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went and smeared the first step of the staircase with pitch, that her shoe might stick in it." And so, as she fled from the ball on the third occasion, she left her shoe behind her. Vainly did all the fair maidens in the kingdom attempt to get it on. At last the unsightly Swine's Hide was told to try her chance. And when the Prince saw that it fitted her exactly, "he ripped up the swinish hide, and tore it off the princess. Then he took her by her white hand, led her to his father and mother, and sought and gained their permission to marry her.”
In this story, as in the Norse tale of "Katie Woodencloak," the recognition is due to a Cinderella's slipper. But more often the discovery is made in a different way. Thus in a modern Greek version the despised goose-girl, who was nicknamed “ Hairy" on account of the nature of the hide in which she was always wrapped, though she lost a shoe in flying the third time from a ball at the palace, was not discovered by means of it. But when the maids were about to take a basin of water to the king before dinner one day, she obtained leave to carry it. Before she entered the king's chamber, "she slit the hide a little at the knee, in order that her golden dress might become visible." And so it came to pass that "when she knelt down, the golden robe gleamed through the slit," and the recognition was soon accomplished. Another method of recognition is employed in the class of variants to which the Sicilian "Betta Pilusa" belongs. When "Hairy Betty" for the third time won the king's heart, at a ball in which she appeared in the dress on which all the beasts and the flowers of the earth were to be seen, he presented her with a costly ring. One morning she came into the kitchen while the cook was making the bread for the royal table, and she obtained leave to make a loaf herself. Into it she slipped the ring. When the bread was drawn out of the oven, only her loaf proved eatable, so it was served up to the king himself, who, on cutting it, discovered the ring. The cook was examined, and "Hairy Betty was produced in her catskin dress. This she flung aside, and appeared "young and lovely, as she really was, and in her beautiful gleaming robe." The recognition by means of a ring is, as every one knows, one of the commonest contrivances for bringing a story of adventure to a close.
Now with this tale of a radiant princess who adopts a degrading disguise, appears at times in her natural glory, but conceals it again without any apparent reason, till her own caprice, or an accident which she had not foreseen, leads to her final recognition, let us compare one of the numerous stories about a radiant prince who disguises himself in a like manner, reveals himself
at intervals in his true form, returns to his place of concealment with an equal want of apparent reason, and is at last fortuitously recognized. The well-known German tale of "The Iron Man "* gives a very interesting version of the story, as also does the Norse tale of "The Widow's Son." As these are accessible to every English reader, it may be as well to quote here one of the less generally available variants of this widely-spread narrative. The Russian tale of "Neznaiko," in Afanasief's collection (vii., No. 10), relates how the young Ivan was persecuted by his step-mother, who tried several methods of killing him, but was always foiled by the wise advice given to him by a mysterious colt to which he was tenderly attached. At length she persuaded her husband to promise that the colt should be killed. Hearing of this, Ivan ran to the stable, mounted the colt in haste, and fled with it from his father's house. After a time they came to a place where cattle were grazing. There the colt left Ivan, promising to return when summoned by the burning of one of the hairs from its tail, which it left with him for that purpose. But before parting with its master it told him to kill one of the oxen, flay it, and don its hide; also to conceal his fair locks under a covering of bladder, and never to make any other reply to whatsoever questions might be asked him than "I don't know." Ivan did as he was told, and presently, to the surprise of all who met him, there was seen walking along “ever such a wonder; a beast not a beast, a man not a man, hide-bound, head bladder-covered," answering all questions with an “I don't know.” "Well, then," said they, “as you can only say Ne Znayu, let your name be Neznaiko,' or 'Don't know.'' Even the king, to whom he was brought as an acceptable monster, could get nothing but his usual answer. So orders were given that he should be stationed in the garden, to act as a scarecrow in order to keep the birds away from the fruit, but he was to get his meals in the royal kitchen. Now it happened about this time that an Arab prince proposed for the hand of the king's daughter, and when his suit was rejected, raised an immense army and invaded the king's realm. Ruin stared that monarch in the face. But Neznaiko doffed his bladder cap, flung off his ox-hide, went out into the open field, and burned one of the magic horsehairs. Immediately there appeared by his side a wondrous steed. On to its back vaulted Neznaiko, and rode against the infidel foe. To tear from a slain enemy his golden armor, and to don it himself, was the work of a moment. Then he dashed, irresistible, among the Arab ranks.
