Aarne-Thompson folktale
type 510A and related stories
of persecuted heroines
translated and/or edited by

D. L. Ashliman


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  1. The Cinder Maid (reconstructed from various European sources by Joseph Jacobs)

  2. Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper (France, Charles Perrault)

  3. Cinderella (Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, version of 1812)

  4. Katie Woodencloak (Norway, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe)

  5. Fair, Brown, and Trembling (Ireland)

  6. Rashin-Coatie (Scotland)

  7. Cinderella (Italy)

  8. Conkiajgharuna, the Little Rag Girl (Georgia)

  9. Pepelyouga (Serbia)

  10. The Wonderful Birch (Russia)

  11. The Baba Yaga (Russia, Aleksandr Afanasyev)

  12. The Wicked Stepmother (India)

  13. Link to The Green Knight (Denmark)

  14. Link to The Story of Tam and Cam (Vietnam)

  15. Link to The Father Who Wanted to Marry His Daughter. Folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 510B

  16. Links to related sites

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

The Cinder Maid

Europe (Joseph Jacobs)

Once upon a time, though it was not in my time or in your time, or in anybody else's time, there was a great king who had an only son, the prince and heir who was about to come of age. So the king sent round a herald who should blow his trumpet at every four corners where two roads met. And when the people came together he would call out, "O yes, O yes, O yes, know ye that his grace the king will give on Monday sennight" -- that meant seven nights or a week after -- "a royal ball to which all maidens of noble birth are hereby summoned; and be it furthermore known unto you that at this ball his highness the prince will select unto himself a lady that shall be his bride and our future queen. God save the king."

Now there was among the nobles of the king's court one who had married twice, and by the first marriage he had but one daughter, and as she was growing up her father thought that she ought to have someone to look after her. So he married again, a lady with two daughters, and his new wife, instead of caring for his daughter, thought only of her own and favored them in every way. She would give them beautiful dresses but none to her stepdaughter who had only to wear the castoff clothes of the other two. The noble's daughter was set to do all the drudgery of the house, to attend the kitchen fire, and had naught to sleep on but the heap of cinder raked out in the scullery; and that is why they called her Cinder Maid. And no one took pity on her and she would go and weep at her mother's grave where she had planted a hazel tree, under which she sat.

You can imagine how excited they all were when they heard the king's proclamation called out by the herald. "What shall we wear, mother; what shall we wear?" cried out the two daughters, and they all began talking about which dress should suit the one and what dress should suit the other, but when the father suggested that Cinder Maid should also have a dress they all cried out, "What, Cinder Maid going to the king's ball? Why, look at her, she would only disgrace us all." And so her father held his peace.

Now when the night came for the royal ball Cinder Maid had to help the two sisters to dress in their fine dresses and saw them drive off in the carriage with her father and their mother. But she went to her own mother's grave and sat beneath the hazel tree and wept and cried out:

Tree o' mine, O tree o' me,
With my tears I've watered thee;
Make me a lady fair to see,
Dress me as splendid as can be.

And with that the little bird on the tree called out to her:

Cinder Maid, Cinder Maid, shake the tree,
Open the first nut that you see.

So Cinder Maid shook the tree and the first nut that fell she took up and opened, and what do you think she saw? -- a beautiful silk dress blue as the heavens, all embroidered with stars, and two little lovely shoon [shoes] made of shining copper. And when she had dressed herself the hazel tree opened and from it came a coach all made of copper with four milk-white horses, with coachman and footmen all complete. And as she drove away the little bird called out to her:

Be home, be home ere mid-o'-night
Or else again you'll be a fright.

When Cinder Maid entered the ballroom she was the loveliest of all the ladies, and the prince, who had been dancing with her stepsisters, would only dance with her. But as it came towards midnight Cinder Maid remembered what the little bird had told her and slipped away to her carriage. And when the prince missed her he went to the guards at the palace door and told them to follow the carriage. But Cinder Maid when she saw this, called out:

Mist behind and light before,
Guide me to my father's door.

And when the prince's soldiers tried to follow her there came such a mist that they couldn't see their hands before their faces. So they couldn't find which way Cinder Maid went.

When her father and stepmother and two sisters came home after the ball they could talk of nothing but the lovely lady: "Ah, would not you have like to have been there?" said the sisters to Cinder Maid as she helped them to take off their fine dresses. "The was a most lovely lady with a dress like the heavens and shoes of bright copper, and the prince would dance with none but her; and when midnight came she disappeared and the prince could not find her. He is going to give a second ball in the hope that she will come again. Perhaps she will not, and then we will have our chance."

When the time of the second royal ball came round the same thing happened as before; the sisters teased Cinder Maid, saying "Wouldn't you like to come with us?" and drove off again as before.

And Cinder Maid went again to the hazel tree over her mother's grave and cried:

Tree o' mine, O tree o' me,
Shiver and shake, dear little tree;
Make me a lady fair to see,
Dress me as splendid as can be.

And then the little bird on the tree called out:

Cinder Maid, Cinder Maid, shake the tree,
Open the first nut that you see.

But this time she found a dress all golden brown like the earth embroidered with flowers, and her shoon were made of silver; and when the carriage came from the tree, lo and behold, that was made of silver too, drawn by black horses with trappings all of silver, and the lace on the coachman's and footmen's liveries was also of silver; and when Cinder Maid went to the ball the prince would dance with none but her; and when midnight cam round she fled as before. But the prince, hoping to prevent her running away, had ordered the soldiers at the foot of the staircase to pour out honey on the stairs so that her shoes would stick in it. But Cinder Maid leaped from stair to stair and got away just in time, calling out as the soldiers tried to follow her:

Mist behind and light before,
Guide me to my father's door.

And when her sisters got home they told her once more of the beautiful lady that had come in a silver coach and silver shoon and in a dress all embroidered with flowers: "Ah, wouldn't you have like to have been there?" said they.

Once again the prince gave a great ball in the hope that his unknown be3auty would come to it. All happened as before; as soon as the sisters had gone Cinder Maid went to the hazel tree over her mother's grave and called out:

Tree o' mine, O tree o' me,
Shiver and shake, dear little tree;
Make me a lady fair to see,
Dress me as splendid as can be.

And then the little bird appeared and said:
Cinder Maid, Cinder Maid, shake the tree,
Open the first nut that you see.

And when she opened the nut in it was a dress of silk green as the sea with waves upon it, and her shoes this time were made of gold; and when the coach came out of the tree it was also made of gold, with gold trappings for the horses and for the retainers. And as she drove off the little bird from the tree called out:

Be home, be home ere mid-o'-night
Or else again you'll be a fright.

Now this time, when Cinder Maid came to the ball, she was a desirous to dance only with the prince as he with her, and so, when midnight came round, she had forgotten to leave till the clock began to strike, one -- two -- three -- four -- five -- six, -- and then she began to run away down the stairs as the clock struck eight -- nine -- ten. But the prince had told his soldier to put tar upon the lower steps of the stairs; and as the clock struck eleven her shoes stuck in the tar, and when she jumped to the foot of the stairs one of her golden shoes was left behind, and just then the clock struck TWELVE, and the golden coach with its horses and footmen, disappeared, and the beautiful dress of Cinder Maid changed again into her ragged clothes and she had to run home with only one golden shoe.

You can imagine how excited the sister were when they came home and told Cinder Maid all about it, how that the beautiful lady had come in a golden coach in a dress like the sea, with golden shoes, and how all had disappeared at midnight except the golden shoe. "Ah, wouldn't you have liked to have been there?" said they.

Now when the prince found out that he could not keep his lady-love nor trace where she had gone he spoke to his father and showed him the golden shoe, and told him that he would never marry anyone but the maiden who could wear that shoe. So the king, his father, ordered the herald to take round the golden shoe upon a velvet cushion and to go to every four corners where two streets met and sound the trumpet and call out, "O yes, O yes, O yes, be it known unto you all that whatsoever lady of noble birth can fit this shoe upon her foot shall become the bride of his highness the prince and our future queen. God save the king."

And when the herald came to the house of Cinder Maid's father the eldest of her two stepsisters tried on the golden shoe, But it was much too small for her, as it was for every other lady that had tried it up to that time; but she went up into her room and with a sharp knife cut off one of her toes and part of her heel, and then fitted her foot into the shoe, and when she came down she shoed it to the herald, who sent a message to the palace saying that the lady had been found who could wear the golden shoe.

Thereupon the prince jumped at once upon his horse and rode to the house of Cinder Maid's father. But when he saw the stepsister with the golden shoe, "Ah," he said, "but this is not the lady."

"But," she said, "you promised to marry the one that could wear the golden shoe," And the prince could say nothing, but offered to take her on his horse to his father's palace, for in those days ladies used to ride on a pillion at the back of the gentleman riding on horseback.

Now as they were riding towards the palace her foot began to drip with blood, and the little bird from the hazel tree that had followed them called out:

Turn and peep, turn and peep,
There's blood within the shoe;
A bit is cut from off the heel
And a bit from off the toe.

And the prince looked down and saw the blood streaming from her shoe and then he knew that this was not his true bride, and he rode back to the house of Cinder Maid's father; and then the second sister tried her chance; but when she found that her foot wouldn't fit the shoe she did the same as her sister, but all happed as before. The little bird called out:

Turn and peep, turn and peep,
There's blood within the shoe;
A bit is cut from off the heel
And a bit from off the toe.

And the prince took her back to her mother's house, and then he asked, "Have you no other daughter?" and the sisters cried out, "No, sir."

But the father said, "Yes, I have another daughter.

And the sisters cried out, "Cinder Maid, Cinder Maid, she could not wear that shoe."

But the prince said, "As she is of noble birth she has a right to try the shoe." So the herald went down to the kitchen and found cinder Maid; and when she saw her golden shoe she took it from him and put it on her foot, which it fitted exactly; and then she took the other golden shoe from underneath the cinders where she had hidden it and put that on too.

Then the herald knew that she was the true bride of his master; and her took her upstairs to where the prince was; when he saw her face, he knew that she was the lady of his love. So he took her behind him upon his horse; and as they rode to the palace the little bird from the hazel tree cried out:

Some cut their heel, and some cut their toe,
But she sat by the fire who could wear the shoe.

And so they were married and lived happy ever afterwards.

Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper

France (Charles Perrault)

Once there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by a former husband, two daughters of her own, who were, indeed, exactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife, a young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.

No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over but the stepmother began to show herself in her true colors. She could not bear the good qualities of this pretty girl, and the less because they made her own daughters appear the more odious. She employed her in the meanest work of the house. She scoured the dishes, tables, etc., and cleaned madam's chamber, and those of misses, her daughters. She slept in a sorry garret, on a wretched straw bed, while her sisters slept in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, on beds of the very newest fashion, and where they had looking glasses so large that they could see themselves at their full length from head to foot.

The poor girl bore it all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have scolded her; for his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she used to go to the chimney corner, and sit down there in the cinders and ashes, which caused her to be called Cinderwench. Only the younger sister, who was not so rude and uncivil as the older one, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, notwithstanding her coarse apparel, was a hundred times more beautiful than her sisters, although they were always dressed very richly.

It happened that the king's son gave a ball, and invited all persons of fashion to it. Our young misses were also invited, for they cut a very grand figure among those of quality. They were mightily delighted at this invitation, and wonderfully busy in selecting the gowns, petticoats, and hair dressing that would best become them. This was a new difficulty for Cinderella; for it was she who ironed her sister's linen and pleated their ruffles. They talked all day long of nothing but how they should be dressed.

"For my part," said the eldest, "I will wear my red velvet suit with French trimming."

"And I," said the youngest, "shall have my usual petticoat; but then, to make amends for that, I will put on my gold-flowered cloak, and my diamond stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the world."

They sent for the best hairdresser they could get to make up their headpieces and adjust their hairdos, and they had their red brushes and patches from Mademoiselle de la Poche.

They also consulted Cinderella in all these matters, for she had excellent ideas, and her advice was always good. Indeed, she even offered her services to fix their hair, which they very willingly accepted. As she was doing this, they said to her, "Cinderella, would you not like to go to the ball?"

"Alas!" said she, "you only jeer me; it is not for such as I am to go to such a place."

"You are quite right," they replied. "It would make the people laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball."

Anyone but Cinderella would have fixed their hair awry, but she was very good, and dressed them perfectly well. They were so excited that they hadn't eaten a thing for almost two days. Then they broke more than a dozen laces trying to have themselves laced up tightly enough to give them a fine slender shape. They were continually in front of their looking glass. At last the happy day came. They went to court, and Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could. When she lost sight of them, she started to cry.

Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her what was the matter.

"I wish I could. I wish I could." She was not able to speak the rest, being interrupted by her tears and sobbing.

This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her, "You wish that you could go to the ball; is it not so?"

"Yes," cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.

"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and I will contrive that you shall go." Then she took her into her chamber, and said to her, "Run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin."

Cinderella went immediately to gather the finest she could get, and brought it to her godmother, not being able to imagine how this pumpkin could help her go to the ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside of it, leaving nothing but the rind. Having done this, she struck the pumpkin with her wand, and it was instantly turned into a fine coach, gilded all over with gold.

She then went to look into her mousetrap, where she found six mice, all alive, and ordered Cinderella to lift up a little the trapdoor. She gave each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her wand, and the mouse was that moment turned into a fine horse, which altogether made a very fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse colored dapple gray.

Being at a loss for a coachman, Cinderella said, "I will go and see if there is not a rat in the rat trap that we can turn into a coachman."

"You are right," replied her godmother, "Go and look."

Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats. The fairy chose the one which had the largest beard, touched him with her wand, and turned him into a fat, jolly coachman, who had the smartest whiskers that eyes ever beheld.

After that, she said to her, "Go again into the garden, and you will find six lizards behind the watering pot. Bring them to me."

She had no sooner done so but her godmother turned them into six footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with their liveries all bedaubed with gold and silver, and clung as close behind each other as if they had done nothing else their whole lives. The fairy then said to Cinderella, "Well, you see here an equipage fit to go to the ball with; are you not pleased with it?"

"Oh, yes," she cried; "but must I go in these nasty rags?"

Her godmother then touched her with her wand, and, at the same instant, her clothes turned into cloth of gold and silver, all beset with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the whole world. Being thus decked out, she got up into her coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not to stay past midnight, telling her, at the same time, that if she stayed one moment longer, the coach would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and that her clothes would become just as they were before.

