have her killed as soon as he should find her.
Early one morning it chanced that Tebaldo went into the room where the chest was, and as soon as his eye fell upon it, he felt, from the associations connected with it, that he could not any longer endure the sight of it, so he gave orders that it should straightway be taken out and placed elsewhere and sold, so that its presence might not bee an offence to him. The servants were prompt to obey their master's command, and, having taken the thing on their shoulders, they bore it away to the marketplace. It chanced that there was at that time in the city a rich dealer from Genoa, who, as soon as he caught sight of the sumptuously carved cassone, admired it greatly, and settled with himself that he would not let it go from him, however much he might have to pay for it. So, having accosted the servant who was charged with the sale of it, and learnt the price demanded, he bought it forthwith, and gave orders to a porter to carry it away and place it on board his ship.
The nurse, who was watching the trafficking from a distance, was well pleased with the issue thereof, though she grieved sore at losing the maiden. Wherefore she consoled herself by reflecting that when it comes to the choice of evils it is ever wiser to avoid the greater.
The merchant, having set sail from Salerno with his carven chest and other valuable wares, voyaged to the island of Britain, known to us today as England, and landed at a port near which the country was spread out in a vast plain.
Before he had been there long, Genese, who had lately been crowned king of the island, happened to be riding along the seashore, chasing a fine stag, which, in the end, ran down to the beach and took to the water.
The king, feeling wary and worn with the long pursuit, was fain to rest awhile, and, having caught sight of the ship, he sent to ask the master of it to give him something to drink; and the latter, feigning to be ignorant he was talking to the king, greeted Genese familiarly, and gave him a hearty welcome, finally prevailing upon him to go on board his vessel.
The king, when he saw the beautiful clothes-chest so finely carved, was taken with a great longing to possess it, and grew so impatient to call it his own that every hour seemed like a thousand till he should be able to claim it. He then asked the merchant the price he asked for it, and was answered that the price was a very heavy one. The king, being now more taken than ever with the beautiful handicraft, would not leave the ship till he had arranged a price with the merchant, and, having sent for money enough to pay the price demanded, he took his leave, and straightway ordered the cassone to be borne to the palace and placed in his chamber.
Genese, being yet over-young to wive, found his chief pleasure in going every day to the chase. Now that the cassone was transported into his bedroom, with the maiden Doralice hidden inside, she heard, as was only natural, all that went on in the king's chamber, and, in pondering over her past misfortunes, hoped that a happier future was in store for her. And as soon as the king had departed for the chase in the morning, and had left the room clear, Doralice would issue from the clothes-chest, and would deftly put the chamber in order, and sweep it, and make the bed. Then she would adjust the bed curtains, and put on the coverlet cunningly embroidered with fine pearls, and two beautifully ornamented pillows thereto. After this, the fair maiden strewed the bed with roses, violets, and other sweet-smelling flowers, mingled with Cyprian spices which exhaled a subtle odor and soothed the brain to slumber.
Day after day Doralice continued to compose the king's chamber in this pleasant fashion, without being seen of anyone, and thereby gave Genese much gratification; for every day when he came back from the chase it seemed to him as if he was greeted by all the perfumes of the East.
One day he questioned the queen his mother, and the ladies who were about her, as to which of them had so kindly and graciously adorned his room and decked the bed with roses and violets and sweet scents. They answered, one and all, that they had no part in all this, for every morning, when they went to put the chamber in order, they found the bed strewn with flowers and perfumes.
Genese, when he heard this, determined to clear up the mystery, and the next morning gave out that he was going to hunt at a village ten leagues distant. But, in lieu of going forth, he quietly hid himself in the room, keeping his eyes steadily fixed on the door, and waiting to see what might occur. He had not been long on the watch before Doralice, looking more beautiful than the sun, came out of the cassone and began to sweep the room, and to straighten the carpets, and to deck the bed, and diligently to set everything in order, as was her wont.
The beautiful maiden had no sooner done her kindly and considerate office, than she made as if she would go back to her hiding place. But the king, who had keenly taken note of everything, suddenly caught her by the hand, and, seeing that she was very fair, and fresh as a lily, asked her who she was; whereupon the trembling girl confessed that she was the daughter of a prince. She declared, however, that she had forgotten what was his name, on account of her long imprisonment in the cassone, and she would say nothing as to the reason why she had been shut therein. The king, after he had heard her story, fell violently in love with her, and, with the full consent of his mother, made her his queen, and had by her two fair children.
In the meantime Tebaldo was still mastered by his wicked and treacherous passion, and, as he could find no trace of Doralice, search as he would, he began to believe that she must have been hidden in the coffer which he had caused to be sold, and that, having escaped his power, she might be wandering about from place to place.
Therefore, with his rage will burning against her, he set himself to try whether perchance he might not discover her whereabouts. He attired himself as a merchant, and, having gathered together a great store of precious stones and jewels, marvelously wrought in gold, quitted Salerno unknown to anyone, and scoured all the nations and countries round about, finally meeting by hazard the trader who had originally purchased the clothes-chest. Of him he demanded whether he had been satisfied with his bargain, and into whose hands the chest had fallen, and the trader replied that he had sold the cassone to the King of England for double the price he had given for it.
Tebaldo, rejoicing at this news, made his way to England, and when he had landed there and journeyed to the capital, he made a show of his jewels and golden ornaments, amongst which were some spindles and distaffs cunningly wrought, crying out the while, "Spindles and distaffs for sale, ladies."
It chanced that one of the dames of the court, who was looking out of a window, heard this and saw the merchant and his goods; whereupon she ran to the queen and told her there was below a merchant who had for sale the most beautiful golden spindles and distaffs that ever were seen. The queen commanded him to be brought into the palace, and he came up the stairs into her presence, but she did not recognize him in his merchant's guise. Moreover, she was not thinking ever to behold her father again; but Tebaldo recognized his daughter at once.
The queen, when she saw how fair was the work of the spindles and distaffs, asked of the merchant what price he put upon them.
"The prince is great," he answered, "but to you I will give one of them for nothing, provided you suffer me to gratify a caprice of mine. This is that I may be permitted to sleep one night in the same room as your children."
The good Doralice, in her pure and simple nature, never suspected the accursed design of the feigned merchant, and, yielding to the persuasion of her attendants, granted his request.
But before the merchant was led to the sleeping chamber, certain ladies of the court deemed it wise to offer him a cup of wine well drugged to make him sleep sound, and when night had come and the merchant seemed overcome with fatigue, one of the ladies conducted him into the chamber of the king's children, where there was prepared for him a sumptuous couch.
Before she left him the lady said, "Good man, are you not thirsty?"
"Indeed I am," he replied; whereupon she handed him the drugged wine in a silver cup. But the crafty Tebaldo, while feigning to drink the wine, spilled it over his garments, and then lay down to rest.
Now there was in the children's a side door through which it was possible to pass into the queen's apartment. At midnight, when all was still, Tebaldo stole through this, and, going up to the bed beside which the queen had left her clothes, he took away a small dagger, which he had marked the day before hanging from her girdle. Then he returned to the children's room and killed them both with the dagger, which he immediately put back into its scabbard, all bloody as it was. And having opened a window he let himself down by a cord.
As soon as the shopmen of the city were astir, he went to a barber's and had his long beard taken off, for fear he might be recognized, and having put on different clothes he walked about the city without apprehension.
In the palace the nurses went, as soon as they awakened, to suckle the children; but when they came to the cradles they found them both lying dead. Whereupon they began to scream and to weep bitterly, and to rend their hair and their garments, thus laying bare their breasts.
The dreadful tiding came quickly to the ears of the king and queen, and they ran barefooted and in their nightclothes to the spot, and when they saw the dead bodies of the babes they wept bitterly. Soon the report of the murder of the two children was spread throughout the city, and, almost at the same time, it was rumored that there had just arrived a famous astrologer, who, by studying the courses of the various stars, could lay bare the hidden mysteries of the past.
When this came to the ears of the king, he caused the astrologer to be summoned forthwith, and, when he was come into the royal presence, demanded whether or not he could tell the name of the murderer of the children.
The astrologer replied that he could, and whispering secretly in the king's ear he said, "Sire, let all the men and women of your court who are wont to wear a dagger at their side be summoned before you, and if amongst these you shall find one whose dagger is befouled with blood in its scabbard, that same will be the murderer of your children."
Wherefore the king at once gave command that all his courtiers should present themselves, and, when they were assembled, he diligently searched with his own hands to see if any one of them might have a bloody dagger at his side, but he could find none. Then he returned to the astrologer -- who was no other than Tebaldo himself -- and told him how his quest had been vain, and that all in the palace, save his mother and the queen, had been searched.
To which the astrologer replied, "Sire, search everywhere and respect no one, and then you will surely find the murderer."
So the king searched first his mother, and then the queen, and when he took the dagger which Doralice wore and drew it from the scabbard, he found it covered with blood.
Then the king, convinced by this proof, turned to the queen and said to her, "O, wicked and inhuman woman, enemy of your own flesh and blood, traitress to your own children! What desperate madness has led you to dye your hands in the blood of these babes? I swear that you shall suffer the full penalty fixed for such a crime."
But though the king in his rage would fain have sent her straightway to a shameful death, his desire for vengeance prompted him to dispose of her so that she might suffer longer and more cruel torment. Wherefore he commanded that she should be stripped and thus naked buried up to her chin in the earth, and that she should be well fed in order that she might linger long and the worms devour her flesh while she still lived. The queen, seasoned to misfortune in the past, and conscious of her innocence, contemplated her terrible doom with calmness and dignity.
Tebaldo, when he learned that the queen had been adjudged guilty and condemned to a cruel death, rejoiced greatly, and, as soon as he had taken leave of the king, left England, quite satisfied with his work, and returned secretly to Salerno. Arrived there, he told to the old nurse the whole story of his adventures, and how Doralice had been sentenced to death by her husband.
As she listened, the nurse feigned to be as pleased as Tebaldo himself, but in her heart she grieved sorely, overcome by this love which she had always borne towards the princess, and the next morning she took horse early and rode on day and night until she came to England.
Immediately she repaired to the palace and went before the king, who was giving public audience in the great hall, and, having thrown herself at his feet, she demanded an interview on a matter which concerned the honor of his crown. The king granted her request, and took her by the hand and bade her rise.
Then, when the rest of the company had gone and left them alone, the nurse thus addressed the king, "Sire, know that Doralice, your wife, is my child. She is not, indeed, the fruit of my womb, but I nourished her at these breasts. She is innocent of the deed which is laid to her charge, and for which she is sentenced to a lingering and cruel death. And you, when you shall have learnt everything, and laid your hand upon the impious murderer, and understood the reason which moved him to slay your children, you will assuredly show her mercy and deliver her from these bitter and cruel torments. And if you find that I speak falsely in this, I offer myself to suffer the same punishment which the wretched Doralice is now enduring."
Then the nurse set forth fully from beginning to end the whole history of Doralice's past life; and the king, when he heard it, doubted not the truth of it, but forthwith gave orders that the queen, who was now more dead than alive, should be taken out of the earth; which was done at once, and Doralice, after careful nursing and ministration by physicians, was restored to health.
Next day King Genese stirred up through all his kingdom mighty preparations for war, and gathered together a great army, which he dispatched to Salerno. After a short campaign the city was captured, and Tebaldo, bound hand and foot, taken back to England, where King Genese, wishing to know the whole sum of his guilt, had him put upon the rack, whereupon the wretched man made full confession.
The next day he was conducted through the city in a cart drawn by four horses, and then tortured with red-hot pincers like Gano di Magazza, and after his body had been quartered, his flesh was thrown to be eaten of ravenous dogs.
And this was the end of the impious wretch Tebaldo. And King Genese and Doralice his queen lived many years happily together, leaving at their death divers children in their place.
Now it is said that once upon a time there lived a king of Roccaspra, who had a wife who for beauty, grace, and comeliness exceeded all other women. Truly she was the mother of beauty, but this beautiful being, at the full time of her life, fell from the steed of health, and broke the threads of life. But before the candle of life was finally put out, she called her husband, and said, "I know well, that you have loved me with excessive love, therefore show me a proof of your love and give me a promise that you will never marry, unless you meet one beautiful as I have been; and if you will not so promise, I will leave you a curse, and I will hate you even in the other world."
The king, who loved her above all things, hearing this her last will, began to weep and lament, and for a while could not find a word to say; but after his grief subsided, he replied, "If I ever think of taking a wife, may the gout seize me, and may I become as gaunt as an asparagus; oh my love, forget it. Do not believe in dreams, nor that I can ever put my affection upon another woman. You will take with you all my joy and desire." And while he was thus speaking, the poor lady, who was at her last, turned up her eyes and stretched her feet.
When the king saw that her soul had taken flight, his eyes became fountains of tears, and he cried with loud cries, buffeted his face, and wept, and wailed, so that all the courtiers ran to his side. He continually called upon the name of that good soul and cursed his fate, which had deprived him of her, and tore his hair, and pulled out his beard, and accused the stars of having sent to him this great misfortune. But he did as others do. A bump on the elbow and the loss of a wife cause much pain, but it does not last. The one pain disappears at one's side, and the other into the grave.
Night had not yet come forth to look about the heavens for the bats, when he began to make count on his fingers, saying "My wife is dead, and I am a widower, and sad hearted without hope of any kind but my only daughter, since she left me. Therefore it will be necessary to find another wife that will bear me a son. But where can I find one? Where can I meet a woman endowed with my wife's beauty, when all other females seem witches in my sight? There is the rub! Where shall I find another like unto her? Where am I to seek her with a bell, if nature formed Nardella (may her soul rest in glory), and then broke the mould? Alas! in what labyrinth am I! What a mistake was the promise I made her! But what? I have not seen the wolf yet, but I am running away already. Let us seek, let us see, and let us understand. Is it possible, that there is no other donkey in the stable except for Nardella? Is it possible that the world will be lost for me? Will there be such a plague that all women will be destroyed and their seed lost?"
And thus saying, he commanded the public crier to proclaim that all the beautiful women in the world should come and undergo the comparison of beauty, that he would take to wife the best looking of all, and make her the queen of his realm. This news spread in all parts of the world, and not one of the women in the whole universe failed to come and try this venture. Not even flayed hags stayed behind, they came by the dozen, because, when the point of beauty is touched, there is none who will yield, there is no sea monster who will give herself up as hideous; each and everyone boasts of uncommon beauty.
If a donkey speaks the truth, the mirror is blamed for not reflecting the form as it is naturally; it is the fault of the quicksilver at the back. And now the land was full of women, and the king ordered that they should all stand in file, and he began to walk up and down, like a sultan when he enters his harem, to choose the best Genoa stone to sharpen his damascene blade. He came and went, up and down, like a monkey who is never still, looking and staring at this one and that one. One had a crooked brow, another a long nose, one a large mouth, and another thick lips. This one was too tall and gaunt, that other was short and badly formed, this one was too much dressed, another was too slightly robed. He disliked the Spanish woman because of the hue of her skin; the Neapolitan was not to his taste because of the way in which she walked; the German seemed to him too cold and frozen; the French woman too light of brains; the Venetian a spinning wheel full of flax. At last, for one reason or another, he sent them all about their business with one hand in front and another behind.
Seeing so many beautiful heads of celery turned to hard roots and having resolved to marry nevertheless, he turned to his own daughter, saying, "What am I seeking about these Marys of Ravenna, if my daughter Preziosa is made from the same mould as her mother? I have this beautiful face at home, and yet I should go to the end of the world seeking it?" Thus he explained to his daughter his desire, and was severely reproved and censured by her, as Heaven knows. The king was angry at her rejection, and said to her, "Be quiet and hold your tongue. Make up your mind to tie the matrimonial knot with me this very evening; otherwise when I finish with you there will be nothing left but your ears."
Preziosa, hearing this threat, retired to her room, and wept and lamented her evil fate. And while she lay there in this plight, an old woman, who used to bring her cosmetics, came to her, and finding her in such a plight, looking like one more ready for the other world than for this one, enquired the cause of her distress. When the old woman learned what had happened, she said, "Be of good cheer, my daughter, and despair not, for every evil has a remedy. Death alone has no cure. Now listen to me: When your father comes to you this evening -- donkey that he is, wanting to act the stallion -- put this piece of wood into your mouth, and you will at once become a she-bear. Then you can make your escape, for he will be afraid of you and let you go. Go straight to the forest, for it was written in the book of fate, the day that you were born, that there you should meet your fortune. When you want to turn back into a woman as you are and will ever be, take the bit of wood out of your mouth, and you will return to your pristine form."
Preziosa embraced and thanked the old woman, told the servants to give her an apron full of flour and some slices of ham, and sent her away. When the sun began to change her quarters like a bankrupt strumpet, the king sent for his minister, and had him issue invitations to all the lords and grandees to come to the marriage feast. They all crowded in. After spending five or six hours in high revelry and unrestrained eating, the king made his way to the bed chamber, and called to the bride to come and fulfil his desire. But she put the bit of wood into her mouth, and instantly took the shape of a fierce she-bear, and stood thus before him. He, frightened at the sudden change, rolled himself up in the bedding, and did not put forth a finger or an eye until morning.
