The Father Who Wanted to Marry His Daughter

Folktales of Aarne-Thompson Type 510B

translated and/or edited by

D. L. Ashliman

Copyright 1998
Return to:


  1. Doralice (Italy, Giovanni Francesco Straparola)

  2. The She-Bear (Italy, Giambattista Basile)

  3. All-Kinds-of-Fur, also known as "Allerleirauh" (Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, version of 1812)

    • Link to an English translation of the version of 1857, entitled here: Allerleirauh

    • Link to the original German, version of 1857: Allerleirauh

  4. Broomthrow, Brushthrow, Combthrow (Austria, Theodor Vernaleken)

  5. Fair Maria Wood (Italy, Thomas Frederick Crane)

  6. Gold Teeth (Italy, Estella Canziani)

  7. The Story of Catskin (England, James Orchard Halliwell)

  8. Notes and Bibliography


Italy, Giovanni Francesco Straparola

Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, wishes to have his only daughter Doralice to wife, but she, through her father's persecution, flees to England, where she marries Genese the king, and has by him two children. These, having been slain by Tebaldo, are avenged by their father King Genese.
I cannot think there is one amongst us who has not realized by his own experience how great is the power of love, and how sharp are the arrows he is wont to shoot into our corruptible flesh. He, like a mighty king, directs and governs his empire without a sword, simply by his individual will, as you will be able to understand from the tenor of the story which I about to tell to you.

You must know, dear ladies, that Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, according to the story I have heard repeated many times by my elders, had to wife a modest and prudent lady of good lineage, and by her he had a daughter who in beauty and grace outshone all the other ladies of Salerno; but it would have been well for Tebaldo if she had never seen the light, for in that case the grave misadventure which befell him would never have happened.

His wife, young in years but of mature wisdom, when she lay a-dying besought her husband, whom she loved very dearly, never to take for his wife any woman whose finger would not exactly fit the ring which she herself wore; and the prince, who loved his wife no less than she loved him, swore by his head that he would observe her wish.

After the good princess had breathed her last and had been honorably buried, Tebaldo indulged in the thought of wedding again, but he bore well in mind the promise he had made to his wife, and was firmly resolved to keep her saying.

However, the report that Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, was seeking another mate soon got noised abroad, and came to the ears of many maidens who, in worth and in estate, were no whit his inferiors; but Tebaldo, whose first care was to fulfil the wishes of his wife who was dead, made it a condition that any damsel who might be offered to him in marriage should first try on her finger his wife's ring, to see whether it fitted, and not having found one who fulfilled this condition -- the ring being always found too big for this and too small for that -- he was forced to dismiss them all without further parley.

Now it happened one day that the daughter of Tebaldo, whose name was Doralice, sat at table with her father; and she, having espied her mother's ring lying on the board, slipped it on her finger and cried out, "See my father, how well my mother's ring fits me!" And the prince, when he saw what she had done, assented.

But not long after this the soul of Tebaldo was assailed by a strange and diabolical temptation to take to wife his daughter Doralice, and for many days he lived tossed about between yea and nay. At last, overcome by the strength of this devilish intent, and fired by the beauty of the maiden, he one day called her to him and said, "Doralice, my daughter, while your mother was yet alive, but fast nearing the end of her days, she besought me never to take to wife any woman whose finger would not fit the ring she herself always wore in her lifetime, and I swore by my head that I would observe this last request of hers. Wherefore, when I felt the time was come for me to wed anew, I made trial of many maidens, but not one could I find who could wear your mother's ring, except yourself. Therefore I have decided to take you for my wife, for thus I shall satisfy my own desire without violating the promise I made to your mother."

Doralice, who was as pure as she was beautiful, when she listened to the evil designs of her wicked father, was deeply troubled in her heart; but, taking heed of his vile and abominable lust, and fearing the effects of his rage, she made no answer and went out of his presence with an untroubled face.

As there was no one whom she could trust so well as her old nurse, she repaired to her at once as the surest bulwark of her safety, to take counsel as to what she should do. The nurse, when she had heard the story of the execrable lust of this wicked father, spake words of comfort to Doralice, for she knew well the constancy and steadfast nature of the girl, and that she would be ready to endure any torment rather than accede to her father's desire, and promised to aid her in keeping her virginity unsullied by such terrible disgrace.

After this the nurse thought of nothing else than how she might best find a way for Doralice out of this strait, planning now this and now that, but finding no method which gained her entire approval. She would fain have had Doralice take to flight and put long distance betwixt her and her father, but she feared the craft of Tebaldo, and lest the girl should fall into his hands after her flight, feeling certain that in such event he would put her to death.

So while the faithful nurse was thus taking counsel with herself, she suddenly hit upon a fresh scheme, which was what I will now tell you. In the chamber of the dead lady there was a fair cassone, or clothes-chest, magnificently carved, in which Doralice kept her richest dresses and her most precious jewels, and this wardrobe the nurse alone could open. So she removed from it by stealth all the robes and the ornaments that were therein, and bestowed them elsewhere, placing in it a good store of a certain liquor which had such great virtue, that whosoever took a spoonful of it, or even less, could live for a long time without further nourishment.

Then, having called Doralice, she shut her therein, and bade her remain in hiding until such time as God should send her better fortune, and her father be delivered from the bestial mood which had come upon him.

The maiden, obedient to the good old woman's command, did all that was told her; and the father, still set upon his accursed design, and making no effort to restrain his unnatural lust, demanded every day what had become of his daughter; and, neither finding any trace of her, or knowing aught where she could be, his rage became so terrible that he threatened to have her killed as soon as he should find her.

Early one morning it chanced that Tebaldo went into the room where the chest was, and as soon as his eye fell upon it, he felt, from the associations connected with it, that he could not any longer endure the sight of it, so he gave orders that it should straightway be taken out and placed elsewhere and sold, so that its presence might not bee an offence to him. The servants were prompt to obey their master's command, and, having taken the thing on their shoulders, they bore it away to the marketplace. It chanced that there was at that time in the city a rich dealer from Genoa, who, as soon as he caught sight of the sumptuously carved cassone, admired it greatly, and settled with himself that he would not let it go from him, however much he might have to pay for it. So, having accosted the servant who was charged with the sale of it, and learnt the price demanded, he bought it forthwith, and gave orders to a porter to carry it away and place it on board his ship.

The nurse, who was watching the trafficking from a distance, was well pleased with the issue thereof, though she grieved sore at losing the maiden. Wherefore she consoled herself by reflecting that when it comes to the choice of evils it is ever wiser to avoid the greater.

The merchant, having set sail from Salerno with his carven chest and other valuable wares, voyaged to the island of Britain, known to us today as England, and landed at a port near which the country was spread out in a vast plain.

Before he had been there long, Genese, who had lately been crowned king of the island, happened to be riding along the seashore, chasing a fine stag, which, in the end, ran down to the beach and took to the water.

The king, feeling wary and worn with the long pursuit, was fain to rest awhile, and, having caught sight of the ship, he sent to ask the master of it to give him something to drink; and the latter, feigning to be ignorant he was talking to the king, greeted Genese familiarly, and gave him a hearty welcome, finally prevailing upon him to go on board his vessel.

The king, when he saw the beautiful clothes-chest so finely carved, was taken with a great longing to possess it, and grew so impatient to call it his own that every hour seemed like a thousand till he should be able to claim it. He then asked the merchant the price he asked for it, and was answered that the price was a very heavy one. The king, being now more taken than ever with the beautiful handicraft, would not leave the ship till he had arranged a price with the merchant, and, having sent for money enough to pay the price demanded, he took his leave, and straightway ordered the cassone to be borne to the palace and placed in his chamber.

Genese, being yet over-young to wive, found his chief pleasure in going every day to the chase. Now that the cassone was transported into his bedroom, with the maiden Doralice hidden inside, she heard, as was only natural, all that went on in the king's chamber, and, in pondering over her past misfortunes, hoped that a happier future was in store for her. And as soon as the king had departed for the chase in the morning, and had left the room clear, Doralice would issue from the clothes-chest, and would deftly put the chamber in order, and sweep it, and make the bed. Then she would adjust the bed curtains, and put on the coverlet cunningly embroidered with fine pearls, and two beautifully ornamented pillows thereto. After this, the fair maiden strewed the bed with roses, violets, and other sweet-smelling flowers, mingled with Cyprian spices which exhaled a subtle odor and soothed the brain to slumber.

Day after day Doralice continued to compose the king's chamber in this pleasant fashion, without being seen of anyone, and thereby gave Genese much gratification; for every day when he came back from the chase it seemed to him as if he was greeted by all the perfumes of the East.