She promised her godmother to leave the ball before midnight; and then drove away, scarcely able to contain herself for joy. The king's son, who was told that a great princess, whom nobody knew, had arrived, ran out to receive her. He gave her his hand as she alighted from the coach, and led her into the hall, among all the company. There was immediately a profound silence. Everyone stopped dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so entranced was everyone with the singular beauties of the unknown newcomer.

Nothing was then heard but a confused noise of, "How beautiful she is! How beautiful she is!"

The king himself, old as he was, could not help watching her, and telling the queen softly that it was a long time since he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature.

All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and headdress, hoping to have some made next day after the same pattern, provided they could find such fine materials and as able hands to make them.

The king's son led her to the most honorable seat, and afterwards took her out to dance with him. She danced so very gracefully that they all more and more admired her. A fine meal was served up, but the young prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he busied in gazing on her.

She went and sat down by her sisters, showing them a thousand civilities, giving them part of the oranges and citrons which the prince had presented her with, which very much surprised them, for they did not know her. While Cinderella was thus amusing her sisters, she heard the clock strike eleven and three-quarters, whereupon she immediately made a courtesy to the company and hurried away as fast as she could.

Arriving home, she ran to seek out her godmother, and, after having thanked her, she said she could not but heartily wish she might go to the ball the next day as well, because the king's son had invited her.

As she was eagerly telling her godmother everything that had happened at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door, which Cinderella ran and opened.

"You stayed such a long time!" she cried, gaping, rubbing her eyes and stretching herself as if she had been sleeping; she had not, however, had any manner of inclination to sleep while they were away from home.

"If you had been at the ball," said one of her sisters, "you would not have been tired with it. The finest princess was there, the most beautiful that mortal eyes have ever seen. She showed us a thousand civilities, and gave us oranges and citrons."

Cinderella seemed very indifferent in the matter. Indeed, she asked them the name of that princess; but they told her they did not know it, and that the king's son was very uneasy on her account and would give all the world to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling, replied, "She must, then, be very beautiful indeed; how happy you have been! Could not I see her? Ah, dear Charlotte, do lend me your yellow dress which you wear every day."

"Yes, to be sure!" cried Charlotte; "lend my clothes to such a dirty Cinderwench as you are! I should be such a fool."

Cinderella, indeed, well expected such an answer, and was very glad of the refusal; for she would have been sadly put to it, if her sister had lent her what she asked for jestingly.

The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was Cinderella, but dressed even more magnificently than before. The king's son was always by her, and never ceased his compliments and kind speeches to her. All this was so far from being tiresome to her, and, indeed, she quite forgot what her godmother had told her. She thought that it was no later than eleven when she counted the clock striking twelve. She jumped up and fled, as nimble as a deer. The prince followed, but could not overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers, which the prince picked up most carefully. She reached home, but quite out of breath, and in her nasty old clothes, having nothing left of all her finery but one of the little slippers, the mate to the one that she had dropped.

The guards at the palace gate were asked if they had not seen a princess go out. They replied that they had seen nobody leave but a young girl, very shabbily dressed, and who had more the air of a poor country wench than a gentlewoman.

When the two sisters returned from the ball Cinderella asked them if they had been well entertained, and if the fine lady had been there.

They told her, yes, but that she hurried away immediately when it struck twelve, and with so much haste that she dropped one of her little glass slippers, the prettiest in the world, which the king's son had picked up; that he had done nothing but look at her all the time at the ball, and that most certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful person who owned the glass slipper.

What they said was very true; for a few days later, the king's son had it proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, that he would marry her whose foot this slipper would just fit. They began to try it on the princesses, then the duchesses and all the court, but in vain; it was brought to the two sisters, who did all they possibly could to force their foot into the slipper, but they did not succeed.

Cinderella, who saw all this, and knew that it was her slipper, said to them, laughing, "Let me see if it will not fit me."

Her sisters burst out laughing, and began to banter with her. The gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome, said that it was only just that she should try as well, and that he had orders to let everyone try.

He had Cinderella sit down, and, putting the slipper to her foot, he found that it went on very easily, fitting her as if it had been made of wax. Her two sisters were greatly astonished, but then even more so, when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper, and put it on her other foot. Then in came her godmother and touched her wand to Cinderella's clothes, making them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had worn before.

And now her two sisters found her to be that fine, beautiful lady whom they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all the ill treatment they had made her undergo. Cinderella took them up, and, as she embraced them, said that she forgave them with all her heart, and wanted them always to love her.

She was taken to the young prince, dressed as she was. He thought she was more charming than before, and, a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords of the court.

Moral: Beauty in a woman is a rare treasure that will always be admired. Graciousness, however, is priceless and of even greater value. This is what Cinderella's godmother gave to her when she taught her to behave like a queen. Young women, in the winning of a heart, graciousness is more important than a beautiful hairdo. It is a true gift of the fairies. Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.
Another moral: Without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense. These, and similar talents come only from heaven, and it is good to have them. However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a godfather or a godmother.


Germany (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm)

Once upon a time there was a rich man who lived happily for a long time with his wife. Together they had a single daughter. Then the woman became ill, and when she was lying on her deathbed, she called her daughter to her side, and said, "Dear child, I must leave you now, but I will look down on you from heaven. Plant a little tree on my grave, and when you want something, just shake the tree, and you shall get what you want. I will help you in time of need. Just remain pious and good." Then she closed her eyes and died. The child cried, and planted a little tree on her mother's grave. She did not need to carry any water to it, because her tears provided all the water that it needed.

The snow fell over the mother's grave like a white cloth; then after the sun had retired from it a second time, and the little tree had become green a second time, the man took another wife.

The stepmother already had two daughters by her first husband. They were beautiful to look at, but in their hearts they were proud, arrogant, and evil. After the wedding was over, the three moved into the man's house, and times grew very bad for his poor child.

"What is that useless creature doing in the best room?" asked the stepmother. "Away to the kitchen with her! And if she wants to eat, then she must earn it. She can be our maid."

Her stepsisters took her dresses away from her and made her wear an old gray skirt. "That is good enough for you!" they said, making fun of her and leading her into the kitchen. Then the poor child had to do the most difficult work. She had to get up before sunrise, carry water, make the fire, cook, and wash. To add to her misery, her stepsisters ridiculed her and then scattered peas and lentils into the ashes, and she had to spend the whole day sorting them out again. At night when she was tired, there was no bed for her to sleep in, but she had to lie down next to the hearth in the ashes. Because she was always dirty with ashes and dust, they gave her the name Cinderella.

The time came when the king announced a ball. It was to last, in all splendor, for three days, and there his son, the prince, would choose a wife for himself. The two proud sisters were invited. "Cinderella," they cried, "Come here. Comb our hair. Brush our shoes, and tighten our laces. We are going to the prince's ball."

Cinderella did the best that she could, but they rewarded her only with curses. When they were ready, they said with scorn, "Cinderella, wouldn't you like to go to the ball?"

"Oh, yes. But how can I go? I don't have a dress."

"No," said the oldest one, "and we would be ashamed if you were to be seen there, and people learned that you are our sister. You belong in the kitchen. Here is a basin of lentils. Sort the good ones from the bad ones, and if there is a single bad one in the lot when we return, you can expect the worst."

With that, they left. Cinderella stood and watched until she could no longer see them. Then she sadly went into the kitchen and spread the lentils out over the hearth. There was a very, very large pile of them. "Oh," she said with a sigh. "I'll have to sit here sorting lentils until midnight, and I can't close my eyes, no matter how much they hurt. If only my mother knew about this!"

She kneeled down in the ashes next to the hearth and was about to begin her work when two white pigeons flew in through the window. They lit on the hearth next to the lentils. Nodding their heads, they said, "Cinderella, do you want us to help you sort the lentils?"

"Yes," she answered:

The bad ones go into your crop,
The good ones go into the pot.

And peck, peck, peck, peck, they started at once, eating up the bad ones and leaving the good ones lying. In only a quarter of an hour there was not a single bad lentil among the good ones, and she brushed them all into the pot.

Then the pigeons said to her, "Cinderella, if you would like to see your sisters dancing with the prince, just climb up to the pigeon roost." She followed them and climbed to the top rung of the ladder to the pigeon roost. There she could see into the hall, and she saw her sisters dancing with the prince. Everything glistened by the glow of a thousand lights. After she had seen enough, she climbed back down. With a heavy heart she lay down in the ashes and fell asleep.

The next morning the two sisters came to the kitchen. They were angry when they saw that she had sorted the lentils, for they wanted to scold her. Because they could not, they began telling her about the ball. They said, "Cinderella, it was so grand at the ball. The prince, who is the best looking man in the whole world, escorted us, and he is going to choose one of us to be his wife."

"Yes," said Cinderella, "I saw the glistening lights. It must have been magnificent."

"Now just how did you do that?" asked the oldest one.

"By standing up there on the pigeon roost."

When she heard this, her envy drove her to have the pigeon roost torn down immediately.

Cinderella had to comb their hair and get them ready again. The youngest sister, who had a little sympathy in her heart, said, "Cinderella, when it gets dark you can go and look through the windows from the outside."

"No!" said the oldest one. "That would only make her lazy. Here is a sackful of seeds. Sort the good ones from the bad ones, and do it well. If tomorrow there are any bad ones in the lot, then I will dump the whole sackful into the ashes, and you will have to go without eating until you have picked them all out again."

Cinderella sadly sat down on the hearth and spread out the seeds. The pigeons flew in again, and said, "Cinderella, do you want us to help you sort the seeds?"

"Yes," she answered:

The bad ones go into your crop,
The good ones go into the pot.

Peck, peck, peck, peck, it went as fast as if twelve hands were at work. When they were finished, the pigeons said, "Cinderella, would you like to go dancing at the ball?"

"Oh, my goodness," she said, "how could I go in these dirty clothes?"

"Just go to the little tree on your mother's grave, shake it, and wish yourself some beautiful clothes. But come back before midnight."

So Cinderella went and shook the little tree, and said:

Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree.
Throw some nice clothing down to me!

She had scarcely spoken these words when a splendid silver dress fell down before her. With it were pearls, silk stockings with silver decorations, silver slippers, and everything else that she needed. Cinderella carried it all home. After she had washed herself and put on the beautiful clothing, she was as beautiful as a rose washed in dew. She went to the front door, and there was a carriage with six black horses all decorated with feathers, and servants dressed in blue and silver. They helped her into the carriage, and away they galloped to the king's castle.

The prince saw the carriage stop before the gate, and thought that a foreign princess was arriving. He himself walked down the steps, helped Cinderella out, and escorted her into the hall. Many thousand lights shone upon her, and she was so beautiful that everyone there was amazed. The sisters stood there, angry that someone was more beautiful than they were, but they had no idea that it was Cinderella, who they thought was lying at home in the ashes. The prince danced with Cinderella and paid her every royal honor. He thought to himself, "I am supposed to choose myself a bride. I will have no one but her."

However long she had suffered in ashes and sorrow, Cinderella was now living in splendor and joy. As midnight approached, before the clock struck twelve, she stood up, bowed, and said that she had to go, in spite of the prince's requests for her to stay. The prince escorted her out. Her carriage stood there waiting for her. And she rode away just as splendidly as she had come.

Back at home, Cinderella returned to the tree on her mother's grave, and said:
Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree!
Take the clothing back from me!

The tree took back the clothes. Cinderella put on her old ash-dress again, went home, dirtied her face, and lay down in the ashes to sleep.

The next morning the two sisters came in looking out of sorts, and without saying a word. Cinderella said, "Did you have a good time yesterday evening?"

"No. A princess was there who danced with the prince almost the whole time, but no one knew who she was nor where she came from."

"Was she the one in the splendid carriage drawn by six black horses?" asked Cinderella.

"How did you know that?"

"I was standing in the front door when she rode by the house."

"In the future do not leave your work," said the oldest one, giving Cinderella an evil look. "What were you doing, standing in the front door?"

Cinderella had to get her sisters ready a third time. Her reward was a basin filled with peas, which she was supposed to sort. "And do not dare to leave your work," shouted the oldest one, as she was leaving.

Cinderella thought, "If only my pigeons will come again," and her heart beat a little faster. The pigeons did come, just as they had the evening before, and said, "Cinderella, would you like us to help you sort the peas."

"Yes," she said:

The bad ones go into your crop,
The good ones go into the pot.

Once again the pigeons picked out the bad ones, and soon they were finished. Then they said, "Cinderella, shake the little tree, and it will throw down even more beautiful clothes. Go to the ball, but be careful to come back before midnight." Cinderella went and said:

Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree.
Throw some nice clothing down to me!

Then a dress fell down that was even more magnificent and more splendid than the other one, made entirely of gold and precious stones. With it were stockings decorated with gold, and slippers made of gold. Cinderella put them on, and she glistened like the sun at midday. A carriage with six white horses pulled up at the door. The horses had tall white plumes on their heads, and the servants were dressed in red and gold.

When Cinderella arrived, the prince was waiting for her at the stairway. He escorted her into the hall. If everyone had been astounded at her beauty yesterday, today they were even more astounded. The sisters stood in the corner, pale with envy. If they had known that this was Cinderella, who they thought was at home lying in the ashes, they would have died of jealousy.

The prince wanted to know who the foreign princess was, where she was from, and where she was going. He placed his people in the street to keep watch. To prevent her from running away so fast, he had the stairway covered with pitch. Cinderella danced with the prince again and again. Filled with joy, she did not think about midnight. Suddenly, in the middle of a dance, she heard the clock strike. She suddenly remembered what the pigeons had warned her. Frightened, she rushed to the door and ran down the stairs. Because they were covered with pitch, one of her golden slippers stuck fast, and in her fear she did not think to pick it up. She reached the last step just as the clock struck twelve. The carriage and the horses disappeared, and Cinderella was left standing there in the dark street dressed in her ash-clothes.

The prince had rushed after her. He found the golden slipper on the stairway, pulled it loose, and picked it up. But by the time he arrived below, she had disappeared. The people whom he had ordered to keep watch came and said that they had seen nothing.

Cinderella was glad that it had not been worse. She returned home, lit her simple oil lamp, hung it in the chimney, and lay down in the ashes. Before long the two sisters returned, and called out, "Cinderella, get up and light the way for us."