Meanwhile Preziosa made her way toward the forest, where the shadows met concocting together how they could annoy the sun. There she lay in good fellowship and at one with the other animals. When the day dawned, it happened by chance that the son of the King of Acquacorrente should come to that forest. He sighted the she-bear and was greatly frightened, but the beast came forward, and wagging her tail, walked around him, and put her head under his hand for him to caress her. He took heart at this strange sight, smoothed its head as he would have done to a dog, and said to it, "Lie down, down, quiet, quiet, there there, good beast." Seeing that the beast was very tame, he took her home with him, commanding his servants to put her in the garden by the side of the royal palace, and there to attend to and feed her well, and treat her as they would his own person, and to take her to a particular spot so that he might see her from the windows of his palace whenever he had a mind to.
Now it so happened that one day all his people were away on some errand, and the prince being left alone, thought about the bear, and looked out of the window to see her. However, at that very moment Preziosa, believing she was utterly alone, had taken the bit of wood from her mouth, and stood combing her golden hair. The prince was amazed at this woman of great beauty, and he descended the stairs and ran to the garden. But Preziosa, perceiving the ambush, at once put the bit of wood into her mouth, and became a she-bear once more. The prince looked about, but could not see what he had sighted from above, and not finding what he came to seek, remained very disappointed, and was melancholy and sad hearted, and in a few days became grievously ill. He kept repeating, "Oh my bear, oh my bear."
His mother, hearing this continual cry, imagined that perhaps the bear had bit him or done him some evil, and therefore ordered the servants to kill her. But all the servants loved the beast because it was so very tame, even the stones in the roadway could not help liking her, so they had compassion and could not think of killing her. Therefore they led her to the forest, and returning to the queen, told her that she was dead. When this deed came to the prince's ears, he acted as a madman, and leaving his bed, ill as he was, was about to make mincemeat of the servants. They told him the truth of the affair. He mounted his steed and searched backward and forward until at length he came to a cave and found the bear.
He carried her home with him and put her in a chamber, saying, "Oh you beautiful morsel fit for kings, why do you hide your passing beauty in a bear's hide? Oh light of love, why are you closed in such an hairy lantern? Why have you acted this way toward me, is it so that you may see me die a slow death? I am dying of despair, charmed by your beautiful form, and you can see the witness of my words in my failing health and sickening form. I am become skin and bone, and the fever burns my very marrow, and consumes me with heart-sore pain. Therefore lift the veil from that stinking hide, and let me behold once more your grace and beauty; lift up the leaves from this basket's mouth, and let me take a view of the splendid fruit within; lift the tapestry, and allow my eyes to feast upon the luxury of your charms. Who has enclosed in a dreary prison such a glorious work? Who has enclosed in a leather casket such a priceless treasure? Let me behold your passing grace, and take in payment all my desires. Oh my love, only this bear's grease can cure the nervous disease of which I suffer." But perceiving that his words had no effect, and that all was time lost, he took to his bed, and his illness increased daily, until the doctors feared for his life.
The queen, his mother, who had no other love in the world, sat at his bedside, and said to him, "Oh my son, where does your heartsickness come from? What is the cause of all this sadness? You are young, you are rich, you are beloved, you are great. What do you want, my son? Speak, for only a shameful beggar carries an empty pocket. If you desire to take a wife, choose, and I will command; take, and I will pay. Can you not see that your sickness is my sickness and that your pulse beats in unison with my heart? If you burn with fever in your blood, I burn with fever on the brain. I have no other support for my old age but you. Therefore, my son, be cheerful, and cheer my heart, and do not darken this realm, and raze to the ground this house, and bereave your mother."
The prince, hearing these words, said, "Nothing can cheer me, if I may not see the bear; therefore, if you desire to see me in good health again, let her stay in this room, and I do not wish that any other serve me, and make my bed, and cook my meals, if it be not herself, and if what I desire be done, I am sure that I shall be well in a few days." To the queen it seemed folly for her son to ask that a bear should act as cook and housemaid. She believed that the prince must be delirious; nevertheless, to please his fancy, she went for the bear, and when the beast came to the prince's bedside she lifted her paw and felt the invalid's pulse. The queen smiled at the sight, thinking that by and by the bear would scratch the prince's nose. But the prince spoke to the bear, and said, "Oh mischievous mine, will you not cook for me, and feed me, and serve me?" And the bear nodded yes with her head, showing that she would accept the charge. Then the queen sent for some chickens, and had a fire lit in the fireplace in the same chamber, and had a kettle with boiling water put on the fire. The bear took hold of a chicken, scalded it, dexterously plucked off its feathers, cleaned it, put half of it on the spit, and stewed the other half. When it was ready, the prince, who could not before eat even sugar, ate it all and licked his fingers. When he had ended his meal, the bear brought him some drink, and handed it so gracefully that the queen kissed her on the head. After this the prince arose, and went to the salon to receive the doctors, and to be directed by their judgment. The bear at once made the bed, ran to the garden and gathered a handful of roses and orange blossoms, which she scattered upon the bed. She fulfilled her various duties so well that the queen said to herself, "This bear is worth a treasure, and my son is quite right in being fond of the beast."
When the prince returned to his chambers, and saw how well the bear had fulfilled her duties, it was like adding fuel to the fire. If he had been consumed himself in a slow fire before, he was now burning with intense heat. He said to the queen "Oh my lady mother, if I cannot give a kiss to this bear, I shall give up the ghost." The queen, seeing her son nearly fainting, said to the bear, "Kiss him, kiss him, oh my beautiful bear, do not leave my poor son to die in despair." Then the bear obediently neared the prince, who took her cheeks between his fingers, could not stop kissing her on the lips.
While thus engaged, I do not know how it happened, the bit of wood fell from Preziosa's mouth, and she remained in the prince's embrace, the most beautiful and ravishing being in the world. He strained her to his bosom with tightly clasped arms, and said, "You are caught at last, and you shall not escape so easily without a reason." Preziosa, reddening with the lovely tint of modesty and of shame, the most beautiful of natural beauties, answered, "I am in your hands. I surrender my honor to your loyalty. Do with me what you will." The queen asked who this charming woman was, and what had caused her to live such a wild life. She related to them all her misfortunes, and the queen praised her as a good and honored child, and said to her son that she was well satisfied that he should marry the princess. The prince, who wanted nothing else, at once announced his betrothal to her. Kneeling before the queen, they both received her blessing, and with great feasting the marriage took place. Thus Preziosa demonstrated the truth of the proverb: "Those who do good may expect good in return."
The king said to her, "Are you like your name?" and she said, "Yes."
She stopped there seven years. Her master gave her all the keys, even that of the treasure. One day, when the king and queen were out, Faithful goes to the fountain, and she sees seven robbers coming out of the house. Judge what a state this poor girl was in! She runs straight to the treasury, and sees that more than half the treasure is missing. She did not know what would become of her -- she was all of a tremble. When the king and queen came home she told them what had happened, but they would not believe her, and they put her in prison. She stays there a year. She kept saying that she was not in fault, but they would not believe her. The king condemns her to death, and sends her with four men to the forest to kill her, telling them to bring him her heart.
They go off, but these men thought it a pity to kill this young girl, for she was very pretty, and she told them that she was innocent of this robbery; and they say to her, "If you will not come any more into this land, we will spare your life."
She promises them that she will not be seen again in those parts. The men see an ass, and they tell her that they will carry its heart to the king.
The young girl said to them, "Flay this ass, I pray you; and, in order that no one may know me, I will never take this skin off me."
The men do so, and go off to the king, and the young girl goes to look for some shelter. At nightfall she finds a beautiful house. She asks if they want some one to keep the geese.
They tell her, "Yes, yes, yes."
They put her along with the geese, and tell her that she must go with them every day to such a field. She went out very early in the morning and came back late. It was the king's house, and it was the queen-mother and her son who lived there.
After some time there appeared to her one day an old woman, who called to her, "Faithful, you have done penance enough. The son of the king is going to give some grand feasts, and you must go to them. This evening you will ask madame permission, and you will tell her that you will give her all the news of the ball if she will let you go for a little while. And, see, here is a nut. All the dresses and things you want will come out of that. You will break it as you go to the place of the festival."
That evening she asked permission of her mistress to go and see the festival which the king is going to give, for a short time only, and that she will return directly and tell her all that she has seen there.
Her mistress said, "Yes."
That evening she goes then. On her way she breaks the nut, and there comes out of it a silver robe. She puts it on, and goes there, and immediately she enters all the world looks at her. The king is bewitched, he does not quit her for an instant, and they always dance together. He pays no attention at all to the other young ladies. They enjoy the refreshments very much. Some friends of the king call him, and he has to go there; and in this interval Faithful makes her escape to the house.
She tells the queen how that a young girl had come to the ball, how she had dazzled everybody, and especially the king, who paid attention to her alone, but that she had escaped.
When the son comes to the house, his mother says to him, "She escaped from you then, your young lady? She did not care for you, doubtless."
He says to his mother, "Who told you that?"
"Ass'-Skin; she wished to go and see it."
The king goes to where Faithful was and gives her two blows with his slipper, saying to her, "If you return there again I will kill you on the spot."
The next day Ass'-Skin goes with her geese, and there appears to her again the old woman. She tells her that she ought to go to the ball again this evening -- that her mistress would give her permission. "Here is a walnut; you have there all that is necessary to dress yourself with. The king will ask you your name: Braf-le-mandoufle [Beaten with the slipper]."
In the evening she asks permission of her mistress, but she is astonished (at her asking), and says to her, "You do not know what the king has said -- that if he catches you he will kill you on the spot?"
"I am not afraid. He will be sure not to catch me."
She goes off, and on the way she breaks the walnut, and there comes out of it a golden robe. She goes in. The king comes with a thousand compliments, and asks her how she had escaped the evening before without saying anything to him, and that he had been very much hurt at it.
They amuse themselves thoroughly. The king has eyes for her alone. He asks her her name. She tells him, "Braf-le-mandoufle." They feast themselves well, and some friends having called to him he goes to them, and the young lady escapes.
Ass'-Skin goes to tell the queen that yesterday evening's young lady had come, but still more beautiful -- that she had escaped in the very middle of the ball. She goes off to her geese. The king comes to his house.
His mother says to him, "She came then, the young lady you love? But she only loves you so-so, since she has gone off in this fashion."
"Who told you that?"
He goes off to her and gives her two kicks with his slipper, and says to her, "Woe to you if you go there again; I will kill you on the very spot."
She goes off to her geese, and the old woman comes to her again and tells her to ask permission again for this evening -- that she must go to the dance. She gives her a peach, and tells her that she will have there all that is necessary to dress herself with. She goes then to ask her mistress if she will give her permission, like last night, to go to the ball.
She says to her, "Yes, yes, I will give you leave. But are you not afraid lest the king should catch you? He has said that he will kill you if you go there."
"I am not afraid, because I am sure that he will not catch me. Yesterday he looked for me again, but he could not catch me."
She goes off then. On the way she opens her peach, and finds there a dress entirely of diamonds, and if she was beautiful before, judge what she is now! She shone like the sun. The king was plunged into joy when he saw her. He was in an ecstasy. He did not wish to dance, but they sat down at their ease on beautiful arm-chairs, and with their refreshments before them they passed such a long time together. The king asked her to give him her promise of marriage. The young lady gives him her word, and the king takes his diamond ring off his finger and gives it to her. His friends call him away to come quickly to see something very rare, and off he goes, leaving his lady. She takes advantage of this opportunity to escape.
She tells her mistress all that has passed -- how that this young Lady had come with a dress of diamonds, that all the world was dazzled by her beauty, that they could not even look at her she shone so brightly, that the king did not know where he was for happiness, that they had given each other their promise of marriage, and that the king had given her his diamond ring, but that the best thing of all was that today again she has escaped him.
The king comes in at that very instant.
His mother says to him, "She has not, she certainly has not, any wish for you. She has gone off with your diamond ring. Where will you go and look for her? You do not know where she lives. Where will you ask for a young lady who has such a name as 'Braf-le-mandoufle!' She has given you her promise of marriage too; but she does not wish to have you, since she has acted like that."
Our king did not even ask his mother who has told her that. He went straight to bed thoroughly ill, and so Ass'-Skin did not have her two kicks that evening.
The queen was in great trouble at seeing her son ill like that. She was continually turning over in her head who this young lady might be.
She said to her son, "Is this young lady our Ass'-Skin ? How else could she have known that you had given your promise to one another, and that you had given her the ring too? She must have been very close to you. Did you see her?"
He says, "No," but remains buried in thought.
His mother says, "She has a very pretty face under her ass'-skin."
And she says that she must send for her, and that he must have a good look at her too ; that he shall have some broth brought up by her.
She sends for Ass'-Skin to the kitchen, has the broth made for her son, and Ass'-Skin puts in the middle of the bread the ring which the king had given her. The lady had her well dressed, and she goes to the king. The king, after having seen her, was still doubtful. He drank his broth; but when he puts the bread into his mouth he finds something (hard), and is very much astonished at seeing his ring. He was ill no longer. He goes and runs to his mother to tell her his joy that he has found his lady. He wishes to marry directly, and all the kings of the neighbourhood are invited to the feast; and, while they were dining, everyone had some fine news to relate. They ask the bride, too, if she had not something to tell them.
She says, "Yes," but that she cannot tell what she knows that it would not please all at the table.
Her husband tells her to speak out boldly; he draws his sword, and says, "Whosoever shall speak a word shall be run through with this sword."
She then tells how a poor girl was servant at a king's house; how she remained there seven years; that they liked her very much, and treated her with confidence, even to giving her the keys of the treasure. One day, when the king and his wife were out, robbers entered, and stole almost all the treasure. The king would not believe that robbers had come. He puts the young girl in prison for a whole year, and at the end of that time he sends her to execution, telling the executioners to bring her heart to the house. The executioners were better than the king; they believed in her innocence, and, after having killed an ass, they carried its heart to the king; "and for the proof, it is I who was servant to this king."
The bridegroom says to her, "Who can this king be? Is it my uncle?"
The lady says, " I do not know if he is your uncle, but it is that gentleman there."
The bridegroom takes his sword and kills him on the spot, saying to his wife, "You shall not be afraid of him any more."
They lived very happily.
Some time afterwards they had two children, a boy and a girl. When the elder was seven years old he died, telling his father and mother that he was going to heaven to get a place there ready for them. At the end of a week the other child dies too, and she says to them that she, too, is going to heaven, and that she will keep their place ready; that they, too, would quickly go to them. And, as she had said, at the end of a year, at exactly the very same time, both the gentleman and lady died, and they both went to heaven.
Once upon a time there was a king whose wife was the most beautiful woman in the world, with hair of pure gold. Together they had a daughter, and she was as beautiful as her mother, and she had the same golden hair. The queen became ill, and when she felt that she was about to die, she called the king to her side and asked him not to marry anyone following her death, unless she was just as beautiful as she, and unless her hair was just as golden as hers. The king made this promise, and she died.
For a long time the king was so grieved that he did not think about a second wife, but finally his councilors advised him to marry again. He sent messengers to all the princesses, but none was as beautiful as the deceased queen, and such golden hair could not be found anywhere in the world.
Then one day the king's glance fell on his daughter, and he saw that she looked just like her mother, and that she had the same golden hair. He thought to himself, "You will never find anyone in the world this beautiful. You will have to marry your daughter." And in that instant he felt such a strong love for her, that he immediately announced his decision to his councilors. They tried to dissuade him, but to no avail.
The princess was horrified at his godless intentions, but because she was clever, she told the king that he should first get her three dresses: one as golden as the sun, one as white as the moon, one that glistened like the stars. Further, he was to get her a coat made from a thousand kinds of fur. Every animal in the kingdom would have to give up a piece of its skin for it.
The king was so fervent in his desires, that he had his huntsmen capture animals from across the entire kingdom. They were skinned, and a coat was made from their pelts. Thus, it did not take long before he brought the princess everything that she had asked for.
The princess said that she would marry him the next day. That night she sought out the presents that she had received from her fiancé: a golden ring, a little golden spinning wheel, and a little golden yarn reel. She put the three dresses into a nutshell, blackened her hands and face with soot, put on the coat of all kinds of fur, and left. She walked the entire night until she came to a great forest. She would be safe there. Because she was tired, she sat down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
She was still asleep the next day when the king, her fiancé, came to this forest to hunt. His dogs ran up to the tree and sniffed at it. The king sent his huntsmen to see what kind of animal was in the tree. They came back and said that it was a strange animal, the likes of which they had never seen before. It had every kind of fur on its skin, and it was lying there asleep. The king ordered them to capture it and to tie it onto the back of his carriage. As the huntsmen were doing this, they saw that it was a girl. They tied her onto the back of the carriage and rode home with her.
