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Basic European Texts


The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales: The Western Fairy Tale Tradition from Medieval to Modern. Ed. Jack Zipes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Pp. xxxii, 601 plus numerous black/white illustrations from early to modern works.
[16 contributing editors, plus 55 contributors; with a useful thirty-nine page bibliography. An authoritative reference source for the genre, national traditions, the tales themselves, their writers, revisers, adapters, illustrators, and recreations in film, art, opera, ballet, music, and advertising.]
Vilmundar saga viðutan (‘The Saga of Vilmundur the Outsider’), a medieval Icelandic saga.
The Vilmundar saga survives in manuscripts from the fifteenth century onwards, although it is likely to have been written in the fourteenth century. In the standard taxonomy of Old Norse saga literature, it is usually classified as an indigenous riddarasaga (‘saga of knights’, or romance saga), but also shares many similarities with texts in the fornaldarsaga corpus (‘saga of an ancient time’, or legendary saga). Either way, it is a fantastical saga that remained popular in Iceland for hundreds of years, being copied in over fifty extant manuscripts between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as spawning five individual sets of rímur (rhymed metrical ballads).

The saga begins not with the hero, Vilmundur, but with the royal family of Garðaríki (the Kievan Rus’): the king, Vísivalldur; his bastard son Hjarrandi; and his twin daughters Gullbrá (‘Gold-brow’, the modern Icelandic name for both the saxifrage flower and ‘Goldilocks’) and Sóley (‘Buttercup’). Sóley is favoured less than her sister, and is fostered away from the royal court, by a woman named Silven. However, to avoid marriage to an evil man, she arranges to switch appearances with a serving-woman named Öskubuska (‘Cinderella’), in a deception that fuels the escalation of the saga’s drama. Vilmundur is only belatedly introduced after the royal scene has been set. Having been raised by his parents in a remote valley far from outside human contact, he is characterised throughout the saga as a socially awkward but physically capable outsider. After leaving home in search for his father’s goat Gæfa (‘Fortune’), Vilmundur’s adventures cause him to be increasingly entangled in the royal family’s goings-on: he discovers Sóley’s lost shoe (which he then overhears Sóley, though he is unaware who she is, vow to be the condition of her marriage); becomes Hjarrandi’s blood-brother; and saves Gullbrá and the kingdom from an aggressive suitor. In his continued defence of the kingdom with Hjarrandi, he kills the hostile ‘Sóley’ (in actual fact the troublesome Öskubuska) and presents her head to the king in typically blunt fashion. He is outlawed as a result, but after finding the real Sóley, discovering the truth, and returning her shoe, he is eventually reconciled with the king. The saga ends happily: Gullbrá marries a noble prince, while Vilmundur is given Sóley in marriage as well as a third of Garðaríki and the title of duke.

What makes Vilmundar saga remarkable is not simply that it is possibly the earliest-known Cinderella tale in Iceland, but that the name of the serving-woman, Öskubuska, is a hearth-name (ösku- deriving from aska, ‘ashes’), and that her role in the kitchen is emphasised. Öskubuska is still the modern Icelandic name for Cinderella. This makes Vilmundar saga one of the earliest-known Cinderella tales with a Cinderella-name in the world, a combination previously said to have originated with Giambattista Basile's tale of Zezolla/Cenerentola (published posthumously in 1634 as part of his Pentamerone). Indeed, the earliest surviving manuscripts of Vilmundar saga are approximately a century and a half older than the Pentamerone, and the saga itself, which is older than its earliest surviving manuscripts, and is probably two-and-a-half to three centuries older than Basile's tale.