Cinderella yawned and acted as though she had been asleep. While lighting their way, she heard one of them say, "God knows who the cursed princess is. I wish that she were lying beneath the earth! The prince danced only with her, and after she left, he did not want to stay any longer, and the whole party came to an end."

"It was as though they suddenly blew out all the lights," said the other one. Cinderella knew exactly who the foreign princess was, but she did not say a word.

Now the prince decided that since nothing else had succeeded, he would let the slipper help him find his bride. He had it proclaimed that he would marry the person whose foot fit the golden slipper. But it was too small for everyone. Indeed, some could not have gotten their foot inside, if it had been twice as large. Finally it came time for the two sisters to try on the slipper. They were happy, for they had small, beautiful feet, and each one believed that she could not fail. "If only the prince would come here sooner!" they thought.

"Listen," said the mother secretly. "Take this knife, and if the slipper is too tight, just cut off part of your foot. It will hurt a little, but what harm is that? The pain will soon pass, and then one of you will be queen." Then the oldest one went to her bedroom and tried on the slipper. The front of her foot went in, but her heel was too large, so she took the knife and cut part of it off, so she could force her foot into the slipper. Then she went out to the prince, and when he saw that she was wearing the slipper, he said that she was to be his bride. He escorted her to his carriage and was going to drive away with her. When he arrived at the gate, the two pigeons were perched above, and they called out:

Rook di goo, rook di goo!
There's blood in the shoe.
The shoe is too tight,
This bride is not right!

The prince bent over and looked at the slipper. Blood was streaming from it. He saw that he had been deceived, and he took the false bride back.

The mother then said to her second daughter, "Take the slipper, and if it is too short for you, then cut off your toes." So she took the slipper into her bedroom, and because her foot was too long, she bit her teeth together, and cut off a large part of her toes, then quickly pulled on the slipper. When she stepped out wearing it, the prince thought that she was the right one, and wanted to ride away with her. But when they came to the gate, the pigeons again called out:

Rook di goo, rook di goo!
There's blood in the shoe.
The shoe is too tight,
This bride is not right!

The prince looked down and saw that her white stockings were stained red, and that blood and had come up high on them. The prince took her back to her mother and said, "She is not the right bride either. Is there not another daughter here in this house?"

"No," said the mother. "There is only a dirty cinder girl here. She is sitting down there in the ashes. The slipper would never fit her." She did not want to call her, but the prince insisted. So they called Cinderella, and when she heard that the prince was there, she quickly washed her hands and face. She stepped into the best room and bowed. The prince handed her the golden slipper, and said, "Try it on. If it fits you, you shall be my wife." She pulled the heavy shoe from her left foot, then put her foot into the slipper, pushing ever so slightly. It fit as if it had been poured over her foot. As she straightened herself up, she looked into the prince's face, and he recognized her as the beautiful princess. He cried out, "This is the right bride." The stepmother and the two proud sisters turned pale with horror. The prince escorted Cinderella away. He helped her into his carriage, and as they rode through the gate, the pigeons called out:

Rook di goo, rook di goo!
No blood's in the shoe.
The shoe's not too tight,
This bride is right!

Katie Woodencloak

Norway (Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe)

Once on a time there was a king who had become a widower. By his queen he had one daughter, who was so clever and lovely, there wasn't a cleverer or lovelier princess in all the world. So the king went on a long time sorrowing for the queen, whom he had loved so much, but at last he got weary of living alone, and married another queen, who was a widow, and had, too, an only daughter; but this daughter was just as bad and ugly as the other was kind, and clever, and lovely. The stepmother and her daughter were jealous of the princess, because she was so lovely; but so long as the king was at home they daren't do her any harm, he was so fond of her.

Well, after a time he fell into war with another king, and went out to battle with his host, and then the stepmother thought she might do as she pleased; and so she both starved and beat the princess, and was after her in every hole and corner of the house. At last she thought everything too good for her, and turned her out to herd cattle. So there she went about with the cattle, and herded them in the woods and on the fells. As for food, she got little or none, and she grew thin and wan, and was always sobbing and sorrowful. Now in the herd there was a great dun bull, which always kept himself so neat and sleek, and often and often he came up to the princess, and let her pat him. So one day when she sat there, sad, and sobbing, and sorrowful, he came up to her and asked her outright why she was always in such grief. She answered nothing, but went on weeping.

"Ah!" said the bull, "I know all about it quite well, though you won't tell me; you weep because the queen is bad to you, and because she is ready to starve you to death. But food you've no need to fret about, for in my left ear lies a cloth, and when you take and spread it out, you may have as many dishes as you please."

So she did that, took the cloth and spread it out on the grass, and lo! it served up the nicest dishes one could wish to have; there was wine too, and mead, and sweet cake. Well, she soon got up her flesh again, and grew so plump, and rosy, and white, that the queen and her scrawny chip of a daughter turned blue and yellow for spite. The queen couldn't at all make out how her stepdaughter got to look so well on such bad fare, so she told one of her maids to go after her in the wood, and watch and see how it all was, for she thought some of the servants in the house must give her food. So the maid went after her, and watched in the wood, and then she saw how the stepdaughter took the cloth out of the bull's ear, and spread it out, and how it served up the nicest dishes, which the stepdaughter ate and made good cheer over. All this the maid told the queen when she went home.

And now the king came home from war, and had won the fight against the other king with whom he went out to battle. So there was great joy throughout the palace, and no one was gladder than the king's daughter. But the queen shammed sick, and took to her bed, and paid the doctor a great fee to get him to say she could never be well again unless she had some of the dun bull's flesh to eat. Both the king's daughter and the folk in the palace asked the doctor if nothing else would help her, and prayed hard for the bull, for everyone was fond of him, and they all said there wasn't that bull's match in all the land. But no; he must and should be slaughtered, nothing else would do. When the king's daughter heard that, she got very sorrowful, and went down into the byre to the bull. There, too, he stood and hung down his head, and looked so downcast that she began to weep over him.

"What are you weeping for?" asked the bull.

So she told him how the king had come home again, and how the queen had shammed sick and got the doctor to say she could never be well and sound again unless she got some of the dun bull's flesh to eat, and so now he was to be slaughtered.

"If they get me killed first," said the bull, "they'll soon take your life too. Now, if you're of my mind, we'll just start off, and go away tonight."

''Well, the princess thought it bad, you may be sure, to go and leave her father, but she thought it still worse to be in the house with the queen; and so she gave her word to the bull to come to him.

At night, when all had gone to bed, the princess stole down to the byre to the bull, and so he took her on his back, and set off from the homestead as fast as ever he could. And when the folk got up at cockcrow next morning to slaughter the bull, why, he was gone; and when the king got up and asked for his daughter, she was gone too. He sent out messengers on all sides to hunt for them, and gave them out in all the parish churches; but there was no one who had caught a glimpse of them. Meanwhile, the bull went through many lands with the king's daughter on his back, and so one day they came to a great copper wood, where both the trees, and branches, and leaves, and flowers, and everything, were nothing but copper.

But before they went into the wood, the bull said to the king's daughter, "Now, when we get into this wood, mind you take care not to touch even a leaf of it, else it's all over both with me and you, for here dwells a troll with three heads who owns this wood."

No, bless her, she'd be sure to take care not to touch anything. Well, she was very careful, and leant this way and that to miss the boughs, and put them gently aside with her hands; but it was such a thick wood, 'twas scarce possible to get through; and so, with all her pains, somehow or other she tore off a leaf, which she held in her hand.

"AU! AU! what have you done now?" said the bull; "there's nothing for it now but to fight for life or death; but mind you keep the leaf safe."

Soon after they got to the end of the wood, and a troll with three heads came running up. "Who is this that touches my wood?" said the troll.

"It's just as much mine as yours," said the bull.

"Ah!" roared the troll, "we'll try a fall about that."

"As you choose," said the bull

So they rushed at one another, and fought; and the bull he butted, and gored, and kicked with all his might and main; but the troll gave him as good as he brought, and it lasted the whole day before the bull got the mastery; and then he was so full of wounds, and so worn out, he could scarce lift a leg. Then they were forced to stay there a day to rest, and then the bull bade the king's daughter to take the horn of ointment which hung at the troll's belt, and rub him with it. Then he came to himself again, and the day after they trudged on again. So they traveled many, many days, until, after a long, long time, they came to a silver wood, where both the trees, and branches, and leaves, and flowers, and everything, were silvern.

Before the bull went into the wood, he said to the king's daughter, "Now, when we get into this wood, for heaven's sake mind you take good care; you mustn't touch anything, and not pluck off so much as one leaf, else it is all over both with me and you; for here is a troll with six heads who owns it, and him I don't think I should be able to master."

"No," said the king's daughter; "I'll take good care and not touch anything you don't wish me to touch."

But when they got into the wood, it was so close and thick, they could scarce get along. She was as careful as careful could be, and leant to this side and that to miss the boughs, and put them on one side with her hands, but every minute the branches struck her across the eyes, and, in spite of all her pains, it so happened she tore off a leaf.

"AU! AU! what have you done now?" said the bull. "There's nothing for it now but to fight for life and death, for this troll has six heads, and is twice as strong as the other, but mind you keep the leaf safe, and don't lose it."

Just as he said that, up came the troll. "Who is this," he said, "that touches my wood?"

"It's as much mine as yours," said the bull.

"That we'll try a fall about," roared the troll

"As you choose," said the bull, and rushed at the troll, and gored out his eyes, and drove his horns right through his body, so that the entrails gushed out; but the troll was almost a match for him, and it lasted three whole days before the bull got the life gored out of him. But then he, too, was so weak and wretched, it was as much as he could do to stir a limb, and so full of wounds, that the blood streamed from him. So he said to the king's daughter she must take the horn of ointment that hung at the troll's belt, and rub him with it. Then she did that, and he came to himself; but they were forced to stay there a week to rest before the bull had strength enough to go on.

At last they set off again, but the bull was still poorly, and they went rather slow at first. So to spare time the king's daughter said as she was young and light of foot, she could very well walk, but she couldn't get leave to do that. No; she must seat herself up on his back again. So on they traveled through many lands a long time, and the king's daughter did not know in the least whither they went; but after a long, long time they came to a gold wood. It was so grand, the gold dropped from every twig, and all the trees, and boughs, and flowers, and leaves, were of pure gold. Here, too, the same thing happened as had happened in the silver wood and copper wood. The bull told the king's daughter she mustn't touch it for anything, for there was a troll with nine heads who owned it, and he was much bigger and stouter than both the others put together, and he didn't think he could get the better of him. No; she'd be sure to take heed not to touch it; that he might know very well. But when they got into the wood, it was far thicker and closer than the silver wood, and the deeper they went into it the worse it got. The wood went on getting thicker and thicker, and closer and closer; and at last she thought there was no way at all to get through it. She was in such an awful fright of plucking off anything, that she sat, and twisted and turned herself this way and that, and hither and thither, to keep clear of the boughs, and she put them on one side with her hands; but every moment the branches struck her across the eyes, so that she couldn't see what she was clutching at; and lo! before she knew how it came about, she had a gold apple in her hand. Then she was so bitterly sorry she burst into tears and wanted to throw it away; but the bull said she must keep it safe and watch it well, and comforted her as well as he could; but he thought it would be a hard tussle, and he doubted how it would go.

Just then up came the troll with the nine heads, and he was so ugly, the king's daughter scarcely dared to look at him. "Who is this that touches my wood?" he roared.

"It's just as much mine as yours," said the bull.

"That we'll try a fall about," roared the troll again.

"Just as you choose," said the bull; and so they rushed at one another, and fought, and it was such a dreadful sight the king's daughter was ready to swoon away. The bull gored out the troll's eyes, and drove his horns through and through his body, till the entrails came tumbling out; but the troll fought bravely; and when the bull got one head gored to death, the rest breathed life into it again, and so it lasted a whole week before the bull was able to get the life out of them all. But then he was utterly worn out and wretched. He couldn't stir a foot, and his body was all one wound. He couldn't so much as ask the king's daughter to take the horn of ointment which hung at the troll's belt, and rub it over him. But she did it all the same, and then he came to himself by little and little; but they had to lie there and rest three weeks before he was fit to go on again.

Then they set off at a snail's pace, for the bull said they had still a little farther to go, and so they crossed over many high hills and thick woods. So after a while they got upon the fells.

"Do you see anything?" asked the bull.

"No, I see nothing but the sky and the wild fell," said the king's daughter.

So when they climbed higher up, the fell got smoother, and they could see farther off.

"Do you see anything now?" asked the bull.

"Yes, I see a little castle far, far away," said the princess.

"That's not so little though," said the bull.

After a long, long time, they came to a great cairn, where there was a spur of the fell that stood sheer across the way.

"Do you see anything now?" asked the bull.

"Yes, now I see the castle close by," said the king's daughter, "and now it is much, much bigger."

"Thither you're to go," said the bull. "Right underneath the castle is a pigsty, where you are to dwell. When you come thither you'll find a wooden cloak, all made of strips of lath; that you must put on, and go up to the castle and say your name is Katie Woodencloak, and ask for a place. But before you go, you must take your penknife and cut my head off, and then you must flay me, and roll up the hide, and lay it under the wall of rock yonder, and under the hide you must lay the copper leaf, and the silvern leaf, and the golden apple. Yonder, up against the rock, stands a stick; and when you want anything, you've only got to knock on the wall of rock with that stick."

At first she wouldn't do anything of the kind; but when the bull said it was the only thanks he would have for what he had done for her, she couldn't help herself. So, however much it grieved her heart, she hacked and cut away with her knife at the big beast till she got both his head and his hide off, and then she laid the hide up under the wall of rock, and put the copper leaf, and the silvern leaf, and the golden apple inside it.

So when she had done that, she went over to the pigsty, but all the while she went she sobbed and wept. There she put on the wooden cloak, and so went up to the palace. When she came into the kitchen she begged for a place, and told them her name was Katie Woodencloak. Yes, the cook said she might have a place -- she might have leave to be there in the scullery, and wash up, for the lassie who did that work before had just gone away.

"But as soon as you get weary of being here, you'll go your way too, I'll be bound."

No; she was sure she wouldn't do that.