One day he questioned the queen his mother, and the ladies who were about her, as to which of them had so kindly and graciously adorned his room and decked the bed with roses and violets and sweet scents. They answered, one and all, that they had no part in all this, for every morning, when they went to put the chamber in order, they found the bed strewn with flowers and perfumes.

Genese, when he heard this, determined to clear up the mystery, and the next morning gave out that he was going to hunt at a village ten leagues distant. But, in lieu of going forth, he quietly hid himself in the room, keeping his eyes steadily fixed on the door, and waiting to see what might occur. He had not been long on the watch before Doralice, looking more beautiful than the sun, came out of the cassone and began to sweep the room, and to straighten the carpets, and to deck the bed, and diligently to set everything in order, as was her wont.

The beautiful maiden had no sooner done her kindly and considerate office, than she made as if she would go back to her hiding place. But the king, who had keenly taken note of everything, suddenly caught her by the hand, and, seeing that she was very fair, and fresh as a lily, asked her who she was; whereupon the trembling girl confessed that she was the daughter of a prince. She declared, however, that she had forgotten what was his name, on account of her long imprisonment in the cassone, and she would say nothing as to the reason why she had been shut therein. The king, after he had heard her story, fell violently in love with her, and, with the full consent of his mother, made her his queen, and had by her two fair children.

In the meantime Tebaldo was still mastered by his wicked and treacherous passion, and, as he could find no trace of Doralice, search as he would, he began to believe that she must have been hidden in the coffer which he had caused to be sold, and that, having escaped his power, she might be wandering about from place to place.

Therefore, with his rage will burning against her, he set himself to try whether perchance he might not discover her whereabouts. He attired himself as a merchant, and, having gathered together a great store of precious stones and jewels, marvelously wrought in gold, quitted Salerno unknown to anyone, and scoured all the nations and countries round about, finally meeting by hazard the trader who had originally purchased the clothes-chest. Of him he demanded whether he had been satisfied with his bargain, and into whose hands the chest had fallen, and the trader replied that he had sold the cassone to the King of England for double the price he had given for it.

Tebaldo, rejoicing at this news, made his way to England, and when he had landed there and journeyed to the capital, he made a show of his jewels and golden ornaments, amongst which were some spindles and distaffs cunningly wrought, crying out the while, "Spindles and distaffs for sale, ladies."

It chanced that one of the dames of the court, who was looking out of a window, heard this and saw the merchant and his goods; whereupon she ran to the queen and told her there was below a merchant who had for sale the most beautiful golden spindles and distaffs that ever were seen. The queen commanded him to be brought into the palace, and he came up the stairs into her presence, but she did not recognize him in his merchant's guise. Moreover, she was not thinking ever to behold her father again; but Tebaldo recognized his daughter at once.

The queen, when she saw how fair was the work of the spindles and distaffs, asked of the merchant what price he put upon them.

"The prince is great," he answered, "but to you I will give one of them for nothing, provided you suffer me to gratify a caprice of mine. This is that I may be permitted to sleep one night in the same room as your children."

The good Doralice, in her pure and simple nature, never suspected the accursed design of the feigned merchant, and, yielding to the persuasion of her attendants, granted his request.

But before the merchant was led to the sleeping chamber, certain ladies of the court deemed it wise to offer him a cup of wine well drugged to make him sleep sound, and when night had come and the merchant seemed overcome with fatigue, one of the ladies conducted him into the chamber of the king's children, where there was prepared for him a sumptuous couch.

Before she left him the lady said, "Good man, are you not thirsty?"

"Indeed I am," he replied; whereupon she handed him the drugged wine in a silver cup. But the crafty Tebaldo, while feigning to drink the wine, spilled it over his garments, and then lay down to rest.

Now there was in the children's a side door through which it was possible to pass into the queen's apartment. At midnight, when all was still, Tebaldo stole through this, and, going up to the bed beside which the queen had left her clothes, he took away a small dagger, which he had marked the day before hanging from her girdle. Then he returned to the children's room and killed them both with the dagger, which he immediately put back into its scabbard, all bloody as it was. And having opened a window he let himself down by a cord.

As soon as the shopmen of the city were astir, he went to a barber's and had his long beard taken off, for fear he might be recognized, and having put on different clothes he walked about the city without apprehension.

In the palace the nurses went, as soon as they awakened, to suckle the children; but when they came to the cradles they found them both lying dead. Whereupon they began to scream and to weep bitterly, and to rend their hair and their garments, thus laying bare their breasts.

The dreadful tiding came quickly to the ears of the king and queen, and they ran barefooted and in their nightclothes to the spot, and when they saw the dead bodies of the babes they wept bitterly. Soon the report of the murder of the two children was spread throughout the city, and, almost at the same time, it was rumored that there had just arrived a famous astrologer, who, by studying the courses of the various stars, could lay bare the hidden mysteries of the past.

When this came to the ears of the king, he caused the astrologer to be summoned forthwith, and, when he was come into the royal presence, demanded whether or not he could tell the name of the murderer of the children.

The astrologer replied that he could, and whispering secretly in the king's ear he said, "Sire, let all the men and women of your court who are wont to wear a dagger at their side be summoned before you, and if amongst these you shall find one whose dagger is befouled with blood in its scabbard, that same will be the murderer of your children."

Wherefore the king at once gave command that all his courtiers should present themselves, and, when they were assembled, he diligently searched with his own hands to see if any one of them might have a bloody dagger at his side, but he could find none. Then he returned to the astrologer -- who was no other than Tebaldo himself -- and told him how his quest had been vain, and that all in the palace, save his mother and the queen, had been searched.

To which the astrologer replied, "Sire, search everywhere and respect no one, and then you will surely find the murderer."

So the king searched first his mother, and then the queen, and when he took the dagger which Doralice wore and drew it from the scabbard, he found it covered with blood.

Then the king, convinced by this proof, turned to the queen and said to her, "O, wicked and inhuman woman, enemy of your own flesh and blood, traitress to your own children! What desperate madness has led you to dye your hands in the blood of these babes? I swear that you shall suffer the full penalty fixed for such a crime."

But though the king in his rage would fain have sent her straightway to a shameful death, his desire for vengeance prompted him to dispose of her so that she might suffer longer and more cruel torment. Wherefore he commanded that she should be stripped and thus naked buried up to her chin in the earth, and that she should be well fed in order that she might linger long and the worms devour her flesh while she still lived. The queen, seasoned to misfortune in the past, and conscious of her innocence, contemplated her terrible doom with calmness and dignity.

Tebaldo, when he learned that the queen had been adjudged guilty and condemned to a cruel death, rejoiced greatly, and, as soon as he had taken leave of the king, left England, quite satisfied with his work, and returned secretly to Salerno. Arrived there, he told to the old nurse the whole story of his adventures, and how Doralice had been sentenced to death by her husband.

As she listened, the nurse feigned to be as pleased as Tebaldo himself, but in her heart she grieved sorely, overcome by this love which she had always borne towards the princess, and the next morning she took horse early and rode on day and night until she came to England.

Immediately she repaired to the palace and went before the king, who was giving public audience in the great hall, and, having thrown herself at his feet, she demanded an interview on a matter which concerned the honor of his crown. The king granted her request, and took her by the hand and bade her rise.

Then, when the rest of the company had gone and left them alone, the nurse thus addressed the king, "Sire, know that Doralice, your wife, is my child. She is not, indeed, the fruit of my womb, but I nourished her at these breasts. She is innocent of the deed which is laid to her charge, and for which she is sentenced to a lingering and cruel death. And you, when you shall have learnt everything, and laid your hand upon the impious murderer, and understood the reason which moved him to slay your children, you will assuredly show her mercy and deliver her from these bitter and cruel torments. And if you find that I speak falsely in this, I offer myself to suffer the same punishment which the wretched Doralice is now enduring."

Then the nurse set forth fully from beginning to end the whole history of Doralice's past life; and the king, when he heard it, doubted not the truth of it, but forthwith gave orders that the queen, who was now more dead than alive, should be taken out of the earth; which was done at once, and Doralice, after careful nursing and ministration by physicians, was restored to health.

Next day King Genese stirred up through all his kingdom mighty preparations for war, and gathered together a great army, which he dispatched to Salerno. After a short campaign the city was captured, and Tebaldo, bound hand and foot, taken back to England, where King Genese, wishing to know the whole sum of his guilt, had him put upon the rack, whereupon the wretched man made full confession.

The next day he was conducted through the city in a cart drawn by four horses, and then tortured with red-hot pincers like Gano di Magazza, and after his body had been quartered, his flesh was thrown to be eaten of ravenous dogs.

