תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

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 In a modern Greek variant of the story (Hahn, auld sister that was sae proud gaed awa' by herNo. 2), there is a similar but a still stranger open- seľ, and came back in a while hirpling wi' the ing. According to it, an old woman and her shoe on.” But, when she rode away in triumph three daughters sat spinning one day. And they as the prince's bride, “a wee bird sung out o'a made an agreement that, if one of them broke her bush: thread or dropped her spindle, she should be

“Nippit fit and clippit fit ahint the king rides ; killed and eaten by the others. The mother's

But pretty fit and little fit ahint the caldron hides." spindle was the first to fall, and her two elder daughters killed, cooked, and ate her. But their The blinding of the pretenders, however, is a younger sister did all she could to save her moth rare incident. But in one of the Russian stories er’s life, and, when her attempts proved fruitless, (Afanasief, vi., 30) the step-sisters of Chornushutterly refused to have anything to do with eating ka—so called from her being always dirty and her. And, after the unfilial repast was over, she chorna, or black-lose their eyes exactly as in collected her mother's bones, and buried them in the German tale. the ash-hole. After forty days had passed, she The industry of many collectors has supplied wished to dig them up and bury them elsewhere. scores of variants of this most popular narrative. But, when she opened the hole in which she had But those which have been mentioned will be deposited them, there streamed forth from it a sufficient to throw a considerable light upon one blaze of light which almost blinded her. And of its most significant features. Its earlier scenes then she found that no bones were there, but appear to have been inspired by the idea that a three costly suits of raiment. On one gleamed loving mother may be able, even after her death, “the sky with its stars," on another “ the spring to bless and assist a dutiful child. In the Servian with its flowers," on the third “the sea with its and the Greek variants, this belief is brought waves." By means of these resplendent robes prominently forward, though in a somewhat groshe created a great sensation in church on three tesque form. In the German it is indicated, but successive Sundays, and won the heart of the less clearly. In one of the Sicilian variants (Piusual prince, who was enabled to recognize her tré, No. 41), the step-daughter is assisted by a by means of the customary slipper. The German cow, as in the Servian story. Out of the hole in variant of the story given by Grimm (No. 21) which its bones are buried come “twelve damrepresents the grimy Aschenputtel-a form of sels” who array her “all in gold” and take her to Cinderella's name very like the Scotch Ashypet the royal palace. Here the link between the girl

-as being assisted to bear up against the un- and her dead mother has been lost, and the kindness of her step-sisters by a white bird, which supernatural machinery is worked by fairy hands. haunted the tree she had planted above her in another (No. 43) the heroine receives everymother's grave. From this bird she received all thing she asks for, exactly as in the German that she asked for, including the dazzling robe story, from a magic date-tree. But nothing is and golden shoes in which she, for the third time, said about its being planted above her mother's won the prince's heart at a ball in the palace. grave, and its mysterious powers are accounted One of these shoes stuck in the pitch with which for only by the fact that out of it issue “a great the prince had ordered the staircase to be smeared number of fati" or fairies. In the romantic story in the hope of thereby capturing her when she of “ La Gatta Cennerentola,” told by Basile in his Aed from the ball; and by it he after a time rec- “Pentamerone” (published at Naples about the ognized her. The story is of an unusually savage year 1637), she is similarly assisted by a fairy tone. For not only does one of the step-sisters who issues from a date-tree. This suggests the cut off her toes, and the other her heel, in order fairy godmother of Perrault's tale, from which to fit their feet to the golden slipper-acting in our version appears to have been borrowed. For accordance with the suggestion of their mother, among us Cinderella's slipper is almost always who

says, “When you are a queen you need not of glass, a material never mentioned except in go afoot”—but they ultimately have their eyes the French form of the story and its imitations. pecked out by the two doves which have previ- On this part of Cinderella's costume it may be ously called attention to the fact that blood is as well to dwell for a time, before passing on to streaming from their mutilated feet. The surgi- the further consideration of her fortunes. As cal adaptation of the false foot to the slipper, and yet we have dealt only with what may be called its exposure by a bird, occur in so many variants the “dead-mother" or“ step-mother” opening of that they probably formed an important part of the tale. We shall have to consider presently the original tale. Thus, in a Lowland Scotch va a kindred form of the narrative, the opening of riant of the story quoted by Chambers, when the which may be named after the “hateful mar

