« AnkstesnisTęsti »
but wanting her right slipper. After which all glass shoe was brought by the prince's messenwent well.
ger to the house wherein lived two sisters, "the auld sister that was sae proud gaed awa' by hersel', and came back in a while hirpling wi' the shoe on." But, when she rode away in triumph as the prince's bride, "a wee bird sung out o' a bush:
In a modern Greek variant of the story (Hahn, No. 2), there is a similar but a still stranger opening. According to it, an old woman and her three daughters sat spinning one day. And they made an agreement that, if one of them broke her thread or dropped her spindle, she should be killed and eaten by the others. The mother's spindle was the first to fall, and her two elder daughters killed, cooked, and ate her. But their younger sister did all she could to save her mother's life, and, when her attempts proved fruitless, utterly refused to have anything to do with eating her. And, after the unfilial repast was over, she collected her mother's bones, and buried them in the ash-hole. After forty days had passed, she wished to dig them up and bury them elsewhere. But, when she opened the hole in which she had deposited them, there streamed forth from it a blaze of light which almost blinded her. And then she found that no bones were there, but three costly suits of raiment. On one gleamed "the sky with its stars," on another "the spring with its flowers," on the third "the sea with its waves." By means of these resplendent robes she created a great sensation in church on three successive Sundays, and won the heart of the usual prince, who was enabled to recognize her by means of the customary slipper. The German variant of the story given by Grimm (No. 21) represents the grimy Aschenputtel-a form of Cinderella's name very like the Scotch Ashypet -as being assisted to bear up against the unkindness of her step-sisters by a white bird, which haunted the tree she had planted above her mother's grave. From this bird she received all that she asked for, including the dazzling robe and golden shoes in which she, for the third time, won the prince's heart at a ball in the palace. One of these shoes stuck in the pitch with which the prince had ordered the staircase to be smeared in the hope of thereby capturing her when she fled from the ball; and by it he after a time recognized her. The story is of an unusually savage tone. For not only does one of the step-sisters cut off her toes, and the other her heel, in order to fit their feet to the golden slipper-acting in accordance with the suggestion of their mother, who says, "When you are a queen you need not go afoot"--but they ultimately have their eyes pecked out by the two doves which have previously called attention to the fact that blood is streaming from their mutilated feet. The surgical adaptation of the false foot to the slipper, and its exposure by a bird, occur in so many variants that they probably formed an important part of the original tale. Thus, in a Lowland Scotch variant of the story quoted by Chambers, when the
The industry of many collectors has supplied scores of variants of this most popular narrative. But those which have been mentioned will be sufficient to throw a considerable light upon one of its most significant features. Its earlier scenes appear to have been inspired by the idea that a loving mother may be able, even after her death, to bless and assist a dutiful child. In the Servian and the Greek variants, this belief is brought prominently forward, though in a somewhat grotesque form. In the German it is indicated, but less clearly. In one of the Sicilian variants (Pitré, No. 41), the step-daughter is assisted by a cow, as in the Servian story. Out of the hole in which its bones are buried come "twelve damsels" who array her "all in gold" and take her to the royal palace. Here the link between the girl and her dead mother has been lost, and the supernatural machinery is worked by fairy hands. In another (No. 43) the heroine receives everything she asks for, exactly as in the German story, from a magic date-tree. But nothing is said about its being planted above her mother's grave, and its mysterious powers are accounted for only by the fact that out of it issue "a great number of fati" or fairies. In the romantic story of "La Gatta Cennerentola," told by Basile in his "Pentamerone" (published at Naples about the year 1637), she is similarly assisted by a fairy who issues from a date-tree. This suggests the fairy godmother of Perrault's tale, from which our version appears to have been borrowed. For among us Cinderella's slipper is almost always of glass, a material never mentioned except in the French form of the story and its imitations. On this part of Cinderella's costume it may be as well to dwell for a time, before passing on to the further consideration of her fortunes. As yet we have dealt only with what may be called the "dead-mother" or "step-mother" opening of the tale. We shall have to consider presently a kindred form of the narrative, the opening of which may be named after the "hateful mar
riage" from which the heroine flies, her adventures after her flight being similar to those of the ill-used step-daughter. That is to say, she is reduced to a state of degradation and squalor, and is forced to occupy a servile position, frequently connected in some way with the hearth and its ashes. From this, however, she emerges on certain festive occasions as a temporarily brilliant being, always returning to her obscure position, until at last she is recognized; after which she remains permanently brilliant, her apparently destined period of eclipse having been brought to a close by her recognition, which is accomplished by the aid of her lost shoe or slipper.