Apart from the obvious shoe motif, there are also hints (of varying ambiguity) of common Cinderella elements in the saga. The fact that Sóley grows up outside of the royal court, in Silven's fosterage, as the less-favoured of the two princesses, surely places her in the ‘persecuted heroine’ role even if she is not technically persecuted. But is Silven’s own daughter, an utterly insignificant character who is technically Sóley’s foster-sister, a remnant of the motif of the rival stepsisters? When Vilmundur presents the head of the villainous ‘Sóley’ to the king as proof of her death, might this derive from the Cap o'Rushes tradition? Might the portrayal of the goat Gæfa betray knowledge of the ‘helpful animal’ motif so central to many Cinderella tales? There is still much examination to be done in terms of unravelling the Cinderella-related threads of the saga.

Currently the main editions of Vilmundar saga are by Nils William Olsson (as part of his 1949 doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago) and by Agnete Loth (a semi-diplomatic transcription, with a running English summary, published in 1964; Late Medieval Icelandic Romances, volume IV). The saga has been translated into French and German, and the first English translation (with facing text) is currently in preparation.
-- Jonathan Y.H. Hui (Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, Cambridge University)

Bonaventure des Périers, Novel Pastimes and Merry Tales. Trans. Raymond C. La Charité and Virginia A. La Charité. Studies in Romance Languages 6. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky (1972), 250-252. Originally published as Les Nouvelles Recreations et Joyeux Devis, 1558. The Cinderella narrative did not appear until the second edition (ca. 1570) where it is the final tale entitled: “Of a Young Girl Nicknamed Ass Hide and How She Got Married with the Help of Little Ants.”
[A wealthy merchant retires to enjoy family life on a small farm. A neighbor gentleman makes a jest about his son marrying the merchant’s youngest daughter. The merchant recognizes the scorn in the proposal, but the children hear of it and do indeed fall in love. The parents on both sides try to discourage the relationship by humiliating the children, but to no avail. The girl, named Pernette, is forced to pick up a bushel of barley, grain by grain, with her tongue and to wear nothing but an ass hide. Rather than be discouraged, she increases her ardor for the boy and gladly wears nothing but the hide; she picks up the grain with her tongue, while her cruel mother, siblings, and father watch to see that she does not cheat. Unbeknownst to them, however, little ants help her, and she soon has the full bushel. So there is no stopping the marriage, and the gentleman’s son caresses and loves her as she well deserves. But her nickname, Ass Hide, sticks. N.b., an extended allusion to Cinderella appears prior to Des Periers in a 1501 Strasburg text. See S. Singer, “Schweizer Marchen,” Untersuchung zur neueren Sprach- und Literaturgeschichte 10 (1906), 1-31.]
The Pentamerone of Giambattista Basile, ed. N. M. Penzer. London: John Lane, 1932.

[Il Pentamerone was first published posthumously, Naples 1634-1636.]

A. Cat Cinderella (pp. 56-63) is the sixth diversion of the first day.

[Following her governess’ suggestion, Zezolla slays her greedy stepmother by dropping a trunk lid on her neck. She then gets her father to marry the governess, who favors her for a couple of days but then turns out to be worse than the first stepmother, as she wins her husband’s heart and turns Zezolla out of the salon to work the spit in the kitchen, calling her now “Cat Cinderella.” Father travels and brings back gifts for his six step daughters and Zezolla--fine gifts for the six, and a date tree, spade, and watering can for Zezolla which he obtains, at her request, from the dove of the fairies. She tends the tree lovingly; it grows rapidly and grants her wishes. The six step-daughters go to the king’s ball; Zezolla comes late dressed in apparel bestowed by the tree. The king loves her but she disappears, eluding the steward who was to follow her. So too a second time. The third time he finds her pianelle (overshoe) which slipped from her foot as she fled. He would marry the one it fits, but it fits none. He learns that Zezolla has not tried it on. He calls for her, it fits, they embrace, and the six sisters, livid with envy, creep home, confessing that “He is mad who would oppose the stars.” The story is included in Dundes, Cinderella Casebook, pp. 3-13.]