And this was the end of the impious wretch Tebaldo. And King Genese and Doralice his queen lived many years happily together, leaving at their death divers children in their place.

The She-Bear

Italy, Giambattista Basile

Now it is said that once upon a time there lived a king of Roccaspra, who had a wife who for beauty, grace, and comeliness exceeded all other women. Truly she was the mother of beauty, but this beautiful being, at the full time of her life, fell from the steed of health, and broke the threads of life. But before the candle of life was finally put out, she called her husband, and said, "I know well, that you have loved me with excessive love, therefore show me a proof of your love and give me a promise that you will never marry, unless you meet one beautiful as I have been; and if you will not so promise, I will leave you a curse, and I will hate you even in the other world."

The king, who loved her above all things, hearing this her last will, began to weep and lament, and for a while could not find a word to say; but after his grief subsided, he replied, "If I ever think of taking a wife, may the gout seize me, and may I become as gaunt as an asparagus; oh my love, forget it. Do not believe in dreams, nor that I can ever put my affection upon another woman. You will take with you all my joy and desire." And while he was thus speaking, the poor lady, who was at her last, turned up her eyes and stretched her feet.

When the king saw that her soul had taken flight, his eyes became fountains of tears, and he cried with loud cries, buffeted his face, and wept, and wailed, so that all the courtiers ran to his side. He continually called upon the name of that good soul and cursed his fate, which had deprived him of her, and tore his hair, and pulled out his beard, and accused the stars of having sent to him this great misfortune. But he did as others do. A bump on the elbow and the loss of a wife cause much pain, but it does not last. The one pain disappears at one's side, and the other into the grave.

Night had not yet come forth to look about the heavens for the bats, when he began to make count on his fingers, saying "My wife is dead, and I am a widower, and sad hearted without hope of any kind but my only daughter, since she left me. Therefore it will be necessary to find another wife that will bear me a son. But where can I find one? Where can I meet a woman endowed with my wife's beauty, when all other females seem witches in my sight? There is the rub! Where shall I find another like unto her? Where am I to seek her with a bell, if nature formed Nardella (may her soul rest in glory), and then broke the mould? Alas! in what labyrinth am I! What a mistake was the promise I made her! But what? I have not seen the wolf yet, but I am running away already. Let us seek, let us see, and let us understand. Is it possible, that there is no other donkey in the stable except for Nardella? Is it possible that the world will be lost for me? Will there be such a plague that all women will be destroyed and their seed lost?"

And thus saying, he commanded the public crier to proclaim that all the beautiful women in the world should come and undergo the comparison of beauty, that he would take to wife the best looking of all, and make her the queen of his realm. This news spread in all parts of the world, and not one of the women in the whole universe failed to come and try this venture. Not even flayed hags stayed behind, they came by the dozen, because, when the point of beauty is touched, there is none who will yield, there is no sea monster who will give herself up as hideous; each and everyone boasts of uncommon beauty.

If a donkey speaks the truth, the mirror is blamed for not reflecting the form as it is naturally; it is the fault of the quicksilver at the back. And now the land was full of women, and the king ordered that they should all stand in file, and he began to walk up and down, like a sultan when he enters his harem, to choose the best Genoa stone to sharpen his damascene blade. He came and went, up and down, like a monkey who is never still, looking and staring at this one and that one. One had a crooked brow, another a long nose, one a large mouth, and another thick lips. This one was too tall and gaunt, that other was short and badly formed, this one was too much dressed, another was too slightly robed. He disliked the Spanish woman because of the hue of her skin; the Neapolitan was not to his taste because of the way in which she walked; the German seemed to him too cold and frozen; the French woman too light of brains; the Venetian a spinning wheel full of flax. At last, for one reason or another, he sent them all about their business with one hand in front and another behind.

Seeing so many beautiful heads of celery turned to hard roots and having resolved to marry nevertheless, he turned to his own daughter, saying, "What am I seeking about these Marys of Ravenna, if my daughter Preziosa is made from the same mould as her mother? I have this beautiful face at home, and yet I should go to the end of the world seeking it?" Thus he explained to his daughter his desire, and was severely reproved and censured by her, as Heaven knows. The king was angry at her rejection, and said to her, "Be quiet and hold your tongue. Make up your mind to tie the matrimonial knot with me this very evening; otherwise when I finish with you there will be nothing left but your ears."

Preziosa, hearing this threat, retired to her room, and wept and lamented her evil fate. And while she lay there in this plight, an old woman, who used to bring her cosmetics, came to her, and finding her in such a plight, looking like one more ready for the other world than for this one, enquired the cause of her distress. When the old woman learned what had happened, she said, "Be of good cheer, my daughter, and despair not, for every evil has a remedy. Death alone has no cure. Now listen to me: When your father comes to you this evening -- donkey that he is, wanting to act the stallion -- put this piece of wood into your mouth, and you will at once become a she-bear. Then you can make your escape, for he will be afraid of you and let you go. Go straight to the forest, for it was written in the book of fate, the day that you were born, that there you should meet your fortune. When you want to turn back into a woman as you are and will ever be, take the bit of wood out of your mouth, and you will return to your pristine form."

Preziosa embraced and thanked the old woman, told the servants to give her an apron full of flour and some slices of ham, and sent her away. When the sun began to change her quarters like a bankrupt strumpet, the king sent for his minister, and had him issue invitations to all the lords and grandees to come to the marriage feast. They all crowded in. After spending five or six hours in high revelry and unrestrained eating, the king made his way to the bed chamber, and called to the bride to come and fulfil his desire. But she put the bit of wood into her mouth, and instantly took the shape of a fierce she-bear, and stood thus before him. He, frightened at the sudden change, rolled himself up in the bedding, and did not put forth a finger or an eye until morning.

Meanwhile Preziosa made her way toward the forest, where the shadows met concocting together how they could annoy the sun. There she lay in good fellowship and at one with the other animals. When the day dawned, it happened by chance that the son of the King of Acquacorrente should come to that forest. He sighted the she-bear and was greatly frightened, but the beast came forward, and wagging her tail, walked around him, and put her head under his hand for him to caress her. He took heart at this strange sight, smoothed its head as he would have done to a dog, and said to it, "Lie down, down, quiet, quiet, there there, good beast." Seeing that the beast was very tame, he took her home with him, commanding his servants to put her in the garden by the side of the royal palace, and there to attend to and feed her well, and treat her as they would his own person, and to take her to a particular spot so that he might see her from the windows of his palace whenever he had a mind to.

Now it so happened that one day all his people were away on some errand, and the prince being left alone, thought about the bear, and looked out of the window to see her. However, at that very moment Preziosa, believing she was utterly alone, had taken the bit of wood from her mouth, and stood combing her golden hair. The prince was amazed at this woman of great beauty, and he descended the stairs and ran to the garden. But Preziosa, perceiving the ambush, at once put the bit of wood into her mouth, and became a she-bear once more. The prince looked about, but could not see what he had sighted from above, and not finding what he came to seek, remained very disappointed, and was melancholy and sad hearted, and in a few days became grievously ill. He kept repeating, "Oh my bear, oh my bear."

His mother, hearing this continual cry, imagined that perhaps the bear had bit him or done him some evil, and therefore ordered the servants to kill her. But all the servants loved the beast because it was so very tame, even the stones in the roadway could not help liking her, so they had compassion and could not think of killing her. Therefore they led her to the forest, and returning to the queen, told her that she was dead. When this deed came to the prince's ears, he acted as a madman, and leaving his bed, ill as he was, was about to make mincemeat of the servants. They told him the truth of the affair. He mounted his steed and searched backward and forward until at length he came to a cave and found the bear.

He carried her home with him and put her in a chamber, saying, "Oh you beautiful morsel fit for kings, why do you hide your passing beauty in a bear's hide? Oh light of love, why are you closed in such an hairy lantern? Why have you acted this way toward me, is it so that you may see me die a slow death? I am dying of despair, charmed by your beautiful form, and you can see the witness of my words in my failing health and sickening form. I am become skin and bone, and the fever burns my very marrow, and consumes me with heart-sore pain. Therefore lift the veil from that stinking hide, and let me behold once more your grace and beauty; lift up the leaves from this basket's mouth, and let me take a view of the splendid fruit within; lift the tapestry, and allow my eyes to feast upon the luxury of your charms. Who has enclosed in a dreary prison such a glorious work? Who has enclosed in a leather casket such a priceless treasure? Let me behold your passing grace, and take in payment all my desires. Oh my love, only this bear's grease can cure the nervous disease of which I suffer." But perceiving that his words had no effect, and that all was time lost, he took to his bed, and his illness increased daily, until the doctors feared for his life.