riage " from which the heroine flies, her adven- was unknown, substituted the more familiar but tures after her flight being similar to those of less probable verre, thereby dooming Cinderella the ill-used step-daughter. That is to say, she is to wear a glass slipper long before the discovery reduced to a state of degradation and squalor, was made that glass may be rendered tough. and is forced to occupy a servile position, fre In favor of the correctness of this supposition we quently connected in some way with the hearth have the great authority of M. Littré, whose dicand its ashes. From this, however, she emergestionary affirms positively that in the description on certain festive occasions as a temporarily bril- of Cinderella's slipper, verre is a mistake for liant being, always returning to her obscure posi- vair. In this decision some scholars, especially tion, until at last she is recognized; after which those who detect in every feature of a fairy tale she remains permanently brilliant, her apparently a “solar myth,” refuse to acquiesce. Thus M. destined period of eclipse having been brought André Lefèvre, the accomplished editor of a reto a close by her recognition, which is accom cent edition of Perrault's “Contes,” absolutely plished by the aid of her lost shoe or slipper. refuses to give up the verre which “convient

As to the material of the slipper there has parfaitement à un mythe lumineux." * But the been much dispute. In the greater part of what fact that Cinderella is not shod with glass in the are apparently the older forms of the story, it is vast majority of the lands she inhabits outweighs made of gold. This may perhaps be merely a any amount of mythological probabilities. Befigure of speech, but there are instances on rec- sides, a golden shoe is admirably adapted to a ord of shoes, or at least sandals, being made of luminous myth. It was a golden sandal which precious metals. Even in our own times, as well Rhodopis lost while bathing, and which-accordas in the days of the Cæsars, a horse is said to ing to the evidently Oriental tale preserved for us have been shod with gold. And an Arab geog- by Strabo and Ælian—was borne by an eagle to rapher, quoted by Mr. Lane, vouches for the fact the Egyptian King, who immediately resolved to that the islands of Wák-Wák are ruled by a make that sandal's owner his royal spouse. In the queen who " has shoes of gold.” Moreover, “no venerable Egyptian tale of “ The Two Brothers,” one walks in all these islands with any other kind of another monarch is equally affected by the sight shoe ; if he wear any other kind, his feet are cut." of a lock of the heroine's golden hair, that is It is true that his authority is a little weakened borne to him by the river into which it had fallen, by his subsequent statement that these isles have and he makes a similar resolve. In a Lesghian trees which bear "fruits like women.” These story from the Caucasus,t a supernatural female strange beings have beautiful faces, and are sus- being drops a golden shoe, and the hero is sent pended by their hair. “They come forth from in search of its fellow, becoming thereby exposed integuments like large leathern bags. And when to many dangers. We may fairly be allowed, they feel the air and the sun, they cry ‘Wák! without any slur being cast upon mythological Wák!' until their hair is cut; and when it is cut interpretation, to give up the glassiness of Cinthey die.” Glass is an all but unknown material derella's slipper. If the substitution of verre for for shoemaking in the genuine folk-tales of any vair be admitted, it supplies us with one of the country except France. The heroine of one of few verbal tests which exist whereby to track a Mr. J. F. Campbell's Gaelic tales * wore “glass story's wanderings. For in that case we may shoes,” but this exception to the rule may be due always trace home to France, or at least detect to a French influence, transmitted through an a French element in, any form of the Cinderella English or Lowland Scotch channel. Even in story in which the heroine wears a glass slipper. France itself the slipper is not always of glass. A somewhat similar mistake to that which vitriMadame d'Aulnoy's Finette Cendron, for in- fied Cinderella's slipper caused a celebrated picstance, wore one “ of red velvet embroidered ture by Rubens to be long known by an inapwith pearls.” The use of the word verre by propriate title. Many a visitor to the National Perrault has been accounted for in two ways. Gallery must have wondered why a portrait of a Some critics think that the material in question lady in a hat manifestly made, not of straw, but was a tissu en verre, fashionable in Perrault's of beaver or a kind of felt, should be designated time. But the more generally received idea is the chapeau de paille, before it was pointed out that the substance was originally a kind of fur by Mr. Wornum, in the catalogue, that paille called vairma word now obsolete in France, ex was probably a mistake for poil, a word meaning cept in heraldry, but locally preserved in England among other things wool and the nap of a hat, as the name of the weasel t-and that some reciter or transcriber to whom the meaning of vair * 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 *"West Highland Tales," i., 225.

vair. †“Spectator," January 4, 1879.