B. The She-Bear (L’Arza)

[The King of Roccaspra’s lovely queen dies but on her deathbed demands on the pain of horrible curses that the king never marry again unless he finds another “as beautiful as I have been.” They have only one child, a daughter named Preziosa (Precious). The king weeps for his queen, but “the ache of a widower is like the ache in the funny bone, sharp but brief.” He yearns for an heir and seeks a new bride. He holds a contest but none, though they come from far and wide, are as beautiful as his first wife. Then he turns to Preziosa, who is “made in the same form as her mother.” He puts the matter to the girl, but she repudiates him. He is outraged: “Make up your mind to tie the marriage knot this very night; for otherwise your ear will be the biggest bit left of you!” But an old woman servant appears and comforts Preziosa. She gives her a little stick and tells her to put it in her mouth when her father “wants to play the part of a stallion, though there’s more of the ass in him...[and] you will then immediately become a bear and can run away.” The wedding feast takes place and the bride is summoned to the bridal bed. She puts the stick in her mouth, turns into a bear, terrifies the father, and escapes. Wandering in the forest she is captured by a prince. One day in the palace gardens the prince sees a lovely woman combing her golden hair in the bear’s den. Preziosa has taken the stick out of her mouth, thinking no one is watching, and becomes herself again. The prince falls in love with her and will have none other for his bride. After many vicissitudes he discovers who she is and marries her, with his mother’s consent. “Thus Preziosa was the sounding rod to the balance of human judgment, which declares that ‘To those who do good, good always comes’.”]

The Grimm Brothers. The Complete First Edition: The Original Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Trans. and Ed. by Jack Zipes. Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.

[Jack Zipes creates a readable collection of the first edition of Kinder and Hausmärchen with a useful introduction that examines how the Grimm Brothers gathered their tales and altered the collection over time. The translation of “Ashenputtel” does not include the infamous ending where the stepsisters are blinded in the first edition.] [Annotation by Martha Johnson-Olin]