So there she was, behaving so well, and washing up so handily. The Sunday after there were to be strange guests at the palace, so Katie asked if she might have leave to carry up water for the prince's bath; but all the rest laughed at her, and said, "What should you do there? Do you think the prince will care to look at you, you who are such a fright?"

But she wouldn't give it up, and kept on begging and praying; and at last she got leave. So when she went up the stairs, her wooden cloak made such a clatter, the prince came out and asked, "Pray, who are you?"

"Oh, I was just going to bring up water for your Royal Highness's bath," said Katie.

"Do you think now," said the prince, "I'd have anything to do with the water you bring?" and with that he threw the water over her.

So she had to put up with that, but then she asked leave to go to church; well, she got that leave too, for the church lay close by. But first of all she went to the rock, and knocked on its face with the stick which stood there, just as the bull had said. And straightway out came a man, who said, "What's your will?"

So the princess said she had got leave to go to church and hear the priest preach, but she had no clothes to go in. So he brought out a kirtle, which was as bright as the copper wood, and she got a horse and saddle beside. Now, when she got to the church, she was so lovely and grand, all wondered who she could be, and scarce one of them listened to what the priest said, for they looked too much at her. As for the prince, he fell so deep in love with her, he didn't take his eyes off her for a single moment.

So, as she went out of church, the prince ran after her, and held the church door open for her; and so he got hold of one of her gloves, which was caught in the door. When she went away and mounted her horse, the prince went up to her again, and asked whence she came.

"Oh, I'm from Bath," said Katie; and while the prince took out the glove to give it to her, she said:

Bright before and dark behind,
Clouds come rolling on the wind;
That this prince may never see
Where my good steed goes with me.

The prince had never seen the like of that glove, and went about far and wide asking after the land whence the proud lady, who rode off without her glove, said she came; but there was no one who could tell where "Bath" lay.

Next Sunday some one had to go up to the prince with a towel.

"Oh, may I have leave to go up with it?" said Katie.

"What's the good of your going?" said the others; "you saw how it fared with you last time."

But Katie wouldn't give in; she kept on begging and praying, till she got leave; and then she ran up the stairs, so that her wooden cloak made a great clatter. Out came the prince, and when he saw it was Katie, he tore the towel out of her hand, and threw it into her face.

"Pack yourself off, you ugly troll," he cried; "do you think I'd have a towel which you have touched with your smutty fingers?"

After that the prince set off to church, and Katie begged for leave to go too. They all asked what business she had at church -- she who had nothing to put on but that wooden cloak, which was so black and ugly. But Katie said the priest was such a brave man to preach, what he said did her so much good; and so at last she got leave. Now she went again to the rock and knocked, and so out came the man, and gave her a kirtle far finer than the first one; it was all covered with silver, and it shone like the silver wood; and she got besides a noble steed, with a saddlecloth broidered with silver, and a silver bit.

So when the king's daughter got to the church, the folk were still standing about in the churchyard. And all wondered and wondered who she could be, and the prince was soon on the spot, and came and wished to hold her horse for her while she got off. But she jumped down, and said there was no need, for her horse was so well broke, it stood still when she bade it, and came when she called it.

So they all went into church, but there was scarce a soul that listened to what the priest said, for they looked at her a deal too much; and the prince fell still deeper in love than the first time.

When the sermon was over, and she went out of church. and was going to mount her horse, up came the prince again and asked her whence she came.

"Oh, I'm from Towelland," said the king's daughter; and as she said that, she dropped her riding whip, and when the prince stooped to pick it up, she said:

Bright before and dark behind,
Clouds come rolling on the wind;
That this prince may never see
Where my good steed goes with me.

So away she was again; and the prince couldn't tell what had become of her. He went about far and wide, asking after the land whence she said she came, but there was no one who could tell him where it lay; and so the prince had to make the best he could of it.

Next Sunday someone had to go up to the prince with a comb. Katie begged for leave to go up with it, but the others put her in mind how she had fared the last time, and scolded her for wishing to go before the prince -- such a black and ugly fright as she was in her wooden cloak. But she wouldn't leave off asking till they let her go up to the prince with his comb. So, when she came clattering up the stairs again, out came the prince, and took the comb, and threw it at her, and bade her be off as fast as she could. After that the prince went to church, and Katie begged for leave to go too. They asked again what business she had there, she who was so foul and black, and who had no clothes to show herself in. Might be the prince or some one else would see her, and then both she and all the others would smart for it; but Katie said they had something else to do than to look at her; and she wouldn't leave off begging and praying till they gave her leave to go.

So the same thing happened now as had happened twice before. She went to the rock and knocked with the stick, and then the man came out and gave her a kirtle which was far grander than either of the others. It was almost all pure gold, and studded with diamonds; and she got besides a noble steed, with a gold broidered saddlecloth and a golden bit.

Now when the king's daughter got to the church, there stood the priest and all the people in the churchyard waiting for her. Up came the prince running, and wanted to hold her horse, but she jumped off, and said, "No; thanks -- there's no need, for my horse is so well broke, it stands still when I bid him."

So they all hastened into church, and the priest got into the pulpit, but no one listened to a word he said; for they all looked too much at her, and wondered whence she came; and the prince, he was far deeper in love than either of the former times. He had no eyes, or ears, or sense for anything, but just to sit and stare at her.

So when the sermon was over, and the king's daughter was to go out of the church, the prince had got a firkin of pitch poured out in the porch, that he might come and help her over it; but she didn't care a bit -- she just put her foot right down into the midst of the pitch, and jumped across it; but then one of her golden shoes stuck fast in it, and as she got on her horse, up came the prince running out of the church, and asked whence she came.

"I'm from Combland," said Katie. But when the prince wanted to reach her the gold shoe, she said:

Bright before and dark behind,
Clouds come rolling on the wind;
That this prince may never see
Where my good steed goes with me.

So the prince couldn't tell still what had become of her, and he went about a weary time all over the world asking for "Combland," but when no one could tell him where it lay, he ordered it to be given out everywhere that he would wed the woman whose foot could fit the gold shoe.

So many came of all sorts from all sides, fair and ugly alike; but there was no one who had so small a foot as to be able to get on the gold shoe. And after a long, long time, who should come but Katie's wicked stepmother, and her daughter, too, and her the gold shoe fitted; but ugly she was, and so loathly she looked, the prince only kept his word sore against his will. Still they got ready the wedding feast, and she was dressed up and decked out as a bride; but as they rode to church, a little bird sat upon a tree and sang:

A bit off her heel,
And a bit off her toe;
Katie Woodencloak's tiny shoe
Is full of blood -- that's all I know.

And, sure enough, when they looked to it, the bird told the truth, for blood gushed out of the shoe.

Then all the maids and women who were about the palace had to go up to try on the shoe, but there was none of them whom it would fit at all.

"But where's Katie Woodencloak?" asked the prince, when all the rest had tried the shoe, for he understood the song of birds very well, and bore in mind what the little bird had said.

"Oh, she! think of that!" said the rest; it's no good her coming forward. "Why, she's legs like a horse."

"Very true, I daresay," said the prince; "but since all the others have tried, Katie may as well try too."

"Katie!" he bawled out through the door; and Katie came trampling upstairs, and her wooden cloak clattered as if a whole regiment of dragoons were charging up.

"Now, you must try the shoe on, and be a princess, you too," said the other maids, and laughed and made game of her.

So Katie took up the shoe, and put her foot into it like nothing, and threw off her wooden cloak; and so there she stood in her gold kirtle, and it shone so that the sunbeams glistened from her; and, lo! on her other foot she had the fellow to the gold shoe.

So when the prince knew her again, he grew so glad, he ran up to her and threw his arms round her, and gave her a kiss; and when he heard she was a king's daughter, he got gladder still, and then came the wedding-feast; and so

Snip, snip, snover,
This story's over.

Fair, Brown, and Trembling

Ireland (Jeremiah Curtin)

King Aedh Cúrucha lived in Tir Conal, and he had three daughters, whose names were Fair, Brown, and Trembling.

Fair and Brown had new dresses, and went to church every Sunday. Trembling was kept at home to do the cooking and work. They would not let her go out of the house at all; for she was more beautiful than the other two, and they were in dread she might marry before themselves.

They carried on in this way for seven years. At the end of seven years the son of the king of Omanya [the ancient Emania in Ulster] fell in love with the eldest sister.

One Sunday morning, after the other two had gone to church, the old henwife came into the kitchen to Trembling, and said, "It's at church you ought to be this day, instead of working here at home."

"How could I go?" said Trembling. "I have no clothes good enough to wear at church; and if my sisters were to see me there, they'd kill me for going out of the house."

"I'll give you," said the henwife, "a finer dress than either of them has ever seen. And now tell me what dress will you have?"

"I'll have," said Trembling, "a dress as white as snow, and green shoes for my feet."

The henwife put on the cloak of darkness, clipped a piece from the old clothes the young woman had on, and asked for the whitest robes in the world and the most beautiful that could be found, and a pair of green shoes.

That moment she had the robe and the shoes, and she brought them to Trembling, who put them on. When Trembling was dressed and ready, the henwife said, "I have a honey-bird here to sit on your right shoulder, and a honey-finger to put on your left. At the door stands a milk-white mare, with a golden saddle for you to sit on, and a golden bridle to hold in your hand."

Trembling sat on the golden saddle; and when she was ready to start, the henwife said, "You must not go inside the door of the church, and the minute the people rise up at the end of mass, do you make off, and ride home as fast as the mare will carry you."

When Trembling came to the door of the church there was no one inside who could get a glimpse of her but was striving to know who she was; and when they saw her hurrying away at the end of mass, they ran out to overtake her. But no use in their running; she was away before any man could come near her. From the minute she left the church till she got home, she overtook the wind before her, and outstripped the wind behind.

She came down at the door, went in, and found the henwife had dinner ready. She put off the white robes, and had on her old dress in a twinkling.

When the two sisters came home the henwife asked, "Have you any news today from the church?"

"We have great news," said they. "We saw a wonderful, grand lady at the church door. The like of the robes she had we have never seen on woman before. It's little that was thought of our dresses beside what she had on; and there wasn't a man at the church, from the king to the beggar, but was trying to look at her and know who she was."

The sisters would give no peace till they had two dresses like the robes of the strange lady; but honey-birds and honey-fingers were not to be found.

Next Sunday the two sisters went to church again, and left the youngest at home to cook the dinner.

After they had gone, the henwife came in and asked, "Will you go to church today?"

"I would go," said Trembling, "if I could get the going."

"What robe will you wear?" asked the henwife.

"The finest black satin that can be found, and red shoes for my feet."

"What color do you want the mare to be?"

"I want her to be so black and so glossy that I can see myself in her body."

The henwife put on the cloak of darkness, and asked for the robes and the mare. That moment she had them. When Trembling was dressed, the henwife put the honey-bird on her right shoulder and the honey-finger on her left. The saddle on the mare was silver, and so was the bridle.

When Trembling sat in the saddle and was going away, the henwife ordered her strictly not to go inside the door of the church, but to rush away as soon as the people rose at the end of mass, and hurry home on the mare before any man could stop her.

That Sunday the people were more astonished than ever, and gazed at her more than the first time; and all they were thinking of was to know who she was. But they had no chance; for the moment the people rose at the end of mass she slipped from the church, was in the silver saddle, and home before a man could stop her or talk to her.

The henwife had the dinner ready. Trembling took off her satin robe, and had on her old clothes before her sisters got home.

"What news have you today?" asked the henwife of the sisters when they came from the church.

"Oh, we saw the grand strange lady again! And it's little that any man could think of our dresses after looking at the robes of satin that she had on! And all at church, from high to low, had their mouths open, gazing at her, and no man was looking at us."

The two sisters gave neither rest nor peace till they got dresses as nearly like the strange lady's robes as they could find. Of course they were not so good; for the like of those robes could not be found in Erin.

When the third Sunday came, Fair and Brown went to church dressed in black satin. They left Trembling at home to work in the kitchen, and told her to be sure and have dinner ready when they came back.

After they had gone and were out of sight, the henwife came to the kitchen and said, "Well, my dear, are you for church today?"

"I would go if I had a new dress to wear."

"I'll get you any dress you ask for. What dress would you like?" asked the henwife.

"A dress red as a rose from the waist down, and white as snow from the waist up; a cape of green on my shoulders; and a hat on my head with a red, a white, and a green feather in it; and shoes for my feet with the toes red, the middle white, and the backs and heels green."

The henwife put on the cloak of darkness, wished for all these things, and had them. When Trembling was dressed, the henwife put the honey-bird on her right shoulder and the honey-finger on her left, and placing the hat on her head, clipped a few hairs from one lock and a few from another with her scissors, and that moment the most beautiful golden hair was flowing down over the girl's shoulders. Then the henwife asked what kind of a mare she would ride. She said white, with blue and gold-colored diamond-shaped spots all over her body, on her back a saddle of gold, and on her head a golden bridle.

The mare stood there before the door, and a bird sitting between her ears, which began to sing as soon as Trembling was in the saddle, and never stopped till she came home from the church.

The fame of the beautiful strange lady had gone out through the world, and all the princes and great men that were in it came to church that Sunday, each one hoping that it was himself would have her home with him after mass.

The son of the king of Omanya forgot all about the eldest sister, and remained outside the church, so as to catch the strange lady before she could hurry away.

The church was more crowded than ever before, and there were three times as many outside. There was such a throng before the church that Trembling could only come inside the gate.

As soon as the people were rising at the end of mass, the lady slipped out through the gate, was in the golden saddle in an instant, and sweeping away ahead of the wind. But if she was, the prince of Omanya was at her side, and, seizing her by the foot, he ran with the mare for thirty perches, and never let go of the beautiful lady till the shoe was pulled from her foot, and he was left behind with it in his had. She came home as fast as the mare could carry her, and was thinking all the time that the henwife would kill her for losing the shoe.

Seeing her so vexed and so changed in the face, the old woman asked, "What's the trouble that's on you now?"

"Oh! I've lost one of the shoes off my feet," said Trembling.

"Don't mind that; don't be vexed," said the henwife; "maybe it's the best thing that ever happened to you."

Then Trembling gave up all the things she had to the henwife, put on her old clothes, and went to work in the kitchen. When the sisters came home, the henwife asked, "Have you any news from the church?"