*"Der Eisenhans," Grimm, No. 136.
"Whichever way he turned, there heads flew before him. It was exactly like mowing hay." With rapture did the king and his fair daughter view his exploits from the walls of the beleaguered city. But when they came down to greet the victor, there was no such hero to be found. In quite unheroic garb Ivan had returned to his task of scaring the crows from the palace-garden. A second time did the Arab prince renew his suit and his invasion, and again did Ivan, as a warrior in golden armor, slaughter his troops and put him to flight. On this occasion he was slightly wounded in the arm, and was also brought before the king. But he would not stay at the palace: he must needs ride away for a time into the open field. Before he rode off, however, the king's daughter took a scarf from her fair neck and with it bound up his wounded
Soon after this a great feast was given at the palace. As the guests strolled through the garden they saw Ivan, and wondered at his strange aspect. "What sort of monster is this?" they asked. "That is Neznaiko," replied the king; "acts for me in place of a scarecrow; keeps the birds away from the apple-trees." But his daughter saw that Neznaiko's arm was bound up, and recognized the scarf she had given to the heroic winner of the fight. "She blushed, but said nothing at the time." Only thenceforth "she took to walking in the garden and gazing at Neznaiko, and she quite forgot even so much as to think about feasts and other amusements." At length she asked her father to let her marry his scarecrow. Naturally surprised, he expostulated. But when she cried, "If you don't make him my husband, I'll never marry any one; I'll live and die an old maid," he reluctantly gave his consent. The marriage had just taken place when the Arab prince for the third time demanded the hand of the princess. "My daughter is married," replied the king. If you like, come and see for yourself." The Arab came, saw that the fair princess was married to ever such a monster," and challenged him to mortal combat. Then Ivan flung off his bladder cap and his garb of hide, mounted his good steed, and rode away to the fight, manifesting himself to all eyes under his heroic aspect. The Arab suitor was soon knocked on the head. And when Ivan rode back triumphant, the king perceived that his son-inlaw was 66 no monster, but a hero strong and fair."
gold, but an account and explanation of the gilding process are given. Into this, however, it is at present unnecessary to enter. It is sufficient for our purposes to show how closely the story of the radiant hero-who is persecuted by a stepmother and aided by a supernatural horse, and whose brightness is temporarily concealed under a covering of skin or hide, but who finally emerges from it to remain permanently resplendent-corresponds with the story of the radiant heroine who is ill used by a step-mother and assisted by a supernatural cow, and whose radiance is likewise concealed, but only for a time, under some sort of unseemly exterior, frequently formed out of some beast's hard or furry skin. The tales of "Goldenlocks" and of "Cinderella-Catskin" are evidently twin forms of the same narrative, brother and sister developments of the same historical or mythological germ. In one instance the two forms have been combined into one narrative, ending with a double recognition. The Lithuanian story of The King's Fair Daughter" (Schleicher, No. 7) tells how a princess was urged to accept a hateful suitor after the death of her mother, who had been a remarkable beauty, having "around her head the stars, on its front the sun, and on its back the moon." An old woman's friendly counsels enabled her to obtain "a silver robe, a diamond ring, and gold shoes," as well as a disguising cloak lined with skins of an unattractive kind. With these she fled from court. After a time she came to a piece of water, and was obliged to go on board a vessel. The sziporius or skipper wanted her to marry him, and, when she would not consent, he threw her overboard. But "she jumped ashore," and pursued her journey. Coming one day to a place where stood great stones, she prayed that a dwelling might be opened for her. And her prayer was at once granted. In her dwelling within the rock, which always opened to let her in or out, she left her fine raiment, and went forth to live in a grand house, performing the duties of a pelendruse or cinder-wench. In that house she found her brother, who had also fled from home, and was acting as a clerk. But he did not recognize in the grimy servant-maid his princely sister. From time to time she used to go to her stone dwelling, don her fair raiment, and drive to church in a carriage which always appeared for the purpose, her beautiful visage and costume making a great impression on the mind of the astonished clerk. One day she left the church rather later than usual, so she had not time enough to change her dress, and merely "put her every-day clothes over those fine ones." That day she was summoned by the clerk to "dress his hair." And while she dressed his hair, his head resting on her knees, "he took to
In this variant of the story, nothing definite is said as to the golden nature of the hero's hair. But in many others, as in the German and Norse tales already referred to, as well as in numerous variants found in many lands, not only is great stress laid upon the fact that his locks are of
scratching her dress, and scratched through it down to the mantle" which it covered. "So when he had lifted his head from her knees, he tore off her head-dress from her head, and immediately perceived that she was his sister. Then they two went forth from that house, but no one knew whither they went."