As to the material of the slipper there has been much dispute. In the greater part of what are apparently the older forms of the story, it is made of gold. This may perhaps be merely a figure of speech, but there are instances on record of shoes, or at least sandals, being made of precious metals. Even in our own times, as well as in the days of the Cæsars, a horse is said to have been shod with gold. And an Arab geographer, quoted by Mr. Lane, vouches for the fact that the islands of Wák-Wák are ruled by a queen who "has shoes of gold." Moreover, "no one walks in all these islands with any other kind of shoe; if he wear any other kind, his feet are cut." It is true that his authority is a little weakened by his subsequent statement that these isles have trees which bear "fruits like women." These strange beings have beautiful faces, and are suspended by their hair. They come forth from integuments like large leathern bags. And when they feel the air and the sun, they cry Wák! Wák!' until their hair is cut; and when it is cut they die." Glass is an all but unknown material for shoemaking in the genuine folk-tales of any country except France. The heroine of one of Mr. J. F. Campbell's Gaelic tales* wore "glass shoes," but this exception to the rule may be due to a French influence, transmitted through an English or Lowland Scotch channel. Even in France itself the slipper is not always of glass. Madame d'Aulnoy's Finette Cendron, for instance, wore one "of red velvet embroidered with pearls." The use of the word verre by Perrault has been accounted for in two ways. Some critics think that the material in question was a tissu en verre, fashionable in Perrault's time. But the more generally received idea is that the substance was originally a kind of fur called vair-a word now obsolete in France, except in heraldry, but locally preserved in England as the name of the weasel t-and that some reciter or transcriber to whom the meaning of vair
"West Highland Tales," i., 225. +"Spectator," January 4, 1879.
was unknown, substituted the more familiar but less probable verre, thereby dooming Cinderella to wear a glass slipper long before the discovery was made that glass may be rendered tough. In favor of the correctness of this supposition we have the great authority of M. Littré, whose dictionary affirms positively that in the description of Cinderella's slipper, verre is a mistake for vair. In this decision some scholars, especially those who detect in every feature of a fairy tale a "solar myth," refuse to acquiesce. Thus M. André Lefèvre, the accomplished editor of a recent edition of Perrault's "Contes," absolutely refuses to give up the verre which "convient parfaitement à un mythe lumineux." * But the fact that Cinderella is not shod with glass in the vast majority of the lands she inhabits outweighs any amount of mythological probabilities. Besides, a golden shoe is admirably adapted to a luminous myth. It was a golden sandal which Rhodopis lost while bathing, and which-according to the evidently Oriental tale preserved for us by Strabo and Ælian-was borne by an eagle to the Egyptian King, who immediately resolved to make that sandal's owner his royal spouse. In the venerable Egyptian tale of "The Two Brothers," another monarch is equally affected by the sight of a lock of the heroine's golden hair, that is borne to him by the river into which it had fallen, and he makes a similar resolve. In a Lesghian story from the Caucasus,† a supernatural female being drops a golden shoe, and the hero is sent in search of its fellow, becoming thereby exposed to many dangers. We may fairly be allowed, without any slur being cast upon mythological interpretation, to give up the glassiness of Cinderella's slipper. If the substitution of verre for vair be admitted, it supplies us with one of the few verbal tests which exist whereby to track a story's wanderings. For in that case we may always trace home to France, or at least detect a French element in, any form of the Cinderella story in which the heroine wears a glass slipper. A somewhat similar mistake to that which vitrified Cinderella's slipper caused a celebrated picture by Rubens to be long known by an inappropriate title. Many a visitor to the National Gallery must have wondered why a portrait of a lady in a hat manifestly made, not of straw, but of beaver or a kind of felt, should be designated the chapeau de paille, before it was pointed out by Mr. Wornum, in the catalogue, that paille was probably a mistake for poil, a word meaning among other things wool and the nap of a hat,
* An amusing article on this question appeared in the "Daily Telegraph," December 27, 1878, in reply to the support given by "X" in the "Times" to the cause of vair.
+ Schiefner's "Awarische Texte," p. 68.
and akin to the Latin pileus, a felt cap or hat, and indeed to the word felt itself.