"We have indeed," said they; "for we saw the grandest sight today. The strange lady came again, in grander array than before. On herself and the horse she rode were the finest colors of the world, and between the ears of the horse was a bird which never stopped singing from the time she came till she went away. The lady herself is the most beautiful woman ever seen by man in Erin."

After Trembling had disappeared from the church, the son of the king of Omanya said to the other kings' sons, "I will have that lady for my own."

They all said, "You didn't win her just by taking the shoe off her foot, you'll have to win her by the point of the sword; you'll have to fight for her with us before you can call her your own."

"Well," said the son of the king of Omanya, "when I find the lady that shoe will fit, I'll fight for her, never fear, before I leave her to any of you."

Then all the kings' sons were uneasy, and anxious to know who was she that lost the shoe; and they began to travel all over Erin to know could they find her. The prince of Omanya and all the others went in a great company together, and made the round of Erin; they went everywhere -- north, south, east, and west. They visited every place where a woman was to be found, and left not a house in the kingdom they did not search, to know could they find the woman the shoe would fit, not caring whether she was rich or poor, of high or low degree.

The prince of Omanya always kept the shoe; and when the young women saw it, they had great hopes, for it was of proper size, neither large nor small, and it would beat any man to know of what material it was made. One thought it would fit her if she cut a little from her great toe; and another, with too short a foot, put something in the tip of her stocking. But no use, they only spoiled their feet, and were curing them for months afterwards.

The two sisters, Fair and Brown, heard that the princes of the world were looking all over Erin for the woman that could wear the shoe, and every day they were talking of trying it on; and one day Trembling spoke up and said, "Maybe it's my foot that the shoe will fit."

"Oh, the breaking of the dog's foot on you! Why say so when you were at home every Sunday?"

They were that way waiting, and scolding the younger sister, till the princes were near the place. The day they were to come, the sisters put Trembling in a closet, and locked the door on her. When the company came to the house, the prince of Omanya gave the shoe to the sisters. But though they tried and tried, it would fit neither of them.

"Is there any other young woman in the house?" asked the prince.

"There is," said Trembling, speaking up in the closet; "I'm here."

"Oh! we have her for nothing but to put out the ashes," said the sisters.

But the prince and the others wouldn't leave the house till they had seen her; so the two sisters had to open the door. When Trembling came out, the shoe was given to her, and it fitted exactly.

The prince of Omanya looked at her and said, "You are the woman the shoe fits, and you are the woman I took the shoe from."

Then Trembling spoke up, and said, "Do stay here till I return."

Then she went to the henwife's house. The old woman put on the cloak of darkness, got everything for her she had the first Sunday at church, and put her on the white mare in the same fashion. Then Trembling rode along the highway to the front of the house. All who saw her the first time said, "This is the lady we saw at church."

Then she went away a second time, and a second time came back on the black mare in the second dress which the henwife gave her. All who saw her the second Sunday said, "That is the lady we saw at church."

A third time she asked for a short absence, and soon came back on the third mare and in the third dress. All who saw her the third time said, "That is the lady we saw at church." Every man was satisfied, and knew that she was the woman.

Then all the princes and great men spoke up, and said to the son of the king of Omanya, "You'll have to fight now for her before we let her go with you."

"I'm here before you, ready for combat," answered the prince.

Then the son of the king of Lochlin stepped forth. The struggle began, and a terrible struggle it was. They fought for nine hours; and then the son of the king of Lochlin stopped, gave up his claim, and left the field. Next day the son of the king of Spain fought six hours, and yielded his claim. On the third day the son of the king of Nyerfó fought eight hours, and stopped. The fourth day the son of the king of Greece fought six hours, and stopped. On the fifth day no more strange princes wanted to fight; and all the sons of kings in Erin said they would not fight with a man of their own land, that the strangers had had their chance, and as no others came to claim the woman, she belonged of right to the son of the king of Omanya.

The marriage day was fixed, and the invitations were sent out. The wedding lasted for a year and a day. When the wedding was over, the king's son brought home the bride, and when the time came a son was born. The young woman sent for her eldest sister, Fair, to be with her and care for her.

One day, when trembling was well, and when her husband was away hunting, the two sisters went out to walk; and when they came to the seaside, the eldest pushed the youngest sister in. A great whale came and swallowed her.

The eldest sister came home alone, and the husband asked, "Where is your sister?"

"She has gone home to her father in Ballyshannon; now that I am well, I don't need her."

"Well," said the husband, looking at her, "I'm in dread it's my wife that has gone."

"Oh! no," said she; "it's my sister Fair that's gone."

Since the sisters were very much alike, the prince was in doubt. That night he put his sword between them, and said, "If you are my wife, this sword will get warm; if not, it will stay cold."

In the morning when he rose up, the sword was as cold as when he put it there.

It happened when the two sisters were walking by the seashore, that a little cowboy was down by the water minding cattle, and saw Fair push Trembling into the sea; and next day, when the tide came in, he saw the whale swim up and throw her out on the sand.

When she was on the sand she said to the cowboy, "When you go home in the evening with the cows, tell the master that my sister Fair pushed me into the sea yesterday; that a whale swallowed me, and then threw me out, but will come again and swallow me with the coming of the next tide; then he'll go out with the tide, and come again with tomorrow's tide, and throw me again on the strand. The whale will cast me out thee times. I'm under the enchantment of this whale, and cannot leave the beach or escape myself. Unless my husband saves me before I'm swallowed the fourth time, I shall be lost. He must come and shoot the whale with a silver bullet when he turns on the broad of his back. Under the breast fin of the whale is a reddish-brown spot. My husband must hit him in that spot, for it is the only place in which he can be killed."

When the cowboy got home, the eldest sister gave him a draught of oblivion, and he did not tell.

Next day he went again to the sea. The whale came and cast Trembling on shore again. She asked the boy, "Did you tell the master what I told you to tell him?"

"I did not," said he; "I forgot."

"How did you forget?" asked she.

"The woman of the house gave me a drink that made me forget."

"Well, don't forget telling him this night; and if she gives you a drink, don't take it from her."

As soon as the cowboy came home, the eldest sister offered him a drink. He refused to take it till he had delivered his message and told all to the master.

The third day the prince went down with his gun and a silver bullet in it. He was not long down when the whale came and threw Trembling upon the beach as the two days before. She had no power to speak to her husband till he had killed the whale. Then the whale went out, turned over once on the broad of his back, and showed the spot for a moment only. That moment the prince fired. He had but the one chance, and a short one at that; but he took it, and hit the spot, and the whale, mad with pain, made the sea all around red with blood, and died.

That minute Trembling was able to speak, and went home with her husband, who sent word to her father what the eldest sister had done. The father came, and told him any death he chose to give her to give it. The prince told the father he would leave her life and death with himself. The father had her put out then on the sea in a barrel, with provisions in it for seven years.

In time Trembling had a second child, a daughter. The prince and she sent the cowboy to school, and trained him up as one of their own children, and said, "If the little girl that is born to us now lives, no other man in the world will get her but him."

The cowboy and the prince's daughter lived on till they were married. The mother said to her husband, "You could not have saved me from the whale but for the little cowboy; on that account I don't grudge him my daughter."

The son of the king of Omanya and Trembling had fourteen children, and they lived happily till the two died of old age.



Once, a long time ago, there was a gentleman had two lassies. The oldest was ugly and ill natured, but the youngest was a bonnie lassie and good; but the ugly one was the favorite with her father and mother. So they ill used the youngest in every way, and they sent her into the woods to herd cattle, and all the food she got was a little porridge and whey.

Well, amongst the cattle was a red calf, and one day it said to the lassie, "Gee that porridge and whey to the doggie, and come wi' me."

So the lassie followed the calf through the wood, and they came to a bonnie hoosie, where there was a nice dinner ready for them; and after they had feasted on everything nice they went back to the herding.

Every day the calf took the lassie away, and feasted her on dainties; and every day she grew bonnier. This disappointed the father and mother and the ugly sister. They expected that the rough usage she was getting would take away her beauty; and they watched and watched until they saw the calf take the lassie away to the feast. So they resolved to kill the calf; and not only that, but the lassie was to be compelled to kill him with an axe. Her ugly sister was to hold his head, and the lassie who loved him had to give the blow and kill him.

She could do nothing but greet [weep]; but the calf told her not to greet, but to do as he bade her; and his plan was that instead of coming down on his head she was to come down on the lassie's head who was holding him, and then she was to jump on his back and they would run off. Well, the day came for the calf to be killed, and everything was ready -- the ugly lassie holding his head, and the bonnie lassie armed with the axe. So she raised the axe, and came down on the ugly sister's head; and in the confusion that took place she got on the calf's back and they ran away. And they ran and better nor ran till they came to a meadow where grew a great lot of rashes; and, as the lassie had not on many clothes, they pu'ed rashes, and made a coatie for her. And they set off again and traveled, and traveled, till they came to the king's house. They went in, and asked if they wanted a servant. The mistress said she wanted a kitchen lassie, and she would take Rashin-Coatie.

So Rashin-Coatie said she would stop, if they keepit the calf too. They were willing to do that. So the lassie and the calf stoppit in the king's house, and everybody was well pleased with her; and when Yule came, they said she was to stop at home and make the dinner, while all the rest went to the kirk. After they were away the calf asked if she would like to go. She said she would, but she had no clothes, and she could not leave the dinner. The calf said he would give her clothes, and make the dinner too. He went out, and came back with a grand dress, all silk and satin, and such a nice pair of slippers. The lassie put on the dress, and before she left she said:

Ilka peat gar anither burn,
An' ilka spit gar anither turn,
An' ilka pot gar anither play,
Till I come frae the kirk on gude Yule day.

So she went to the kirk, and nobody kent it was Rashin-Coatie. They wondered who the bonnie lady could be; and, as soon as the young prince saw her, he fell in love with her, and resolved he would find out who she was, before she got home; but Rashin-Coatie left before the rest, so that she might get home in time to take off her dress, and look after the dinner.

When the prince saw her leaving, he made for the door to stop her; but she jumped past him, and in the hurry lost one of her shoes. The prince kept the shoe, and Rashin-Coatie got home all right, and the folk said the dinner was very nice.

Now the prince was resolved to find out who the bonnie lady was, and he sent a servant through all the land with the shoe. Every lady was to try it on, and the prince promised to marry the one it would fit. That servant went to a great many houses, but could not find a lady that the shoe would go on, it was so little and neat. At last he came to a henwife's house, and her daughter had little feet. At first the shoe would not go on, but she paret her feet, and clippit her toes, until the shoes went on. Now the prince was very angry. He knew it was not the lady that he wanted; but, because he had promised to marry whoever the shoe fitted, he had to keep his promise.

The marriage day came, and, as they were all riding to the kirk, a little bird flew through the air, and it sang:

Clippit feet an' paret taes is on the saidle set;
But bonnie feet an' braw feet sits in the kitchen neuk.

"What's that ye say?" said the prince

"Oh," says the henwife, "would ye mind what a feel bird says?"

But the prince said, "Sing that again, bonnie birdie."

So the bird sings:

Clippit feet an' paret taes is on the saidle set;
But bonnie feet an' braw feet sits in the kitchen neuk.

The prince turned his horse and rode home, and went straight to his father's kitchen, and there sat Rashin-Coatie. He kent her at once, she was so bonnie; and when she tried on the shoe it fitted her, and so the prince married Rashin-Coatie, and they lived happy, and built a house for the red calf, who had been so kind to her.



Once upon a time there was a man who had three daughters. He was once ordered to go away to work, and said the them, "Since I am about making a journey, what do you want me to bring you when I return?"

One asked for a handsome dress; the other, a fine hat and a beautiful shawl. He said to the youngest, "And you, Cinderella, what do you want?" They called her Cinderella because she always sat in the chimney corner.

"You must buy me a little bird Verdeliò."

"The simpleton! She does not know what to do with the bird! Instead of ordering a handsome dress, a fine shawl, she takes a bird. Who knows what she will do with it!"

"Silence!" she says. "It pleases me."

The father went, and on his return brought the dress, hat, and shawl for the two sisters, and the little bird for Cinderella.

The father was employed at the court, and one day the king said to him, "I am going to give three balls; if you want to bring your daughters, do so; they will amuse themselves a little."

"As you wish," he replies, "thanks!" and accepts.

He went home and said, "What do you think, girls? His majesty wishes you to attend his ball."

"There, you see, Cinderella, if you had only asked for a handsome dress! This evening we are going to the ball."

She replied, "It matters nothing to me! You go; I am not coming."

In the evening, when the time came, they adorned themselves, saying to Cinderella, "Come along, there will be room for you, too."

"I don't want to go; you go; I don't want to."

"But," said their father, "let us go, let us go! Dress and come along; let her stay."

When they had gone, she went to the bird and said, "O Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!"

She became clothed in a sea green dress, with so many diamonds that it blinded you to behold her. The bird made ready two purses of money, and said to her, "Take these two purses, enter your carriage, and away!"

She set out for the ball, and left the bird Verdeliò at home. She entered the ballroom. Scarcely had the gentlemen seen this beautiful lady (she dazzled them on all sides), when the king, just think of it, began to dance with her the whole evening. After he had danced with her all the evening, his majesty stopped, and she stood by her sisters. While she was at her sisters' side, she drew out her handkerchief, and a bracelet fell out.

"Oh, Signora," said the eldest sister, "you have dropped this."

"Keep it for yourself," she said.

"Oh, if Cinderella were only here, who knows what might not have happened to her?"

The king had given orders that when this lady went away they should find out where she lived. After she had remained a little she left the ball. You can imagine whether the servants were on the lookout! She entered her carriage and away! She perceives that she is followed, takes the money and begins to throw it out of the window of the carriage. The greedy servants, I tell you, seeing all that money, thought no more of her, but stopped to pick up the money. She returned home and went upstairs.

"O Bird Verdeliò, make me homelier than I am!" You ought to see how ugly, how horrid, she became, all ashes.

When the sisters returned, they cried, "Cin-der-ella!"

"Oh, leave her alone," said her father. "She is asleep now, leave her along!"

But they went up and showed her the large and beautiful bracelet. "Do you see, you simpleton? You might have had it."

"It matters nothing to me."

Their father said, "Let us go to supper, you little geese."

Let us return to the king, who was awaiting her servants, who had not the courage to appear, but kept away. He calls them. "How did the matter go?"