+ Schiefner's “ Awarische Texte," p. 68.

one,

[ocr errors]

and akin to the Latin pileus, a felt cap or hat, her knees beside the cradle, over which she bent as and indeed to the word felt itself.

she suckled the babe at her dead breast. The moAs regards the identification of the heroine ment the light shone in the cottage she stood up, by means of the lost slipper, that seems to be, gazed sadly on her little one, and then went out of as has already been remarked, merely one of the the room without a sound, not saying a word to any

All those who saw her stood for a time terrormethods of recognition by which the stories of

struck. And then they found the babe was dead. brilliant beings, temporarily obscured, are commonly brought to a close. In ancient comedy a In the Indian story of Punchkin," * the recognition was one of the most hackneyed con seven ill-used little princesses “used to go out trivances for winding up the plot, a convenient every day and sit by their dead mother's tomb,” dramatic makeshift akin to that which proves the and cry, saying: “O mother, mother, can not you brotherhood of the heroes of " Box and Cox.” see your poor children, how unhappy we are, and Thus in the numerous tales which tell how a how we are starved by our cruel step-mother?" hero who is really brilliant and majestic, but And while they were thus crying one day, a tree, apparently squalid or insignificant, saves a fair covered with ripe fruit, “ grew up out of the princess from a many-headed dragon, but is grave,” and provided them with food. And when robbed of his reward and reputation by an im- the tree was cut down, a tank near the grave bepostor, he usually proves his identity with her came filled with a rich, cream-like substance, rescuer by producing, in the final scene, the which quickly hardened into a thick, white cake," tongues of the dead monster. Thus also the of which the hungry princesses partook freely. troubles of the golden-haired hero who, like Cin- A similar appeal to a dead mother is made by a derella, emerges at times from his obscurity and daughter in a Russian story (Afanasief, vi., 28). performs wonders, come to a close when he is When in great distress,“ she went out to the recognized by some token, such as the king's cemetery, to her mother's grave, and began to handkerchief in the Norse tale of “The Widow's weep bitterly.” And her mother spoke to her Son." All this finale business appears to be of from the grave, and told her what to do in order very inferior importance to the opening of the to escape from her troubles. drama, that which refers to the dead mother's guardianship of her distressed child. The idea The last of these tales belongs to the prethat such a protection might be exercised is of viously mentioned second division of Cinderella great antiquity and of wide circulation. Accord- stories, that which comprises the majority of the ing to it, the dying parent's benediction was not tales in which an ill-used maiden temporarily ocmerely a prayer left to be fulfilled by a higher cupies a degraded position, appears resplendent power, but was an actual force, either working on certain brief occasions, but always returns to of its own accord, or exerted by the parent's her state of degradation, until at length she is spirit after death. In the Russian story of Va- recognized, frequently by the help of her lost silissa the Fair, a dying mother bequeaths to her slipper. But, instead of her troubles being caused little daughter her parental blessing and a doll, by a step-mother or step-sisters, they are brought and tells her to feed it well, and it will help her upon her, in the stories now referred to, by some whenever she is in trouble. And therefore it member of her own family who wishes to drive was that Vasilissa would never eat all her share her into a hated marriage. From it she seeks of a meal, but always kept the most delicate refuge in flight, donning a disguise which is almorsel for her doll; and at night, when all were most invariably the hide of some animal. In at rest, she would shut herself up in the narrow some countries the “ step-mother” form of Cinchamber in which she slept, and feast her doll, derella appears to be rare, whereas the “ hatefulsaying the while: “There, dolly, feed: help me marriage" form is common. In Pitré's collection in my need !” And the doll would eat until of Sicilian tales, for instance, for one Cinderella “its eyes began to glow just like a couple of tale of the step-mother class, there are four which candles," and then do everything that Vasilissa begin with the heroine's escape from an unlawful wanted. In another Russian tale, known also to marriage. In the Gonzenbach collection there is Teutonic lands, a dead mother comes every night but one good variant of the Cinderella tale, and to visit her pining babe. The little creature cries it belongs to the second class. The specimen of all day, but during the dark it is quiet. Anxious this second group, with which English readers to know the reason of this, the relatives conceal are likely to be best acquainted, is the German a light in a pitcher, and suddenly produce it in

“ Allerleirauh (Grimm, No. 65), though it is the middle of the night.

very probable that to the same division belonged

also the story of “Catskin,” which Mr. Burchell They looked and saw the dead mother, in the very same clothes in which she had been buried, on * Miss Frere's “Old Deccan Days," No. 1.

sence.