As regards the identification of the heroine by means of the lost slipper, that seems to be, as has already been remarked, merely one of the methods of recognition by which the stories of brilliant beings, temporarily obscured, are commonly brought to a close. In ancient comedy a recognition was one of the most hackneyed contrivances for winding up the plot, a convenient dramatic makeshift akin to that which proves the brotherhood of the heroes of "Box and Cox." Thus in the numerous tales which tell how a hero who is really brilliant and majestic, but apparently squalid or insignificant, saves a fair princess from a many-headed dragon, but is robbed of his reward and reputation by an impostor, he usually proves his identity with her rescuer by producing, in the final scene, the tongues of the dead monster. Thus also the troubles of the golden-haired hero who, like Cinderella, emerges at times from his obscurity and performs wonders, come to a close when he is recognized by some token, such as the king's handkerchief in the Norse tale of "The Widow's Son." All this finale business appears to be of very inferior importance to the opening of the drama, that which refers to the dead mother's guardianship of her distressed child. The idea that such a protection might be exercised is of great antiquity and of wide circulation. According to it, the dying parent's benediction was not merely a prayer left to be fulfilled by a higher power, but was an actual force, either working of its own accord, or exerted by the parent's spirit after death. In the Russian story of Vasilissa the Fair, a dying mother bequeaths to her little daughter her parental blessing and a doll, and tells her to feed it well, and it will help her whenever she is in trouble. And therefore it was that Vasilissa would never eat all her share of a meal, but always kept the most delicate morsel for her doll; and at night, when all were at rest, she would shut herself up in the narrow chamber in which she slept, and feast her doll, saying the while: "There, dolly, feed: help me in my need!" And the doll would eat until "its eyes began to glow just like a couple of candles," and then do everything that Vasilissa wanted. In another Russian tale, known also to Teutonic lands, a dead mother comes every night to visit her pining babe. The little creature cries all day, but during the dark it is quiet. Anxious to know the reason of this, the relatives conceal a light in a pitcher, and suddenly produce it in the middle of the night.
her knees beside the cradle, over which she bent as she suckled the babe at her dead breast. The moment the light shone in the cottage she stood up, gazed sadly on her little one, and then went out of the room without a sound, not saying a word to any one. All those who saw her stood for a time terrorstruck. And then they found the babe was dead.
They looked and saw the dead mother, in the very same clothes in which she had been buried, on
In the Indian story of "Punchkin,"* the seven ill-used little princesses "used to go out every day and sit by their dead mother's tomb," and cry, saying: "O mother, mother, can not you see your poor children, how unhappy we are, and how we are starved by our cruel step-mother?" And while they were thus crying one day, a tree, covered with ripe fruit, "grew up out of the grave," and provided them with food. And when the tree was cut down, a tank near the grave became filled with "a rich, cream-like substance, which quickly hardened into a thick, white cake," of which the hungry princesses partook freely. A similar appeal to a dead mother is made by a daughter in a Russian story (Afanasief, vi., 28). When in great distress, "she went out to the cemetery, to her mother's grave, and began to weep bitterly." And her mother spoke to her from the grave, and told her what to do in order to escape from her troubles.
The last of these tales belongs to the previously mentioned second division of Cinderella stories, that which comprises the majority of the tales in which an ill-used maiden temporarily occupies a degraded position, appears resplendent on certain brief occasions, but always returns to her state of degradation, until at length she is recognized, frequently by the help of her lost slipper. But, instead of her troubles being caused by a step-mother or step-sisters, they are brought upon her, in the stories now referred to, by some member of her own family who wishes to drive her into a hated marriage. From it she seeks refuge in flight, donning a disguise which is almost invariably the hide of some animal. In some countries the "step-mother" form of Cinderella appears to be rare, whereas the "hatefulmarriage" form is common. In Pitré's collection of Sicilian tales, for instance, for one Cinderella tale of the step-mother class, there are four which begin with the heroine's escape from an unlawful marriage. In the Gonzenbach collection there is but one good variant of the Cinderella tale, and it belongs to the second class. The specimen of this second group, with which English readers are likely to be best acquainted, is the German "Allerleirauh" (Grimm, No. 65), though it is very probable that to the same division belonged also the story of "Catskin," which Mr. Burchell
* Miss Frere's "Old Deccan Days," No. 1.