The fall at his feet. "Thus and thus! She threw out so much money!"

"Wretches, you are nothing else." he said. "Were you afraid of not being rewarded? Well! tomorrow evening, attention, under pain of death."

The next evening the usual ball. The sisters say, "Will you come this evening, Cinderella?"

"Oh," she says, "don't bother me! I don't want to go."

Their father cries out to them, "How troublesome you are! Let her alone!"

So they began to adorn themselves more handsomely than the former evening, and departed. "Good-bye, Cinderella!"

When they had gone, Cinderella went to the bird and said, "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she became clothed in sea green, embroidered with all the fish of the sea, mingled with diamonds more than you could believe.

The bird said, "Take these two bags of sad, and when you are followed, throw it out, and so they will be blinded."

She entered her carriage and set out for the ball. As soon as his majesty saw her he began to dance with her and danced as long as he could. After he had danced as long as he could (she did not grow weary, but he did), she placed herself near her sisters, drew out her handkerchief, and there fell out a beautiful necklace all made of coal.

The second sister said, "Signora, you have dropped this."

She replied, "Keep it for yourself."

"If Cinderella were here, who knows what might not happen to her! Tomorrow she must come!"

After a while she leaves the ball. The servants (just think, under pain of death!) were all on the alert, and followed her. She began to throw out all the sand, and they were blinded. She went home, dismounted, and went upstairs.

"Little Bird Verdeliò, make me homelier than I am!" She became frightfully homely.

When her sisters returned they began from below, "Cin-der-ella! if you only knew what that lady gave us!"

"It matters nothing to me!"

"Yes, yes! you would have had it!"

The father says, "Let us go to supper and let her alone; you are really silly!"

Let us return to his majesty, who was waiting for his servants to learn where she lived. Instead of that they were all brought back blinded, and had to be accompanied. "Rogue!" he exclaimed, "either this lady is some fairy or she must have some fairy who protects her."

The next day the sisters began, "Cinderella, you must go this evening! Listen; it is the last evening; you must come."

The father: "Oh let her alone! You are always teasing her!"

Then they went away and began to prepare for the ball. When they were all prepared, they went to the ball with their father.

When they had departed, Cinderella went to the bird: "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she was dressed in all the colors of the heavens; all the comets, the stars, and moon on her dress, and the sun on her brow. She enters the ballroom. Who could look at her! For the sun alone they lower their eyes, and are all blinded. His majesty began to dance, but he could not look at her, because she dazzled him. He had already given orders to his servants to be on the lookout, under pain of death, not to go on foot, but to mount their horses that evening.

After she had danced longer than on the previous evenings she placed herself by her father's side, drew out her handkerchief, and there fell out a snuffbox of gold, full of money.

"Signora, you have dropped this snuffbox."

"Keep it for yourself!"

Imagine that man. He opens it and sees it full of money. What a joy!

After she had remained a time she went home as usual. The servants followed her on horseback, quickly, at a distance from the carriage; but on horseback that was not much trouble. She perceived that she had not prepared anything to throw that evening.

"Oh!" she cried. "What shall I do?" She left the carriage quickly, and in her haste lost one of her slippers. The servants picked it up, took the number of the house, and went away.

Cinderella went upstairs and said, "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more homely than I am!"

The bird does not answer. After she had repeated it three or four times, it answered, "Rogue! I ought not to make you more homely, but ..." and she became homely and the bird continued, "What are you going to do now? You are discovered."

She began to weep in earnest. When her sisters returned they cried, "Cin-der-ella!" You can imagine that she did not answer them this evening. "See what a beautiful snuffbox. If you had gone you might have had it."

"I do not care! Go away!"

Then their father called them to supper.

Let us now turn to the servants who went back with the slipper and the number of the house.

"Tomorrow," said his majesty, "as soon as it is day, go to that house, take a carriage, and bring that lady to the palace."

The servants took the slipper and went away. The next morning they knocked at the door. Cinderella's father looked out and exclaimed, "Oh heavens! It is his majesty's carriage. What does it mean?" They open the door and the servants ascend. "What do you want of me?" asked the father.

"How many daughter have you?"


"Well, show them to us."

The father made them come in there.

"Sit down," they said to one of them. They tried the slipper on her; it was ten times too large for her. The other one sat down; it was too small for her. "But tell me, good man, have you no other daughters? Take care to tell the truth! because majesty wishes it, under pain of death!"

"Gentlemen, there is another one, but I do not mention it. She is all in the ashes, the coals. If you should see her! I do not call her my daughter from shame."

"We have not come for beauty, or for finery; we want to see the girl!"

Her sisters began to call her, "Cin-der-ella!" but she did not answer.

After a time she said, "What is the matter?"

"You must come down! There are some gentlemen who wish to see you."

"I don't want to come."

"But you must come, you see!"

"Very well; tell them I will come in a moment." She went to the little bird: "Ah little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she was dressed as she had been the last evening, with the sun, and moon, and stars, and in addition, great chains all of gold everywhere about her.

The bird said, "Take me away with you! Put me in your bosom!" She puts the bird in her bosom and begins to descend the stairs.

"Do you hear her?" said the father. "Do you hear her? She is dragging with her the chains from the chimney corner. You can imagine how frightful she will look!"

When she reached the last step, and they saw her, "Ah!" they exclaimed, and recognized the lady of the ball. You can imagine how her father and sisters were vexed. They made her sit down, and tried on the slipper, and it fitted her. Then they made her enter the carriage, and took her to his majesty, who recognized the lady of the other evenings. And you can imagine that, all in love as her was, he said to her, "Will you really be my wife?"

You may believe she consents. She sends for her father and sisters, and makes them all come to the palace. They celebrate the marriage. Imagine what fine festivals were given at this wedding! The servants who had discovered where Cinderella lived were promoted to the highest positions in the palace as a reward.

Conkiajgharuna, the Little Rag Girl


There was and there was not, there was a miserable peasant. He had a wife and a little daughter. So poor was this peasant that his daughter was called Conkiajgharuna (Little Rag Girl).

Some time passed, and his wife died. He was unhappy before, but now a greater misfortune had befallen him. He grieved and grieved, and at last he said to himself, "I will go and take another wife; she will mind the house, and tend my orphan child." So he arose and took a second wife, but this wife brought with her a daughter of her own. When this woman came into her husband's house and saw his child, she was angry in heart.

She treated Little Rag Girl badly. She petted her own daughter, but scolded her stepdaughter, and tried to get rid of her. Every day she gave her a piece of badly cooked bread, and sent her out to watch the cow, saying, "Here is a loaf; eat of it, give to every wayfarer, and bring the loaf home whole." The girl went, and felt very miserable.

Once she was sitting sadly in the field, and began to weep bitterly. The cow listened, and then opened its mouth, and said, "Why are you weeping? What troubles you?" The girl told her sad tale. The cow said, "In one of my horns is honey, and in the other is butter, which you can take if you want to, so why be unhappy?" The girl took the butter and the honey, and in a short time she grew plump. When the stepmother noticed this she did not know what to do for rage. She rose, and after that every day she gave her a basket of wool with her; this wool was to be spun and brought home in the evening finished. The stepmother wished to tire the girl out with toil, so that she should grow thin and ugly.

Once when Little Rag Girl was tending the cow, it ran away onto a roof. [In some parts of the Caucasus the houses of the peasantry are built in the ground, and it is quite possible to walk onto a roof unwittingly. (Note by Wardrop)] She pursued it, and wished to drive it back to the road, but she dropped her spindle on the roof. Looking inside she saw an old woman seated, and said to her, "Good mother, will you give me my spindle?"

The old dame replied, "I am not able, my child, come and take it yourself." The old woman was a devi.

The girl went in and was lifting up her spindle, when the old dame called out, "Daughter, daughter, come and look at my head a moment. I am almost eaten up."

The girl came and looked at her head. She was filled with horror; all the worms in the earth seemed to be crawling there. The little girl stroked her head and removed some, and then said, "You have a clean head. Why should I look at it?"

This conduct pleased the old woman very much, and she said, "When you leave here, go along such and such a road, and in a certain place you will see three springs -- one white, one black, and one yellow. Pass by the white and black, and put your head in the yellow and rinse it with your hands."

The girl did this. She went on her way, and came to the three springs. She passed by the white and black, and bathed her head with her hands in the yellow fountain. When she looked up she saw that her hair was quite golden, and her hands, too, shone like gold. In the evening, when she went home, her stepmother was filled with fury. After this she sent her own daughter with the cow. Perhaps the same good fortune would visit her!

So Little Rag Girl stayed at home while her stepsister drove out the cow. Once more the cow ran onto the roof. The girl pursued it, and her spindle fell down. She looked in, and seeing the devi woman, called out, "Dog of an old woman! Here! Come and give me my spindle!"

The old woman replied, "I am not able, child, come and take it yourself." When the girl came near, the old woman said, "Come, child, and look at my head."

The girl came and looked at her head, and cried out, "Ugh! What a horrid head you have! You are a disgusting old woman!"

The old woman said, "I thank you, my child; when you go on your way you will see a yellow, a white, and a black spring. Pass by the yellow and the white springs, and rinse your head with your hands in the black one."

The girl did this. She passed by the yellow and white springs, and bathed her head in the black once. When she looked at herself she was black as an African, and on her head there was a horn. She cut it off again and again, but it grew larger and larger.

She went home and complained to her mother, who was almost frenzied, but there was no help for it. Her mother said to herself, "This is all the cow's fault, so it shall be killed."

This cow knew the future. When it learned that it was to be killed, it went to Little Rag Girl and said, "When I am dead, gather my bones together and bury them in the earth. When you are in trouble come to my grave, and cry aloud, 'Bring my steed and my royal robes!'" Little Rag Girl did exactly as the cow had told her. When it was dead she took its bones and buried them in the earth.

After this, some time passed. One holiday the stepmother took her daughter, and they went to church. She placed a trough in front of Little Rag Girl, spread a large measure of millet in the courtyard, and said, "Before we come home from church fill this trough with tears, and gather up this millet, so that not one grain is left." Then they went to church.

Little Rag Girl sat down and began to weep. While she was crying a neighbor came in a said, "Why are you in tears? What is the matter?" The little girl told her tale. The woman brought all the brood hens and chicken, and they picked up every grain of millet, then she put a lump of salt in the trough and poured water over it. "There, child," said she, "there are your tears! Now go and enjoy yourself."

Little Rag Girl then thought of the cow. She went to its grave and called out, "Bring me my steed and my royal robes!" There appeared at once a horse and beautiful clothes. Little Rag Girl put on the garments, mounted the horse, and went to the church.

There all the folk began to stare at her. They were amazed at her grandeur. Her stepsister whispered to her mother when she saw her, "This girl is very much like our Little Rag Girl!"

Her mother smiled scornfully and said, "Who would give that sun darkener such robes?"

Little Rag Girl left the church before anyone else; she changed her clothes in time to appear before her stepmother in rags. On the way home, as she was leaping over a stream, in her haste she let her slipper fall in.

A long time passed. Once when the king's horses were drinking water in this stream, they saw the shining slipper and were so afraid that they would drink no more water. The king was told that there was something shining in the stream, and that the horses were afraid.

The king commanded his divers to find out what it was. They found the golden slipper, and presented it to the king. When he saw it, he commanded his viziers, saying, "Go and seek the owner of this slipper, for I will wed none but her." His viziers sought the maiden, but they could find no one whom the slipper would fit.

Little Rag Girl's mother heard this, adorned her daughter, and placed her on a throne. Then she went and told the king that she had a daughter whose foot he might look at. It was exactly the model for the shoe. She put Little Rag Girl in a corner, with a big basket over her. When the king came into the house he sat down on the basket, in order to try on the slipper.

Little Rag Girl took a needle and pricked the king from under the basket. He jumped up, stinging with pain, and asked the stepmother what she had under the basket. The stepmother replied, "It is only a turkey I have there."

The king sat down on the basket again, and Little Rag Girl again stuck the needle into him. The king jumped up, and cried out, "Lift the basket. I will see underneath!"

The stepmother pleaded with him, saying, "Do not blame me, your majesty, it is only a turkey, and it will run away."

But the king would not listen to her pleas. He lifted the basket up, and Little Rag Girl came forth, and said, "This slipper is mine, and fits me well." She sat down, and the king found that it was indeed a perfect fit. Little Rag Girl became the king's wife, and her shameless stepmother was left with a dry throat.



On a high pasture land, near an immense precipice, some maidens were occupied in spinning and attending to their grazing cattle, when an old strange looking man with a white beard reaching down to his girdle approached, and said, "Oh fair maidens, beware of the abyss, for if one of you should drop her spindle down the cliff, her mother would be turned into a cow that very moment!"

So saying the aged man disappeared, and the girls, bewildered by his words, and discussing the strange incident, approached near to the ravine which had suddenly become interesting to them. They peered curiously over the edge, as though expecting to see some unaccustomed sight, when suddenly the most beautiful of the maidens let her spindle drop from her hand, and before she could recover it, it was bounding from rock to rock into the depths beneath. When she returned home that evening she found her worst fears realized, for her mother stood before the door transformed into a cow.

A short time later her father married again. His new wife was a widow, and brought a daughter of her own into her new home. This girl was not particularly well favored, and her mother immediately began to hate her stepdaughter because of the latter's good looks. She forbade her henceforth to wash her face, to comb her hair or to change her clothes, and in every way she could think of she sought to make her miserable.

One morning she gave her a bag filled with hemp, saying, "If you do not spin this and make a fine top of it by tonight, you need not return home, for I intend to kill you."

The poor girl, deeply dejected, walked behind the cattle, industriously spinning as she went, but by noon when the cattle lay down in the shade to rest, she observed that she had made but little progress and she began to weep bitterly.

Now, her mother was driven daily to pasture with the other cows, and seeing her daughter's tears she drew near and asked why she wept, whereupon the maiden told her all. Then the cow comforted her daughter, saying, "My darling child, be consoled! Let me take the hemp into my mouth and chew it; through my ear a thread will come out. You must take the end of this and wind it into a top." So this was done; the hemp was soon spun, and when the girl gave it to her stepmother that evening, she was greatly surprised.