presented, with other tales, to the younger mem- also procured from the same source, she leaves bers of the family of the Vicar of Wakefield. home, carrying her wonderful dresses with her Perrault's “ Peau d'Ane" is a version of the in a bundle, and thus escapes from her abhorred same story, but as it is told in verse it has never suitor. To prevent him from noticing her abachieved anything at all approaching the success sence, she leaves two doves in her room together gained by its prose companions. Besides, the with a basin of water. As he listens at the door theme is not adapted for nurseries. It forms the he hears a splashing which is really due to the subject of the Lowland Scotch tale of “Rashie- birds, but which he supposes is caused by her Coat," in which we are told that the heroine fled ablutions. Great is his rage when he at length because “ her father wanted her to be married, breaks open the door, and finds that he has been but she didna like the man.” But the Gaelic tricked. We learn from another variant that he story of “The King who wished to marry his was induced to knock his head against the wall Daughter” (Campbell, No. 14) states the case until he died, and so the dressmaking devil got more precisely. The heroine almost always de- his due. In one of the Russian forms of the mands from her unwelcome suitor three magnifi- same tale, the fugitive maiden has recourse to a cent dresses, and with these she takes to flight, still more singular means of concealing her abusually disguising herself by means of a hide or The story is valuable because it supplies other species of rough covering. In these dresses a reason for the introduction of the fatal ring. she goes to the usual ball or other festival, and That is said to be due to the malice of a maligcaptivates the conventional prince. The close of nant witch, who, out of mere spite, induced a the story is generally the same as that which ter- dying mother to give the ring to her son, and to minates the ordinary Cinderella tales which we charge him to marry that damsel whose finger it have already considered. Its special points of would fit. The ring is evidently of a superinterest are the reasons given for her flight from natural nature, for, when the heroine tries it on, home, and the disguise in which she effects her not only does it cling to her finger “just as if it escape.

had been made on purpose for it,” but it begins Cinderella's troubles are brought to an end by to shine with a new brilliance. When Katerina the discovery that a slipper fits her foot; those hears to what a marriage it destines her, she of Allerleirauh, Catskin, Rashie-Coat, and the “melts into bitter tears” and sits down in despair rest of her widely-scattered but always kindred on the threshold of the house. Up come some companions in adventure, are generally brought old women bent on a holy pilgrimage, and to about by the discovery that a certain ring or dress them she confides the story of her woes. Acting fits her finger or form. Cinderella's promotion on their advice, when the fatal marriage-day aris due to her dead mother's watchful care. Rashie- rives, she takes four kukolki, dolls or puppets of Coat's degradation is consequent upon her dying some kind, and places one in each of the corners mother's unfortunate imprudence. Thus, in the of her room. When her suitor repeatedly calls Sicilian tale of “ Betta Pilusa," * the hateful mar- upon her to come forth, she replies that she is riage from which the heroine flies, wrapped up coming directly, but each time she speaks the in a gray cloak made of catskin, would never dolls begin to cry “Kuku," and as they cry the have been suggested to her had not her mother floor opens gently and she sinks slowly in. At obtained a promise from her husband on her last only her head remains visible.

"Kuku" cry death-bed that he would marry again whenever the dolls again: she disappears from sight, and any maiden was found whom her ring would fit. the floor closes above her. Irritated at the delay, Some years later her own daughter finds the ring her suitor breaks open the door. He looks round and tries it on. It fits exactly, so she is con on every side. No Katerina is there, only in each demned to the marriage in question. By the ad- corner sits a doll, all four singing “ Kuku! open vice of her confessor, she asks for three dresses, earth, disappear sister!" He snatches up an so wonderful that no mortal man can supply axe, chops off their heads, and flings them into them. But her suitor is assisted by the devil, the fire. In a Little-Russian variant of the same who enables him to produce the desired robes, story, the despairing maiden flies for solace to her the first sky-colored, representing the sun, the mother's grave. And her dead mother“ comes moon, and the stars; the second sea-colored, de- out from her grave," and tells her daughter what picting “all the plants and animals of the sea"; to do. The girl accordingly provides herself and the third “a raiment of the color of the earth, with the usual splendid robes, and with the likewhereon all the beasts and the flowers of the field wise necessary pig's hide or fell. Then she takes were to be seen." Hidden in her catskin cloak, 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 thec." And when the third

[ocr errors]

has spoken, the earth opens, and the maiden and In almost all the tales belonging to the second the puppets descend into “ the lower world.” or “hated marriage ” branch of the Cinderella Some vague remembrance of this descent of the story, the heroine accepts a very humble post in heroine into the lower regions appears to have the palace of the prince whom she eventually given rise to the strange opening of one of the weds. Just as her counterpart, the goldenSicilian variants cited by Pitré (No. 42). The locked prince of so many tales, becomes a sculheroine goes down into a well in order to find her lion at court, so she acts in the capacity of elder sister's ring. At the bottom she perceives scullery-maid or other despised domestic. But an opening, and passes through it into a garden, from time to time she quits the scullery and where she is seen by “the Prince of Portugal,” to appears in all the splendor of her mysterious whom, after the usual adventures, she is wedded. dresses among the noble guests assembled in As a general rule the heroine makes her es- the princely banqueting or ballroom.