All commentators will doubtless agree that the stories of Cinderella and Goldenlocks spring from the same root. But they will differ widely when the question arises as to whether that root was or was not of a mythological nature, and also as to what was, in either case, its original form and significance. The majority of the critics who have lately handled the subject have not the slightest doubt about the whole matter. "It is the story of the Sun and the Dawn," says Mr. J. Thackray Bunce, in the latest work on the subject, a pretty little book on "Fairy Tales: their Origin and Meaning"; "Cinderella, gray and dark and dull, is all neglected when she is away from the Sun, obscured by the envious Clouds, her sisters, and by her step-mother, the Night. So she is Aurora, the Dawn, and the fairy Prince is the Morning Sun, ever pursuing her to claim her for his bride." According to Professor de Gubernatis, in his “Zoological Mythology" (ii., 281), “Ahalyâ (the evening Aurora) in the ashes is the germ of the story of Cinderella, and of the daughter of the King of Dacia, persecuted by her lover, her father himself." It seems unfortunate that so many "storiologists" have committed themselves to the support of the cause of the Dawn and the Afterglow, the "Morning and Evening Auroras," before the claims to consideration of other natural phenomena or forces were fully considered and disposed of in a manner satisfactory to at least the great majority of judges. Too few of the writers on the meaning of popular tales seem to have remembered Professor Max Müller's warning that "this is a subject which requires the most delicate handling and the most careful analysis." Instead of warily feeling their way over an obscure and unfamiliar field, they race across it toward their conclusions, bent upon taking every obstacle in their stride. The consequence is, that they now and then meet, or to the eyes of unenthusiastic spectators appear to meet, with mishaps of a somewhat ludicrous nature. Thus, when we are told that the justly saddened mother of Beanstalk Jack, by throwing her apron over her head and weeping, figures "the night and the rain," we are apt to be led by our perception of the ridiculous toward an inclination to laugh at the whole system according to which so many stories are resolved into nature myths. But that system, if used discreetly, appears to lead to results not otherwise attainable. In the case of
certain, but by no means all, popular tales, it offers an apparently reasonable solution of many problems. Just as it seems really true that at least many of the stories of fair maidens released from the captivity in which they were kept by demoniacal beings “can be traced back to mythological traditions about the Spring being released from the bonds of Winter, the Sun being rescued from the darkness of the Night, the Dawn being brought back from the far West, the Waters being set free from the prison of the Clouds,"* so it appears not unreasonable to suppose that the large group of tales of the Cinderella class may be referred for their origin to similar mythological traditions. In all the numerous narratives about brave princes and beautiful princesses who, apparently without sufficient reason, conceal under a foul disguise their fair nature, emerge at times from their seclusion and obscurity, but capriciously return to their degraded positions, until they are finally revealed in their splendor by accident or destiny-in all these stories about a Rashie-Coat, a Katie Woodencloak, a Goldenlocks, or any other of Cinderella's brothers and sisters, there appears to be a mythological element capable of being not unreasonably attributed to the feelings with which, at an early myth-making period, prescientific man regarded the effect of the forces, the splendor of the phenomena of nature. But there is a vast difference between regarding as a nature-myth in general the germ of the legends from which have sprung the stories of the Cinderella cycle, and identifying with precision the particular atmospheric phenomenon which all its heroes and heroines are supposed to symbolize. And there is an equally wide difference between the reasonableness of seeking for a mythological explanation of a legend when traced back to its oldest known form, and the utter absurdity of attempting to squeeze a mythical meaning out of every incident in a modern nursery-tale, which has perhaps been either considerably enlarged or cruelly "clippit and nippit" by successive generations of rustic repeaters, and has most certainly been greatly modified and dressed by its literary introducers into polite society. No one can fail to perceive how great a gulf divides the system of interpretation which Professor Max Müller has applied to Vedic myths from that adopted in the case of such manifest modernizations as "Little Red Riding Hood " by critics who forget that (to use his words) "before any comparison can be instituted between nursery tales of Germany, England, and India, each tale must be traced back to a legend or myth from whence it arose, and in which it had a natural meaning;
* Max Müller, "Chips," ii., 237.
