Karajich, Vuk, Serbian Folk-Tales (translated into German by Wilhelmine Karajich). Berlin, 1854. No. XXXII.
White-bearded old man warns cattle-tending maidens, who sit spinning, against dropping spindle into pit. Heroine drops hers, transforming mother into cow. Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother)--Task (spinning) mother help--Spy on heroine--Slaying of helpful animal--Eating taboo--Revivified bones--Help at grave--Menial heroine, called Aschenzuttel-- Task (grain-sorting) --Task-performing animals (white doves)--Magic dresses--Meeting-place (church) flight-- Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test--Animal witness (cock) reveals heroine under trough--Happy marriage.
(1) Maidens who are tending cattle sit spinning round a pit. Old white- bearded man warns them if one should drop her spindle into pit, her mother would be transformed into a cow. They move nearer to pit in their curiosity to look over, and youngest maiden accidentally lets spindle fall. On reaching home, she finds her mother is a cow. Heroine tends cow, and drives it daily to pasture with others.-- (2) Some time after this her father marries widow with one daughter. Stepmother ill-treats heroine, who is more beautiful than her own daughter, and makes her a drudge. One morning she gives her a whole sackful of flax to spin and wind into a ball by evening, or not venture home. Heroine spins all the while as she follows cattle, but at mid-day weeps in despair at little progress. Cow, her mother, comforts her, saying she will chew the flax, then a thread will come out at her ear, which heroine can wind into ball. So it happens. When heroine takes large ball of wool to stepmother she is astonished, and gives still more flax to be spun next day.-- (3) When this is also done, she gives heroine more again third day, and sends stepsister secretly to spy who helps her.-- (4) Then step-mother persuades father to slay cow. Heroine is in great distress at this, but cow comforts her, and bids her eat none of the flesh, but collect all bones and bury them under a certain stone behind house, and, when in trouble or need, to come to grave for help. This is done. Heroine's name is Mara, but, because she has to do all the dirty work of the house and hearth, she is nicknamed Aschenzuttel.-- (5) One Sunday, before going to church with her own daughter, stepmother scatters large bowl of millet all over the house, and threatens heroine if she has not collected it all and cooked dinner by their return. Heroine weeps, and goes to mother's grave. There she sees large chest full of costly dresses, and two white doves perched on lid tell her to choose dress and go to church whilst they perform tasks. Everyone in church is astonished at her beauty, the emperor's son especially. At the close of service heroine hurries home, returns dresses to grave, when they vanish, and finds dinner ready and grain sorted.-- (6) Next Sunday stepmother scatters still more millet, and all happens as before and also on third Sunday, when prince follows heroine from church and picks up shoe, dropped in her haste to escape.-- (7) Prince goes from house to house trying shoe, but it will fit none. Stepmother hides heroine under trough when prince arrives, and says she has no daughter besides the one who cannot wear shoe. Cock flies on to trough and cries "Kickeriki, the maiden is under this trough." "Devil take you!" says stepmother.-- (8) But prince raises trough and finds heroine in same clothes she wore last time at church, but with no shoe on right foot. Prince recognises and marries her.