The queen, his mother, who had no other love in the world, sat at his bedside, and said to him, "Oh my son, where does your heartsickness come from? What is the cause of all this sadness? You are young, you are rich, you are beloved, you are great. What do you want, my son? Speak, for only a shameful beggar carries an empty pocket. If you desire to take a wife, choose, and I will command; take, and I will pay. Can you not see that your sickness is my sickness and that your pulse beats in unison with my heart? If you burn with fever in your blood, I burn with fever on the brain. I have no other support for my old age but you. Therefore, my son, be cheerful, and cheer my heart, and do not darken this realm, and raze to the ground this house, and bereave your mother."

The prince, hearing these words, said, "Nothing can cheer me, if I may not see the bear; therefore, if you desire to see me in good health again, let her stay in this room, and I do not wish that any other serve me, and make my bed, and cook my meals, if it be not herself, and if what I desire be done, I am sure that I shall be well in a few days." To the queen it seemed folly for her son to ask that a bear should act as cook and housemaid. She believed that the prince must be delirious; nevertheless, to please his fancy, she went for the bear, and when the beast came to the prince's bedside she lifted her paw and felt the invalid's pulse. The queen smiled at the sight, thinking that by and by the bear would scratch the prince's nose. But the prince spoke to the bear, and said, "Oh mischievous mine, will you not cook for me, and feed me, and serve me?" And the bear nodded yes with her head, showing that she would accept the charge. Then the queen sent for some chickens, and had a fire lit in the fireplace in the same chamber, and had a kettle with boiling water put on the fire. The bear took hold of a chicken, scalded it, dexterously plucked off its feathers, cleaned it, put half of it on the spit, and stewed the other half. When it was ready, the prince, who could not before eat even sugar, ate it all and licked his fingers. When he had ended his meal, the bear brought him some drink, and handed it so gracefully that the queen kissed her on the head. After this the prince arose, and went to the salon to receive the doctors, and to be directed by their judgment. The bear at once made the bed, ran to the garden and gathered a handful of roses and orange blossoms, which she scattered upon the bed. She fulfilled her various duties so well that the queen said to herself, "This bear is worth a treasure, and my son is quite right in being fond of the beast."

When the prince returned to his chambers, and saw how well the bear had fulfilled her duties, it was like adding fuel to the fire. If he had been consumed himself in a slow fire before, he was now burning with intense heat. He said to the queen "Oh my lady mother, if I cannot give a kiss to this bear, I shall give up the ghost." The queen, seeing her son nearly fainting, said to the bear, "Kiss him, kiss him, oh my beautiful bear, do not leave my poor son to die in despair." Then the bear obediently neared the prince, who took her cheeks between his fingers, could not stop kissing her on the lips.

While thus engaged, I do not know how it happened, the bit of wood fell from Preziosa's mouth, and she remained in the prince's embrace, the most beautiful and ravishing being in the world. He strained her to his bosom with tightly clasped arms, and said, "You are caught at last, and you shall not escape so easily without a reason." Preziosa, reddening with the lovely tint of modesty and of shame, the most beautiful of natural beauties, answered, "I am in your hands. I surrender my honor to your loyalty. Do with me what you will." The queen asked who this charming woman was, and what had caused her to live such a wild life. She related to them all her misfortunes, and the queen praised her as a good and honored child, and said to her son that she was well satisfied that he should marry the princess. The prince, who wanted nothing else, at once announced his betrothal to her. Kneeling before the queen, they both received her blessing, and with great feasting the marriage took place. Thus Preziosa demonstrated the truth of the proverb: "Those who do good may expect good in return."


Version of 1812)

Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time there was a king whose wife was the most beautiful woman in the world, with hair of pure gold. Together they had a daughter, and she was as beautiful as her mother, and she had the same golden hair. The queen became ill, and when she felt that she was about to die, she called the king to her side and asked him not to marry anyone following her death, unless she was just as beautiful as she, and unless her hair was just as golden as hers. The king made this promise, and she died.

For a long time the king was so grieved that he did not think about a second wife, but finally his councilors advised him to marry again. He sent messengers to all the princesses, but none was as beautiful as the deceased queen, and such golden hair could not be found anywhere in the world.

Then one day the king's glance fell on his daughter, and he saw that she looked just like her mother, and that she had the same golden hair. He thought to himself, "You will never find anyone in the world this beautiful. You will have to marry your daughter." And in that instant he felt such a strong love for her, that he immediately announced his decision to his councilors. They tried to dissuade him, but to no avail.

The princess was horrified at his godless intentions, but because she was clever, she told the king that he should first get her three dresses: one as golden as the sun, one as white as the moon, one that glistened like the stars. Further, he was to get her a coat made from a thousand kinds of fur. Every animal in the kingdom would have to give up a piece of its skin for it.

The king was so fervent in his desires, that he had his huntsmen capture animals from across the entire kingdom. They were skinned, and a coat was made from their pelts. Thus, it did not take long before he brought the princess everything that she had asked for.

The princess said that she would marry him the next day. That night she sought out the presents that she had received from her fiancé: a golden ring, a little golden spinning wheel, and a little golden yarn reel. She put the three dresses into a nutshell, blackened her hands and face with soot, put on the coat of all kinds of fur, and left. She walked the entire night until she came to a great forest. She would be safe there. Because she was tired, she sat down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.

She was still asleep the next day when the king, her fiancé, came to this forest to hunt. His dogs ran up to the tree and sniffed at it. The king sent his huntsmen to see what kind of animal was in the tree. They came back and said that it was a strange animal, the likes of which they had never seen before. It had every kind of fur on its skin, and it was lying there asleep. The king ordered them to capture it and to tie it onto the back of his carriage. As the huntsmen were doing this, they saw that it was a girl. They tied her onto the back of the carriage and rode home with her.

"All-Kinds-of-Fur," they said, "you are good for the kitchen. You can carry water and wood, and clean out the ashes." Then they gave her a little stall beneath the steps, where the light of day never shone, and said, "This is where you can live and sleep."

So she had to help the cook in the kitchen. She plucked chickens, tended the fire, gathered vegetables, and did all the dirty work. Because she did very well at all this, the cook was good to her, and in the evening he often invited her in and gave her something to eat from the leftovers. Before the king went to bed, she had to go upstairs and pull off his boots. When she had pulled them off, he always threw them at her head. Poor All-Kinds-of-Fur lived like this for a long time. Oh, you beautiful maiden, what will become of you?

Once there was a ball at the castle, and All-Kinds-of-Fur thought that she might see her fiancé once again, so she went to the cook and asked him if he would allow her to go upstairs a little and look in at the splendor from the doorway. "Go ahead," said the cook, "but do not stay longer than a half hour. You still have to clean out the ashes tonight."

Then All-Kinds-of-Fur took her little oil lamp and went to her stall where she washed off the soot. Her beauty came forth just like blossoms in the springtime. She took off the fur coat, opened up the nut and took out the dress that glistened like the sun. She put it on and went upstairs. Everyone made room for her, and thought that a noble princess had entered the hall. The king immediately invited her to dance, and as he danced with her, he thought how closely this unknown princess resembled his own fiancée. The longer he looked at her, the stronger the resemblance. He was almost certain that this was his fiancée, and at the end of the dance, he was going to ask her. However, when they finished dancing, she bowed, and before the king knew what was happening, she disappeared.

He asked the watchmen, but none of them had seen the princess leave the castle. She had run quickly to her stall, taken off the dress, blackened her hands and face, and put on the fur coat once again. Then she went to the kitchen to clean out the ashes, but the cook said, "Leave them until morning. I want to go upstairs and have a look at the dance. You make some soup for the king, but don't let any hairs fall into it, or there will be nothing more to eat for you."

All-Kinds-of-Fur made some bread soup for the king, then she put the golden ring in it that he had given her. When the ball was over, the king had his bread soup brought to him. It tasted better than any he had ever eaten. When he was finished, he found the ring on the bottom of the bowl. Looking at it carefully, he saw that it was his engagement ring. Astonished, he could not understand how it had gotten there. He summoned the cook, who then became very angry with All-Kinds-of-Fur. "You must have let a hair fall into the soup," he said. "If you did, there will be blows for you."

However, when the cook went upstairs, the king asked him who had made the soup, because it had been better than usual. The king had to confess that it had been All-Kinds-of-Fur. Then the king had her sent up to him. "Who are you?" he asked upon her arrival. "What are you doing in my castle, and where did you get the ring that was lying in the soup?"

She answered, "I am only a poor child whose father and mother are dead. I have nothing, and I am good for nothing more than having boots thrown at my head. And I know nothing about the ring." With that she ran away.