otherwise we can not hope to arrive at any satis- allels in tales which are told by wild races unable factory results." ("Chips," ii., 249.) to boast of a drop of Aryan blood. But the dramatic narratives known to us as the stories of Cinderella, "Puss in Boots," and the like, in which a regular sequence of acts or scenes is maintained unaltered in various climes and centuries, seem unknown to savage countries, unless they have been introduced from more cultured lands. A few of the incidents related in the stories cited in the present article closely resemble parts of savage tales. We may take as an example the Russian account of the sister who, when pursued by her brother, sinks into the earth and so escapes. In a Zulu tale,* a sister whose brother is pursuing her with murderous intent, exclaims, "Open, earth, that I may enter, for I am about to die this day," whereupon "the earth opened and Untombi-yapansi entered." In vain did her brother Usilwane seek for her when he arrived. Her subsequent adventures, also, are akin to those of Cinderella. Originally "her body glistened, for she was like brass," but "she took some black earth and smeared her body with it," and so eclipsed her natural radiance. Eventually, however, she was watched by "the chief," who saw her, “dirty and very black," enter a pool, and emerge from it "with her body glistening like brass," put on garments and ornaments which arose out of the ground, and behave altogether like the brilliant heroine she really was. There seems to be good reason for looking upon Untombi-yapansi as a Zulu Cinderella. But how far a foreign influence has been exercised upon the Zulu tale, it would be difficult to decide.
Let us turn now to other systems of interpretation. One school of critics utterly refuses to accept any mythological solution of fairy-tale riddles, another is at least inclined to reduce the mythological element in popular tales to a minimum, a third admits mythology into the field, but objects to its assuming what is popularly known as the "solar" form, to which a fourth school is devoted with intense zeal. At least four different explanations of the Cinderella-Rashie-Coat story may therefore be offered to the consideration of an earnest inquirer into its significance. It may be a nature-myth symbolizing the renewed brightness of the earth after its nocturnal or wintry eclipse. The rough skin or hide which 'Hairy Betty" wears, not to speak of Katie Woodencloak's still tougher covering, greatly resembles the "husk" which hides the brilliance of the beast to whom the Beauty of so many tales is married, and is therefore suggestive of an origin connected with Indian mythology.* The "step-mother" opening of the story is too simple to require an explanation, and the appearance in fine clothes, at church or palace, of a usually illdressed damsel may be considered not incredible. As to the "slipper" termination, the opinion has already been expressed that it is merely a convenient recognition makeshift.
How far, also, the story of Rashie-Coat's proposed marriage refers to ancient ideas about the lawfulness of unions now disallowed, is a question not easily to be answered. There is no doubt that the memory of obsolete customs may be long preserved in folk-lore. We may take as an instance the Russian story of the Lubok or Birch Bark, in which it would seem unreasonable to look for a mythological kernel. There exist in many countries a number of stories showing how a man's unfilial conduct toward his father was brought to a close by a chance remark made by his infant son. In the forms it assumes there is considerable variety, but the moral is always the same. In a well-known German tale in the Grimm collection, an old man is obliged by his son and his son's wife to eat apart, out of a wooden bowl, on account of the slobbering habits due to his great age. His son's little boy is observed one day to be fashioning a small wooden bowl. When asked for what it is intended, he says: It's for father to eat out of when he's as old as
The "unlawful-marriage" opening of the Rashie-Coat story offers a difficulty, but it is accounted for to their own satisfaction by critics both of the mythological and of the historical school. Mythologists say that all stories about such marriages mean nothing more than does the dialogue in the Veda between Yama and his twin-sister Yamí, in which "she (the night) implores her brother (the day) to make her his wife, and he declines her offer because, as he says, 'they have thought it sin that a brother should marry his sister.'" But by many eyes these narratives are regarded as ancient traditions which preserve the memory of customs long obsolete and all but forgotten. It is because such stories refer to savage times that they are so valuable, it is said, and therefore it is well to compare them with such tales and traditions as are now current among existing savages. This opinion is one that is well worthy of discussion, but at present little more can be done than to point out that the popular tales which are best known to us possess but few counterparts in genuine savage folk-lore. Some of their incidents, it is true, find their par
*For the mythological meaning of "Beauty and the Beast," see the "Nineteenth Century," December, 1878. † Max Müller, "Lectures on the Science of Language," sixth edition, ii., 557.