"All-Kinds-of-Fur," they said, "you are good for the kitchen. You can carry water and wood, and clean out the ashes." Then they gave her a little stall beneath the steps, where the light of day never shone, and said, "This is where you can live and sleep."
So she had to help the cook in the kitchen. She plucked chickens, tended the fire, gathered vegetables, and did all the dirty work. Because she did very well at all this, the cook was good to her, and in the evening he often invited her in and gave her something to eat from the leftovers. Before the king went to bed, she had to go upstairs and pull off his boots. When she had pulled them off, he always threw them at her head. Poor All-Kinds-of-Fur lived like this for a long time. Oh, you beautiful maiden, what will become of you?
Once there was a ball at the castle, and All-Kinds-of-Fur thought that she might see her fiancé once again, so she went to the cook and asked him if he would allow her to go upstairs a little and look in at the splendor from the doorway. "Go ahead," said the cook, "but do not stay longer than a half hour. You still have to clean out the ashes tonight."
Then All-Kinds-of-Fur took her little oil lamp and went to her stall where she washed off the soot. Her beauty came forth just like blossoms in the springtime. She took off the fur coat, opened up the nut and took out the dress that glistened like the sun. She put it on and went upstairs. Everyone made room for her, and thought that a noble princess had entered the hall. The king immediately invited her to dance, and as he danced with her, he thought how closely this unknown princess resembled his own fiancée. The longer he looked at her, the stronger the resemblance. He was almost certain that this was his fiancée, and at the end of the dance, he was going to ask her. However, when they finished dancing, she bowed, and before the king knew what was happening, she disappeared.
He asked the watchmen, but none of them had seen the princess leave the castle. She had run quickly to her stall, taken off the dress, blackened her hands and face, and put on the fur coat once again. Then she went to the kitchen to clean out the ashes, but the cook said, "Leave them until morning. I want to go upstairs and have a look at the dance. You make some soup for the king, but don't let any hairs fall into it, or there will be nothing more to eat for you."
All-Kinds-of-Fur made some bread soup for the king, then she put the golden ring in it that he had given her. When the ball was over, the king had his bread soup brought to him. It tasted better than any he had ever eaten. When he was finished, he found the ring on the bottom of the bowl. Looking at it carefully, he saw that it was his engagement ring. Astonished, he could not understand how it had gotten there. He summoned the cook, who then became very angry with All-Kinds-of-Fur. "You must have let a hair fall into the soup," he said. "If you did, there will be blows for you."
However, when the cook went upstairs, the king asked him who had made the soup, because it had been better than usual. The king had to confess that it had been All-Kinds-of-Fur. Then the king had her sent up to him. "Who are you?" he asked upon her arrival. "What are you doing in my castle, and where did you get the ring that was lying in the soup?"
She answered, "I am only a poor child whose father and mother are dead. I have nothing, and I am good for nothing more than having boots thrown at my head. And I know nothing about the ring." With that she ran away.
Soon there was another ball. All-Kinds-of-Fur again asked the cook to allow her to go upstairs. The cook gave his permission, but only for a half hour, because by then she would have to be back in the kitchen to make the king's bread soup. All-Kinds-of-Fur went to her stall, washed herself clean, and took out the moon-dress. It was purer and brighter than newly fallen snow. When she arrived upstairs the dance had just begun. The king extended his hand to her, and danced with her, and no longer doubted that this was his fiancée, for no one else in the world had such golden hair. However, the princess immediately slipped out when the dance ended, and the king, in spite of his great effort, could not find her. Further, he had not spoken a single word with her.
She was All-Kinds-of-Fur once again, with blackened hands and face. She took her place in the kitchen and made bread soup for the king, while the cook went upstairs to have a look. When the soup was ready, she put the golden spinning wheel in it. The king ate the soup, and thought that it was even better this time. When he found the golden spinning wheel, he was even more astonished, because it had been a present from him to his fiancée some time ago. The cook was summoned again, and then All-Kinds-of-Fur, but once again she answered by saying that she knew nothing about it, and that she was there only to have boots thrown at her head.
For the third time, the king held a ball. He hoped that his fiancée would come again, and he would not let her escape this time. All-Kinds-of-Fur again asked the cook to allow her to go upstairs, but he scolded her, saying, "You are a witch. You are always putting things in the soup. And you can cook better than I can." But because she begged so, and promised to behave herself, he gave her permission to go upstairs for a half hour.
She put on the dress of stars. It glistened like stars in the night. She went upstairs and danced with the king, and he thought that he had never seen her more beautiful. While dancing, he slipped a ring onto her finger. He had ordered that it should be a very long dance. He could not bring himself to speak to her, nor could he keep her from escaping. As soon as the dance ended, she jumped into the crowd and disappeared before he could turn around.
She ran to her stall. Because she had been gone more than a half hour, she quickly took off her dress, and in her rush she failed to blacken herself entirely. One finger remained white. When she returned to the kitchen, the cook had already left. She quickly made some bread soup and put the golden yarn reel into it.
The king found it, just as he had found the ring and the golden spinning wheel, and now he knew for sure that his fiancée was nearby, for no one else could have had these presents. All-Kinds-of-Fur was summoned. Once again she tried to make an excuse and then run away, but as she ran by, the king noticed a white finger on her hand, and he held her fast. He found the ring that he had slipped onto her finger, and then he ripped off her fur coat. Her golden hair flowed out, and he saw that it was his dearly beloved fiancée. The cook received a generous reward. Then they got married and lived happily until they died.
Now, the King had a daughter, who was just as beautiful as her dead mother, and had just such golden hair. One day when she had grown up, her father looked at her, and saw that she was exactly like her mother, so he said to his councilors, "I will marry my daughter to one of you, and she shall be queen, for she is exactly like her dead mother, and when I die her husband shall be king." But when the Princess heard of her father's decision, she was not at all pleased, and said to him, "Before I do your bidding, I must have three dresses; one as golden as the sun, one as silver as the moon, and one as shining as the stars. Besides these, I want a cloak made of a thousand different kinds of skin; every animal in your kingdom must give a bit of his skin to it." But she thought to herself, "This will be quite impossible, and I shall not have to marry someone I do not care for." -- Andrew Lang, The Green Fairy Book (London: Longmans, Green and Company.1892), p. 276.
After his grief had subsided somewhat, he revealed to his own daughter, who was almost more beautiful than her mother, his sinful desire to marry her. She appropriately resisted him, finally convincing him to first to travel to the courts of all the kings and counts in Europe in search of a spouse more beautiful than she. He traveled far and wide, but finally returned with the news that a more beautiful woman could not be found anywhere. But still she resisted his pleas and his advances.
Finally he set the condition that he would desist from his demands if she could create a blanket upon which all of the earths animals could be seen. She went into a small chapel in the upper city and fervently prayed to God, but she found no comfort in her prayers, so finally in despair she called upon the devil to come and help her. He appeared immediately, saying that he would bring the blanket to her, if she could remain awake in the chapel for three days and three nights.
She brought her little dog into the chapel with her and spent the time ceaselessly praying. However, during the third night, just as morning was breaking, sleep almost overcame her. At that moment the devil approached, and her little dog, seeing him, pulled at her skirt so vigorously that she jumped up.
The devil angrily dropped the blanket, furiously threw the little dog against church wall, and disappeared. She took the blanket to her father, who then was overcome by such powerful pain that he lost all will to live. He bewitched himself into the Sudemer Mountain near Goslar, whose watchtower is visible throughout the region. There he sits until the present day, and will return only when Goslar finds itself in great need, or when the Day of Judgment arrives.
Others say that the emperor is sitting in Rammel Mountain, and that before his death he had three stones mortared into the Goslars city wall, saying that he would return when these stones fall out. But no one knows which stones they are.
Now in another land there lived a prince who had heard of the girl's beauty. Taking the magic wand in her hand and the dresses over her shoulder, she wished herself to the vicinity of the prince's castle. She immediately found herself in the castle garden. Then she wished for herself a chest in an oak tree in the garden, put her dresses in it, put on the crow-skin coat and went to the castle kitchen where she presented herself as a poor boy looking for work.
"I can use you," said the cook. "You can be the cinder blower."
A few days later the prince came to the kitchen with some freshly killed game. She saw him and liked him beyond measure.
Soon afterward there was a wedding in a nearby castle, and the prince went to it. Many people went there to look on at the dance. Cinder Blower asked the cook for permission to observe. She ran to the oak tree, put on the silver dress, and wished herself a carriage in which she rode to the castle. The prince saw her and danced with her, but after a few dances she disappeared. Seating herself in her carriage she said,
Darkness behind me, Before me light,The next morning the prince was in a bad mood, for he had been awake all night thinking about his beautiful dance partner. Cinder Blower was asked to polish his boots, and this she did, but she failed to polish one small spot on one of the toes. The prince noticed this and angrily came into the kitchen and threw the boot at her head.
So none can follow me into the night.
The next evening there was another dance, and Cinder Blower again asked for permission to go. This time she put on the golden dress, then rode there in the carriage. The prince had been looking for her and was very happy when she arrived. While dancing with her he asked her where she lived.
"In Boot-Throw" was her answer. She remained there one hour, and then disappeared. In vain the prince asked where Boot-Throw was. No one could tell him.
Again that night the prince could not close his eyes, and the next day he was in an even worse mood than before.
Cinder Blower was asked to brush his coat, but he did not like the way she did it, and finally he threw the brush at her head.
The third evening Cinder Blower again asked for permission to look on at the dance, then put on her dress of precious stones. While dancing with her the prince asked her where she lived.
"In Brush-Throw," was her answer.
"Whoever you are," he said, "take this ring from me."
She let him put the ring onto her finger. Then she tried to sneak away, but the prince carefully watched her and followed close behind her. She climbed out of her carriage near the oak tree. However, she did not have time to take off her dress, but quickly put on the crow-skin coat over it.
The next morning when the cook was preparing the soup, Cinder Blower dropped the ring into it. The prince found it and asked the cook who had been in the kitchen.
"Only Cinder Blower and I," he answered.
The prince summoned Cinder Blower and said, "My head itches. Look and see if any vermin are there."
Cinder Blower obeyed, but when she stood before him, he saw the diamond dress glistening forth from beneath the worn-out crow-skin coat. Then he recognized her. "Now you are mine," he said, and he made her his wife and they lived happily together until they died.
The count's and his daughter's sorrow and grief were endless. After the mother's burial, the father and his child locked themselves in their rooms and were seldom seen.
After a month had passed, the count had his daughter brought to his room and said to her, "Dear child, you know how much I loved your mother. I cannot live without a wife. Therefore I am going out into the world to seek a wife who -- like your blessed mother -- has a golden cross on her forehead. If I do not find such a woman within a year and a day, then I will marry you."
When Adelheid heard these words she was very upset, and she silently withdrew. The next morning Count Rudolf departed, promising to return within a year and a day.
When Adelheid was alone she considered whether or not it would be possible for her father to find a woman with such a cross. Then she remembered that her mother had once told her that except for her and Adelheid, no one on the entire earth had such a cross.
She decided to go away. She would rather earn her bread with the work of her own hands than to eat the finest tidbits at her father's table as his wife. She entrusted one of her loyal servants with her plan, and they made preparations to depart.
She secretly loaded her valuables, her jewelry, her gold, and her clothes into several large carriages. During the night she drove off with them, accompanied by her servant Gotthold and several others who were loyal to her. They came to a large city where she rented a house and moved into it with her servants.
Adelheid had often stated that she wanted to earn her bread with the work of her own hands. Therefore Gotthold sought a position for his mistress in the city. He learned that there was an opening for a kitchen maid in the castle of Prince Adolf. Thus he went to the chief cook and asked him if he would be willing to hire his niece, for that is what he called the countess. As he talked further with the chief cook, Gotthold recognized in him a friend whom he had not seen for many years. He told him that his brother had died, leaving a daughter in his care. The chief cook agreed to hire her.
The loyal servant happily returned to the countess and remained in the rented house.
Adelheid now dyed her face, neck, and hands brown; covered her golden cross and her hair with a large head-scarf; took off her magnificent robes, putting on instead old, dirty, torn clothing; and presented herself to the chief cook.
She was given a small room where she could sleep and keep her things. Slowly she grew accustomed to her job, even though she was exhausted by the hard work.
Until now she had not yet seen the prince. One day he invited all his friends and acquaintances to a great ball. On the morning of the ball, Adelheid was sweeping the staircase, when the prince, without being seen by her, walked up and tipped over the dust pail, thus dirtying his boots. As she was fleeing he angrily ripped the broom from her hands and threw it at her.
That evening as the hall was filling with people, the young countess went to the chief cook and asked him for permission to go to the ball.
He replied, "No, I cannot allow you to do that. What if the prince were to find out!"
Adelheid continued to beg, until he finally said, "Just go. But don't stay too late, and if you get anything, bring some back for me as well."
Now she went to Gotthold's house, changed her clothes, washed away the color, and ordered up a splendid carriage in which she rode to the prince's.
When the guests saw the splendid carriage approaching in the distance they all hurried outside and said, "A foreign lady! A beautiful lady!"
The prince hurried toward her, lifted her from her carriage, and led her up the stairs. She had to dance with him the entire evening and to sit next to him at the table. After eating, he asked her what her name was and where she came from.
"My name is Adelheid, and I come from Broomthrow," replied the countess.
At twelve o'clock she left, and with her the majority of guests.
Arriving at home she quickly got undressed, colored herself brown, and took three gold pieces which she gave to the chief cook, claiming that she had stood behind a door and had received the gold from an old woman.
The next morning the prince looked for Broomthrow on his maps, but he could not find it. He wanted to ask her about her home city once again, but because he did not know where she lived he invited his friends to a second ball.
On the morning of the second ball Adelheid was brushing her clothing when the prince, without being seen, came up the stairs. She turned around and dropped the brush, which fell onto the prince's feet. Angrily Adolf picked up the brush and threw it at the embarrassed countess's head.
That evening the chief cook once again allowed her to go the ball, and she took advantage of his permission. At the ball Adolf told her that he had not been able to find Broomthrow.
"How could you be looking for Broomthrow?" she replied. "I said Brushthrow."
Once again they danced together, and as midnight approached she went home. She brought the chief cook a gold band, claiming that she had received it as a gift.
The next morning the prince looked for Brushthrow, but could not find it. He then invited his friends and acquaintances to a third ball, which was to be even more magnificent than the first two.
On the eve of the ball, shortly before the festivities were to begin, Adelheid, contrary to custom, was combing her hair in the castle. The prince, displeased because the foreign lady had not arrived yet, walked up the stairs just as the countess dropped her comb. Prince Adolf picked it up and threw it at the kitchen servant's head. She quickly withdrew, changed her clothes, and went to the ball.
At the table the prince said that he had not been able to find Brushthrow anywhere.
"I can believe that," she said. "I called the place Combthrow." He didn't want to believe her, but she argued with him until he finally gave in. Before she left he placed a ring on her finger, without her noticing it.
The next morning the prince was not well, and he asked a chief cook to make soup for him. The latter announced this in the kitchen, and Adelheid asked for permission to make the soup. But he said, "If you put something in the soup that doesn't belong there, then I am the one who will be punished."
She replied, "I will not put anything wrong in it." She made the soup, and without being seen, she threw the prince's ring into the soup.
The prince poured the soup into a dish and heard something jingle. He felt around and fished out the ring. Amazed, he then asked who had made the soup.
"The kitchen maid" was the answer.
Adolph ordered his servant, "Bring her here."
She hurriedly put on the dress that she had worn the previous evening, and when the prince saw her, he recognized his dance partner. She now had to tell him her life story, and soon afterward he married her.
In the meantime her father had come home, and when he discovered that his daughter had already married, he had to accept his fate.
The emperor was astonished at this monstrous requirement, but in order to achieve his goal he depleted his treasury, and what was still needed he forcefully took from his subjects. Thus he collected enough wealth to have a diamond dress made than cost ten thousand times what the golden one had cost.
The princess was startled when he brought it to her, and asked for one day to think things through. The emperor granted her this, and she discussed the situation with her nurse, who advised her to demand a dress that he certainly would not be able to have made: one made entirely of louse pelts, and trimmed with flea pelts.
When the emperor heard the princess's latest wish he became angry, but said nothing. Instead he issued the order to have such a dress made. It took an entire year to collect all the pelts and hides for this dress, and yet another year before they were all sewn together. Then emperor brought the dress to his daughter, and this time the princess -- following the old woman's advice -- let the marriage between herself and her father take place.
That evening, after entering the bridal chamber with him, she asked for permission to step outside for a moment. He refused, for he did not trust her and thought that she wanted to escape from him. She gave him a piece of string, tying one end around her own left hand, and told him that if she did not come back in time, he would only have to pull her in.
