Folk-lore Journal, ii, pp. 72-74. (From Old Meldrurn, Aberdeenshire.)
(Written down by the mother of Mr. Moir, Rector of the Grammar School, Aberdeen.)
"THE RED CALF."
Ill-treated heroine (by parents); herds cattle -- Helpful animal (red calf) takes her to house where food is spread. Spy on heroine--(Slaying of helpful animal proposed)--Sister holds calf: heroine beheads her instead--Heroine flight on calf-- Heroine disguise (rashin coatie) -- Menial heroine (kitchen- maid at palace)--Magic dresses provided by calf--Meeting- place (church) -- Flight--Lost shoe -- Shoe marriage test -- Mutilated foot (henwife's daughter's)--Animal witness (bird)-- Prince enters his own kitchen; recognises "Rashin coatie"-- Happy marriage--House built for red calf.
(1) Parents have two daughters. The elder, who is ugly and ill-natured, is their favourite, and they ill-treat heroine, sending her to herd cattle, and giving her only a little porridge and whey.-- (2) One day red calf amongst the cattle bids heroine give porridge and whey to dog, then leads her through wood to fine house, where nice dinner is spread for her. This happens every day, and heroine grows bonnier and more beautiful, instead of wasting. So parents spy on her, and see calf take her to feast.-- (3) The calf is to be slain; ugly sister is to hold its head, whilst heroine kills it with an axe. Calf com forts heroine, and tells her to bring down the axe on sister's head instead; then jump on calf's back.-- (4) In this way heroine escapes. They come to meadow of rushes, and make a coat for her. Then they travel on to king's palace, where Rashin-Coatie is hired as kitchen-maid, and calf is kept too.-- (5) At Yule-tide heroine is to stay at home and get dinner ready, whilst all go co church. Calf goes out and gets fine clothes and slippers for heroine, and undertakes to get the dinner. Heroine dons clothes, and before leaving for church says:
"Ilka peat gar anither burn,
An ilka spit gar anither turn,
An ilka pot gar anither play,
Till I come frae the kirk on gude Yule-day."
Everybody in church admires her, and the prince falls in love, and hurries after her to stop her leaving. She jumps past him, but loses one of her shoes, which he keeps.-- (6) Prince will wed whomsoever it fits, and sends servant through all the land to try it, but none can wear it. He comes at length to henwife's house, and her daughter pares her feet and clips her toes till shoe goes on. Prince is very angry at getting wrong girl, but will keep his promise. On the way to kirk a little bird sings:
"Chippit feet and paret taes is on the saidle set;
But bonnie feet and braw feet sits in the kitchen neuk."
"What's that?" says the prince. Henwife says he should not heed what a "feel" bird says; but he bids bird sing again.-- (7) Then prince turns and rides home, and goes straight to kitchen, where he sees Rashin-Coatie. He knows her at once. The shoe fits her, and he marries her. They build a house for the red calf.