L’Héritier, Marie-Jeanne. “L’Adroite Princesse ou Le Aventures de Finette” (“The Discreet Princess or the Adventures of Finette”). In Oeuvres meslées (1695). Reprinted in Bigarrures ingénieuses (1696).
[A king in the time of the First Crusade had three daughters–Nonchalante, Babbler, and Finette. The two elder daughters were proud and lazy; Finette was talented, nimble, skilled at manual chores, and never idle. Worried about their welfare during the war, the king puts his daughters in a tower to be attended by a wise fairy. She gives them three enchanted distaffs made of glass, which they should use according to their honor. The elder two are bored and complain. Finette does much needle work. The two elder daughters use a basket on a rope and pulley to bring into the tower an old woman who vows to serve them. Meanwhile two neighboring princes, Rich-Craft and Bel-a-voir, learn of the three girls in the tower. Rich-Craft figures out how to get in and woos Nonchalante, marries her, and sets her up in the garden house. He then woos Babbler, whom he likewise locks up. He makes a play for Finette, but she drives him away. She sets a booby trap by placing a blanket over the large sink and garbage hole. When he tries at night to slip into her room he falls through the hole. Finette then goes in search of her sisters and finds them; meanwhile Rich-Craft escapes the sewer. He next tries to woo the sisters with fruits and sweets. The two succumb but Finette escapes him by getting him to look into a barrel which she then kicks down the mountain. Finette next disguises herself as a doctor and enters the city of the princes. Bel-a-voir makes generous payments for a medicine to help his wounded brother. She falls in love with the good prince, and he with her. She leaves two boxes of medicine to help cure the wicked brother. Upon opening them they find two babes within, and Rich-Craft realizes that Finette has trapped him once again. As he dies he warns his brother of her treachery, tells him to marry her, but to murder her as revenge for what she did to Rich-Craft. The fairy returns and discovers that the two older sisters have broken their distaffs in their idleness, and they die. Finette weds Bel-a-voir but the fairy warns her that “distrust is the mother of security.” On her wedding night she places a straw dummy in the bed and Bel-a-voir runs his sword through it, thus fulfilling his vow to his brother. Immediately, he is grief-stricken over the loss of Finette but is ecstatic as she appears and forgives him. “Long live prudence and presence of mind.”]
Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy. “Finette Cendron.” In Les Contes des Fées (1696-1698). 4 vols.
[Trans. by Jack Zipes in Beauties, Beasts & Enchantment (New York: New American Literary, 1989), pp. 400-16. A king and queen so mismanage their kingdom that they are evicted into poverty. They determine to survive by ridding themselves of their three daughters, Fleur d’Amour, Belle-de-Nuit, and Fine-Oreille (Keen-Hearing), by abandoning them in the forest. Finette, as she is called, overhears their plan, contacts her fairy godmother named Merluche (hake, dried codfish, stockfish), who gives her a thread by which to find her way home. She saves her sisters, who beat her and abuse her upon their return. After the second abandonment, return, and beating, the fairy godmother will not help. Thus on the third time the girls are indeed lost, but Finette plants an acorn which grows rapidly, and she locates a castle by climbing the tree’s heights. Her sisters rob her of jewels and clothes, which she has hidden away in her bag, and go to the castle only to discover it is an ogre’s den. The ogre and his wife would eat them, except that Finette saves them by destroying the ogres. The wicked sisters then take over the mansion, enslave Finette, condemning her to hard labor and the ashes while they go to a neighboring Prince’s dances. Finette finds a golden key in the chimney, locates a chest which it opens, and is thus more finely clothed than ever. The fairy godmother’s Spanish stallion takes her to the ball where she dazzles all. The daughters don’t recognize her the first time and abuse her upon their return. She loses her slipper at the ball and the Prince announces that he will marry the one it fits. When she goes on the stallion to the fitting the sisters recognize her but she splashes them with mud as her horse passes them by. She restores health to the ailing Prince to health and, finding him to be handsome and intelligent, marries him. She restores her parents to their kingdom and marries off the two sisters well, despite their cruelty to her. The moral: “Do favors of the undeserving until they weep. / Each benefit inflicts a wound most deep.... No matter what wrong may awake your wrath, / There’s no greater vengeance than this kind path.”]
Perrault, Charles. Histoires ou Contes du Tempes Passé. Paris. 1697. With the alternate title Contes de Ma Mere l’Oye (Mother Goose Tales). First published anonymously, then attributed to his son. Includes “Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper,” and “Donkey Skin.” First translated into English by Robert Samber in 1729, a translation that subsequently was often borrowed. (See General Collections under Modern Children’s Editions and Adaptations. [E.g., the Opies’ Classic Fairy Tales (1974), or Harry Clarke’s Classic Fairy Tales (1922)]:
A. “Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper,” A good modern edition in English is Perrault’s Complete Fairy Tales. Translated by A. E. Johnson and others. Illustrated by W. Heath Robinson; or, Neil Philip’s austere translation in The Cinderella Story. Perrault’s is the most famous of all the Cinderella narratives. See “Cinderella (Perrault’s A Little Glass Slipper)” under Modern Children’s Editions and Adaptations.

[A man takes a second wife who has two daughters like her in all ways. The man’s daughter is driven to the chimney corner as slave in her own house. The Prince gives a ball. The stepsisters “sent for the best tire woman they could get, to dress their heads, and adjust their double pinners, and they had their red brushes and patches from Mrs. De la poche.” Even so, Cinderella dresses them for the event as they mock her, though the only trust Cinderella's good taste. After they depart Cinderella weeps and is visited by her Godmother who transforms a pumpkin into a carriage, six mice into six horses, the whiskeriest rat into “a fat jolly coachman, who had the finest whiskers as ever were seen,” six lizards into six footmen, and Cinderella’s rags into a splendid gown with glass slippers. Cinderella may enjoy the ball but must return by midnight, all of which she does. At the ball “the king himself, as old as he was, could not help looking at her, and telling the Queen in a low voice, that it was a long time since that he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature.” All the ladies study her dress in hope of making a pattern like it. Afterward she hears of the events from her stepsisters’ point of view. She asks to borrow a yellow dress from Javotte, as if she might then be able to go to the ball next day, but receives only scorn for being a grimy Cinderbutt. The next night transpires much as the first, only this time Cinderella loses her slipper as she flees at the first stroke of midnight. The Prince searches the kingdom for one whom the slipper fits. The sisters try to force their feet into the slipper but cannot succeed. Cinderilla asks to try amidst the sisters’ mockery. The slipper fits, she supplies the other slipper, and the Godmother appears to turn her rags into the most stunning gown of all. The sisters apologize. Cinderilla lifts them up, kisses them, and forgives them. She marries the prince, and the sisters marry two great lords of the court. The moral: “Charm is the true gift of the fairies.” A second moral suggests that, though wit, courage, birth, wealth, and talent are an advantage, it helps to have a “willing godmother, or godfather.”]

