Bechstein, Ludwig, Deutsches Märchenbuch. Leipzig, 1846. Pp. 242-44.
Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother and step-sisters) -- Menial heroine -- Hearth-abode -- Gifts chosen from father-- Heroine chooses hazel-twig and plants it on mother's grave -- Help at grave-- Task (grain-sorting) -- Task-performing animals (birds)--Magic dresses--Meeting-place (ball)--Three fold flight--Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test--Happy marriage--Villain Nemesis.
(1) Heroine is ill-treated by step-mother and two step-sisters. She sleeps in garret; must rise early and do all menial work and cook. She sits in the ashes on kitchen hearth, and is mockingly called Aschenbrodelchen.-- (2) Father goes to fair and asks what presents he shall bring for step-daughters. One chooses beautiful dress, the other pearls and jewels. Heroine begs for green hazel-twig, and plants it on mother's grave, and waters it daily with her tears. Twig grows very fast into beautiful little tree; bird perches in branches and looks pityingly on heroine.-- (3) King gives festival, and all young girls are invited that his son may choose bride. Stepsisters dress gorgeously, waited on by heroine. She ventures to ask leave to go also, but is laughed at, seeing she has neither dress nor shoes. Stepmother throws dish of lentils in the ashes, saying heroine may go if she can sort them in two hours. Heroine goes to hazel-tree, and calls on bird and on doves to come and sort grain, putting good in pot and bad in crop. A crowd of doves and other birds come and perform task. Stepmother is very angry when heroine brings lentils, and shakes two dishes more into the ashes, to be sorted in two hours. Heroine weeps, but calls birds, who quickly perform task. Still she is only laughed at for begging to go, and is left behind. Then she goes weeping to tree, and bird flies down and says,
"My dearest child, O tell to me
Whate'er you wish, I'll send it thee."
And embracing the tree, heroine says,
"Quake and shake, dear little tree,
Throw lovely raiment over me."
(4) Then there descend a lovely dress with costly shoes and stockings, which heroine quickly dons, and goes to ball, where no one knows her but all admire, and the king's son dances with her alone. He would follow her home, but she escapes him, lays clothes on grave, and returns to the ashes. Dress and shoes disappear instantly.-- (5) All happens thus twice; but the third time, in her flight heroine loses a shoe, and the king, who is following, picks it up and proclaims that he will wed none but the maiden who can wear this little golden shoe. It is tried from house to house. Stepsisters try in vain, and prince asks if there is not a third daughter. Father says yes, but stepmother pro tests she cannot be shown. Prince insists, and heroine washes herself and appears, looking even in her ash-grey skirt more lovely than stepsisters.-- (6) She slips shoe on; prince recognises her, takes her to castle, and marries her. On the wedding-day she wears golden dress and golden crown.-- (7) On the way to church, stepsisters, full of envy, walk on her right and left, and the little bird from hazel-tree pecks out an eye of each. Returning, it pecks out the other eye of each, so that their evil deeds are punished with blindness.