Soon there was another ball. All-Kinds-of-Fur again asked the cook to allow her to go upstairs. The cook gave his permission, but only for a half hour, because by then she would have to be back in the kitchen to make the king's bread soup. All-Kinds-of-Fur went to her stall, washed herself clean, and took out the moon-dress. It was purer and brighter than newly fallen snow. When she arrived upstairs the dance had just begun. The king extended his hand to her, and danced with her, and no longer doubted that this was his fiancée, for no one else in the world had such golden hair. However, the princess immediately slipped out when the dance ended, and the king, in spite of his great effort, could not find her. Further, he had not spoken a single word with her.

She was All-Kinds-of-Fur once again, with blackened hands and face. She took her place in the kitchen and made bread soup for the king, while the cook went upstairs to have a look. When the soup was ready, she put the golden spinning wheel in it. The king ate the soup, and thought that it was even better this time. When he found the golden spinning wheel, he was even more astonished, because it had been a present from him to his fiancée some time ago. The cook was summoned again, and then All-Kinds-of-Fur, but once again she answered by saying that she knew nothing about it, and that she was there only to have boots thrown at her head.

For the third time, the king held a ball. He hoped that his fiancée would come again, and he would not let her escape this time. All-Kinds-of-Fur again asked the cook to allow her to go upstairs, but he scolded her, saying, "You are a witch. You are always putting things in the soup. And you can cook better than I can." But because she begged so, and promised to behave herself, he gave her permission to go upstairs for a half hour.

She put on the dress of stars. It glistened like stars in the night. She went upstairs and danced with the king, and he thought that he had never seen her more beautiful. While dancing, he slipped a ring onto her finger. He had ordered that it should be a very long dance. He could not bring himself to speak to her, nor could he keep her from escaping. As soon as the dance ended, she jumped into the crowd and disappeared before he could turn around.

She ran to her stall. Because she had been gone more than a half hour, she quickly took off her dress, and in her rush she failed to blacken herself entirely. One finger remained white. When she returned to the kitchen, the cook had already left. She quickly made some bread soup and put the golden yarn reel into it.

The king found it, just as he had found the ring and the golden spinning wheel, and now he knew for sure that his fiancée was nearby, for no one else could have had these presents. All-Kinds-of-Fur was summoned. Once again she tried to make an excuse and then run away, but as she ran by, the king noticed a white finger on her hand, and he held her fast. He found the ring that he had slipped onto her finger, and then he ripped off her fur coat. Her golden hair flowed out, and he saw that it was his dearly beloved fiancée. The cook received a generous reward. Then they got married and lived happily until they died.


Broomthrow, Brushthrow, Combthrow

Austria, Theodor Vernaleken

In a castle there once lived a count by the name of Rudolf. His wife had a golden cross on her forehead. Their daughter Adelheid had the same mark on her forehead. When she was twenty years old her mother suddenly died.

The count's and his daughter's sorrow and grief were endless. After the mother's burial, the father and his child locked themselves in their rooms and were seldom seen.

After a month had passed, the count had his daughter brought to his room and said to her, "Dear child, you know how much I loved your mother. I cannot live without a wife. Therefore I am going out into the world to seek a wife who -- like your blessed mother -- has a golden cross on her forehead. If I do not find such a woman within a year and a day, then I will marry you."

When Adelheid heard these words she was very upset, and she silently withdrew. The next morning Count Rudolf departed, promising to return within a year and a day.

When Adelheid was alone she considered whether or not it would be possible for her father to find a woman with such a cross. Then she remembered that her mother had once told her that except for her and Adelheid, no one on the entire earth had such a cross.

She decided to go away. She would rather earn her bread with the work of her own hands than to eat the finest tidbits at her father's table as his wife. She entrusted one of her loyal servants with her plan, and they made preparations to depart.

She secretly loaded her valuables, her jewelry, her gold, and her clothes into several large carriages. During the night she drove off with them, accompanied by her servant Gotthold and several others who were loyal to her. They came to a large city where she rented a house and moved into it with her servants.

Adelheid had often stated that she wanted to earn her bread with the work of her own hands. Therefore Gotthold sought a position for his mistress in the city. He learned that there was an opening for a kitchen maid in the castle of Prince Adolf. Thus he went to the chief cook and asked him if he would be willing to hire his niece, for that is what he called the countess. As he talked further with the chief cook, Gotthold recognized in him a friend whom he had not seen for many years. He told him that his brother had died, leaving a daughter in his care. The chief cook agreed to hire her.

The loyal servant happily returned to the countess and remained in the rented house.

Adelheid now dyed her face, neck, and hands brown; covered her golden cross and her hair with a large head-scarf; took off her magnificent robes, putting on instead old, dirty, torn clothing; and presented herself to the chief cook.

She was given a small room where she could sleep and keep her things. Slowly she grew accustomed to her job, even though she was exhausted by the hard work.

Until now she had not yet seen the prince. One day he invited all his friends and acquaintances to a great ball. On the morning of the ball, Adelheid was sweeping the staircase, when the prince, without being seen by her, walked up and tipped over the dust pail, thus dirtying his boots. As she was fleeing he angrily ripped the broom from her hands and threw it at her.

That evening as the hall was filling with people, the young countess went to the chief cook and asked him for permission to go to the ball.

He replied, "No, I cannot allow you to do that. What if the prince were to find out!"

Adelheid continued to beg, until he finally said, "Just go. But don't stay too late, and if you get anything, bring some back for me as well."

Now she went to Gotthold's house, changed her clothes, washed away the color, and ordered up a splendid carriage in which she rode to the prince's.

When the guests saw the splendid carriage approaching in the distance they all hurried outside and said, "A foreign lady! A beautiful lady!"

The prince hurried toward her, lifted her from her carriage, and led her up the stairs. She had to dance with him the entire evening and to sit next to him at the table. After eating, he asked her what her name was and where she came from.

"My name is Adelheid, and I come from Broomthrow," replied the countess.

At twelve o'clock she left, and with her the majority of guests.

Arriving at home she quickly got undressed, colored herself brown, and took three gold pieces which she gave to the chief cook, claiming that she had stood behind a door and had received the gold from an old woman.

The next morning the prince looked for Broomthrow on his maps, but he could not find it. He wanted to ask her about her home city once again, but because he did not know where she lived he invited his friends to a second ball.

On the morning of the second ball Adelheid was brushing her clothing when the prince, without being seen, came up the stairs. She turned around and dropped the brush, which fell onto the prince's feet. Angrily Adolf picked up the brush and threw it at the embarrassed countess's head.

That evening the chief cook once again allowed her to go the ball, and she took advantage of his permission. At the ball Adolf told her that he had not been able to find Broomthrow.

"How could you be looking for Broomthrow?" she replied. "I said Brushthrow."

Once again they danced together, and as midnight approached she went home. She brought the chief cook a gold band, claiming that she had received it as a gift.

The next morning the prince looked for Brushthrow, but could not find it. He then invited his friends and acquaintances to a third ball, which was to be even more magnificent than the first two.

On the eve of the ball, shortly before the festivities were to begin, Adelheid, contrary to custom, was combing her hair in the castle. The prince, displeased because the foreign lady had not arrived yet, walked up the stairs just as the countess dropped her comb. Prince Adolf picked it up and threw it at the kitchen servant's head. She quickly withdrew, changed her clothes, and went to the ball.

At the table the prince said that he had not been able to find Brushthrow anywhere.

"I can believe that," she said. "I called the place Combthrow." He didn't want to believe her, but she argued with him until he finally gave in. Before she left he placed a ring on her finger, without her noticing it.

The next morning the prince was not well, and he asked a chief cook to make soup for him. The latter announced this in the kitchen, and Adelheid asked for permission to make the soup. But he said, "If you put something in the soup that doesn't belong there, then I am the one who will be punished."

She replied, "I will not put anything wrong in it." She made the soup, and without being seen, she threw the prince's ring into the soup.

The prince poured the soup into a dish and heard something jingle. He felt around and fished out the ring. Amazed, he then asked who had made the soup.

"The kitchen maid" was the answer.

Adolph ordered his servant, "Bring her here."

She hurriedly put on the dress that she had worn the previous evening, and when the prince saw her, he recognized his dance partner. She now had to tell him her life story, and soon afterward he married her.

In the meantime her father had come home, and when he discovered that his daughter had already married, he had to accept his fate.

Fair Maria Wood

Italy, Thomas Frederick Crane

There was once a husband and wife who had but one child, a daughter. Now it happened that the wife fell ill and was at the point of death. Before dying she called her husband, and said to him, weeping, "I am dying; you are still young; if you ever wish to marry again, be mindful to choose a wife whom my wedding ring fits; and if you cannot find a lady whom it fits well, do not marry."