presented, with other tales, to the younger members of the family of the Vicar of Wakefield. Perrault's "Peau d'Ane" is a version of the same story, but as it is told in verse it has never achieved anything at all approaching the success gained by its prose companions. Besides, the theme is not adapted for nurseries. It forms the subject of the Lowland Scotch tale of "RashieCoat," in which we are told that the heroine fled because "her father wanted her to be married, but she didna like the man." But the Gaelic story of "The King who wished to marry his Daughter" (Campbell, No. 14) states the case more precisely. The heroine almost always demands from her unwelcome suitor three magnificent dresses, and with these she takes to flight, usually disguising herself by means of a hide or other species of rough covering. In these dresses she goes to the usual ball or other festival, and captivates the conventional prince. The close of the story is generally the same as that which terminates the ordinary Cinderella tales which we have already considered. Its special points of interest are the reasons given for her flight from home, and the disguise in which she effects her escape.
also procured from the same source, she leaves home, carrying her wonderful dresses with her in a bundle, and thus escapes from her abhorred suitor. To prevent him from noticing her absence, she leaves two doves in her room together with a basin of water. As he listens at the door he hears a splashing which is really due to the birds, but which he supposes is caused by her ablutions. Great is his rage when he at length breaks open the door, and finds that he has been tricked. We learn from another variant that he was induced to knock his head against the wall until he died, and so the dressmaking devil got his due. In one of the Russian forms of the same tale, the fugitive maiden has recourse to a still more singular means of concealing her absence. The story is valuable because it supplies a reason for the introduction of the fatal ring. That is said to be due to the malice of a malignant witch, who, out of mere spite, induced a dying mother to give the ring to her son, and to charge him to marry that damsel whose finger it would fit. The ring is evidently of a supernatural nature, for, when the heroine tries it on, not only does it cling to her finger “just as if it had been made on purpose for it," but it begins to shine with a new brilliance. When Katerina hears to what a marriage it destines her, she "melts into bitter tears" and sits down in despair on the threshold of the house. Up come some old women bent on a holy pilgrimage, and to them she confides the story of her woes. Acting on their advice, when the fatal marriage-day arrives, she takes four kukolki, dolls or puppets of some kind, and places one in each of the corners of her room. When her suitor repeatedly calls upon her to come forth, she replies that she is coming directly, but each time she speaks the dolls begin to cry "Kuku," and as they cry the floor opens gently and she sinks slowly in. At last only her head remains visible. “Kuku" cry the dolls again: she disappears from sight, and the floor closes above her. Irritated at the delay, her suitor breaks open the door. He looks round on every side. No Katerina is there, only in each corner sits a doll, all four singing "Kuku! open earth, disappear sister!" He snatches up an axe, chops off their heads, and flings them into the fire. In a Little-Russian variant of the same story, the despairing maiden flies for solace to her mother's grave. And her dead mother "comes out from her grave," and tells her daughter what to do. The girl accordingly provides herself. with the usual splendid robes, and with the likewise necessary pig's hide or fell. Then she takes three puppets and arranges them around her on the ground. The puppets exclaim, one after
* Gonzenbach, No. 38. Pilusa is the Sicilian form another, "Open, moist earth, that the maiden fair of pilosa, hairy.
may enter within thee." And when the third
Cinderella's troubles are brought to an end by the discovery that a slipper fits her foot; those of Allerleirauh, Catskin, Rashie-Coat, and the rest of her widely-scattered but always kindred companions in adventure, are generally brought about by the discovery that a certain ring or dress fits her finger or form. Cinderella's promotion is due to her dead mother's watchful care. RashieCoat's degradation is consequent upon her dying mother's unfortunate imprudence. Thus, in the Sicilian tale of " Betta Pilusa,"* the hateful marriage from which the heroine flies, wrapped up in a gray cloak made of catskin, would never have been suggested to her had not her mother obtained a promise from her husband on her death-bed that he would marry again whenever any maiden was found whom her ring would fit. Some years later her own daughter finds the ring and tries it on. It fits exactly, so she is condemned to the marriage in question. By the advice of her confessor, she asks for three dresses, so wonderful that no mortal man can supply them. But her suitor is assisted by the devil, who enables him to produce the desired robes, the first sky-colored, representing the sun, the moon, and the stars; the second sea-colored, depicting "all the plants and animals of the sea"; and the third "a raiment of the color of the earth, whereon all the beasts and the flowers of the field were to be seen." Hidden in her catskin cloak,
has spoken, the earth opens, and the maiden and the puppets descend into "the lower world." Some vague remembrance of this descent of the heroine into the lower regions appears to have given rise to the strange opening of one of the Sicilian variants cited by Pitré (No. 42). The heroine goes down into a well in order to find her elder sister's ring. At the bottom she perceives an opening, and passes through it into a garden, where she is seen by "the Prince of Portugal," to whom, after the usual adventures, she is wedded.