Next morning the woman roughly ordered the maiden to spin a still larger bag of hemp, and as the girl, thanks to her mother, spun and wound it all, her stepmother, on the following day, gave her twice the quantity to spin. Nevertheless, the girl brought home at night even that unusually large quantity well spun, and her stepmother concluded that the poor girl was not spinning alone, but that other maidens, her friends, were giving her help. Therefore she, next morning, sent her own daughter to spy upon the poor girl and to report what she saw. The girl soon noticed that the cow helped the poor orphan by chewing the hemp, while she drew the thread and wound it on a top, and she ran back home and informed her mother of what she had seen. Upon this, the stepmother insisted that her husband should order that particular cow to be slaughtered. Her husband at first hesitated, but as his wife urged him more and more, he finally decided to do as she wished.

On learning what had been decided, the stepdaughter wept more than ever, and when her mother asked what was the matter, she told her tearfully all that had been arranged. Thereupon the cow said to her daughter, "Wipe away your tears, and do not cry any more. When they slaughter me, you must take great care not to eat any of the meat, but after the repast, carefully collect my bones and inter them behind the house under a certain stone; then, should you ever be in need of help, come to my grave and there you will find it."

The cow was killed, and when the meat was served the poor girl declined to eat of it, pretending that she had no appetite; after the meal she gathered with great care all the bones and buried them on the spot indicated by her mother.

Now, the name of the maiden was Marra, but, as she had to do the roughest work of the house, such as carrying water, washing, and sweeping, she was called by her stepmother and stepsister Pepelyouga (Cinderella).

One Sunday, when the stepmother and her daughter had dressed themselves for church, the woman spread about the house the contents of a basktetful of millet, and said, "Listen, Pepelyouga; if you do not gather up all this millet and have dinner ready by the time we return from church, I will kill you!"

When they had gone, the poor girl began to weep, reflecting, "As to the dinner I can easily prepare it, but how can I possibly gather up all this millet?" But that very moment she recalled the words of the cow, that, if she ever should be struck by misfortune, she need but walk to the grave behind the house, when she would find instant help there. Immediately she ran out, and, when she approached the grave, lo! a chest was lying on the grave wide open, and inside were beautiful dresses and everything necessary for a lady's toilet. Two doves were sitting on the lid of the chest, and as the girl drew near, they said to her, "Marra, take from the chest the dress you like the best, clothe yourself, and go to church. As to the millet and other work, we ourselves will attend to that and see that everything is in good order!"

Marra needed no second invitation; she took the first silk dress she touched, made her toilet, and went to church, where her entrance created quite a sensation. Everybody, men and women, greatly admired her beauty and her costly attire, but they were puzzled as to who she was, and where she came from. A prince happened to be in the church on that day, and he, too, admired the beautiful maiden.

Just before the service ended, the girl stole from the church, went hurriedly home, took off her beautiful clothes and placed them back in the chest, which instantly shut and became invisible. She then rushed to the kitchen, where she discovered that the dinner was quite ready, and that the millet was gathered into the basket. Soon the stepmother came back with her daughter, and they were astounded to find the millet gathered up, dinner prepared, and everything else in order. A desire to learn the secret now began to torment the stepmother mightily.

Next Sunday everything happened as before, except that the girl found in the chest a silver dress, and that the prince felt a greater admiration for her, so much so that he was unable, even for a moment to take his eyes from her. On the third Sunday, the mother and daughter again prepared to go to church, and, having scattered the millet as before, she repeated her previous threats. As soon as they disappeared, the girl ran straight to her mother's grave, where she found, as on the previous occasions, the open chest and the same two doves. This time she found a dress made of gold lace, and she hastily clad herself in it and went to church, where she was admired by all, even more than before. As for the czar's son, he had come with the intention not to let her this time out of his sight, but to follow and see where she went. Accordingly, as the service drew near to its close, and the maiden withdrew quietly as before, the enamored prince followed after her. Marra hurried along, for she had none too much time, and, as she went, one of her golden slippers came off, and she was too agitated to stop and pick it up. The prince, however, who had lost sight of the maiden, saw the slipper and put it in his pocket. Reaching home, Marra took off her golden dress, laid it in the chest, and rushed back to the house.

The prince now resolved to go from house to house throughout his father's realm in search of the owner of the slipper, inviting all the fair maidens to try on the golden slipper. But, alas! his efforts seemed to be doomed to failure; for some girls the slipper was too long, for others too short, for others, again, too narrow. There was no one whom it would fit.

Wandering from door to door, the sad prince at length came to the house of Marra's father. The stepmother was expecting him, and she had hidden her stepdaughter under a large trough in the courtyard. When the prince asked whether she had any daughters, the stepmother answered that she had but one, and she presented the girl to him. The prince requested the girl to try on the slipper, but, squeeze as she would, there was not room in it even for her toes! Thereupon the prince asked whether it was true that there were no other girls in the house, and the stepmother replied that indeed it was quite true.

That very moment a cock flew onto the trough and crowed out lustily, "Kook-oo-ryeh-koooo! Here she is under this very trough!"

The stepmother, enraged, exclaimed, "Sh! Go away! May an eagle seize you and fly off with you!" The curiosity of the prince was aroused. He approached the trough, lifted it up, and, to his great surprise, there was the maiden whom he had seen three times in church, clad in the very same golden dress she had last worn, and having only one golden slipper.

When the prince recognized the maiden he was overcome with joy. Quickly he tried the slipper on her dainty foot. It not only fit her admirably, but it exactly matched the one she already wore on her left foot. He lifted her up tenderly and escorted her to his palace. Later he won her love, and they were happily married.

The Wonderful Birch


Once upon a time there were a man and a woman, who had an only daughter. Now it happened that one of their sheep went astray, and they set out to look for it, and searched and searched, each in n different part of the wood. Then the good wife met a witch, who said to her,"If you spit, you miserable creature, if you spit into the sheath of my knife, or if you run between my legs, I shall change you into a black sheep."

The woman neither spat, nor did she run between her legs, but yet the witch changed her into a sheep. Then she made herself look exactly like the woman, and called out to the good man,"Ho, old man, halloa! I have found the sheep already!"

The man thought the witch was really his wife, and he did not know that his wife was the sheep; so he went home with her, glad at heart because his sheep was found. When they were safe at home the witch said to the man,"Look here, old man, we must really kill that sheep lest it run away to the wood again."

The man, who was a peaceable quiet sort of fellow, made no objections, but simply said,"Good, let us do so."

The daughter, however, had overheard their talk, and she ran to the flock and lamented aloud,"Oh, dear little mother, they are going to slaughter you!"

"Well, then, if they do slaughter me," was the black sheep's answer, "eat you neither the meat nor the broth that is made of me, but gather all my bones, and bury them by the edge of the field."

Shortly after this they took the black sheep from the flock and slaughtered it. The witch made pease-soup of it, and set it before the daughter. But the girl remembered her mother's warning.

She did not touch the soup, but she carried the bones to the edge of the field and buried them there; and there sprang up on the spot a birch tree -- a very lovely birch tree.

Some time had passed away -- who can tell how long they might have been living there? -- when the witch, to whom a child had been born in the meantime, began to take an ill-will to the man's daughter, and to torment her in all sorts of ways.

Now it happened that a great festival was to be held at the palace, and the king had commanded that all the people should be invited, and that this proclamation should be made:

Come, people all!
Poor and wretched, one and all!
Blind and crippled though ye be,
Mount your steeds or come by sea.

And so they drove into the king's feast all the outcasts, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. In the good man's house, too, preparations were made to go to the palace. The witch said to the man,"Go you on in front, old man, with our youngest; I will give the elder girl work to keep her from being dull in our absence."

So the man took the child and set out. But the witch kindled a fire on the hearth, threw a potful of barleycorns among the cinders, and said to the girl,"If you have not picked the barley out of the ashes, and put it all back in the pot before nightfall, I shall eat you up!"

Then she hastened after the others, and the poor girl stayed at home and wept. She tried to be sure to pick up the grains of barley, but she soon saw how useless her labor was; and so she went in her sore trouble to the birch tree on her mother's grave, and cried and cried, because her mother lay dead beneath the sod and could help her no longer. In the midst of her grief she suddenly heard her mother's voice speak from the grave, and say to her,"Why do you weep, little daughter?"

"The witch has scattered barleycorns on the hearth, and bid me pick them out of the ashes," said the girl; "that is why I weep, dear little mother."

"Do not weep," said her mother consolingly. "Break off one of my branches, and strike the hearth with it crosswise, and all will be put right."

The girl did so. She struck the hearth with the birchen branch, and lo! the barleycorns flew into the pot, and the hearth was clean. Then she went back to the birch tree and laid the branch upon the grave. Then her mother bade her bathe on one side of the stem, dry herself on another, and dress on the third. When the girl had done all that, she had grown so lovely that no one on earth could rival her. Splendid clothing was given to her, and a horse, with hair partly of gold, partly of silver, and partly of something more precious still. The girl sprang into the saddle, and rode as swift as an arrow to the palace.

As she turned into the courtyard of the castle the king's son came out to meet her, tied her steed to a pillar, and led her in. He never left her side as they passed through the castle rooms; and all the people gazed at her, and wondered who the lovely maiden was, and from what castle she came; but no one knew her -- no one knew anything about her. At the banquet the prince invited her to sit next him in the place of honor; but the witch's daughter gnawed the bones under the table. The prince did not see her, and thinking it was a dog, he gave her such a push with his foot that her arm was broken. Are you not sorry for the witch's daughter? It was not her fault that her mother was a witch.

Towards evening the good man's daughter thought it was time to go home; but as she went, her ring caught on the latch of the door, for the king's son had had it smeared with tar. She did not take time to pull it off, but, hastily unfastening her horse from the pillar, she rode away beyond the castle walls as swift as an arrow. Arrived at home, she took off her clothes by the birch tree, left her horse standing there, and hastened to her place behind the stove. In a short time the man and the woman came home again too, and the witch said to the girl,"Ah! you poor thing, there you are to be sure! You don't know what fine times we have had at the palace! The king's son carried my daughter about, but the poor thing fell and broke her arm."

The girl knew well how matters really stood, but she pretended to know nothing about it, and sat dumb behind the stove.

The next day they were invited again to the king's banquet.

"Hey! old man," said the witch, "get on your clothes as quick as you can; we are bidden to the feast. Take you the child; I will give the other one work, lest she weary."

She kindled the fire, threw a potful of hemp seed among the ashes, and said to the girl,"If you do not get this sorted, and all the seed back into the pot, I shall kill you!"

The girl wept bitterly; then she went to the birch tree, washed herself on one side of it and dried herself on the other; and this time still finer clothes were given to her, and a very beautiful steed. She broke off a branch of the birch tree, struck the hearth with it, so that the seeds flew into the pot, and then hastened to the castle.

Again the king's son came out to meet her, tied her horse to a pillar, and led her into the banqueting hall. At the feast the girl sat next him in the place of honor, as she had done the day before. But the witch's daughter gnawed bones under the table, and the prince gave her a push by mistake, which broke her leg -- he had never noticed her crawling about among the people's feet. She was very unlucky!

The good man's daughter hastened home again betimes, but the king's son had smeared the door-posts with tar, and the girl's golden circlet stuck to it. She had not time to look for it, but sprang to the saddle and rode like an arrow to the birch tree. There she left her horse and her fine clothes, and said to her mother,"I have lost my circlet at the castle; the door-post was tarred, and it stuck fast."

"And even had you lost two of them," answered her mother, "I would give you finer ones."

Then the girl hastened home, and when her father came home from the feast with the witch, she was in her usual place behind the stove. Then the witch said to her,"You poor thing! what is there to see here compared with what we have seen at the palace? The king's son carried my daughter from one room to another; he let her fall, 'tis true, and my child's foot was broken."

The man's daughter held her peace all the time, and busied herself about the hearth.

The night passed, and when the day began to dawn, the witch awakened her husband, crying,"Hi! get up, old man! We are bidden to the royal banquet."

So the old man got up. Then the witch gave him the child, saying,"Take you the little one; I will give the other girl work to do, else she will weary at home alone."

She did as usual. This time it was a dish of milk she poured upon the ashes, saying,"If you do not get all the milk into the dish again before I come home, you will suffer for it."

How frightened the girl was this time! She ran to the birch tree, and by its magic power her task was accomplished; and then she rode away to the palace as before. When she got to the courtyard she found the prince waiting for her. He led her into the hall, where she was highly honored; but the witch's daughter sucked the bones under the table, and crouching at the people's feet she got an eye knocked out, poor thing! Now no one knew any more than before about the good man's daughter, no one knew whence she came; but the prince had had the threshold smeared with tar, and as she fled her gold slippers stuck to it. She reached the birch tree, and laying aside her finery, she said,"Alas I dear little mother, I have lost my gold slippers!"

"Let them be," was her mother's reply; "if you need them I shall give you finer ones."

Scarcely was she in her usual place behind the stove when her father came home with the witch. Immediately the witch began to mock her, saying,"Ah! you poor thing, there is nothing for you to see here, and we -- ah: what great things we have seen at the palace! My little girl was carried about again, but had the ill-luck to fall and get her eye knocked out. You stupid thing, you, what do you know about anything?"

"Yes, indeed, what can I know?" replied the girl; "I had enough to do to get the hearth clean."

Now the prince had kept all the things the girl had lost, and he soon set about finding the owner of them. For this purpose a great banquet was given on the fourth day, and all the people were invited to the palace. The witch got ready to go too. She tied a wooden beetle on where her child's foot should have been, a log of wood instead of an arm, and stuck a bit of dirt in the empty socket for an eye, and took the child with her to the castle. When all the people were gathered together, the king's son stepped in among the crowd and cried,"The maiden whose finger this ring slips over, whose head this golden hoop encircles, and whose foot this shoe fits, shall be my bride."

What a great trying on there was now among them all! The things would fit no one, however.

"The cinder wench is not here," said the prince at last; "go and fetch her, and let her try on the things."

So the girl was fetched, and the prince was just going to hand the ornaments to her, when the witch held him back, saying,"Don't give them to her; she soils everything with cinders; give them to my daughter rather."