Her husband promised that he would do so. When she was dead he took off her wedding ring and kept it until he desired to marry again. Then he sought for some one to please him. He went from one to another, but the ring fitted no one. He tried so many but in vain. One day he thought of calling his daughter, and trying the ring on her to see whether it fitted her. The daughter said, "It is useless, dear father; you cannot marry me, because you are my father."

He did not heed her, put the ring on her finger, and saw that it fitted her well, and wanted to marry his daughter nolens volens. She did not oppose him, but consented. The day of the wedding, he asked her what she wanted. She said that she wished four silk dresses, the most beautiful that could be seen. He, who was a gentleman, gratified her wish and took her the four dresses, one handsomer than the other, and all the handsomest that had ever been seen.

"Now, what else do you want?" said he.

"I want another dress, made of wood, so that I can conceal myself in it." And at once he had this wooden dress made. She was well pleased. She waited until one day her husband was out of sight, put on the wooden dress, and under it the four silk dresses, and went away to a certain river not far off, and threw herself in it. Instead of sinking and drowning, she floated, for the wooden dress kept her up.

The water carried her a long way, when she saw on the bank a gentleman, and began to cry, "Who wants the fair Maria Wood?"

That gentleman who saw her on the water, and whom she addressed, called her and she came to the bank and saluted him.

"How is it that you are thus dressed in wood, and come floating on the water without drowning?"

She told him that she was a poor girl who had only that dress of wood, and that she wanted to go out to service.

"What can you do?"

"I can do all that is needed in a house, and if you would only take me for a servant you would be satisfied."

He took her to his house, where his mother was, and told her all that had happened, saying, "If you, dear mother, will take her as a servant, we can try her." In short, she took her and was pleased with this woman dressed in wood.

It happened that there were balls at that place which the best ladies and gentlemen attended. The gentleman who had the servant dressed in wood prepared to go to the ball, and after he had departed, the servant said to his mother, "Do me this kindness, mistress: let me go to the ball too, for I have never seen any dancing."

"What, you wish to go to the ball so badly dressed that they would drive you away as soon as they saw you!" The servant was silent and when the mistress was in bed, dressed herself in one of her silk dresses and became the most beautiful woman that was ever seen. She went to the ball, and it seemed as if the sun had entered the room; all were dazzled. She sat down near her master, who asked her to dance, and would dance with no one but her. She pleased him so much that he fell in love with her. He asked her who she was and where she came from. She replied that she came from a distance, but told him nothing more.

At a certain hour, without anyone perceiving it, she went out and disappeared. She returned home and put on her wooden dress again. In the morning the master returned from the ball, and said to his mother, "Oh! if you had only seen what a beautiful lady there was at the ball! She appeared like the sun, she was so beautiful and well dressed. She sat down near me, and would not dance with anyone but me."

His mother then said, "Did you not ask her who she was and where she came from?"

"She would only tell me that she came from a distance; but I thought I should die; I wish to go again this evening." The servant heard all this dialogue, but kept silent, pretending that the matter did not concern her.

In the evening he prepared himself again for the ball, and the servant said to him, "Master, yesterday evening I asked your mamma to let me, too, go to the ball, for I have never seen dancing, but she would not; will you have the kindness to let me go this evening?"

"Be still, you ugly creature, the ball is no place for you!"

"Do me this favor," she said, weeping, "I will stand out of doors, or under a bench, or in a corner so no one shall see me; but let me go!"

He grew angry then, and took a stick and began to beat the poor servant. She wept and remained silent.

After he had gone, she waited until his mother was in bed, and put on a dress finer than the first, and so rich as to astonish, and away to the ball! When she arrived all began to gaze at her, for they had never seen anything more beautiful. All the handsomest young men surrounded her and asked her to dance; but she would have nothing to do with anyone but her master. He again asked her who she was, and she said she would tell him later.

They danced and danced, and all at once she disappeared. Her master ran here and there, asked one and another, but no one could tell him where she had gone. He returned home and told his mother all that had passed. She said to him, "Do you know what you must do? Take this diamond ring, and when she dances with you give it to her; and if she takes it, it is a sign that she loves you." She gave him the ring. The servant listened, saw everything, and was silent.

In the evening the master prepared for the ball and the servant again asked him to take her, and again he beat her. He went to the ball, and after midnight, as before, the beautiful lady returned more beautiful than before, and as usual would dance only with her master. At the right moment he took out the diamond ring, and asked her if she would accept it. She took it and thanked him, and he was happy and satisfied. Afterward he asked her again who she was and where from. She said that she was of that country,

That when they speak of going to a ball
They are beaten on the head

and said no more. At the usual hour she stopped dancing and departed. He ran after her, but she went like the wind, and reached home without his finding out where she went. But he ran so in all directions, and was in such suffering, that when he reached home he was obliged to go to bed more dead than alive. Then he fell ill and grew worse every day, so that all said he would die. He did nothing but ask his mother and everyone if they knew anything of that lady, and that he would die if he did not see her. The servant heard everything; and one day, when he was very ill, what did she think of? She waited until her mistress's eye was turned, and dropped the diamond ring in the broth her master was to eat. No one saw her, and his mother took him the broth. He began to eat it, when he felt something hard, saw something shine, and took it out. You can imagine how he looked at it and recognized the diamond ring! They thought he would go mad. He asked his mother if that was the ring and she swore that it was, and all happy, she said that now he would see her again.

Meanwhile the servant went to her room, took off her wooden dress, and put on one all of silk, so that she appeared a beauty, and went to the room of the sick man. His mother saw her and began to cry, "Here she is; here she is!" She went in and saluted him, smiling, and he was so beside himself that he became well at once. He asked her to tell him her story: who she was, where she came from, how she came, and how she knew that he was ill.

She replied, "I am the woman dressed in wood who was your servant. It is not true that I was a poor girl, but I had that dress to conceal myself in, for underneath it I was the same that I am now. I am a lady; and although you treated me so badly when I asked to go to the ball, I saw that you loved me, and now I have come to save you from death." You can believe that they stayed to hear her story. They were married and have always been happy and still are.

Gold Teeth

Italy, Estella Canziani

There was a woman whose teeth were all of gold. Before she died she made her husband promise that he would never marry again unless someone with gold teeth.

For many years he remained with his daughter. Then he wanted to marry again, and looked everywhere for someone with gold teeth, but could not find one.

On a day he came to a house, and there he found a well-dressed gentleman and told him what he sought. The gentleman said, "You have such an one in your own house. Go and marry her."

When the daughter heard this she ran to her godmother, and asked her what she should do. The godmother told her to tell her father that she would marry him if he got her a gown covered with suns. The father did not know how to manage this, but he went to his adviser and told him what was wanted. The gentleman said, "Oh! is that all?" and gave him the gown. The father returned to his daughter, and gave her the frock.

The girl ran off crying to her godmother, who this time told her to ask for a gown covered with stars. The same thing happened. The third time the godmother told her to ask for a gown covered with rings, and the fourth time for a gown all dirty and made of flea skins.

Her father still sought to marry her, and again she went crying to her godmother, who this time said that the only thing left for her to do was to put on all four gowns, the one of flea skins on top, dye her hair white, and run far away. All this she did, and at last found herself in the middle of a thick forest. She could not find her way, and was much frightened when large dogs rushed up, barking and threatening to bite her.

A prince also came up with the dogs, and she begged him not to let them bite. She also asked him to give her food, as she had none. She looked like a shabby, dirty, white-haired woman, but the prince promised that she should feed his chickens and eat the same food. This pleased her, and she went with him and looked after the chickens.

Thus she lived for many years. The prince used to go to talk with his little old woman, and one day he told her that he was going to a ball for three nights running. She begged him to take her with him, and this he said he would do if she waited for him at the foot of the stairs the next night. When he came down to go to the ball, he found the little old woman waiting, but only laughed and gave her a kick before he went off.

Then she washed and put on her sun dress, and followed to the ball. Everybody hurried to help her out of her beautiful carriage, but she would onIy dance with the prince. He asked her whence she came, and she said "From Città dello Calcio" (City of the Kick), but would not tell him where this was, and ran away home early.

Next day the prince told his little old woman all that had happened at the ball, and added that he was going to the ball again that night and hoped that the beautiful lady would be there. The old woman begged to be taken, and the prince promised to take her if she waited for him at the foot of the stairs. She waited for him accordingly, but when he came down he only hit her and went off to the ball. So she went away, washed, dressed in the star gown, and went to the ball. When the prince asked whence she came, she answered "From Città dello Colpo" (City of the Blow).