B. Donkey Skin (Peau d’Ane). First published in verse, 1694.

[A powerful king has one daughter born of pure and tender wedlock. He also has a donkey that never emits an odor, but generates heaps of gold coins that are gathered from the litter each morning. The queen dies and the husband agrees to remarry only if the woman is more beautiful, more wise, and more accomplished than the dying queen. When the daughter grows up she is all of those things, so the king decides to marry her. After delaying the king’s ardor while dresses are made for the daughter, her fairy godmother helps her to escape disguised in the donkey’s skin. Dirtying her face so as to seem vulgar and mean, she obtains a job as scullion and pig trough cleaner. One Sunday the prince sees her dressed in her magnificent dress, which she took with her. He would try to enter her room but is restrained by her beauty. He returns home, sick with love. He asks the queen to obtain for him a cake made by Donkey Skin. Donkey Skin makes the cake but accidentally drops her ring in the batter. The prince vows to marry whomever the ring fits. It fits only Donkey Skin, and the two marry. Her father, purified of his passion, blesses them. This tale is the basis for Grimm’s Allerleirauh.]

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. The famous original 210 stories plus 40 tales that have never appeared in English before; based on the seventh edition of 1857. Translated and edited by Jack Zipes, with illustrations by John B. Gruelle. New York: Bantam Books, 1987. Or, The Grimms’ German Folk Tales. Trans. Francis P. Magoun, Jr., and Alexander H. Krappe. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1960. Grimms’ tales were first published as Kinder und Hausmarchen, 1812; and revised and expanded by the Grimm Brothers for the 1819 through the 1857 editions. The 1810 manuscript was published side by side with the 1812 first edition in 1975 by Heinz Rolleke. For commentary on the bourgeoisification of Grimm brothers’ progressive revisions of the text from 1810 to 1857, see Zipes (1983), pp. 45-70, under Criticism. There are always numerous selections from Grimm available: e.g., The Classic Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Illustrated by Joyce Mercer (about 100 ink drawings and 7 in full color). London: New Century Press, 1935; rpt Studio Editions Ltd., 1992.
[A selection of 33 tales, including The Goose Girl, Ashputtel, Faithful John, Frog Prince, and Lily and the Lion.]