So the hateful father finally agreed, and the princess slipped out the door, where her nurse was standing ready with an old bill goat, and they quickly tied the string around its horns. Then the princess put on all her dresses -- first the one of diamonds, over that the one of gold, then the silver one, and over them all the disgusting one that the emperor had just had made. Then she fled.
Meanwhile the emperor waited impatiently, finally pulling gently on the string. Outside the billy goat pulled back. The emperor finally pulled hard, but the billy goat would not be outdone in such a tug-of-war. Finally the emperor, filled with rage, jumped up and went to the door. To his astonishment, instead of his charming daughter he found there a shaggy black billy goat, which rudely attacked him with its horns. The emperor retreated into the bridal chamber, and called for his people, who -- led by the nurse -- came to him. The emperor vented his anger with a storm of curse words. He told of his adventure and ordered that the billy goat be taken away.
The nurse began to shriek, "See here, you tyrannical father, see what you have caused? God has punished you because of your wicked marriage. He has transformed your daughter into this terrible horned monster!"
With these and many other words, the cunning nurse convinced the deceived ruler that the just anger of God had caused this miracle. Filled with shame, he said nothing more about the matter.
Meanwhile the princess fled into a great forest, where -- since the season was right -- she lived from berries and nuts that she found in the bushes.
Now it happened that the prince of the kingdom to which these woods belonged was hunting there. Evening was approaching when the prince, accompanied by just one servant, pursued a wild boar into a deep thicket. To his great astonishment he saw there an unusual forest creature. Not knowing what to make of it, he aimed an arrow at it. When he saw that it was not moving, he climbed the tree and captured the unknown animal alive.
With great clamor the forest creature was led through the city to the palace. There, because of its disgusting fur, it was turned over to the swineherd, who locked it in his worst pig stall, above which was a chicken coop. Thus the unknown forest creature's fur became even filthier. From the scraps that they brought it to eat, it would take only berries and nuts from the forest.
Soon afterward there was a glorious festival in the city. The son of a well-known gentleman was getting married. All the beautiful and important people were gathered there: maidens, ladies, and gentlemen, whatever their names.
When evening came the princess, pulled off her disgusting garb, revealing the silver dress beneath it, left the pig stall, and went to the wedding. The prince, who was also there, saw her and danced with her; and because he found her so extraordinarily beautiful he gave her a valuable ring, after having spoken with her, and in the end having danced only with her.
Morning approached, and the unknown beauty disappeared from the hall without anyone observing where she went. The princess had put her stall garb back on and was peacefully asleep in the pig stall.
On the second evening she again appeared at the wedding, this time in her golden dress. The prince, who had been looking for her, was very happy to see her, and did not leave her side, for he wanted to know who this exceptionally wealthy gleaming beauty was. However, although he watched her carefully, trying to prevent her from escaping again, she took advantage of an opportune moment and slipped away. Before anyone noticed her absence she was again hidden beneath her filthy garb in the pig stall.
On the third evening the mysterious maiden once again appeared at the wedding. Her glorious diamond dress astonished everyone. The prince thought that a maiden wearing such an incalculably costly dress must be of high nobility, but he was a thousand times more impressed by her personal beauty. He happily conversed with her alone, but to his dismay she would not tell him who she was or where she came from.
As morning approached she again slipped away from the hall so cunningly that neither the prince nor anyone else noticed her leave.
The wedding was now over, and the prince had no hope of seeing his mysterious beloved again. This made him seriously ill. The princess sat in her pig stall, but not as calmly as earlier, for she too had fallen in love. A few days passed, and the prince, almost dying of longing, did not leave his bed. Then one of his friends came to visit him, and he ordered breakfast for the prince.
The strange forest creature appeared to be quiet and well-behaved, so they let it run about freely. On this morning it had gone to the kitchen to warm itself by the fire, for it was cold in the stall. Reluctantly the kitchen maid had allowed this, and the forest creature was cowering next to the stove. When milk was placed on the fire, the forest creature asked who it was for. Learning that it was for the prince, she secretly pulled from her finger the ring that the prince had given her at the wedding, and dropped it into the pot. After warming herself, she crept back to the pig stall, put on her diamond dress, and was once again the most beautiful princess.
Meanwhile the prince was eating breakfast with his friend, and he was shocked almost to death to discover at the bottom of the milk pot the ring that he had given to his beloved mysterious stranger. He immediately summoned the kitchen maid who had prepared his breakfast, but she swore that she did not know how the ring came to be in the pot. The prince investigated further: Who else had been in the kitchen. Finally the girl admitted, after resisting for a long time, that the ugly forest creature had been there warming itself by the fire.
The prince and his friend immediately went to the stall where the disgusting forest creature was kept. He opened the door and looked inside, then took three steps back in joyful surprise. There sat his beautiful and beloved mysterious stranger, dressed in her glorious gown.
She stepped out and said, "I am the one, my prince!"
Answering his questions as to how she had come to this horrible place, she told him her story, which astonished everyone. Then the prince tenderly took his beloved princess into his arms. Soon thereafter, to the pleasure of the entire court, a magnificent wedding brought this story to a happing end.
There was once a husband and wife who had but one child, a daughter. Now it happened that the wife fell ill and was at the point of death. Before dying she called her husband, and said to him, weeping, "I am dying; you are still young; if you ever wish to marry again, be mindful to choose a wife whom my wedding ring fits; and if you cannot find a lady whom it fits well, do not marry."
Her husband promised that he would do so. When she was dead he took off her wedding ring and kept it until he desired to marry again. Then he sought for some one to please him. He went from one to another, but the ring fitted no one. He tried so many but in vain. One day he thought of calling his daughter, and trying the ring on her to see whether it fitted her. The daughter said, "It is useless, dear father; you cannot marry me, because you are my father."
He did not heed her, put the ring on her finger, and saw that it fitted her well, and wanted to marry his daughter nolens volens. She did not oppose him, but consented. The day of the wedding, he asked her what she wanted. She said that she wished four silk dresses, the most beautiful that could be seen. He, who was a gentleman, gratified her wish and took her the four dresses, one handsomer than the other, and all the handsomest that had ever been seen.
"Now, what else do you want?" said he.
"I want another dress, made of wood, so that I can conceal myself in it." And at once he had this wooden dress made. She was well pleased. She waited until one day her husband was out of sight, put on the wooden dress, and under it the four silk dresses, and went away to a certain river not far off, and threw herself in it. Instead of sinking and drowning, she floated, for the wooden dress kept her up.
The water carried her a long way, when she saw on the bank a gentleman, and began to cry, "Who wants the fair Maria Wood?"
That gentleman who saw her on the water, and whom she addressed, called her and she came to the bank and saluted him.
"How is it that you are thus dressed in wood, and come floating on the water without drowning?"
She told him that she was a poor girl who had only that dress of wood, and that she wanted to go out to service.
"What can you do?"
"I can do all that is needed in a house, and if you would only take me for a servant you would be satisfied."
He took her to his house, where his mother was, and told her all that had happened, saying, "If you, dear mother, will take her as a servant, we can try her." In short, she took her and was pleased with this woman dressed in wood.
It happened that there were balls at that place which the best ladies and gentlemen attended. The gentleman who had the servant dressed in wood prepared to go to the ball, and after he had departed, the servant said to his mother, "Do me this kindness, mistress: let me go to the ball too, for I have never seen any dancing."
"What, you wish to go to the ball so badly dressed that they would drive you away as soon as they saw you!" The servant was silent and when the mistress was in bed, dressed herself in one of her silk dresses and became the most beautiful woman that was ever seen. She went to the ball, and it seemed as if the sun had entered the room; all were dazzled. She sat down near her master, who asked her to dance, and would dance with no one but her. She pleased him so much that he fell in love with her. He asked her who she was and where she came from. She replied that she came from a distance, but told him nothing more.
At a certain hour, without anyone perceiving it, she went out and disappeared. She returned home and put on her wooden dress again. In the morning the master returned from the ball, and said to his mother, "Oh! if you had only seen what a beautiful lady there was at the ball! She appeared like the sun, she was so beautiful and well dressed. She sat down near me, and would not dance with anyone but me."
His mother then said, "Did you not ask her who she was and where she came from?"
"She would only tell me that she came from a distance; but I thought I should die; I wish to go again this evening." The servant heard all this dialogue, but kept silent, pretending that the matter did not concern her.
In the evening he prepared himself again for the ball, and the servant said to him, "Master, yesterday evening I asked your mamma to let me, too, go to the ball, for I have never seen dancing, but she would not; will you have the kindness to let me go this evening?"
"Be still, you ugly creature, the ball is no place for you!"
"Do me this favor," she said, weeping, "I will stand out of doors, or under a bench, or in a corner so no one shall see me; but let me go!"
He grew angry then, and took a stick and began to beat the poor servant. She wept and remained silent.
After he had gone, she waited until his mother was in bed, and put on a dress finer than the first, and so rich as to astonish, and away to the ball! When she arrived all began to gaze at her, for they had never seen anything more beautiful. All the handsomest young men surrounded her and asked her to dance; but she would have nothing to do with anyone but her master. He again asked her who she was, and she said she would tell him later.
They danced and danced, and all at once she disappeared. Her master ran here and there, asked one and another, but no one could tell him where she had gone. He returned home and told his mother all that had passed. She said to him, "Do you know what you must do? Take this diamond ring, and when she dances with you give it to her; and if she takes it, it is a sign that she loves you." She gave him the ring. The servant listened, saw everything, and was silent.
In the evening the master prepared for the ball and the servant again asked him to take her, and again he beat her. He went to the ball, and after midnight, as before, the beautiful lady returned more beautiful than before, and as usual would dance only with her master. At the right moment he took out the diamond ring, and asked her if she would accept it. She took it and thanked him, and he was happy and satisfied. Afterward he asked her again who she was and where from. She said that she was of that country,
That when they speak of going to a ball
They are beaten on the head
and said no more. At the usual hour she stopped dancing and departed. He ran after her, but she went like the wind, and reached home without his finding out where she went. But he ran so in all directions, and was in such suffering, that when he reached home he was obliged to go to bed more dead than alive. Then he fell ill and grew worse every day, so that all said he would die. He did nothing but ask his mother and everyone if they knew anything of that lady, and that he would die if he did not see her. The servant heard everything; and one day, when he was very ill, what did she think of? She waited until her mistress's eye was turned, and dropped the diamond ring in the broth her master was to eat. No one saw her, and his mother took him the broth. He began to eat it, when he felt something hard, saw something shine, and took it out. You can imagine how he looked at it and recognized the diamond ring! They thought he would go mad. He asked his mother if that was the ring and she swore that it was, and all happy, she said that now he would see her again.
Meanwhile the servant went to her room, took off her wooden dress, and put on one all of silk, so that she appeared a beauty, and went to the room of the sick man. His mother saw her and began to cry, "Here she is; here she is!" She went in and saluted him, smiling, and he was so beside himself that he became well at once. He asked her to tell him her story: who she was, where she came from, how she came, and how she knew that he was ill.
She replied, "I am the woman dressed in wood who was your servant. It is not true that I was a poor girl, but I had that dress to conceal myself in, for underneath it I was the same that I am now. I am a lady; and although you treated me so badly when I asked to go to the ball, I saw that you loved me, and now I have come to save you from death." You can believe that they stayed to hear her story. They were married and have always been happy and still are.
But this she said because the shoe was under a spell, and would fit no one whom he could marry. The king, however, caused the shoe to be tried on all manner of women; and when the answer always was that it would fit none of them, he grew quite bewildered and strange in his mind.
After some years had passed, his young daughter, having grown up to girl's estate, came to him one day, saying, "Oh, papa; only think! Mamma's shoe just fits me!"
"Does it!" replied the simple king; "then I must marry you."
"Oh, that cannot be, papa," said the girl, and ran away.
But the simple king was so possessed with the idea that he must marry the woman whom his wife's shoe fitted, that he sent for her every day and said the same thing. But the queen had not said that he should marry the woman whom her shoe fitted, but that he should not marry any whom it did not fit.
When the princess found that he persevered in his silly caprice, she said at last, "Papa, if I am to do what you say, you must do some thing for me first."
"Agreed, my child," replied the king; "you have only to speak."
"Then, before I marry," said the girl, "I want a lot of things, but I will begin with one at a time. First, I want a dress of the color of a beautiful noontide sky, but all covered with stars like the sky at midnight, and furnished with a parure to suit it."
Such a dress the king had made and brought to her.
"Next," said the princess, "I want a dress of the color of the sea, all covered with golden fishes, with a fitting parure."
Such a dress the king had made, and brought to her.
"Next," said the princess, "I want a dress of a dark blue, all covered with gold embroidery and spangled with silver bells, and with a parure to match."
Such a dress the king had made and brought to her.
"These are all very good," said the princess; "but now you must send for the most cunning artificer in your whole kingdom, and let him make me a figure of an old woman just like life, fitted with all sorts of springs to make it move and walk when one gets inside it, just like a real woman."
Such a figure the king had made, and brought it to the princess.
"That is just the sort of figure I wanted," said she;" and now I don't want anything more." And the simple king went away quite happy.
As soon as she was alone, however, the princess packed all the three dresses and many of her other dresses, and all her jewelry and a large sum of money, inside the figure of the old woman, and then she got into it and walked away. No one seeing an old woman walking out of the palace thought she had anything to do with the princess, and thus she got far away without anyone thinking of stopping her. On, on, on, she wandered till she came to the palace of a great king, and just at the time that the king's son was coming in from hunting.
"Have you a place in all this fine palace to take in a poor old body?" whined the princess inside the figure of the old woman.
"No, no! get out of the way! How dare you come in the way of the prince!" said the servants, and drove her away.
But the prince took compassion on her, and called her to him. "What's your name, good woman?" said the prince.
"Maria Wood is my name, your Highness," replied the princess.
"And what can you do, since you ask for a place?"
"Oh, I can do many things. First, I understand all about poultry, and then --"
"That'll do," replied the prince; "take her, and let her be the hen-wife, and let her have food and lodging, and all she wants."
So they gave her a little hut on the borders of the forest, and set her to tend the poultry. But the prince as he went out hunting often passed by her hut, and when she saw him pass she never failed to come out and salute him, and now and then he would stop his horse and spend a few moments in gossip with her.
Before long it was Carnival time; and as the prince came by Maria Wood came out and wished him a "good Carnival."
The prince stopped his horse and said, his young head full of the pleasure he expected, "Tomorrow, you know, we have the first day of the feast."
"To be sure I know it; and how I should like to be there; won't you take me?" answered Maria Wood.
"You shameless old woman," replied the prince, "to think of your wanting to go to a festino at your time of life!" and he gave her a cut with his whip.
The next day Maria put on her dress of the color of the noontide sky, covered with stars like the sky at midnight, with the parure made to wear with it, and came to the feast. Every lady made place before her dazzling appearance, and the prince alone dared to ask her to dance. With her he danced all the evening, and fairly fell in love with her, nor could he leave her side; and as they sat together, he took the ring off his own finger and put it on to her hand.
She appeared equally satisfied with his attentions, and seemed to desire no other partner. Only when he tried to gather from her whence she was, she would only say she came from the country of Whipblow, which set the prince wondering very much, as he had never heard of such a country. At the end of the ball, the prince sent his attendants to watch her that he might learn where she lived, but she disappeared so swiftly it was impossible for them to tell what had become of her.
When the prince came by Maria Wood's hut next day, she did not fail to wish him again a "good Carnival."
"Tomorrow we have the second festino, you know," said the prince.
"Well I know it," replied Maria Wood; "shouldn't I like to go! Won't you take me?"
"You contemptible old woman to talk in that way!" exclaimed the prince. "You ought to know better!" and he struck her with his boot.
Next night Maria put on her dress of the color of the sea, covered all over with gold fishes, and the parure made to wear with it, and went to the feast. The prince recognized her at once, and claimed her for his partner all the evening, nor did she seem to wish for any other, only when he tried to learn from her whence she was, she would only say she came from the country of Bootkick.
The prince could not remember ever to have heard of the Bootkick country, and thought she meant to laugh at him; however, he ordered his attendants to make more haste this night in following her; but what diligence so ever they used she was too swift for them.
The next time the prince came by Maria Wood's hut, she did not fail to wish him again a "good Carnival."
"Tomorrow we have the last festino!" exclaimed he, with a touch of sadness, for he remembered it was the last of the happy evenings that he could feel sure of seeing his fair unknown.
"Ah! you must take me. But, what'll you say if I come to it in spite of you?" answered Maria Wood.
"You incorrigible old woman!" exclaimed the prince; "you provoke me so with your nonsense, I really cannot keep my hand off you;" and he gave her a slap.
The next night Maria Wood put on her dress of a dark blue, all covered with gold embroidery and spangled with silver bells, and the parure made to wear with it. The prince constituted her his partner for the evening as before, nor did she seem to wish for any other, only when he wanted to learn from her whence she was, all she would say was that she came from Slapland.
This night the prince told his servants to make more haste in following her, or he would discharge them all. But they answered, "It is useless to attempt the thing, as no mortal can equal her in swiftness."