He could not find out where this was, and next day he asked the little old woman. She said she could not tell him, but again begged to be taken to the ball to see the beautiful lady. He once more told her to wait for him, but when he came down-stairs he pinched her. That night she put on the gown covered with rings, and, when the prince asked her whence she came, said "From Città dello Pizzico" (City of the Pinch). He begged her to tell him where this was, but she only ran away to get home early.

One of the rings fell off her gown, and the prince picked it up and next day told the old woman that he was going round the world in search of the princess. She made for him a little cake of rye, and begged him to take it with him in case at any time he should be hungry. At first he refused to take it, but at last, to quiet her, he took it. He took also much food and fruit, and travelled for a year and a day. At the end of that time he found himself in a wood, with all his food finished. He wondered what to do, and suddenly thought of the rye cake. He got it out, broke it, and what should he find, but a ring like that picked up at the ball!

Then he knew that the princess must be at his own home, and for a year and a day he travelled back again, living on roots which he dug. At last he arrived at home, and asked his mother to tell the little old woman to make him some maccaroni. The old woman said she was too dirty to make maccaroni for a prince, but the queen ordered it to be done.

The old woman begged for a bath, washed herself and washed the dye from her hair, and put on her sun robe. She shut the door of her hut carefully, but the robe shone so that the sun-king even came and looked in through the window. The prince peeped through the crack of the door. At evening, when they sent for the maccaroni, she had her old clothes on again and said it was not ready. Next day she put on her star gown, and went on with the maccaroni. The whole place was again lighted up, and the prince peeped at her, but in the evening she said there was not yet enough maccaroni. The next day she washed again and put on her ring dress. When the prince came and the maccaroni was finished, he drew out his ring and married her with joy. When they were married they were given wine in a sieve and bread.


The Story of Catskin

England, James Orchard Halliwell

Note by D. L. Ashliman: The conflict between father and daughter in most folktales of type 510B derives from the mother's death and the father's subsequent attempts to marry his own daughter, as evidenced in the previous tales at this site. In some versions, however, the incest motif is suppressed, and the conflict between father and daughter is given a different motivation. The following tale, told here in verse, illustrates this minority group. The heroine here is not at risk because of her father's incestuous desires, but for an inclination much less governed by taboo: his displeasure over the birth of a female child. Note also that the abusive relationship between the heroine and the man she will ulitmately marry has also been altered in this version. She receives the same blows, but from the hands of her female employer, not her future husband. And now, the story of Catskin:

There once was a gentleman grand,
Who lived at his country seat;
He wanted an heir to his land,
For he'd nothing but daughters yet.

His lady's again in the way,
So she said to her husband with joy,
"I hope some or other fine day,
To present you, my dear, with a boy."

The gentleman answered gruff,
"If't should turn out a maid or a mouse,
For of both we have more than enough,
She shan't stay to live in my house."

The lady, at this declaration,
Almost fainted away with pain;
But what was her sad consternation,
When a sweet little girl came again.

She sent her away to be nurs'd,
Without seeing her gruff papa;
And when she was old enough,
To a school she was packed away.

Fifteen summers are fled,
Now she left good Mrs. Jervis;
To see home she was forbid,
She determined to go and seek service.

Her dresses so grand and so gay,
She carefully rolled in a knob;
Which she hid in a forest away,
And put on a catskin robe.

She knock'd at a castle gate,
And pray'd for charity;
They sent her some meat on a plate,
And kept her a scullion to be.

My lady look'd long in her face,
And prais'd her great beauty;
I'm sorry I've no better place,
And you must our scullion be.

So Catskin was under the cook,
A very sad life she led,
For often a ladle she took,
And broke poor Catskin's head.

There is now a grand ball to be,
When ladies their beauties show;
"Mrs. Cook," said Catskin, "dear me,
How much I should like to go!"

"You go with your catskin robe,
You dirty impudent slut!
Among the fine ladies and lords,
A very fine figure you'd cut."

A basin of water she took,
And dash'd in poor Catskin's face;
But briskly her ears she shook,
And went in her hiding place.

She washed every stain from her skin,
In some crystal waterfall;
Then put on a beautiful dress,
And hasted away to the ball.

When she entered, the ladies were mute,
Overcome by her figure and face;
But the lord, her young master, at once
Fell in love with her beauty and grace;

He pray'd her his partner to be,
She said, "Yes!" with a sweet smiling glance;
All night with no other lady
But Catskin, our young lord would dance.

"Pray tell me, fair maid, where you live?"
For now was the sad parting time;
But she no other answer would give,
Than this distich of mystical Rhyme, --

Kind sir, if the truth I must tell,
At the sign of the Basin of Water I dwell.

Then she flew from the ballroom, and put
On her catskin robe again;
And slipt in unseen by the cook,
Who little thought where she had been.

The young lord, the very next day,
To his mother his passion betrayed;
He declared he never would rest,
Till he'd found out this beautiful maid.

There's another grand ball to be,
Where ladies their beauties show;
"Mrs. Cook," said Catskin, "dear me,
How much I should like to go!"

"You go with your catskin robe,
You dirty impudent slut!
Among the fine ladies and lords,
A very fine figure you'd cut."

In a rage the ladle she took,
And broke poor Catkin's head;
But off she went shaking her ears,
And swift to her forest she fled.

She washed every blood stain off
In some crystal waterfall;
Put on a more beautiful dress,
And hasted away to the ball.

My lord, at the ballroom door,
Was waiting with pleasure and pain;
He longed to see nothing so much
As the beautiful Catskin again.

When he asked her to dance, she again
Said "Yes!" with her first smiling glance;
And again, all the night, my young Lord
With none but fair Catskin did dance.

"Pray tell me," said he, "where you live?"
For now 'twas the parting time;
But she no other answer would give,
Than this distich of mystical rhyme, --

Kind sir, if the truth I must tell,
At the sign of the Broken Ladle I dwell.

Then she flew from the ball, and put on
Her catskin robe again;
And slipt in unseen by the cook,
Who little thought where she had been.

My lord did again, the next day,
Declare to his mother his mind,
That he never more happy should be,
Unless he his charmer should find.

Now another grand ball is to be,
Where ladies their beauties show;
"Mrs. Cook", said Catskin, "dear me,
How much I should like to go!"

"You go with your catskin robe,
You impudent, dirty slut!
Among the find ladies and lords,
A very fine figure you'd cut."

In a fury she took the skimmer,
And broke poor Catskin's head;
But heart-whole and lively as ever,
Away to her forest she fled.

She washed the stains of blood
In some crystal waterfall;
Then put on her most beautiful dress,
And hasted away to the ball.

My lord, at the ballroom door,
Was waiting with pleasure and pain;
He longed to see nothing so much
As the beautiful Catskin again.

When he asked her to dance, she again
Said "Yes!" with her first smiling glance;
And all the night long, my young Lord
With none but fair Catskin would dance.

"Pray tell me, fair maid, where you live?"
For now was the parting time;
But she no other answer would give,
Than this distich of mystical rhyme, --

Kind sir, if the truth I must tell,
At the sign of the Broken Skimmer I dwell.

Then she flew from the hall, and threw on
Her catskin cloak again;
And slipt in unseen by the cook,
Who little thought where she had been.

But not by my lord unseen,
For this time he followed too fast;
And, hid in the forest green,
Saw the strange things that past.

Next day he took to his bed,
And sent for the doctor to come;
And begg'd him no other than Catskin,
Might come into his room.

He told him how dearly he lov'd her,
Not to have her his heart would break;
Then the doctor kindly promised
To the proud old lady to speak.

There's a struggle of pride and love,
For she fear'd her son would die;
But pride at the last did yield,
And love had the mastery.

Then my lord got quickly well,
When he was his charmer to wed;
And Catskin, before a twelvemonth,
Of a young lord was brought to bed.

To a wayfaring woman and child,
Lady Catskin one day sent an alms;
The nurse did the errand, and carried
The sweet little lord in her arms.

The child gave the alms to the child,
This was seen by the old lady mother;
"Only see," said that wicked old woman,
"How the beggars' brats take to each other!"

This throw went to Catskin's heart,
She flung herself down on her knees,
And pray'd her young master and lord
To seek out her parents would please.

They sent out in my lord's own coach;
They traveled, but naught befell
Till they reach'd the town hard by
Where Catskin's father did dwell.

They put up at the head inn,
Where Catskin was left alone;
But my lord went to try if her father
His natural child would own.

When folks are away, in short time
What great alterations appear;
For the cold touch of death had all chill'd
The hearts of her sisters dear.

