Gradi, Temistocle, Saggio di letture varie per i Giovani. Torino, 1865. No. IV, pp. 141-157. (From Siena.)
Heroine persuades widowed father to marry
her widowed governess; afterwards to admit her daughter --Ill-treated
heroine (by step-mother)--Menial heroine--Heroine has fish to cook; a
red-and-gold fish slips from her hand into sink; bids her not weep at
loss gives her pomegranate and tells her when in need to come to sea-shore
and repeat verse. Heroine stands on balcony to eat pomegranate; it falls
from her hand into garden which adjoins king's garden. Next morning a
tree has sprung up where it fell, bearing yellow and red apples. King
would know when and by whom tree was planted; orders pomegranates to be
picked; no one can reach them. Sage informs king that en chanted fruit
can only be plucked by one destined to be his bride--Fruit-picking Marriage
test. Tree bows down to heroine who is to be king's bride. Heroine's father
now dead, step-mother persuades king to let her live with heroine. Hides
own daughter in carriage and on way to palace, pulls out heroine's eyes
arid flings her under carriage--Substituted bride--Heroine wanders to
village, exchanges clothes with shepherdess, who leads her to sea shore.
Heroine repeats verse, fish appears, bids her go to neighbouring town
with basket of apricots. Step-mother wants to buy them for daughter who
craves them; heroine only parts with them in exchange for an eye. Step-mother
gives one which she has torn from heroine; fish replaces it in orbit,
and bids her sell figs for other eye. Fish replaces second eye, and sends
heroine to buy old woman skin, put it on, and seek lodging at
(1) A poor man, left widower with an only child called Isabelluccia, en gages woman named Agheta to bring her up and teach her all she should know. She does her work well, and is good to the child, but with ulterior aims in view. She is a widow, and has a daughter named Mariotto, whom certain uncles are keeping out of charity; she designs to marry widower, and to have her own daughter with her. She induces Isabelluccia to beg of father to marry Agheta, and after a time he does so. Then she makes Isabelluccia ask father to receive her daughter. For long he will not consent to this, but at length yields when wife pretends to be sad and ilk-- (2) Stepmother now makes heroine do all the work of the house; she submits uncomplainingly. One day she gives her a basket of fish to clean and cook. A red-and-gold fish clips out of her hand into the sink just as she is about to use the knife. In despair she tries to get it out, fearing stepmother's anger. Fish peeps through the hole, and tells her it is useless to grieve; she had better take the pomegranate which he throws her, and when in need go to the sea-shore and say:--
Heroine is very ill-treated that same day, but soon forgets it, and goes on to terrace to eat pomegranate. She is raising it to her lips, when it slips through her hand, and falls into the garden which adjoins that of the king.-- (3) Next morning there is a pomegranate-tree where it fell, laden with yellow and red fruit. King passing by, and seeing tree, asks by whom it was planted, and when. None can tell him, he gives orders for some of the fruit to be picked, but when anyone approaches the tree it grows visibly, and it is impossible to pick even a leaf. Amazed, king calls his council, and, after much discussion, old man affirms that tree is grown by enchantment, and its fruit can only be picked by one destined to marry king. King commands all girls to appear before him; not one is able to touch a branch of tree. Mariotto comes, amongst others, and falls from ladder. King begins to suspect that all the girls cannot have come, and sends round to search every house.-- (4) In this way they find heroine, whom jealous stepmother had hidden. Tree allows her to pick all its fruit, and she is recognised by king and the whole assembly as destined bride. Stepmother is constrained to prepare her outfit, but provides the same for Mariotto as well. On wedding day, the ring having been given, king enters first carriage, and the three ladies follow in second; for stepmother has obtained permission to go and live with heroine, and secretly brings Mariotto with her.-- (5) They pass through' wood; stepmother and Mariotto tear out heroine's eyes, and throw her under carriage. When they alight at palace, king says Mariotto is not his bride, but is at length obliged to accept her as such, for his court think he must be mistaken.-- (6) After wandering many days, heroine comes near to village, and exchanges her robes and jewels for the clothes of a young girl who is minding sheep, and who afterwards conducts her to sea-shore. Heroine repeats verse taught her by fish, who now comes and bids her go to neighbouring city (where Mariotto, who is pregnant, is living) and sell the apricots, of which fish gives her a basketful. Stepmother will come out to buy some, and she must only let her have them in exchange for one eye. Heroine obtains her eye in this way, and fish replaces it in orbit. Then she goes and sells figs for the other eye, and is now more lovely than ever. Fish bids her go to an old furniture-shop, where she can get an old woman's skin, put it on, and then ask for lodging in the palace out of charity. Once there her own heart will tell her how to act. Heroine wishes to recompense fish. He gives her a sword to cut off his head; she faints at the thought. On recovering, sees handsome youth beside her, who says "I am the fish, but have now regained human form. They wanted me to wed one when I hail plighted troth to another, and because I refused I was changed to a fish. The spell could only be removed through a girl fainting because of me." He gives her a magic wand, and vanishes.-- (7) Heroine finds and dons the old woman-skin, then goes to palace, but cannot get admittance. King hearing sounds of grief, comes on the scene, and gives orders for old woman to be admitted and lodged in a small hole. She ingratiates herself with the servants, all of whom like to pass their time in her company. One day the king himself spends a long time talking to her, till a groom comes to remind him it is time to go to fête. On taking leave, he asks old woman if she will go with him. She makes some ludicrous exclamation, and king goes off laughing.-- (8) Left alone, heroine doffs disguise, commands carriage, horses, and servants, a splendid dress, and goes to fête, where she is the most admired of all. King falls in love with her, but seeks in vain to accompany her home. Evening after, king visits old woman again, and can talk of nothing but the lovely girl. "Shame on you, your Majesty! Haven't you got a wife?" "Silence, old woman! If you only knew! My wife was just like the girl I saw last night; but by some means she got exchanged, although they say I am mistaken. . . . Ah, if you knew all you would pity me!" For several nights he continues to talk about the lovely stranger.-- (9) One evening he is in good spirits, hoping he will see her again, as he is going to a fête. He asks old woman if she will come too. "Time will show," she says. Then she gets out of skin, and goes as before to fête. As soon as king sees her, he orders servants not to take their eyes off her, but to find out where she lives. He passes all the evening with her, and finally gives her a handsome ring. She enters carriage, and is off. Servants cannot see where she goes, for thick mist rises behind her.-- (10) King falls ill; eats nothing for several days, then asks for some sop. Old woman is on the alert, hearing this, and insists on making the sop herself, though all I approve. When it is ready, she hides the ring under the bits of bread. King feels something between his teeth; spits it out for fear of being poisoned; finds it is the ring; asks who made sop.-- (11) Old woman is fetched. King wants to ask a thousand questions, but she stops him by letting fall the skin and showing herself in all her beauty. She tells her story. King assembles council, explains the facts, presents his new bride, and asks what punishment shall be meted to stepmother and Mariotto. Heroine urges that they shall receive none beyond being driven thence.-- (12) But court advise retaliation. That his scorn at the wickedness of the two women may be known to all, their eyes are torn out by king himself.
Cox, Marian Roalfe. Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O' Rushes, abstracted and tabulated. London: David Nutt for the Folklore Society, 1893.
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