After this, the prince fell ill of his disappointment, because he saw no hope of hearing any more of the fair domino with whom he had spent three happy evenings, nor could any doctor find any remedy for his sickness.
Then Maria Wood sent him word, saying, "Though the prince's physicians cannot help him, yet let him but take a cup of broth of my making, and he will immediately be healed."
"Nonsense! how can a cup of broth, or how can any medicament, help me!" exclaimed the prince. "There is no cure for my ailment."
Again Maria Wood sent the same message; but the prince said angrily, "Tell the silly old thing to hold her tongue; she doesn't know what she's talking about."
But again, the third time, Maria Wood sent to him, saying, "Let the prince but take a cup of broth of my making, and he will immediately be healed."
By this time the prince was so weary that he did not take the trouble to refuse. The servants finding him so depressed began to fear that he was sinking, and they called to Maria Wood to make her broth, because, though they had little faith in her promise, they knew not what else to try. So Maria Wood made ready the cup of broth she had promised, and they put it down beside the prince.
Presently the whole palace was roused; the prince had started up in bed, and was shouting, "Bring hither Maria Wood! Quick! Bring hither Maria Wood!"
So they ran and fetched Maria Wood, wondering what could have happened to bring about so great a change in the prince. But the truth was, that Maria had put into the cup of broth the ring the prince had put on her finger the first night of the feast, and when he began to take the broth he found the ring with the spoon. When he saw the ring, he knew at once that Maria Wood could tell where to find his fair partner.
"Wait a bit! There's plenty of time!" said Maria, when the servant came to fetch her in all haste; and she waited to put on her dress of the color of the noontide sky.
The prince was beside himself for joy when he saw her, and would have the betrothal celebrated that very day.
"How can you take me for a wife," said the girl, "for I am your daughter."
"That is all the same to me. I want to marry you."
"That is entirely impossible!" said the girl. "Just go to the bishop and listen to what he says. If he says that you are right, then take me in God's name."
So the king went to the bishop and asked, "If someone has a lamb that he himself has cared for and raised, is it better that he should eat it, or that another person should eat it?"
"No," answered the bishop, "it is better for the person to eat it who raised it."
Then the king went back to his daughter and said, "He told me that I may take you."
"If he really told you that you make take me, then take me in God's name. But first make me two dresses of pure gold, and fill the pockets with ducats. Also make a bed for me, and a shaft that goes ten fathoms deep into the earth."
When the king had done all this, the girl took the dresses, climbed into the bed, then rode in into the shaft, saying, "Earth, open further." And the earth opened further, and she rode one until she came out at another place, and there she remained.
A prince was hunting there, and he found the girl, wrapped in an animal skin. He approached her and asked, "Are you a human?"
She answered, "Yes, I am a human. May I go with you?"
He replied, "For all I care you may come with me." He took her with him and let her herd the geese.
One day the king gave a feast, and the women began to dance. Then the girl slipped out of her animal skin and went to the ball in her golden dress, and danced. The prince saw her and said to himself," Who can that be? When she leaves the ball, I will follow her."
When the ball was over the girl left, and the prince crept after her. She noticed him, and she began to run, and he ran after her. Then the girl took a handful of ducats and threw them to the ground. While the prince was gathering up the gold she slipped away and hid herself in her animal skin.
Then the prince said, "Tomorrow I will give another feast, in order to see who she is."
The next day at the ball the girl came again and danced, and when she left the ball the prince ran after her. While running away she lost a shoe, and while the prince was picking it up she escaped half barefoot, then hid herself again in her animal skin.
The prince took the shoe and tried it onto all the girls in order to see whom it fitted, but he could not find the right one.
When the servant girls were taking wash water to the king before he ate, the girl split her animal skin a little at her knee so that her gold dress was visible. Then she went to the servant girls and said that she would like to take the water to the king.
But they said, "What? You, a goose girl want to take water to the king?"
"What is the matter?" asked the king.
"The goose girl want to bring your water."
"Then let her do so. Just let her come."
When she knelt down the golden dress shone through the slit. The prince saw this and cried out, "So you are the one who tormented me so!" And with that he took her as his wife.
She then ran to the king her father, and said, "Sire, do you know that a ring which I found on the table fits me as though it had been made expressly for me! . . ."
The king, on hearing this, replied, "Oh! my daughter, you will have to marry me, because your mother, before she died, expressed a wish that I should marry whoever this ring would fit."
The princess, greatly distressed, shut herself up in a room which had the window looking into the garden, and gave vent to her grief. Soon, however, a little old woman appeared to her, and asked her, "Why do you weep, royal lady?"
To which the princess replied, "Well, what else can I do? My father says that I must marry him."
The little old woman then said to her, " Listen to me, royal lady, go and tell your father that you will only marry him on condition that he buys you a dress of the color of the stars in the heavens."
And after saying this she departed. The princess then went up to the king, who asked her, "Well, my daughter, are we to be married?"
To which she replied, "Well, father, I shall marry you when you bring me a dress of the color of the stars in the heavens."
The father, on hearing this, went out and bought her the dress, and gave it to her readymade. The princess again went to her room to cry.
The little old woman again appeared to her, and asked her, "What ails you, royal lady?"
She replied, "What can ail me! My father has bought me the dress I asked him for, and he wishes to marry me."
The old lady rejoined, "Never mind, you must now ask him to bring you a dress of the color of the flowers that grow in the fields."
The princess again went to her father and told him that she could only marry him on condition of his bringing her a robe of the color of wild flowers. The king bought the dress and gave it to her made up, and quite ready to be put on. The princess, again in trouble, retired to her chamber to weep.
The old lady again appeared and demanded, "What ails you, royal lady? "
To which the princess replied, "What can ail me, indeed! My father has bought me the second robe, and is determined to marry me."
The good old lady rejoined, "Ask your father now for a robe of various colors."
The princess did so, and asked for a robe of various colors, and the king bought her the dress and brought it to her ready to be put on. The princess returned to her chamber to weep over her new trouble, but the little old woman came to her and asked her what troubled her. The princess replied that the king had bought her the third robe she required of him, and was now determined that the marriage should take place. "And now what shall I do to prevent it? " inquired the princess.
The little old woman replied, "Royal lady, you must now send for a carpenter and order him to make you a dress of wood; get inside it and go to the palace of the king who lives yonder, who requires a servant to tend the ducks."
The princess did as she was told, had a dress made of wood, put all her jewels, and everything else she would require, inside, and getting inside it herself; and one fine day she ran away. She walked on and on until she arrived at the said palace. She knocked at the door, and told the servants to ask his majesty the king if he required a maid to mind the ducks.
He replied that he did ; and he asked her what her name was, and she rejoined that her name was Maria do Pau; and after this the king sent her to tend the ducks, which were in a field next to the palace gardens. The moment the princess reached it she took off everything she had on, and the wooden dress also; she washed herself, as she was travel-stained, and then put on the richest robe she had, which was the one the color of the stars.
The king was taking a walk in the garden, and noticed a lovely maiden who was in the field driving the ducks, and heard her repeat
Ducks here, ducks there,
The daughter of a king tends the ducks,
A thing never seen before!
When she had finished saying this she killed one of the ducks; then took off her robes, and again got into her wooden dress. At night she went indoors, saying, "Oh! king, I have killed one of the ducks."
The king asked her, "Maria do Pau, who was that beautiful maiden so splendidly robed that minded the ducks?"
To this she said, "Indeed there was no one else there but myself in disguise."
Next day the king again sent Maria do Pau to tend the ducks. And when she was in the field she did the same thing as the day before. She took off her wooden dress, washed and combed herself carefully, put on the robe the color of wild flowers, and went about driving the ducks, saying as before
Ducks here, ducks there,
The daughter of a king tends the ducks,
A thing never seen before!
After which she killed another duck. Next day she did as the day before, put on the robe of many colors, and killed another duck. In the evening when she went indoors, the king said to her, "I do not wish you to take care of the ducks any longer, for every day we find a duck has been killed! Now you shall remain locked up in the house. We are to have a feast which will last three days, but I promise you that you shall not enjoy it, for I shall not allow you to go to it."
To this she said to the king, "Oh! my liege, do let me go."
But the king replied, "No, indeed, you shall not go."
On the first day of the feast she again begged of the king to allow her to repair to it, and his majesty replied, "God, preserve me! What would be the consequences of taking Maria do Pau to the feast!"
The king put on his gala robes and then sent for her to his chamber, asked her what dress she would like to put on, and the princess replied by asking him to give her a pair of boots, which the king threw at her and took his departure for the feast.
She then repaired to her chamber and removed from inside the dress made of wool a wand she had, which the little old woman, who was a fairy, had given her, and holding it up she said, "Oh! divining rod, by the virtue that God gave you, send me here the best royal carriage, which is the very one that took the king to the feast."
The carriage was instantly in sight, and entering it she made her appearance at the feast, in the robe of the color of the stars. The king, who had his eyes continually fixed upon her, went out to the guards and told them not to allow the maiden to pass. But when she wished to get out she threw them a bag of money, and the guards allowed her to pass, but they asked her to what country she belonged, to which she replied that she came from the land of the boot.
The king went home, and on arriving found the princess was already in the palace. The king, who wished to find out whether the lovely maiden which he had seen at the feast could possibly be Maria do Pau, went to see if she was safe in her chamber, and afterwards sent for her and said to her, "Oh! Maria do Pau, do you happen to know where the land of the boot is situated?"
"Oh! my liege, do not come troubling me with your questions. Is it possible that your majesty does not know where the land of the boot is situated?"
The king replied, "I do not. A maiden was at the feast. I asked her where she came from, and she said that she came from the land of the boot, but I do not know where that is."
Next day the king again attended the feast, but before leaving he said to Maria do Pau, ''You shall not be allowed to go there."
"Do allow me for once," replied she. The king then asked her to give him the towel, and as she presented him with it he threw it at her, and departed for the feast.
The princess repaired to her room, struck the divining rod, and put on the robe, which was the color of the wild flowers. The king who had been charmed with her on the first day of the feast, now admired her all the more, because she appeared more beautiful than ever. He went out to the guards and told them to ask the beautiful maiden when she passed to what country she belonged; and when she went out she informed them that she was from the land of the towel. As soon as the king was told of this he returned to the palace to think over, and try to guess, if possible, where the land of the towel could be situated. And when he arrived at the palace the first thing he did was to ask his maid if she knew where the land of the towel could be found.
To his inquiries she replied, "Well, well! here comes a king who does not know, and cannot tell, where the land of the towel is situated! Neither do I know."
The king now said, "Oh! Maria do Pau, every time that I have been at the feast I have seen such a pretty maiden. If the one I saw yesterday was beautiful, the one of today is perfectly lovely, and much more charming than the first."
Next day as the king was on the point of going out the princess said to his majesty, "Oh! my liege, let me go to the feast, that I may see the maiden that is so beautiful!"
The king replied, "God, preserve me! What would be the result if I were to present you before that maiden?"
After which he asked her to give him his walking stick, and as he was going out he struck her with it. He went to the feast, and when there the princess presented herself before him in the robe of many colors. If on the previous days she appeared most beautiful, on this day of the feast she looked perfectly ravishing, and more interesting than ever. The king fixed his eyes upon her so as not to lose sight of her, as he wished to see her go out, and follow her to where she lived, as it was the last day of the feast. But the king missed seeing her depart after all, and he could find her nowhere. He went to the guards and asked them what she had said, but the guards replied that she had come from the land of the walking stick.
The king returned to the palace and inquired of his maid where the land of the walking stick could be found; but she replied, "Oh! my liege, that I should know where the land of the walking stick is situated. Does not my liege know? Neither do I."
The king again asked her, "Do you really not know? Today I again saw the same girl who is so beautiful; but I begin to think it cannot be the same one every time, because at one time she says that she comes from the land of the boot, next time that she is from the land of the towel, and lastly she says she is from the land of the walking stick.
The princess repaired to her room, washed and combed herself, and dressed herself in the robe she had on on the first day of the feast. The king went to look through the keyhole to find out why she was so long away and remained in her chamber so quiet, and also to see what she was at. He saw a lovely maiden, the same one who had appeared at the feast dressed in the robe the color of the stars in the heavens, sitting down busy with some embroidery.
When the princess left her chamber to repair to the dinner table again disguised the king said to her, "Oh! Maria do Pau, you must embroider a pair of shoes for me."
She replied, "Do I know how to embroider shoes?" and she left the parlor to go back to her chamber. Every day she put on one of the dresses she had worn at the feast, and on the last day she robed herself with the one of many colors.
The king begged her every day to embroider him a pair of shoes, and she always returned the same answer. He had a key made to open the princess's room, and one day when he saw through the keyhole that she was robed in her best, he suddenly opened the door without her perceiving it and entered the chamber. The princess startled, and very much frightened, tried to run away, but the king said to her, "Do not be troubled for you shall marry me! But I wish you first to tell me your history, and why it is that you wear a wooden dress."
The princess recounted all the events of her life, and the king married her.
The king next sent for the little old woman who had given her the wand, to come and live in the palace, but she refused to live there because she was a fairy.
Many years had elapsed since his queen died, and he began to feel lonely without a partner in life, and one who could occupy the vacant seat beside him on the throne, so he resolved to visit a certain court where a princess lived, whom he admired, and to make an offer of marriage to her.
The princess, who was selfish and only cared for her own comfort, asked the king before accepting his offer, what he intended to do with his daughters, as she did not want them about her in the palace.
"If my daughters," replied the king, "are a hindrance to our union, I can soon dispose of them, and send them where you will never see them or hear of them."
On his return to the palace he said to his daughters, "Get ready at once to go with me to the Tower of Moncorvo, where I will show you what you have never seen before in your life."
The daughters, full of confidence in their father, and not suspecting any treachery, readily prepared to accompany him, and after travelling many leagues arrived at the celebrated tower.
When the king had them safe in the castle, he said to his daughters, "Remain here, whilst I pay a short visit to a friend and worthy subject, who lives in this neighbourhood. On my return I will take you back to the palace."
The wicked king, who only made up this excuse to blind his daughters to his real intentions, fastened the great gates of the tower as he went out, so that his daughters could not possibly escape. He supplied them with food every day until his marriage day, but after that he never concerned himself about them any more, but left them to their fate.
Hours passed, and days came and went, and still no succour arrived, and they began to be in a dreadful state, without a morsel of food or water to refresh them.
And so it happened that one day, when they had given up all hopes of being relieved, and were nearly dead from starvation, the eldest of the princesses said to her sisters, "Why should we all starve? The best thing you two can do is to kill me and feed upon me as long as I afford you sustenance." She had hardly said these words when she dropped down dead from want.
A few days after this sad event the surviving princesses were again short of food, and nothing was left them but to die. Then the second sister, remembering what the first one had so generously done, followed her example, and suggested that her younger sister should kill her for food; and when she had finished uttering the last words of her advice she also dropped down and died.
The poor young girl, now left alone in the large dreary castle, felt very disconsolate, and rent the air with her lamentations. But after a while, being of a courageous mind, she thought to herself that weeping was no remedy for her woes, and that she must devise some means of escape from her prison before she became faint again with want.
She now set about examining the various rooms of which the castle was composed, and when she reached the top of the watchtower she looked out and saw a ship sailing on the ocean. Overjoyed at the sight, she at once began to make signals, waving her handkerchief in hopes of attracting the notice of someone in the vessel.
The sailors were not slow to perceive the signal, and calling up their captain, drew his attention to it. The captain, who was a humane and chivalrous man, directed the ship towards the spot, and effected an entrance by scaling the wall of the fortress. On reaching the watchtower, the captain and the sailors that accompanied him were shocked to see a maiden of such rank and beauty treated worse than a common criminal. They took her up tenderly and lowered her into the vessel, and sailing to a port of safety they landed her, together with a chest in which she had packed some of her own and her sisters' dresses.
As she stood on the seashore she glanced around her, and felt the wretchedness of her situation, without a home or friends to whom to apply for shelter. She had not been long immersed in these melancholy thoughts when she perceived an old woman coming towards her, whom she felt sure was a good benevolent person.
She approached her and addressed her thus: "My good woman, do you know of anyone that would give me shelter and a meal for today? I am willing to work for it."
"If you want employment come and draw water from the well, and help me to carry it to the house I work for; there you will get a meal, and in the evening you can take up your quarters in my little cottage."
"Tell me first," replied the princess, "what house it is you work for?"
"Oh! I draw water for our king's palace."
The young maiden consented to help the old woman, but as she could not work in her fine clothes, she had a garment made for her of the skin of a horse, and thus disguised she did not think that anyone would take her for a princess.
Every day she went to the well and helped the old woman to draw water and carry the pitchers to the palace; and from the odd garments she wore everyone in the palace called her "Horse-Skin."