A. Cinderella (Aschenputtel) Pp. 86-92.

[Mother dies and her daughter weeps at her grave. After a year the rich father remarries a woman who has two daughters, pretty of face but ugly at heart. They mock the daughter, drive her to the kitchen, trick her, and pour peas into the ashes and make her pick them out. Since she is always dusty and dirty she is called Ash Girl. Father goes to a fair and brings gifts to the girls. The two ask for fine clothes and jewels; Ash Girl asks for a twig from the first branch that brushes his hat. She plants the hazel twig on her mother’s grave. It grows to a fine tree and advises her through a bird that sits in its branches. The King proclaims a festival whereby his son might choose a wife. All eligible women are invited. Ash Girl would go but must first complete tasks. The birds help her sort lentils. But that is not enough; the stepmother imposes more tasks. More birds help, but still she cannot go because of lack of clothing. The bird in the hazel tree supplies Cinderella with a gown. She dances until evening with the Prince but then wishes to go home. He follows her, but she hides in the dovecote. Her father wonders if the mysterious woman could be Ash Girl. They get an ax and pick and break down the dovecote but find no one inside—only dirty clothes. She has escaped out the back, returned the fine clothes to the bird in the hazel tree and sits in the ashes in the kitchen. Next day the festival resumes and, at the end of the day, the strange girl escapes the prince by climbing a pear tree. The father wonders if the mystery woman could be Ash Girl and cuts down the tree. On the third day she goes to the festival with slippers of solid gold. In the evening, as she wishes to leave, she runs down the stairs, but the Prince has placed pitch on the stairs and she loses her left slipper. He proclaims that he will marry the woman whose foot fits the shoe. One sister cuts off her toe to make it fit, but as she is taken to the wedding two pigeons in a hazel bush get the prince to look at the blood in the shoe. The second sister cuts off her heal to make the shoe fit. Again the birds point out the blood. So the prince returns a third time, wondering if there is any other daughter in the house. Ash Girl is declared too dirty by the stepmother, but she washes her face, makes a curtsy and tries on the shoe. It fits. This time the two white pigeons announce that the prince has the right bride. As the sisters come to share in their sister’s good fortune, birds peck out their eyes. “For their malice and treachery they were punished with blindness for the rest of their lives.” (For modern adaptations of this story, see Cinderella: Grimm, below)].

B. All Fur (Allerleirauh). Pp. 259-63.

[The king promises his dying wife that he will not remarry until he finds someone as beautiful as she. Their daughter grows up to have the same golden hair, so the king chooses her. The king’s counselors are angry and the princess is shocked. She delays the king by demanding three dresses—one golden as the sun, one silver as the moon, and one shining as the stars. The king complies and provides a cloak of a thousand pieces of fur from every kind of beast in the kingdom as well. The daughter puts the dresses in a nutshell, makes her face dirty with soot, and flees under cover of night and the cloak of many skins. She sleeps in the hollow of a tree where a neighboring king and his huntsmen discover her. The king puts her to work in the kitchen sweeping ashes. He gives a feast and Allerleirauh gets permission from the cook to have half an hour off to observe the festivities. She appears in her golden dress and dances with the king, then disappears. The king orders bread soup, which she makes and slips in a gold ring. They trace the soup to Allerleirauh, but she denies knowledge of the ring. On the next occasion she appears in her silver gown. This time she pours the soup over her golden spinning wheel. Again they fail to prove that she is the source of the spinning wheel. The third time she appears in her shining dress, and the king slips the gold ring on her finger. The king orders soup again, and she puts in it a golden reel. This time the king sees the ring on her finger, identifies her, and marries her. (For modern adaptations and revisions of this story see the section entitled Allerleirauh, Tattercoats, Cat Skin, Donkey Skin.]

C. Little One-eye, Little Two-eyes, Little Three-eyes.

[A woman has three daughters; one with one eye, another with two, and a third with three; One-eye and Three-eyes scorn Little Two-eyes as being common, make her do all the dirty work, and feed her little. Once, while she is watching the goat and weeping in the field, a woman stands before her and tells her to wish upon the goat and a table full of food will appear. She wishes, food appears, and she feasts. The jealous mother and other daughters wonder why she no longer eats the scraps they give her and attempt to spy out her secret. She charms One-eye to sleep and eats anyway despite the mother’s trick; when spied on by Three-eyes she charms two of her eyes but forgets about the third and is exposed. The mother kills the goat, and they eat it. Little Two-eyes asks for the heart and buries it outside her window. A magical fruit tree springs up which will give her alone its golden apples. A prince comes by and asks for fruit; the two sisters attempt to obtain some but fail. Little Two-eyes, who has been hidden under a tub, rolls fruit out to him. He is pleased and takes her with him. The tree in turn follows her to the palace. After the prince marries her, the two daughters appear at the palace, poor and destitute. Little Two-eyes pities them, and they repent in their hearts for having been so unkind. For an illustrated children’s version see Manheim under Allerleirauh in Modern Children’s Editions. For an Appalachian adaptation of this story, see “Jack and the Bull” under Male Cinderellas.]