In orcape disguised in a coarse mantle or dress made der to show the close connection between the of the skin of some animal. In another of the stories of Goldenlocks and Rashie-Coat, a few Sicilian variants (Pitré, No. 43) it is a horse's hide specimens of their popular histories may be given. in which she is wrapped, and the people who In the already quoted Russian story (Afanasief, meet her when she leaves home are surprised to vi., 28) of the princess who is advised by her see what they take to be a horse walking along dead mother to deceive her detested suitor by on its hind-legs. But sometimes this disguise disguising herself in a swine's bristly hide, her assumes a different aspect, being represented as subsequent fortunes are narrated as follows : Afsomething made of a less pliant material, a dis- ter she had fled from home she made her way on guise akin to the "wooden cloak, all made of foot into a foreign land, always wearing her swinstrips of lath," which was“ so black and ugly," and ish covering. As she wandered through a forest which “made such a clatter " when the heroine, one day, a terrible storm arose. To shelter herwho was called after it “Katie Woodencloak,” self from the torrents of rain which were falling, went up stairs. The Norse story in which she she climbed a huge oak, and took refuge amid its figures commences with the step-mother open- dense foliage. Presently a prince came that way, ing, and it does not close with a slipper-test, but and his dogs began to bark at the strange anistill it belongs properly to the second division of mal they saw among the leaves. The prince the Cinderella group. In some of the other vari- gazed with surprise at the singular being thus ants this wooden cloak becomes intensified into revealed to him, evidently “no wild beast, but a an utterly rigid covering or receptacle of wood. wondrous wonder, a marvelous marvel.” “What Thus in the Sicilian tale of “Fidi e Cridi” (Pitré, sort of oddity are you?” said he ;

can you i., 388), the two daughters of the Emperor of speak or not?" “I am Swine's Hide,” said Austria, one of whom, Fidi, has been destined she. Then he took her down from the tree, and by a fatal ring to a hated marriage, make their set her up on a cart. “Take this wondrous escape from home in a coffer of gilded wood. wonder, this marvelous marvel, to my father and They have previously stored it with provisions to my mother,” said he. And when the king and made arrangements for its being thrown into and queen saw her they were greatly astonished, the sea.

The waves waft them to Portugal, and gave her a room to herself to live in. Some where Fidi becomes the wife of the king. Her time afterward there was a ball at the palace. wedded happiness is for a time interrupted by Swine's Hide asked the servants if she might the arrival of the Emperor of Austria, who inflicts stand at the ballroom-door and look on. “Get upon his fugitive daughter a parental curse so along with you, Swine's Hide !” said they. Out powerful that it turns her into a lizard for a year, a she went a-field, donned her brilliant dress with month, and a day. But eventually all goes well. the many stars of heaven upon it, whistled till a As early as 1550, Straparola printed in his “Tre- chariot came, and drove off in it to the ball. All dici Piacevoli Notti" (i., 4) a romantic version who were there wondered whence this beauteof this story, telling how Doralice, the daughter ous visitor had come. “She danced and danced of Tebaldo, Prince of Salerno, in order to elude —then disappeared.” Putting on again her swinher unnatural parent, hid herself in a large coffer ish covering, she went back to her own room. of beautiful workmanship. This coffer Tebaldo, Again a ball took place. Again did Swine's Hide under the influence of depression produced by appear in radiant beauty, dressed in a dazzling his daughter's disappearance, sold to a merchant, robe, “on the back of which shone the bright from whose hands it passed into those of Genese, moon, on the front the red sun.” Great was the King of Britain. Doralice used sometimes to sorrow of the prince when she suddenly left the issue from her wooden covering, and one day the dance and disappeared. “ Whatever are we to king saw her, fell in love with her at once, and do," thought he, “to find out who this beauty made her his queen.

is?” He thought and thought. “At last he

« הקודםהמשך »