One day as she entered the palace yard, carrying a pitcher of water poised on her head in a light and graceful manner, which showed off her elegant figure, a page, who had often noticed her beauty, and secretly suspected that the girl was not born to do this drudgery, and that there was some mystery about her, accosted her very respectfully, and said: "Do you know that our good king is going to give balls for three nights running, so that he may choose himself a wife from among the dancers? The prettiest girl is to carry off the prize, and the king, as a mark of his choice, is to give her a ring -- and what a ring that will be! I wish you could manage to go."
"What have I to do with balls, a poor girl like me? It is all very well for princesses and fine people. I shall turn in at my old woman's tonight, as usual."
When the princess had done her work she went home, and that evening being the first night of the balls at the palace, she dressed herself in her eldest sister's clothes, and went to the ball. When she entered the ballrooms, which were brilliantly lighted up, all eyes were turned upon her, and before the end of the dance she was pronounced by all present as most beautiful.
The king was not long in discovering her charms, and caused great jealousy among the ladies by asking her again and again to dance with him, and loading her with delicate and polite attentions. But she slipped out of the palace early, before the king had time to notice her absence.
The next day Horse-Skin was again toiling and carrying water to the palace as if nothing had happened. As she entered the palace yard the page again accosted her, and repeated what he had said the day before.
"Have I not told you, man, that all this does not concern me? What is it to me whether the king gives a ball or not? I shall go home to my old lady and spend the evening resting after my hard work."
The princess went to the second ball in her second sister's dress, which set off her beauty even more than the first had done. A number of partners were anxious to dance with her, but they had little chance, for the king mostly danced with her.
He treated the princess with the profoundest respect as he gazed on her loveliness, and dared not ask her who she was. But she with her usual discretion left the ballroom at a moment when the king's attention was engaged by other guests; and next morning, as usual, Horse-Skin was at her duties in the palace.
The page once again came up to her and said in a beseeching tone: "Do, Horse-Skin, go to the last ball, which is to take place in the palace tonight, for the king is to give the ring tonight to the fairest lady and the one he admires most! You should have seen what jealousy there was among the ladies that attended the ball last night; they say it is useless for them to go to the ball again, as the king would not so much as look at them, or speak a word to them. All his interest was centred on a lovely and mysterious maiden who attended the last two dances, and who, I assure you, has nearly turned the king's brain with love; you should see her smile, her coral lips, her star-like eyes -- the very image of yours, I declare! -- and the fascinating manner in which she danced -- there -- I only wish I was a prince to marry her!"
The princess's only reply to all this, was: "Leave me alone; what matters it to me whom the king admires? Tonight I shall be at my old woman's, as usual."
At the last ball the princess wore her own robes, the colour, stuff, and make of which harmonised with her beauty still more than did her sister's garments; and as she mingled among the invited in the state apartments that night, she outshone all the other ladies -- princesses, marchionesses, duchesses, and squires' daughters -- like a brilliant gem of the first water.
The king, fairly captivated, danced with her alone, and towards the end of the evening gave her the ring, as the sign of his having chosen her to be his spouse and queen. And though he had set several of his court courtiers to watch and see which way she took when she left the palace, the princess eluded their vigilance, and departed without being noticed even by the sentinels at the palace gate.
Next day the king was sorely puzzled and grieved when, on making enquiries, he found that no one in the palace could give him the slightest information about the lady to whom he had given the ring, in token of his admiration and choice. He ordered a search through all the country round, to find out, if possible, who the maiden was; but all was of no avail, for the damsel could not be discovered high or low.
At this the king, from grief and disappointment, sickened, and lay in a stupor for days together, until the physicians began to fear he would not live much longer. One day Horse-Skin met his majesty's nurse, and asked her how the king was.
The nurse said the king was so ill that he was not expected to live through the day, all through the violent passion his majesty had conceived for the damsel to whom he had given the ring, and of whom no traces could be found. "And," said she, "unless the cruel girl makes herself known to his majesty soon, we shall lose our beloved king."
The nurse was at the time carrying some broth to give to the king; and Horse-Skin took this opportunity to drop the ring into the basin, without the nurse perceiving her. Great was the king's surprise when he discovered the ring; and the nurse being asked who had put that ring in his broth, replied that she did not know, and that the only person that had come near her, when carrying the basin, was poor Horse-Skin.
The king then sent for Horse-Skin, and bade her tell him who had given her the ring which she had dropped into the basin.
"If your majesty will allow me to leave your presence for a few minutes, I will tell you, on my return, who gave the ring to me."
She had not been absent long when she returned to the king dressed in her own rich garments, and adorned as she had appeared at the last ball in the palace.
She stood before the king, and said, "Does your majesty know me now?"
"Of course I do, you are the same sweet damsel to whom I gave the ring."
"Very well," said the princess, "I am she who dropped it in the broth, and I am your humble servant, Horse-Skin."
"Explain yourself, you are still a mystery to me."
Thereupon the princess related the history of her life, which she did amid tears and sobs, as it brought back to her mind all she had suffered since her cruel father had deserted her and her sisters.
The king from being sad, was now delighted to have found his lost love, and soon recovered from his illness, and was once more full of health. The king then led her to a magnificently furnished chamber where she was to remain until his marriage with her, as he would not let her return to the old woman's cottage.
The happy pair were married amid great rejoicings, and the king and his beautiful bride were heartily welcomed by his subjects, who had mourned his absence from state affairs. They reigned happily for many long years.
She went crying where her muime was; and her foster mother said to her, "What was the matter with her?"
She said, "that her father was insisting that he would marry her."
Her muime told her to say to him, "that she would not marry him till he should get her a gown of the swan's down."
He went, and at the end of a day and a year he came, and the gown with him.
She went again to take the counsel of her muime. "Say to him," said her muime, "that thou wilt not marry him till he gets thee a gown of the moorland canach."
She said this to him. He went, and at the end of a day and year he returned, and a gown of the moorland canach with him.
"Say now to him," said her muime, "that thou wilt not marry him till he brings thee a gown of silk that will stand on the ground with gold and silver."
At the end of a day and year he returned with the gown.
"Say to him now," said her muime, "that thou wilt not marry him till he brings thee a golden shoe, and a silver shoe."
He got her a golden shoe and a silver shoe.
"Say to him now," said her muime, "that thou wilt not marry him unless he brings thee a kist that will lock without and within, and for which it is all the same to be on sea or on land."
When she got the kist, she folded the best of her mother's clothes, and of her own clothes in it. Then she went herself into the kist, and she asked her father to put it out on the sea to try how it would swim. Her father put it out; when it was put out, it was going, and going, till it went out of sight.
It went on shore on the other side; and a herd came where it was, intending to break it, in hopes that there were findings in the chest.
When he was going to break it she called out, "Do not so, but say to thy father to come here, and he will get that which will better him for life."
His father came, and he took her with him to his own house. It was with a king that he was herd, and the king's house was near him.
"If I could get," said she, "leave to go to service to this great house yonder."
"They want none," said the herd, "unless they want one under the hand of the cook."
The herd went to speak for her, and she went as a servant maid under the hand of the cook.
When the rest were going to the sermon; and when they asked her if she was going to it, she said, "that she was not; that she had a little bread to bake, and that she could not go to it."
When they went away, she took herself to the herd's house, and she put on a gown of the down of the swan. She went to the sermon, and she sat opposite the king's son. The king's son took love for her. She went a while before the sermon skailed, she reached the herd's house, she changed her clothes, and she was in before them. When the rest came home, it was talking about the gentlewoman that was at the sermon they were.
The next Sunday they said to her, "Was she going to the sermon?" and she said, "that she was not, that she had a little bread to bake."
When they went away, she reached the herd's house, and she put on a gown of the moorland canach; and she went to the sermon. The king's son was seated where she was the Sunday before, and she sat opposite to him. She came out before them, and she changed, and she was at the house before them; and when the rest came home, it was talking about the great gentlewoman that was at the sermon they were.
The third Sunday, they said to her, "Was she going to the sermon?" and she said, "that she was not, that she had a little bread to bake."
When they went away, she reached the herd's house. She put on the gown that would stand on the ground with gold and silver, and the golden shoe and the silver shoe, and she went to the sermon. The king's son was seated where she was the Sunday before, and she sat where he was. A watch was set on the doors this Sunday. She arose, she saw a cranny, and she jumped out at the cranny; but they kept hold of one of the shoes.
The king's son said, "Whomsoever that shoe would fit, she it was that he would marry."
Many were trying the shoe on, and taking off their toes and heels to try if it would fit them; but there were none whom the shoe would fit.
There was a little bird in the top of a tree, always saying as everyone was trying on the shoe, "Beeg beeg ha nan doot a heeg ach don tjay veeg a ha fo laiv a hawchkare." -- Wee wee, it comes not on thee; but on the wee one under the hand of the cook.
When he could get none whom the shoe would fit, the king's son lay down, and his mother went to the kitchen to talk over the matter.
"Won't you let me see the shoe?" said she. "I will not do it any harm at all events."
"Thou! thou ugly dirty thing, that it should fit thee." She went down, and she told this to her son.
"Is it not known," said he, "that it won't fit her at all events? And can't you give it her to please her?"
As soon as the shoe went on the floor, the shoe jumped on her foot.
"What will you give me," said she, " to let you see the other one?" She reached the herd's house, and she put on the shoes, and the dress that would stand on the floor with gold and silver. When she returned, there was but to send word for a minister, and she herself and the king's son married.
The king saw them from a window, and wished to marry her, and she went for advice to her mother's brother. He advised her to promise to marry the king if he would bring her a gown of birds' down, and a gown of the colors of the sky, woven with silver; and when he got that, a gown of the colors of the stars, woven with gold, and glass shoes.
When he had got them, she escaped with all her clothes, by the help of her uncle, on a filly, with a magic bridle, she on one side, and her chest of clothes on the other. She rode to a king's palace, hid the chest in a hill under a bush of rushes, turned the filly loose, and went to the palace with nothing on but a white petticoat and a shift. She took service with the cook, and grew dirty and ugly, and slept on a bench by the kitchen fire, and her work was to blow under the great caldron all day long.
One day the king's son came home, and was to hold a feast; she went to the queen and asked leave to go, and was refused because she was so dirty. The queen had a basin of water in her hand, and threw it at her, and it broke. She went to the hill, took out the dress of down and silver, and shook her magic bridle; the filly came, and she mounted, and rode to the feast.
The king's son took her by the hand, and took her up as high as any there, and set her on his own lap; and when the feast was over, there was no reel that he danced but he gave it to her.
He asked her whence she came, and she said, "From the kingdom of Broken Basins," and the prince said that he had never heard of that land, though he had travelled far.
She escaped and returned to the cook, and all were talking about the beautiful lady. She asked about her, and was told not to talk about what she did not understand, "a dirty little wretch like her."
Then the prince had another feast; and she asked leave again, and the queen refused, and threw a candlestick at her, and it broke, and she did as before. She put on another dress and went; the king's son had eight men on each side of the door to catch her. The same scene went on, and she said she came from the country of Candlesticks, and escaped, leaving a glass shoe.
Then the king's son fell sick (of course), and would only marry the woman whom the shoe would fit; and all the ladies came and cut off their toes and heels, but in vain. Then he asked if there was none other.
Then a small creature put his head in at the door and said, "If thou didst but know, she whom thou seekest is under the cook."
Then he got the history of the basin and candlestick from his mother. The shoe was tried and fitted, and he was to marry Morag.
All were in despair, and abused her; but she went out to her chest, shook the magic bridle, and arrayed herself, and came back on the filly, with a "powney" behind with the chest. Then all there that had despised her fell on their knees, and she was married to the prince.
"And I did not get a bit there at the wedding," said the girl.
This was told as we walked along the road, and is but a short outline of what was told me, written from notes made in the evening. The man said that the girl told it with a great deal of the queer old language, which he could not remember.
The girl and her chest on the same horse may be seen in the Highlands. The girl, in her white coats and short gown, may be seen blowing the fire in highland inns, the queen's likeness might be found; and the feast is a highland ball; the filly and the magic bridle are common in other stories; the incidents of the basin and candlestick have an equivalent in Norse; and I got them from a woman at the Sound of Barra afterwards, in another story. This shows what may be lost by dignified traveling. While the man was enjoying himself in the kitchen, the employer was smoking in solitary dignity, upstairs in his bedroom, writing a journal, and utterly unconscious that the game he pursued was so near.
I have other versions of this tale from other sources, and may find room for them hereafter.
Lay down your head upon my knee,These words had the desired effect of lulling her sound asleep, which no sooner took place than a genii in the shape and form of a calf, brought her meats and dainties of every description, of which she partook heartily, unknown to all but her favourite calf.
And well looked after it there shall be,
Then sleep ye one eye or sleep ye two,
Ye soon shall see what power can do.
The queen being now wearied with trying all the arts that mischief could devise, to bring Rashen Coatie's beauty to a level with her daughter's; or to raise her daughter's beauty to that of Rashen Coatie's; thought she must have some hidden means of subsistence, as all the stratagems she tried were always attended with want of success.
On consulting her henwife, who was a witch, how she should behave in this critical juncture; the witch said she would give her an eye in her neck, by which sight she would be able to discover many things, particularly how Rashen Coatie was fed and maintained without her perceiving it. Accordingly the queen went next day to the castle to discover Rashen Coatie's friends, and discovered how she was fed, owing to an omission of Rashen Coatie's. She found that it was the calf that fed her, which made her long to get it destroyed.
The king though loath to deprive his daughter of her only companion, her favourite calf, he was obliged to comply with the queen's imperious demands, in order to suppress the wrangling and strife which were daily taking place among his domestics, particularly by his queen. Rashen Coatie having discovered the queen's intention, mourned over her ravenous appetite, with streaming eyes and bleached cheeks. The calf having the power of speech, requested her not to be alarmed at what was to take place, but to gather together all the bones into one mass, and place them beneath a particular stone, and in a short time they would revive and come to life again. This having been done as commanded, everything came to pass as predicted by the calf; and the malicious queen having partook of the entrails of the calf, lingered and died of a disease hitherto unknown in that part of the country. Her daughter now became of contempt, despised and hooted by everyone.
Rashen Coatie's sun now began to shine in meridian splendour; she was gentle and mild, humble to everyone, which gained her the esteem and good will of both great and small. Her beauty having kept pace with her virtue, her father took such a liking to her, as to wish to marry her; but this being quite contrary to her principles of sound morality, she grew melancholy, every day more and more, and lingered out a weary existence, till having met with her calf, she asked it what was best to be done under such pressing difficulties.
The calf advised her to ask from her father a gown and petticoat made of the rashes that grew on the bonny burn side, in which she was to be drest. This having been accomplished; she then requested of him to give her a dress composed of all the colours of the birds of the air. This also having been given her; she demanded a new suit of variegated colours, composed of all those appearances that float in the air, and in the earth beneath. Having obtained all these varieties; she had now no excuse but to comply with her father's wishes, which were to accompany him to the altar, where all things were ready for the marriage ceremony.
Having thus far complied with his wishes, she went, but on arriving at the place appointed, she started back, exclaiming, that she had forgotten her marriage ring. Her father, to prevent her returning home, said he had one which would answer the purpose perfectly well; but she insisted on having her mother's ring, and must needs return for it, but promised to be back in a few minutes.
Again, she had recourse to the advice of her calf, which was to dress herself in her rashen weed, and to leave her father's kingdom with all speed. This was accordingly done, and she wandered far till she came to a hunting lodge, kept by the prince of that country. Here she made free to enter, and go to the prince's bed to rest her wearied limbs, which had undergone much toil and fatigue in the course of a long and laborious travel. When the prince came to his lodge, he was surprised to find a sleeping beauty in his bed, as it was in a sequestered part of his kingdom, where few inhabitants were to be found.
She soon made her escape from him, and went to his father's palace, where she asked a place as a menial servant, which was granted, and thereby put into the kitchen to assist the cook in turning the spits which groaned with the weight of the meat that was roasting for their majesties' dinner. Here she continued for some time, doing all the drudgery of the meanest servant. Christmas, however, came on, when great preparations were made for church.
Rashen Coatie also wished to appear among the rest, but was denied permission by the master cook. But it so happened that, on the first yule day, when all were gone, and she left alone in the kitchen to attend the meat, she said to the spits, peats, and pots, to do their duty till she returned; which was accordingly done. The words of the charm which she made use of on this occasion were as follows:
Every spit gar another turn,These did as desired; when she went and dressed herself in rich attire. On arriving at the church, she placed herself in a conspicuous part of the seat, nearly opposite to where the young prince was sitting. He caught more of the flame of love than of the minister's spiritual exhortations, and could scarcely contain himself from making enquiries during the sermon. She went in the same manner all the holy days of yule, but every day more and more superbly drest. The prince at length determined on discovering her rank and place of abode, if possible, little thinking that it was his own menial, Rashen Coatie, as her history seemed to be a mystery to everyone.
Every peat gar another burn,
Every pot gar another play
Till I return on good yule day.