Her father repented too late,
And the loss of his youngest bemoan'd;
In his old and childless state,
He his pride and cruelty own'd.

The old gentleman sat by the fire,
And hardly looked up at my lord;
He had no hope of comfort
A stranger could afford.

But my lord drew a chair close by,
And said, in a feeling tone,
"Have you not, sir, a daughter, I pray,
You never would see or own?"

The old man alarm'd, cried aloud,
"A hardened sinner am I!
I would give all my worldly goods,
To see her before I die."

Then my lord brought his wife and child
To their home and parent's face,
Who fell down and thanks returned
To God, for his mercy and grace.

The bells, ringing up in the tower,
Are sending a sound to the heart;
There's a charm in the old church bells,
Which nothing in life can impart.

Notes and Bibliography

In their classical form, type 510B folktales include the follow the following motifs:

  1. A dying woman extracts from her husband the promise that he will remarry only if he can find a woman that fits a certain description.

  2. After a period of mourning, the widower discovers that only his daughter meets the requirements for remarriage set by his deceased wife, and he asks her to marry him.

  3. The daughter, in order to buy time, and in hope of dissuading her father, asks for a number of gifts, but he finds these with little difficulty.

  4. Seeing no other solution to her dilemma, the girl dresses herself in an unusual garb and runs away.

  5. She finds both refuge and abuse in another man's household, where she serves as a maid.

  6. She temporarily escapes from the kitchen where she works and makes a series of appearances at a dress ball.

  7. A prince falls in love with the heroine in her beautiful attire. He discovers that the beautiful woman is none other than his maid, and he marries her.

In some versions of the story, the incest motif that sets the plot into motion is suppressed, with a different conflict being given between father and daughter.

The second half of this story bears a strong resemblance to the Cinderella (type 510A) folktales.

Type 510B tales in the English Language



All-Kinds-of-Fur (Grimm, 1st edition.).

Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 135.

All-Kinds-of-Fur (Grimm, final edition)

Grimm, Children's and Household Tales, no. 65.

Allerleirauh (Grimm, altered).

Lang, Green Fairy Book, p. 276.

Ashey Pelt.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 140.

Barbarina and the Black Snake.

Mathias and Raspa, Italian Folktales in America, no. 1.

Bear, The.

Lang, Grey Fairy Book, p. 269.

Black Yow, The.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 164.

Cap o' Rushes.

Jacobs, English Fairy Tales, p. 51.

Cap o' Rushes.

Philip, Penguin Book of English Folktales, p. 122.

Cap o' Rushes.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 2, p. 387.


Jacobs, More English Fairy Tales, p. 204.

Catskin: The Princess and the Golden Cow.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 179.


Chase, Grandfather Tales, no. 11.

Cinderella. Examples and commentary. (All examples given in this chapter contain motifs representative of type 510B, although in some instances the incest motif has been supressed.

Taggart, Enchanted Maidens, ch. 6.


McKinly, Robin.


Robb, Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest, A2a-j, 31-43.


Paredes, A Texas-Mexican Cancionero, p. 5, 14-16.


Campa, Spanish Folk Poetry in New Mexico, p. 30-33.

Donkey Skin (France, Le Cabinet des Fées).

Lang, Grey Fairy Book, p. 1.

Donkey Skin.

Falassi, Folklore by the Fireside, p. 42.


Perrault, Fairy Tales (trans. Carter), p. 139.

Fair Maria Wood (Italy).

Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 139.

Fair Maria Wood.

Crane, Italian Popular Tales, no. 10.


Pino-Saavedra, Folktales of Chile, no. 21.

Flying Princess, The.

Dawkins, Modern Greek Folktales, no. 40.

Gold Teeth.

Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review, London, 1928, v. 39, pp. 236-238.

Golden Box, The.

Villa, 100 Armenian Tales, no. 24.

Golden Filly Chest, The.

Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 196.

Grey Castle, The.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 298.


Ramanujan, Folktales from India, p. 285.

Katie Woodencloak (Norway).

Thompson, 100 Folktales, no. 41.

King Who Wished to Marry His Daughter.

Campbell, West Highlands, v. 1, p. 226.

Like Meat Loves Salt.

Chase, Grandfather Tales, no. 13.

Little Blue Bonnet, The.

Gmelch and Kroup, To Shorten the Road, p. 177.

Little Cat Skin.

Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 82.

Little Donkey Mother, The.

Taggart, Enchanted Maidens, p. 204.

Little Stick Figure, The.

Pino-Saavedra, Folktales of Chile, no. 20.

Margery White Coats.

Campbell, West Highlands, v. 1, p. 232.


Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 416.


Briggs and Tongue, Folktales of England, no. 4.

Princess in the Donkey Skin, The.

Roberts, South from Hell, no. 18.

Princess in the Suit of Leather, The.

Bushnaq, Arab Folktales, p. 193.

Princess That Wore a Rabbit-Skin Dress.

Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 161.

Princess Whose Father Wanted to Marry Her, The.

Ramanujan, Folktales from India, p. 186.

Queen with the Golden Hair, The.

Campbell, Cloudwalking Country, p. 30.

Rashie Coat.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 455.


Aitken, A Forgotten Heritage, p. 73.

Rashin Coatie.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 456.

Red Calf, The.

Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 460.

She Donkey's Skin, The.

Massignon, Folktales of France, no. 44.

She-Bear, The (Basile).

Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 129.

She-Bear, The.

Basile, Pentamerone, Day 2, Tale 6.

Silver Dress, the Gold Dress, and the Diamond Dress, The.

Blecher, Swedish Folktales and Legends, p. 168.

Story of Catskin, The (England).

Ashliman, Voices from the Past, p. 143.


Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, pt. A, v. 1, p. 502.


Jacobs, More English Fairy Tales, p. 67.

Tebaldo Wishes to Have His Only Daughter Doralice to Wife.

Straparola, Facetious Nights, Night 1, Tale 4.

Wooden Maria.

Calvino, Italian Folktales, no. 103.

Type 510B tales in the German Language



Allerlei Rauch.

Grimm, Älteste Märchensammlung, Nr. 7.

Allerlei Rauh.

Grimm, Märchen aus dem Nachlaß, Nr. 18.


Grimm, Kinder- und Hausmärchen, Nr. 65.

Allerleirauh [3 Erzählungen].

Ranke, Schleswig-Holsteinische Volksmärchen, Bd. 2, S. 125.

Aschenbrödel - Aschentrödel.

Boskovic-Stulli, Kroatische Volksmärchen, Nr. 4.


Wildhaber, Schweizer Volksmärchen, Nr. 11.

Aschenpüster mit der Wünschelgerte.

Bechstein, Sämtliche Märchen, Nr. N01.


Bartsch, Sagen, Märchen und Gebräuche aus Meklenburg, Bd. 1, S. 479.

Curia, schöne Curia.

Uffer, Rätoromanische Märchen, Nr. 33.

Das Fellmädchen.

Spies, Türkische Volksmärchen, Nr. 24.

Das Mädchen im Tierfell.

Karlinger, Baskische Märchen, Nr. 8.

Das Rindenmädchen.

Camaj, Albanische Märchen, Nr. 27.

Das Wasser-Handtuch-Peitschen-Schloß.

Range, Litauische Volksmärchen, Nr. 39.

Der Drächengrudel.

Wildhaber, Schweizer Volksmärchen, Nr. 12.

Der gehende Wagen.

Haiding, Österreichs Märchenschatz, Nr. 52.

Der goldene Ballon.

Bukowska-Grosse, Polnische Volksmärchen, Nr. 16.

Der goldene Stier.

Soupault, Französische Märchen, Nr. 27.

Der Vater und die Tochter.

Afanasjew, Russische Volksmärchen, S. 799.

Der Vater, der seine Tochter heiraten wollte.

Uffer, Rätoromanische Märchen, Nr. 29.

Die Bärin.

Basile, Das Pentameron, Tag 2, Novelle 6.

Die drei Kleider.

Meier, Spanische Märchen, Nr. 39.

Die hölzerne Maria.

Karlinger, Italienische Volksmärchen, Nr. 17.

Die kleine goldene Kuh.

Meier, Portugiesische Märchen, Nr. 86.

Die Zarentochter im unterirdischen Reich.

Olesch, Russische Volksmärchen, Nr. 9.

Helga und der Zwerg.

Schier, Märchen aus Island, Nr. 17.


Wisser, Plattdeutsche Märchen, Nr. 40.


Afanasjew, Russische Volksmärchen, S. 669.


Schier, Schwedische Volksmärchen, Nr. 33.

Return to

Revised May 18, 1998.