As a general rule the heroine makes her escape disguised in a coarse mantle or dress made of the skin of some animal. In another of the Sicilian variants (Pitré, No. 43) it is a horse's hide in which she is wrapped, and the people who meet her when she leaves home are surprised to see what they take to be a horse walking along on its hind-legs. But sometimes this disguise assumes a different aspect, being represented as something made of a less pliant material, a disguise akin to the "wooden cloak, all made of strips of lath," which was "so black and ugly," and which "made such a clatter" when the heroine, who was called after it "Katie Woodencloak," went up stairs. The Norse story in which she figures commences with the step-mother opening, and it does not close with a slipper-test, but still it belongs properly to the second division of the Cinderella group. In some of the other variants this wooden cloak becomes intensified into an utterly rigid covering or receptacle of wood. Thus in the Sicilian tale of “Fidi e Cridi" (Pitré, i., 388), the two daughters of the Emperor of Austria, one of whom, Fidi, has been destined by a fatal ring to a hated marriage, make their escape from home in a coffer of gilded wood. They have previously stored it with provisions and made arrangements for its being thrown into the sea. The waves waft them to Portugal, where Fidi becomes the wife of the king. Her wedded happiness is for a time interrupted by the arrival of the Emperor of Austria, who inflicts upon his fugitive daughter a parental curse so powerful that it turns her into a lizard for a year, a month, and a day. But eventually all goes well. As early as 1550, Straparola printed in his "Tredici Piacevoli Notti" (i., 4) a romantic version of this story, telling how Doralice, the daughter of Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, in order to elude her unnatural parent, hid herself in a large coffer of beautiful workmanship. This coffer Tebaldo, under the influence of depression produced by his daughter's disappearance, sold to a merchant, from whose hands it passed into those of Genese, King of Britain. Doralice used sometimes to issue from her wooden covering, and one day the king saw her, fell in love with her at once, and made her his queen.
In almost all the tales belonging to the second or "hated marriage" branch of the Cinderella story, the heroine accepts a very humble post in the palace of the prince whom she eventually weds. Just as her counterpart, the goldenlocked prince of so many tales, becomes a scullion at court, so she acts in the capacity of scullery-maid or other despised domestic. But from time to time she quits the scullery and appears in all the splendor of her mysterious dresses among the noble guests assembled in the princely banqueting or ballroom. In order to show the close connection between the stories of Goldenlocks and Rashie-Coat, a few specimens of their popular histories may be given. In the already quoted Russian story (Afanasief, vi., 28) of the princess who is advised by her dead mother to deceive her detested suitor by disguising herself in a swine's bristly hide, her subsequent fortunes are narrated as follows: After she had fled from home she made her way on foot into a foreign land, always wearing her swinish covering. As she wandered through a forest one day, a terrible storm arose. To shelter herself from the torrents of rain which were falling, she climbed a huge oak, and took refuge amid its dense foliage. Presently a prince came that way, and his dogs began to bark at the strange animal they saw among the leaves. The prince gazed with surprise at the singular being thus revealed to him, evidently "no wild beast, but a wondrous wonder, a marvelous marvel." What sort of oddity are you?" said he; can you speak or not?" "I am Swine's Hide," said she. Then he took her down from the tree, and set her up on a cart. "Take this wondrous wonder, this marvelous marvel, to my father and to my mother," said he. And when the king and queen saw her they were greatly astonished, and gave her a room to herself to live in. Some time afterward there was a ball at the palace. Swine's Hide asked the servants if she might stand at the ballroom-door and look on. Get along with you, Swine's Hide!" said they. Out she went a-field, donned her brilliant dress with the many stars of heaven upon it, whistled till a chariot came, and drove off in it to the ball. All who were there wondered whence this beauteous visitor had come. "She danced and danced then disappeared." Putting on again her swinish covering, she went back to her own room. Again a ball took place. Again did Swine's Hide appear in radiant beauty, dressed in a dazzling robe, "on the back of which shone the bright moon, on the front the red sun." Great was the sorrow of the prince when she suddenly left the dance and disappeared. "Whatever are we to do," thought he, "to find out who this beauty is?" He thought and thought. "At last he