The term of her secrecy seemed to be now at end; for hurrying home on the last day, she dropped one of her shoes, which were so completely fitted to her feet, that it was supposed it would suit no one else. The prince, on having found the shoe, which was of pure gold, caused to be proclaimed throughout all the regions of his father's kingdom round about, that everyone should have free liberty to try on the shoe, and whomsoever the shoe fitted best, was to be his bride.
Many trials were made, but all to no purpose, till the henwife's daughter caused her heels and toes to be pared; by which process she got it forced on her foot. Agreeably to the proclamation, it therefore became the prince to marry her, with which he was to comply, but with a heavy heart.
On their way to the marriage seat, a small bird fluttered over their heads, crying as they went:
Clipped heels and pared toes.The prince hearing the voice of the bird, requested to know its meaning, when it was explained. With joy he returned to his father's castle, much against the henwife's inclination, when it was found that Rashen Coatie, who hurkled in the kitchen, had not got an opportunity of trying on the shoe. On presenting her with the shoe, it went easily on, but what was more to their surprise and astonishment, she pulled out its fellow, and put it on before them. They, of course, we need not add, were immediately married, and lived long and happy. Shortly after the marriage, they paid a visit to her father's court in great pomp and grandeur, by whom they were most cordially received, and his kingdom, at his death, bestowed on them.
They're in the kitchen the shoe on goes.
She had made (or got her father to give her) a beautiful golden cow as large as a real one. She made arrangements in some manner (details forgotten) to have the golden cow conveyed under pretence of its being a parting gift or token of remembrance to the prince. She got inside it, and went in the cow a long journey by sea.
There was a signal prearranged (details forgotten) of three knocks on the cow to show when she could come out safely. But when she had gone a long way the cow was landed (I think the captain of the ship was in the secret, and was to see to her reaching the prince), but people came to see the cow, for it was very curious, amongst them three gentlemen who wanted to be able to say they had touched it, and one poked it with his umbrella (sic), and said, "I've touched the golden cow," and the next poked it with his umbrella, and said, "I've touched the golden cow," and the third poked it with his umbrella, and said, "I've touched the golden cow."
With that the princess opened the door and came out, for she thought those three knocks were the signal. Then the prince turned up, after some adventures that I have forgotten, and all ended happily.
Note by D. L. Ashliman: The conflict between father and daughter in most folktales of type 510B derives from the mother's death and the father's subsequent attempts to marry his own daughter, as evidenced in the previous tales at this site. In some versions, however, the incest motif is suppressed, and the conflict between father and daughter is given a different motivation. The following tale, told here in verse, illustrates this minority group. The heroine here is not at risk because of her father's incestuous desires, but for an inclination much less governed by taboo: his displeasure over the birth of a female child. Note also that the abusive relationship between the heroine and the man she will ulitmately marry has also been altered in this version. She receives the same blows, but from the hands of her female employer, not her future husband. And now, an English version of Catskin:
There once was a gentleman grand,
Who lived at his country seat;
He wanted an heir to his land,
For he'd nothing but daughters yet.
His lady's again in the way,
So she said to her husband with joy,
"I hope some or other fine day,
To present you, my dear, with a boy."
The gentleman answered gruff,
"If't should turn out a maid or a mouse,
For of both we have more than enough,
She shan't stay to live in my house."
The lady, at this declaration,
Almost fainted away with pain;
But what was her sad consternation,
When a sweet little girl came again.
She sent her away to be nurs'd,
Without seeing her gruff papa;
And when she was old enough,
To a school she was packed away.
Fifteen summers are fled,
Now she left good Mrs. Jervis;
To see home she was forbid,
She determined to go and seek service.
Her dresses so grand and so gay,
She carefully rolled in a knob;
Which she hid in a forest away,
And put on a catskin robe.
She knock'd at a castle gate,
And pray'd for charity;
They sent her some meat on a plate,
And kept her a scullion to be.
My lady look'd long in her face,
And prais'd her great beauty;
I'm sorry I've no better place,
And you must our scullion be.
So Catskin was under the cook,
A very sad life she led,
For often a ladle she took,
And broke poor Catskin's head.
There is now a grand ball to be,
When ladies their beauties show;
"Mrs. Cook," said Catskin, "dear me,
How much I should like to go!"
"You go with your catskin robe,
You dirty impudent slut!
Among the fine ladies and lords,
A very fine figure you'd cut."
A basin of water she took,
And dash'd in poor Catskin's face;
But briskly her ears she shook,
And went in her hiding place.
She washed every stain from her skin,
In some crystal waterfall;
Then put on a beautiful dress,
And hasted away to the ball.
When she entered, the ladies were mute,
Overcome by her figure and face;
But the lord, her young master, at once
Fell in love with her beauty and grace;
He pray'd her his partner to be,
She said, "Yes!" with a sweet smiling glance;
All night with no other lady
But Catskin, our young lord would dance.
"Pray tell me, fair maid, where you live?"
For now was the sad parting time;
But she no other answer would give,
Than this distich of mystical rhyme, --
Kind sir, if the truth I must tell,
At the sign of the Basin of Water I dwell.
Then she flew from the ballroom, and put
On her catskin robe again;
And slipt in unseen by the cook,
Who little thought where she had been.
The young lord, the very next day,
To his mother his passion betrayed;
He declared he never would rest,
Till he'd found out this beautiful maid.
There's another grand ball to be,
Where ladies their beauties show;
"Mrs. Cook," said Catskin, "dear me,
How much I should like to go!"
"You go with your catskin robe,
You dirty impudent slut!
Among the fine ladies and lords,
A very fine figure you'd cut."
In a rage the ladle she took,
And broke poor Catkin's head;
But off she went shaking her ears,
And swift to her forest she fled.
She washed every blood stain off
In some crystal waterfall;
Put on a more beautiful dress,
And hasted away to the ball.
My lord, at the ballroom door,
Was waiting with pleasure and pain;
He longed to see nothing so much
As the beautiful Catskin again.
When he asked her to dance, she again
Said "Yes!" with her first smiling glance;
And again, all the night, my young Lord
With none but fair Catskin did dance.
"Pray tell me," said he, "where you live?"
For now 'twas the parting time;
But she no other answer would give,
Than this distich of mystical rhyme, --
Kind sir, if the truth I must tell,
At the sign of the Broken Ladle I dwell.
Then she flew from the ball, and put on
Her catskin robe again;
And slipt in unseen by the cook,
Who little thought where she had been.
My lord did again, the next day,
Declare to his mother his mind,
That he never more happy should be,
Unless he his charmer should find.
Now another grand ball is to be,
Where ladies their beauties show;
"Mrs. Cook", said Catskin, "dear me,
How much I should like to go!"
"You go with your catskin robe,
You impudent, dirty slut!
Among the find ladies and lords,
A very fine figure you'd cut."
In a fury she took the skimmer,
And broke poor Catskin's head;
But heart-whole and lively as ever,
Away to her forest she fled.
She washed the stains of blood
In some crystal waterfall;
Then put on her most beautiful dress,
And hasted away to the ball.
My lord, at the ballroom door,
Was waiting with pleasure and pain;
He longed to see nothing so much
As the beautiful Catskin again.
When he asked her to dance, she again
Said "Yes!" with her first smiling glance;
And all the night long, my young Lord
With none but fair Catskin would dance.
"Pray tell me, fair maid, where you live?"
For now was the parting time;
But she no other answer would give,
Than this distich of mystical rhyme, --
Kind sir, if the truth I must tell,
At the sign of the Broken Skimmer I dwell.
Then she flew from the hall, and threw on
Her catskin cloak again;
And slipt in unseen by the cook,
Who little thought where she had been.
But not by my lord unseen,
For this time he followed too fast;
And, hid in the forest green,
Saw the strange things that past.
Next day he took to his bed,
And sent for the doctor to come;
And begg'd him no other than Catskin,
Might come into his room.
He told him how dearly he lov'd her,
Not to have her his heart would break;
Then the doctor kindly promised
To the proud old lady to speak.
There's a struggle of pride and love,
For she fear'd her son would die;
But pride at the last did yield,
And love had the mastery.
Then my lord got quickly well,
When he was his charmer to wed;
And Catskin, before a twelvemonth,
Of a young lord was brought to bed.
To a wayfaring woman and child,
Lady Catskin one day sent an alms;
The nurse did the errand, and carried
The sweet little lord in her arms.
The child gave the alms to the child,
This was seen by the old lady mother;
"Only see," said that wicked old woman,
"How the beggars' brats take to each other!"
This throw went to Catskin's heart,
She flung herself down on her knees,
And pray'd her young master and lord
To seek out her parents would please.
They sent out in my lord's own coach;
They traveled, but naught befell
Till they reach'd the town hard by
Where Catskin's father did dwell.
They put up at the head inn,
Where Catskin was left alone;
But my lord went to try if her father
His natural child would own.
When folks are away, in short time
What great alterations appear;
For the cold touch of death had all chill'd
The hearts of her sisters dear.
Her father repented too late,
And the loss of his youngest bemoan'd;
In his old and childless state,
He his pride and cruelty own'd.
The old gentleman sat by the fire,
And hardly looked up at my lord;
He had no hope of comfort
A stranger could afford.
But my lord drew a chair close by,
And said, in a feeling tone,
"Have you not, sir, a daughter, I pray,
You never would see or own?"
The old man alarm'd, cried aloud,
"A hardened sinner am I!
I would give all my worldly goods,
To see her before I die."
Then my lord brought his wife and child
To their home and parent's face,
Who fell down and thanks returned
To God, for his mercy and grace.
The bells, ringing up in the tower,
Are sending a sound to the heart;
There's a charm in the old church bells,
Which nothing in life can impart!
"I took you too sudden," said he. "Sleep on it, and you can give me an answer tomorrow."
She was in great trouble all the rest of the day, and when the evening came she went out into the paddock, where a beautiful filly she used to ride was grazing. "Oh my poor beast! " said she, "I'm sure if you knew my trouble you'd pity me."
"I do know your trouble, and I pity you, and I'll help you too," says the filly. "I'm the fairy that watched over you from the time you were born, and I am here near you since your mother married the second time. Your stepfather is an enchanter, but he'll find me too strong for him. Don't seem shocked when he'll ask your consent tomorrow, but say you must have first a dress of silk and silver thread that will fit into a walnut shell. He'll promise, and will be able to get it made too, but I'll bother his spinner and his weaver long enough before he'll get it wove, and his seamstress after that, before it's sewed."
The princess done as she was bid, and the enchanter was in great joy; but he was kept in great trouble and anger for a full half year before the dress was ready to go on the princess. At last it was fitted, and he asked her was she ready to be his wife.
"I'll tell you tomorrow," said she.
So she went to consult her filly in the paddock. Well, the next day he put the question to her again, and she said that she couldn't think of marrying anyone till she had another dress of silk and gold thread that would fit in a walnut shell.
"I wish you had mentioned itself and the silver dress together. Both could have been done at the same time. No matter. I'll get it done."
Whatever trouble the spinner and the weaver and the seamstress had with the other dress, they had twice it with this; but at last it was tried on, and fitted like a glove.
"Well now," says Fear Dhorrach, "I hope you're satisfied, and won't put off the wedding again."
"Oh, you must forgive me," said she, "for my vanity." She was talking to the filly the evening before. "I can't do without a dress of silk thread as thick as it can be with diamonds and pearls no larger than the head of a minnikin pin. Three is a lucky number, you know."
"Well, I wish you had mentioned this at first, and the three could be making together. Now this is the very last thing you'll ask, I expect."
"Oh, I'll never ask another, you may depend, till I'm married."
She didn't say till we're married.
The dress came home at last. Well, the same evening she found on her bed another made from bottom to top of cat-skins, and this she put on. She put her three walnut shells in her pocket, and then stole out to the stable, where she found her filly with a bridle in her mouth, and the nicest side-saddle ever you saw on her back. Away they went, and when the light first appeared in the sky they were a hundred miles away.
They stopped at the edge of a wood, and the princess was very glad to rest herself on a bunch of dry grass at the foot of a tree. She wasn't a minute there when she fell asleep; and soundly she did sleep, till she was woke up by the blowing of bugles and the yelping of beagles. She jumped up in a fright. There was no filly near her, but half a hundred spotted hounds were within forty perches of her, yelling out of them like vengeance.
I needn't tell you she was frightened. She had hardly power to put one foot past the other, and she'd be soon tore into giblets by the dogs on account of her dress, but a fine young hunter leaped over their heads, and they all fell back when he shook his whip and shouted at them. So he came to the princess, and there she was as wild looking as you please, with her cat-skins hanging round her, and her face and hands and arms as brown as a berry, from a wash she put on herself before she left home. Well that didn't hinder her features from being handsome, and the prince was astonished at her beauty and her color and her dress, when he found she was a stranger, and alone in the world. He got off his horse, and walked side by side with her to his palace, for he was the young king of that country.
He sent for his housekeeper when he came to the hall door, and bid her employ the young girl about whatever she was fit for, and then set off to follow the hounds again.
Well, there was great tittering in the servants' hall among the maids at her color and her dress, and the ganders of footmen would like to be joking with her, but she made no freedom with one or the other, and when the butler thought to give her a kiss, she gave him a light slap on the jaw that wouldn't kill a fly, but he felt as if a toothache was at him for eight and forty hours. By my word, the other buckeens did not give her an excuse to raise her hand to them. Well, she was so silent and kept herself to herself so much, that she was no favorite, and they gave her nothing better to do than help the scullery maid, and at night she had to put up with a little box of a place under the stairs for a bedroom.
The next day, when the prince returned from hunting, he sent word to the housekeeper by the whipper-in to let the new servant bring him up a basin and towel till he'd wash before dinner.
"Oh, ho!" says the cook, "there's an honor for Cat-Skin. I'm here for forty years and never was asked to do such a thing; how grand we are! purshuin to all impedent people!"
The princess didn't mind their jibes and their jeers. She took up the things, and the prince delayed her ever so long with remarks and questions, striving to get out of her what rank of life she was born in. As little as she said he guessed her to be a lady. I suppose it is as hard for a lady or gentleman to pass for a vulgarian, as for one of us to act like one of the quality.
Well to be sure! all the cold and scornful noses that were in the big kitchen before her; and it was, "Cat-Skin, will you hand me this? Cat-Skin, will you grease my shoes? Cat-Skin, will you draw a jug of beer for me?" And she done everything she was asked without a word or a sour look.
Next night the prince was at a ball about three miles away, and the princess got leave from the housekeeper to go early to bed. Well, she couldn't get herself to lie down. She was in a fever like; she threw off her outside dress, and she stepped out into the lawn to get a little fresh air. There what did she behold but her dear filly under a tree. She ran over, and threw her arms round her neck, and kissed her face, and began to cry.
"No time for crying!" says the filly. "Take out the first walnut shell you got."
She did so, and opened it.
"Hold what's inside over your head," said the other, and in a moment the silk and silver dress wrapped her round as if a dozen manty-makers were after spending an hour about it.
"Get on that stump," says the filly, "and jump into the side-saddle."
She did so, and in a few minutes they were at the hall door of the castle where the ball was. There she sprung from her saddle, and walked into the hall. Lights were in the hall and everywhere, and nothing could equal the glitter of the princess's robes and the accoutrements of her steed. It was like the curling of a stream in the sun.
You may believe that the quality were taken by surprise, when the princess walked in among them as if they were the lords and ladies in her father's court. The young king came forward as he saw the rest were a little cowed, and bade her good evening and welcome; and they talked whatever way kings and queens and princesses do, and he made her sit on his own seat of honor, and took a stool or a chair near her, and if he wasn't delighted and surprised, her features were so like the scullery maid's, leave it till again.
They had a fine supper and a dance, and the prince and she danced, and every minute his love for her was increasing, but at last she said she should go. Every one was sorry, and the prince more than anyone, and he came with her to the hall, and asked might he see her safe home. But she showed him her filly and excused herself.
Said he, "I'll have my brown horse brought, and myself and my servants will attend you."
"Hand me up on my filly," says she, " first of all," and, be the laws, I don't know how princes put princesses on horseback. Maybe one of the servants stoops his back, and the prince goes on one knee, and she steps first on his knee and then on the servant's back, and then sits in the saddle. Anyhow she was safe up, and she took the prince's hand, and bid him good night, and the filly and herself were away like a flash of lightning in the dark night.
Well, everything appeared dismal enough when he went back to where a hundred tongues were going hard and fast about the lady in the dazzling dress.
Next morning he bid his footman ask the girl in the cat-skin to bring him hot water and a towel for him, to shave. She came in as modest and backward as you please; but whenever the prince got a peep at her face, there were the beautiful eyes and nose and mouth of the lady in the glittering dress, but all as brown as a bit of bogwood. He thought to get a little talk out of her, but dickens a word would come out of her mouth but yes or no.
And when he asked her was she of high birth, she turned off the discourse and wouldn't say one thing or the other; and when he asked would she like to put on nice clothes and be about his mother, she refused just as if he asked her to drown herself. So he found he could make nothing of her, and let her go down stairs.