Well, then the prince gave the witch's daughter the ring, and the woman filed and pared away at her daughter's finger till the ring fitted. It was the same with the circlet and the shoes of gold. The witch would not allow them to be handed to the cinder wench; she worked at her own daughter's head and feet till she got the things forced on. What was to be done now? The prince had to take the witch's daughter for his bride whether he would or no; he sneaked away to her father's house with her, however, for he was ashamed to hold the wedding festivities at the palace with so strange a bride. Some days passed, and at last he had to take his bride home to the palace, and he got ready to do so. Just as they were taking leave, the kitchen wench sprang down from her place by the stove, on the pretext of fetching something from the cowhouse, and in going by she whispered in the prince's ear as he stood in the yard,"Alas! dear prince, do not rob me of my silver and my gold."

Thereupon the king's son recognized the cinder wench; so he took both the girls with him, and set out. After they had gone some little way they came to the bank of a river, and the prince threw the witch's daughter across to serve as a bridge, and so got over with the cinder wench. There lay the witch's daughter then, like a bridge over the river, and could not stir, though her heart was consumed with grief. No help was near, so she cried at last in her anguish,"May there grow a golden hemlock out of my body! perhaps my mother will know me by that token."

Scarcely had she spoken when a golden hemlock sprang up from her, and stood upon the bridge.

Now, as soon as the prince had got rid of the witch's daughter he greeted the cinder wench as his bride, and they wandered together to the birch tree which grew upon the mother's grave. There they received all sorts of treasures and riches, three sacks full of gold, and as much silver, and a splendid steed, which bore them home to the palace. There they lived a long time together, and the young wife bore a son to the prince. Immediately word was brought to the witch that her daughter had borne a son -- for they all believed the young king's wife to be the witch's daughter.

"So, so," said the witch to herself; "I had better away with my gift for the infant, then."

And so saying she set out. Thus it happened that she came to the bank of the river, and there she saw the beautiful golden hemlock growing in the middle of the bridge, and when she began to cut it down to take to her grandchild, she heard a voice moaning,"Alas! dear mother, do not cut me so!"

"Are you here?" demanded the witch.

"Indeed I am, dear little mother," answered the daughter "They threw me across the river to make a bridge of me."

In a moment the witch had the bridge shivered to atoms, and then she hastened away to the palace. Stepping up to the young Queen's bed, she began to try her magic arts upon her, saying,"Spit, you wretch, on the blade of my knife; bewitch my knife's blade for me, and I shall change you into a reindeer of the forest."

"Are you there again to bring trouble upon me?" said the young woman.

She neither spat nor did anything else, but still the witch changed her into a reindeer, and smuggled her own daughter into her place as the prince's wife. But now the child grew restless and cried, because it missed its mother's care. They took it to the court, and tried to pacify it in every conceivable way, but its crying never ceased.

"What makes the child so restless?" asked the prince, and he went to a wise widow woman to ask her advice.

"Ay, ay, your own wife is not at home," said the widow woman; "she is living like a reindeer in the wood; you have the witch's daughter for a wife now, and the witch herself for a mother-in- law."

"Is there any way of getting my own wife back from the wood again?" asked the prince.

"Give me the child," answered the widow woman. "I'll take it with me tomorrow when I go to drive the cows to the wood. I'll make a rustling among the birch leaves and a trembling among the aspens -- perhaps the boy will grow quiet when he hears it."

"Yes, take the child away, take it to the wood with you to quiet it," said the prince, and led the widow woman into the castle.

"How now? you are going to send the child away to the wood?" said the witch in a suspicious tone, and tried to interfere.

But the king's son stood firm by what he had commanded, and said,"Carry the child about the wood; perhaps that will pacify it."

So the widow woman took the child to the wood. She came to the edge of a marsh, and seeing a herd of reindeer there, she began all at once to sing:

Little Bright-eyes, little Redskin,
Come nurse the child you bore!
That bloodthirsty monster,
That man-eater grim,
Shall nurse him, shall tend him no more.
They may threaten and force as they will,
He turns from her, shrinks from her still,

and immediately the reindeer drew near, and nursed and tended the child the whole day long; but at nightfall it had to follow the herd, and said to the widow woman,"Bring me the child tomorrow, and again the following day; after that I must wander with the herd far away to other lands."

The following morning the widow woman went back to the castle to fetch the child. The witch interfered, of course, but the prince said,"Take it, and carry it about in the open air; the boy is quieter at night, to be sure, when he has been in the wood all day."

So the widow took the child in her arms, and carried it to the marsh in the forest. There she sang as on the preceding day:

Little Bright-eyes, little Redskin,
Come nurse the child you bore!
That bloodthirsty monster,
That man-eater grim,
Shall nurse him, shall tend him no more.
They may threaten and force as they will,
He turns from her, shrinks from her still,

and immediately the reindeer left the herd and came to the child, and tended it as on the day before. And so it was that the child throve, till not a finer boy was to be seen anywhere. But the king's son had been pondering over all these things, and he said to the widow woman,"Is there no way of changing the reindeer into a human being again?"

"I don't rightly know," was her answer. "Come to the wood with me, however; when the woman puts off her reindeer skin I shall comb her head for her; whilst I am doing so you must burn the skin."

Thereupon they both went to the wood with the child; scarcely were they there when the reindeer appeared and nursed the child as before. Then the widow woman said to the reindeer,"Since you are going far away tomorrow, and I shall not see you again, let me comb your head for the last time, as a remembrance of you."

Good; the young woman stripped off the reindeer skin, and let the widow woman do as she wished. In the meantime the king's son threw the reindeer skin into the fire unobserved.

"What smells of singeing here?" asked the young woman, and looking round she saw her own husband. "Woe is me! you have burnt my skin. Why did you do that?"

"To give you back your human form again."

"Alack-a-day! I have nothing to cover me now, poor creature that I am!" cried the young woman, and transformed herself first into a distaff, then into a wooden beetle, then into a spindle, and into all imaginable shapes. But all these shapes the king's son went on destroying till she stood before him in human form again.

"Alas! wherefore take me home with you again," cried the young woman, "since the witch is sure to eat me up?"

"She will not eat you up," answered her husband; and they started for home with the child.

But when the witch wife saw them she ran away with her daughter, and if she has not stopped she is running still, though at a great age. And the prince, and his wife, and the baby lived happy ever afterwards.

The Baba Yaga

Russia (Aleksandr Afanasyev)

Once upon a time there was an old couple. The husband lost his wife and married again. But he had a daughter by the first marriage, a young girl, and she found no favor in the eyes of her evil stepmother, who used to beat her, and consider how she could get her killed outright. One day the father went away somewhere or other, so the stepmother said to the girl, "Go to your aunt, my sister, and ask her for a needle and thread to make you a shift."

Now that aunt was a Baba Yaga. Well, the girl was no fool, so she went to a real aunt of hers first, and says she, "Good morning, auntie!"

"Good morning, my dear! What have you come for?"

"Mother has sent me to her sister, to ask for a needle and thread to make me a shift."

Then her aunt instructed her what to do. "There is a birch tree there, niece, which would hit you in the eye -- you must tie a ribbon round it; there are doors which would creak and bang -- you must pour oil on their hinges; there are dogs which would tear you in pieces -- you must throw them these rolls; there is a cat which would scratch your eyes out -- you must give it a piece of bacon."

So the girl went away, and walked and walked, till she came to the place. There stood a hut, and in it sat weaving the Baba Yaga, the bony-shanks.

"Good morning, auntie," says the girl.

"Good morning, my dear," replies the Baba Yaga.

" Mother has sent me to ask you for a needle and thread to make me a shift."

"Very well; sit down and weave a little in the meantime."

So the girl sat down behind the loom, and the Baba Yaga went outside, and said to her servant maid, "Go and heat the bath, and get my niece washed; and mind you look sharp after her. I want to breakfast off her."

Well, the girl sat there in such a fright that she was as much dead as alive. Presently she spoke imploringly to the servant maid, saying, "Kinswoman dear, do please wet the firewood instead of making it burn; and fetch the water for the bath in a sieve." And she made her a present of a handkerchief.

The Baba Yaga waited awhile; then she came to the window and asked, "Are you weaving, niece? Are you weaving, my dear?"

"Oh yes, dear aunt, I'm weaving."

So the Baba Yaga went away again, and the girl gave the cat a piece of bacon, and asked, "Is there no way of escaping from here?"

"Here's a comb for you and a towel," said the cat; "take them, and be off. The Baba Yaga will pursue you, but you must lay your ear on the ground, and when you hear that she is close at hand, first of all, throw down the towel. It will become a wide, wide river. And if the Baba Yaga gets across the river, and tries to catch you, then you must lay your ear on the ground again, and when you hear that she is close at hand, throw down the comb. It will become a dense, dense forest; through that she won't be able to force her way anyhow."

The girl took the towel and the comb and fled. The dogs would have rent her, but she threw them the rolls, and they let her go by; the doors would have begun to bang, but she poured oil on their hinges, and they let her pass through; the birch tree would have poked her eyes out, but she tied the ribbon around it, and it let her pass on. And the cat sat down to the loom, and worked away; muddled everything about, if it didn't do much weaving.

Up came the Baba Yaga to the window, and asked, "Are you weaving, niece? Are you weaving, my dear?"

"I'm weaving, dear aunt, I'm weaving," gruffly replied the cat.

The Baba Yaga rushed into the hut, saw that the girl was gone, and took to beating the cat, and abusing it for not having scratched the girl's eyes out. "Long as I've served you," said the cat, "you've never given me so much as a bone; but she gave me bacon." Then the Baba Yaga pounced upon the dogs, on the doors, on the birch tree, and on the servant maid, and set to work to abuse them all, and to knock them about.

Then the dogs said to her, "Long as we've served you, you've never so much as pitched us a burnt crust; but she gave us rolls to eat."

And the doors said, "Long as we've served you, you've never poured even a drop of water on our hinges; but she poured oil on us."

The birch tree said, "Long as I've served you, you've never tied a single thread around me; but she fastened a ribbon around me."

And the servant maid said, "Long as I've served you, you've never given me so much as a rag; but she gave me a handkerchief."

The Baba Yaga, bony of limb, quickly jumped into her mortar, sent it flying along with the pestle, sweeping away the while all traces of its flight with a broom, and set off in pursuit of the girl. Then the girl put her ear to the ground, and when she heard that the Baba Yaga was chasing her, and was now close at hand, she flung down the towel. And it became a wide, such a wide river! Up came the Baba Yaga to the river, and gnashed her teeth with spite; then she went home for her oxen, and drove them to the river. The oxen drank up every drop of the river, and then the Baba Yaga began the pursuit anew. But the girl put her ear to the ground again, and when she heard that the Baba Yaga was near, she flung down the comb, and instantly a forest sprang up, such an awfully thick one! The Baba Yaga began gnawing away at it, but however hard she worked, she couldn't gnaw her way through it, so she had to go back again.

But by this time the girl's father had returned home, and he asked, "Where's my daughter?"

"She's gone to her aunt's," replied her stepmother.

Soon afterwards the girl herself came running home.

" Where have you been?" asked her father.

"Ah, father!" she said, "mother sent me to aunt's to ask for a needle and thread to make me a shift. But aunt's a Baba Yaga, and she wanted to eat me!"

"And how did you get away, daughter?"

"Why like this," said the girl, and explained the whole matter. As soon as her father had heard all about it, he became wroth with his wife, and shot her. But he and his daughter lived on and flourished, and everything went well with them.

The Wicked Stepmother


One day a Brahman adjured his wife not to eat anything without him lest she should become a she goat. In reply the Brahman's wife begged him not to eat anything without her, lest he should be changed into a tiger. A long time passed by and neither of them broke their word, until one day the Brahman's wife, while giving food to her children, herself took a little to taste; and her husband was not present. That very moment she was changed into a goat.

When the Brahman came home and saw the she goat running about the house he was intensely grieved, because he knew that it was none other than his own beloved wife. He kept the goat tied up in the yard of his house, and tended it very carefully.

In a few years he married again, but this wife was not kind to the children. She at once took a dislike to them, and treated them unkindly and gave them little food. Their mother, the she goat, heard their complainings, and noticed that they were getting thin, and therefore called one of them to her secretly, and bade the child tell the others to strike her horns with a stick whenever they were very hungry, and some food would fall down for them. They did so, and instead of getting weaker and thinner, as their stepmother had expected, they became stronger and stronger. She was surprised to see them getting so fat and strong while she was giving them so little food.

In course of time a one-eyed daughter was born to this wicked woman. She loved the girl with all her heart, and grudged not any expense or attention that she thought the child required. One day, when the girl had grown quite big and could walk and talk well, her mother sent her to play with the other children, and ordered her to notice how and whence they obtained anything to eat. The girl promised to do so, and most rigidly stayed by them the whole day, and saw all that happened.

On hearing that the goat supplied her stepchildren with food the woman got very angry, and determined to kill the beast as soon as possible. She pretended to be very ill, and sending for the hakim, bribed him to prescribe some goat's flesh for her. The Brahman was very anxious about his wife's state, and although he grieved to have to slay the goat (for he was obliged to kill the goat, not having money to purchase another), yet he did not mind if his wife really recovered. But the little children wept when they heard this, and went to their mother, the she goat, in great distress, and told her everything.

"Do not weep, my darlings," she said. "It is much better for me to die than to live such a life as this. Do not weep. I have no fear concerning you. Food will be provided for you, if you will attend to my instructions. Be sure to gather my bones, and bury them all together in some secret place, and whenever you are very hungry go to that place and ask for food. Food will then be given you."

The poor she goat gave this advice only just in time. Scarcely had it finished these words and the children had departed than the butcher came with a knife and slew it. Its body was cut into pieces and cooked, and the stepmother had the meat, but the stepchildren got the bones. They did with them as they had been directed, and thus got food regularly and in abundance.

Some time after the death of the she goat one morning one of the stepdaughters was washing her face in the stream that ran by the house, when her nose ring unfastened and fell into the water. A fish happened to see it and swallowed it, and this fish was caught by a man and sold to the king's cook for his majesty's dinner. Great was the surprise of the cook when, on opening the fish to clean it, he found the nose ring. He took it to the king, who was so interested in it that he issued a proclamation and set it to every town and village in his dominions, that whosoever had missed a nose ring should apply to him. Within a few days the brother of the girl reported to the king that the nose ring belonged to his sister, who had lost it one day while bathing her face in the river. The king ordered the girl to appear before him, and was so fascinated by her pretty face and nice manner that he married her, and provided amply for the support of her family.

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Revised September 24, 2001.