D. The Three Little Gnomes in the Forest. Pp. 50-55.

[A man with a daughter loses his wife and marries a woman who has lost her husband and also has a daughter. The stepmother favors her own daughter and makes her stepdaughter do the nasty work. One winter day she tells the maiden to gather strawberries in the woods. The girl objects but is forced to the task. In the woods she comes upon a little house with three little men living in it. They pity her being in the snow and ask her why she is there. She tells of her task and shares her meager breakfast with them. They tell her to sweep the snow from the back door, which she does. So they grant her three gifts: that she shall become more beautiful each day, that gold will come from her mouth, and that a king shall take her for his wife. Meanwhile she has discovered ripe strawberries shooting from the ground; she fills her basket and returns home. The stepmother becomes even more jealous now that the maiden has gold and beauty, and permits her own daughter to go into the forest to seek strawberries. When she meets the gnomes she refuses to share her food with them. When they ask her to sweep the snow away she tells them to do their own sweeping. So they give her three evil gifts: she shall become more ugly each day, toads will fall from her mouth, and she will die wretchedly. So she returns to her mother empty handed and accursed. In anger the step-mother boils some yarn and tells the maiden to go to the river, chop a hole in the ice, and rinse it. While the girl is there the king rides by, feels sorry for her, and takes her to the castle. He falls in love with her, marries her, and she gives him a son. The wicked stepmother visits and, with the help of her daughter, throws the queen out of the window into the icy river. She turns into a duck, returns to her baby, turns back into a woman, and suckles her child. She tells the boy to invite the king into the room and to swing his sword three times over the duck’s head. The king does and she turns back into her self. They baptize their child, then ask the stepmother what someone would deserve if he dragged another out of bed and threw him out the window. The old woman says the scoundrel would deserve nothing better than to be put into a barrel studded with nails and rolled down the hill into the water. So she pronounces her own sentence. She and her daughter are nailed inside such a barrel and rolled into the river. For an illustrated children’s version see Manheim, under Allerleirauh in Modern Children’s Editions.]

E. The Lettuce Donkey. Pp. 435-40.

[A male Cinderella story. A young hunter goes into the woods where he meets an old crone who asks for food and water. He gives her what he can, and she tells him that he will come to a tree with nine birds in it fighting over a cloak. He should shoot into the bunch, pick up the cloak, and swallow the heart of the bird he shoots. Thereafter he will find gold under his pillow and be granted his wishes. Events happen as the crone said they would, and the youth becomes rich. He sets out on his own and comes to a castle where an old woman and lovely girl live. The old witch wants the youth’s gold and sends the girl to get it. The youth falls in love with her but she not only robs him, she makes him vomit up the heart and swallows it herself, so now she has gold. The old witch wishes for the cloak as well and sends the girl again. The youth takes her with him into the Garnet Mountain where precious stones grow. As he sleeps she takes the cloak and as many precious stones as she can and abandons the youth in the wilderness. Three giants come by. The youth plays like he is asleep and hears them speak of the powerful clouds at the summit who can carry one where he wishes. So he goes to the summit and is carried to a walled kitchen garden. There he eats a head of lettuce which turns him into a donkey. Another head restores him to himself. So he takes both heads and returns to the palace. The witch is hungry for his lettuce and is turned into a donkey. So too her servant woman and the lovely daughter. The youth gives the three to a miller, with instructions to work them hard. The old donkey dies and the other two become ill. The youth feeds them from the good lettuce and restores them. The girl asks forgiveness, explaining that her mother made her do as she did even though she loved him. She even offers to vomit up the bird’s heart. But the youth tells her to keep the heart for he plans to make her his own trusted wife. They marry and live happily together until they die. Andrew Lang includes the story as "The Donkey Cabbage" in The Yellow Fairy Book, illustrated by H. J. Ford (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1894; rpt New York: Dover Publications, 1966), pp. 42-49.]