There was another great ball in a week's time, and the very same thing took place again. There was the princess, and the dress she had on was of silk and gold thread, and the darlintest little gold crown in the world over her purty curling hair.
If the prince was in love before, he was up to his eyes in it this time; but while they were going on with the nicest sweet talk, says she, "I'm afraid, prince, that you are in the habit of talking lovingly to every girl you meet."
Well, he was very eager to prove he was not.
"Then," said she, "a little bird belied you as I was coming through the wood. He said that you weren't above talking soft even to a young servant girl with her skin as brown as a berry, and her dress no better than cat-skin.''
"I declare to you, princess," said he, "there is such a girl at home, and if her skin was as white as yours, and her dress the same, no eye could see a bit of differ between you."
"Oh, thankee, prince!" says she, "for the compliment; it's time for me to be going."
Well, he thought to mollify her, but she curled her upper lip and cocked her nose, and wasn't long till she left, the way she did before. While she was getting on her filly, he almost went down on his knees to her to make it up.
So at last she smiled, and said, "If I can make up my mind to forgive you, I'll come to the next ball without invitation."
So she was away, and when they came under the tree in the lawn she took the upper hem of her dress in her fingers and it came off like a glove, and she made her way in at the hack door, and into her crib at the stair-foot.
The prince slept little that night, and in the morning he sent his footman to ask the girl in the cat-skins to bring up a needle and thread to sew a button on his shirt sleeve. He watched her fingers, and saw they were small and of a lovely shape; and when one of them touched his wrist, it felt as soft and delicate as silk.
All he could say got nothing out of her only, "It wasn't a nice thing for a prince to speak in that way to a girl of low degree, and he boasting of it after to princesses and great ladies."
Well, how he did begin to deny anything so ungenteel, but the button was sewed, and she skipped away downstairs.
The third night came, and she shook the dress of silk and pearls and diamonds over her, and the nicest crown of the same on her head. As grand and beautiful as she was before, she was twice as grand now; and the lords and ladies hardly dared to speak above their breaths, and the prince thought he was in heaven. He asked her at last would she be his queen, and not keep him in misery any longer, and she said she would, if she was sure he wouldn't ask Miss Cat-Skin the same question next day.
Oh, how he spoke, and how he promised! He asked leave to see her safe home, but she wouldn't agree.
"But don't be downcast," said she. "You will see me again sooner than you think; and if you know me when you meet me next, we'll part no more."
Just as she was sitting in her saddle, and the prince was holding her hand, he slipped a dawny limber ring of gold on one finger. It was so small and so nice to the touch he thought she wouldn't feel it.
"And now, my princess," says he to himself, "I think I'll know you when I meet you."
Next morning he sent again for the scullery girl, and she came and made a curtchy.
"What does your majesty want me to do?" said she.
"Only to advise me which of these two suits of clothes would look best on me; I'm going to be married."
"Ah, how could the likes of me be able to advise you? Is the rich dressed lady, that I heard the footmen talking about, to be your queen?"
"Yourself is as likely to be my wife as that young lady."
"Then who is it?"
"Yourself, I tell you."
" Myself! How can your majesty joke that way on a poor girl? They say you're promised to the lady of the three rich dresses."
"I'm promised to no one but yourself. I asked you twice already to be my queen; I ask you now the third time."
"Yes, and maybe after all, you'll marry the lady of the dresses."
"You promised you'd have me if I knew you the next time we'd meet. This is the next time. If I don't know you, I know my ring on your fourth finger."
She looked, and there it was sure enough. Maybe she didn't blush.
"Will your majesty step into the next room for a minute," said she, "and leave me by myself?"
He did so, and when she opened the door for him again, there she was with the brown stain off her face and hands, and her dazzling dress of silk and jewels on her.
Wasn't he the happy prince, and she the happy princess? And weren't the noisy servants lewd of themselves when they saw poor Cat-Skin in her royal dress saying the words before the priest? They didn't put off their marriage, and there was the fairy now in the appearance of a beautiful woman; and if I was to tell you about the happy life they led, I'd only be tiring you.
The king had a daughter who was just as beautiful as his wife. He traveled far and wide to seek another wife, but found no one as beautiful as his first wife had been. Therefore he decided to marry his own daughter, but she did not want to marry him.
She was not able to change his mind, so she told him to buy for her a louse-coat (a coat lined with louse pelts), a silver dress, a diamond ring, and golden shoes.
The king had an old kinswoman. The evening before the wedding the princess asked her what she should do. The old woman advised her to pack her things and run away, so that night she left. The next morning the king looked for his girl, but could not find her.
He asked everyone, "Haven't you seen her? Haven't you seen my bride?" But no one could give him any information.
When the princess ran away she came to a river. She boarded a boat, but the ferryman did not want to transport her. He said, "If you will not promise to give yourself to me, I will drown you here and now."
She refused him, and he threw her overboard, but she jumped to the water's edge. She continued onward, without knowing where she was going.
Then she came to some cliffs, and said, "Oh, dear God, if only there were a room here!"
Then the cliffs did indeed open into a room, and she went inside. Everything there was just what she had wished for.
She soon went out, leaving her beautiful clothes in the room, and it turned back into a cliff, just as before. She went to an estate where she found a position as a Cinderella.
Her brother was there as well. He too had left their father, and was employed in the estate as a secretary. He had a servant, and whenever he told his servant to bring him water or his boots, Cinderella ran and brought them to him. And every time she did this, he would throw them at her.
She asked her mistress for permission to return home now and then. But instead of going home she went back to the cliffs, and whenever she approached them, they again opened up into a room, and then she would put on her beautiful clothes. Then every time a coach would drive up and take her to church.
The secretary was also at church, and he saw the beautiful girl. Therefore he went to church the next Sunday, and the girl was there as well.
Her mistress had told her that she had to return before the secretary did. However, one day she was late, and she did not have time to take off her beautiful clothes. Instead she put on her everyday clothes over the beautiful ones.
The secretary told his servant to have her come and delouse him.
She did not want to do this, and said, "You have never needed me to do that before, and you don't need me to do it now."
But after the servant had called her a second and a third time, she had to go. While she was looking through his hair, he was examining her clothing, coming finally to the coat. Then he raised his head from her knees, ripped the scarf from her head, and immediately recognized her as his sister.
Then they left the estate, and no one knows where they went.
So he handed the baby over to the nursemaids and went out into the world to find such a bride -- but since there was no one with a golden star on her forehead, he returned home with failure. When he arrived home, his beautiful daughter Lada ran to meet him, and he saw the golden star on her forehead. The king fell in love and decided to marry her. Lada was terrified, and she said she would only marry the king if he brought her three beautiful dresses -- the one sewn from the wings of a rose-beetle, the second dress to look like the sun, and the third a heaven-like dress.
The king did this, so the wedding could not be avoided. Then the princess was visited in a dream by her deceased mother, who advised her to escape from the kingdom. The princess put on a coat made of mouse skin, covered her face with a veil, and left the kingdom. She took with her the beautiful dresses from her father.
After some time she came to a city with a royal castle. She hid her beautiful dresses under a stone and asked a little fish in a well to guard them. Then she asked for a job in the castle. At first they did not want to accept such an ugly girl covered by dirt, but Lada eventually found work in the royal kitchen.
Some time later a ball was held in the castle, and Lada asked the chief cook for permission to go. The cook agreed, and Lada went to the well, washed herself, and put on one of her beautiful dresses.
No one at the ball recognized her, and Prince Hostivít himself fell in love with her. They danced together all the night long. After the ball, Lada run back to the well, took off her fine dress and put on the coat made of mouse skin.
On two more evenings Lada went to the ball dressed in her beautiful dresses. At the third ball she gave Hostivít her ring, and he gave her his ring in return. Then Lada went back to the kitchen.
The following day, Hostivít felt ill with love. The cook ordered Lada to make the prince's medicinal spices, and she dropped the ring from Hostivít into the cup. Finding the ring, the the prince wanted to talk with the girl who had prepared the medicinal spices.
Lada claimed that she knew nothing about the ring. However, Hostivít did not give up, and he followed Lada to the well. There he watched as Lada took off the mouse fur and washed herself. Then he realized that this ugly girl was his beloved Lada.
Lada and Hostivít got engaged, and they left his kingdom to ask Lada's father for his daughter's hand in marriage.
In the meantime Lada's father had been visited by the queen, Lada's deceased mother, and she had rebuked him for his sinful love. Thus the king's heart turned to a father's love, and he blessed the young couple.
Her dead mother "comes out from her grave," and tells her what to do. The girl obtains from her father a rough dress of pig's skin, and two sets of gorgeous apparel; the former she herself assumes, in the latter she dresses up three Kuklui, which in this instance were probably mere blocks of wood.
Then she takes her place in the midst of the dressed-up forms, which cry, one after the other, "Open, O moist earth, that the fair maiden may enter within thee!"
The earth opens, and all four sink into it.
While she is weeping "like a river," some old women of the mendicant-pilgrim class come to her rescue, telling her to make four Kukolki, or small puppets, and to place one of them in each corner of her room. She does as they tell her. The wedding day arrives, the marriage service is performed in the church, and then the bride hastens back to the room.
When she is called for -- says the story -- the puppets in the four corners begin to coo:
Kuku! Prince Danila!
Kuku! He wants to marry,
Kuku! His own sister.
Kuku! Split open, O Earth!
Kuku! Sister, disappear!
The earth opens, and the girl slowly sinks into it. Twice again the puppets sing their song, and at the end of its third performance, the earth closes over the head of the rescued bride. Presently in rushes the irritated bridegroom. "No bride is to be seen; only in the corners sit the puppets, singing away to themselves." He flies into a passion, seizes a hatchet, chops off their heads, and flings them into the fire.
To this the Master answered, "Not now only is your daughter virtuous, but virtuous she was in days of yore; and as you have tested her now, so you tested her in those days. And at the man's request he told an old-world tale:
Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was a tree spirit. This same pious greengrocer took it into his head to test his daughter. He led her into the woods, and seized her by the hand, making as though he had conceived a passion for her.
And as she cried out in woe, he addressed her in the words of the first stanza:All the world's on pleasure bent;When she heard it, she answered, "Dear Father, I am a maid, and I know not the ways of sin"; and weeping she uttered the second stanza:
Ah, my baby innocent!
Now I've caught you, pray don't cry;
As the town does, so do I.He that should keep me safe from all distress,And the greengrocer, after testing his daughter thus, took her home, and gave her in marriage to a young man. Afterwards he passed away according to his deeds.
The same betrays me in my loneliness;
My father, who should be my sure defense,
Here in the forest offers violence.
In their classical form, type 510B folktales include the follow the following motifs:
In some versions of the story, the incest motif that sets the plot into motion is suppressed, with a different conflict being given between father and daughter.
The second half of this story bears a strong resemblance to the Cinderella (type 510A) folktales.
All-Kinds-of-Fur (Grimm, 1st edition.).
Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 135.
All-Kinds-of-Fur (Grimm, final edition)
Grimm, Children's and Household Tales, no. 65.
Allerleirauh (Grimm, altered).
Lang, Green Fairy Book, p. 276.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 140.
Barbarina and the Black Snake.
Mathias and Raspa, Italian Folktales in America, no. 1.
Lang, Grey Fairy Book, p. 269.
Black Yow, The.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 164.
Cap o' Rushes.
Jacobs, English Fairy Tales, p. 51.
Cap o' Rushes.
Philip, Penguin Book of English Folktales, p. 122.
Cap o' Rushes.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 2, p. 387.
Jacobs, More English Fairy Tales, p. 204.
Catskin: The Princess and the Golden Cow.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 179.
Chase, Grandfather Tales, no. 11.
Cinderella. Examples and commentary. (All examples given in this chapter contain motifs representative of type 510B, although in some instances the incest motif has been supressed.
Taggart, Enchanted Maidens, ch. 6.
Robb, Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest, A2a-j, 31-43.
Paredes, A Texas-Mexican Cancionero, p. 5, 14-16.
Campa, Spanish Folk Poetry in New Mexico, p. 30-33.
Donkey Skin (France, Le Cabinet des Fées).
Lang, Grey Fairy Book, p. 1.
Falassi, Folklore by the Fireside, p. 42.
Perrault, Fairy Tales (trans. Carter), p. 139.
Fair Maria Wood (Italy).
Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 139.
Fair Maria Wood.
Crane, Italian Popular Tales, no. 10.
Pino-Saavedra, Folktales of Chile, no. 21.
Flying Princess, The.
Dawkins, Modern Greek Folktales, no. 40.
Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review, London, 1928, v. 39, pp. 236-238.
Golden Box, The.
Villa, 100 Armenian Tales, no. 24.
Golden Filly Chest, The.
Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 196.
Grey Castle, The.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 298.
Ramanujan, Folktales from India, p. 285.
Katie Woodencloak (Norway).
Thompson, 100 Folktales, no. 41.
King Who Wished to Marry His Daughter.
Campbell, West Highlands, v. 1, p. 226.
Like Meat Loves Salt.
Chase, Grandfather Tales, no. 13.
Little Blue Bonnet, The.
Gmelch and Kroup, To Shorten the Road, p. 177.
Little Cat Skin.
Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 82.
Little Donkey Mother, The.
Taggart, Enchanted Maidens, p. 204.
Little Stick Figure, The.
Pino-Saavedra, Folktales of Chile, no. 20.
Margery White Coats.
Campbell, West Highlands, v. 1, p. 232.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 416.
Briggs and Tongue, Folktales of England, no. 4.
Princess in the Donkey Skin, The.
Roberts, South from Hell, no. 18.
Princess in the Suit of Leather, The.
Bushnaq, Arab Folktales, p. 193.
Princess That Wore a Rabbit-Skin Dress.
Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 161.
Princess Whose Father Wanted to Marry Her, The.
Ramanujan, Folktales from India, p. 186.
Queen with the Golden Hair, The.
Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 30.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 455.
Aitken, A Forgotten Heritage, p. 73.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 456.
Red Calf, The.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 460.
She Donkey's Skin, The.
Massignon, Folktales of France, no. 44.
She-Bear, The (Basile).
Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 129.
Basile, Pentamerone, Day 2, Tale 6.
Silver Dress, the Gold Dress, and the Diamond Dress, The.
Blecher, Swedish Folktales and Legends, p. 168.
Story of Catskin, The (England).
Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 143.
Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 502.
Jacobs, More English Fairy Tales, p. 67.
Tebaldo Wishes to Have His Only Daughter Doralice to Wife.
Straparola, Facetious Nights, Night 1, Tale 4.
Calvino, Italian Folktales, no. 103.
Grimm, Älteste Märchensammlung, Nr. 7.
Grimm, Märchen aus dem Nachlaß, Nr. 18.
Grimm, Kinder- und Hausmärchen, Nr. 65.
Allerleirauh [3 Erzählungen].
Ranke, Schleswig-Holsteinische Volksmärchen, Bd. 2, S. 125.
Aschenbrödel - Aschentrödel.
Boskovic-Stulli, Kroatische Volksmärchen, Nr. 4.
Wildhaber, Schweizer Volksmärchen, Nr. 11.
Aschenpüster mit der Wünschelgerte.
Bechstein, Sämtliche Märchen, Nr. N01.
Bartsch, Sagen, Märchen und Gebräuche aus Meklenburg, Bd. 1, S. 479.
Curia, schöne Curia.
Uffer, Rätoromanische Märchen, Nr. 33.
Spies, Türkische Volksmärchen, Nr. 24.
Das Mädchen im Tierfell.
Karlinger, Baskische Märchen, Nr. 8.
Camaj, Albanische Märchen, Nr. 27.
Range, Litauische Volksmärchen, Nr. 39.
Wildhaber, Schweizer Volksmärchen, Nr. 12.
Der gehende Wagen.
Haiding, Österreichs Märchenschatz, Nr. 52.
Der goldene Ballon.
Bukowska-Grosse, Polnische Volksmärchen, Nr. 16.
Der goldene Stier.
Soupault, Französische Märchen, Nr. 27.
Der Vater und die Tochter.
Afanasjew, Russische Volksmärchen, S. 799.
Der Vater, der seine Tochter heiraten wollte.
Uffer, Rätoromanische Märchen, Nr. 29.
Basile, Das Pentameron, Tag 2, Novelle 6.
Die drei Kleider.
Meier, Spanische Märchen, Nr. 39.
Die hölzerne Maria.
Karlinger, Italienische Volksmärchen, Nr. 17.
Die kleine goldene Kuh.
Meier, Portugiesische Märchen, Nr. 86.
Die Zarentochter im unterirdischen Reich.
Olesch, Russische Volksmärchen, Nr. 9.
Helga und der Zwerg.
Schier, Märchen aus Island, Nr. 17.
Wisser, Plattdeutsche Märchen, Nr. 40.
Afanasjew, Russische Volksmärchen, S. 669.
Schier, Schwedische Volksmärchen, Nr. 33.
Revised September 5, 2021.