* Bishop Callaway's "Nursery Tales, etc., of the Zulus," i., 300, note.
grandfather." Whereupon the father's conscience smites him, and the grandfather is allowed a plate at the table as before. In an Italian form of the story, borrowed from one of the French fabliaux, a man follows the custom of the country and packs off his old father to die in what may be called the workhouse, sending him a couple of shirts by the hands of his young son, the old man's grandson. The boy brings back one of them, and explains that it will do for his father to wear when his turn comes to go to the workhouse. Whereupon the man's heart is touched, and he fetches his aged parent home. The Russian story is more valuable, because it refers to a custom which undoubtedly once existed in many lands-that of killing off old people. Among nomads, who would find it difficult to carry about with them their aged relations, such a custom might naturally arise. At all events, it is on such a custom that the tale is founded. It runs as follows: In former days it was customary, when old folks reached a certain age, for their sons, if they had any, to take them out into the forest, and there to leave them to die. Once upon a time a son thus escorted from home, on what was meant to be his last journey, his aged father. Wishing to make that journey as comfortable as possible for the time-stricken traveler, he stretched a large piece of birch-tree bark in his cart, seated the intended victim upon it, and drove off to the forest. Along with him went his own young son, a boy of tender years. Having reached the appointed spot, he thereon deposited the aged man, having first, with filial attention, stretched on the possibly damp ground the sheet of bark for him to sit upon. Just as he was about to drive away home with his boy, that innocent child asked him if it would not be better to take back the bark. "Why so?" he replied. Because," said the boy, "it will do for you to sit upon when the time comes for me to leave you in the forest." Touched by his child's simple words, the father hastened to where the grandfather was sitting, put him back into the cart, and drove him quickly home. From that time he carefully tended the old man till he died. And his example produced such an effect that all the other people in that land gave up the practice of exposing their parents to death when they grew old.*
Now it would be quite beside the mark to suggest a mythological explanation of this pathetic tale. It evidently refers to an actual custom once observed by real men, not to some supposed action attributed to imaginary gods. The evidence for the former existence of the custom is copious and undeniable. Even the familiar
* Afanasief, "Skazki,” vol. vii., No. 51.
expression, "a sardonic grin," has been supposed by some philologists to contain a reference to it. For the ancient Sardones were in the habit, when they grew old, of being killed and eaten by their friends and relatives. Before their death they used to invite their kith and kin to come and eat them on a certain day. And they were expected to smile while uttering the words of invitation. But their smiles, on such occasions, were apt to be somewhat constrained, and even at times ghastly. Wherefore, that particular kind of contraction of the risible muscles acquired the name of the "Sardonic grin." On so clear a point it is unnecessary to dwell longer. But it will be as well to point out that there is sometimes risk in attributing legends and traditions to an historical rather than a mythical origin. Many customs are mentioned in popular tales which can scarcely have prevailed among mankind at even the most prehistoric period. There are a number of stories, for instance, about girls who are so fond of their relatives that they eat them up. In the Russian "Witch and Sun's Sister," and in the Avar" Brother and Sister," a maiden of this kind is described as first devouring the whole of her family, and then attempting to eat the hero of the tale, her last surviving brother. Now, a belief in such hungry damsels, perpetually seeking what they may devour, is prevalent at the present day in Ceylon, the existence of such "poisongirls," as they are called, being generally accounted for by demoniacal possession. From such a wild belief tales of the kind just mentioned might naturally spring without their being founded upon any real custom. It is improbable that at any period of the world's history it was customary for sisters to eat their brothers. Nor is it likely that human fathers were ever in the habit of eating their children, as might be supposed, if we thought it necessary to see in the tale of how Kronos devoured his offspring an allusion to a custom, or even an isolated fact. What seems to be really demanded from every interpreter of old tradition, every explorer of the dark field of popular fiction, is a wariness that will not allow itself to be hoodwinked by any prejudice in favor of this or that particular theory. Every piece of evidence ought to be carefully tested and fairly weighed, whether it confirms the examiner's own opinion or not. If this be done, he will probably find that different classes of legends must be explained in divers manners. The more he becomes acquainted with popular tales, the less he will be inclined to seek for any single method of solving all their manifold problems. Not over-often will he be able to satisfy himself that he has arrived at even a fairy-tale's ultimate reason for existence. The greater pleasure will he have when he is enabled to trace the