F. Iron Hans Pp. 482-88.

[Hunters disappear in a terrifying wood until a particularly brave hunter discovers how they are being pulled into a deep pool. He drains the pool and discovers a Wild Man in a suit of rusty iron at the bottom. The Wild Man, called Iron John, is imprisoned, and the queen put in charge of the key. The prince’s ball falls into the cage; to get it back the boy gives Iron John the key. The Wild Man takes the boy with him into the forest and raises him. The boy keeps watch over a spring to make certain that nothing falls in. Three times he fails in his watch, first by putting his sore thumb in the water to cool it, then by dropping a hair into the pool, then, while looking into the reflection of his own eyes, dipping his hair in the water; each time the intrusive object is turned to gold. So he is cast out on his own, though with promise of aid from Iron John if he should need it. He goes to a city where he works as stable boy at the palace. The princess is attracted to him after surreptitiously observing his golden hair. A war breaks out and the golden youth saves the day through brilliant knighthood on a horse supplied by Iron John, who functions as a fairy mentor. When it comes time for the princess to marry, the king throws a golden apple to the suitors. Three times the boy in disguise catches the apple and disappears. On the third occasion he is traced to the stable and admits that he is the one who caught the apples and won the battle. The princess then exposes his golden hair. Iron John appears at the wedding as a baronial king, himself transformed from his wild and rusty condition. The boy’s virtuous behavior has freed him from an enchantment that had bound him. See also Manheim under Allerleirauh in Modern Children’s Editions and the several entries under Male Cinderellas in Modern Children’s Editions.]

G. Mother Holle. Pp. 96-99.

[A widow has two daughters, one, a stepdaughter who is very beautiful, and the other, her natural daughter who is lazy and ugly. They make the stepchild work like Cinderella, carrying out the ashes and doing all the spinning. One day as she is spinning by the well the reel becomes all bloody. As she leans over the well to rinse it, it falls into the water. When she tells her step-mother of the accident she is sent back to retrieve the reel. As she comes to the well she is so distraught that she jumps in, only to awaken into a lovely meadow. There she comes upon an oven full of bread which calls out, “Take me out, or else I’ll burn.” So the girl takes out all the loaves. Then she comes upon an apple tree which calls out, “Shake me, my apples are ripe.” So she shakes the tree and gathers the apples into a pile. Then she meets an old woman with sharp teeth who speaks kindly and offers her lodging and food if she will clean the house and shake the feather bed until feathers fly thick as snow. This the girl does and is well rewarded with good food. But after a time the girl becomes homesick. The old woman, who is called Mother Holle, gladly releases her and shows her the way home. As she passes through a door back into her old world, a shower of gold falls upon her and sticks to her clothing. As she comes back the cock crows: “Cock-a-doodle-doo! My golden maiden, what’s new with you?” When the stepmother sees all the wealth the girl has brought with her, she sends her lazy daughter to obtain the same. But the lazy daughter will not take the bread out, nor shake the apple tree, and is lazy in the house of Mother Holle as well. When she returns she is covered with pitch rather than gold. The cock crows: “Cock-a-doodle-doo, My dirty maiden, what’s new with you?” The pitch never comes off. See also Andrew Lang’s version of Mother Holle in The Red Fairy Book. Illustrated by Lancelot Speed. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1890; rpt. New York: Dover Publications, 1966. Pp. 303-06. See also Kamenetsky (1977), pp. 175-76, on Third Reich linkings of Frau Holle to the Urmutter Erde, the "well of life," and fertility typologies of racial purity that protects the right child from alien corruption, seen in the stepmother and her ugly daughter, and shows the beautiful Nordic child "the road to eternal renewal and to primeval strength," as glossed by Josef Prestl and Ulrich Haacke ("Germanisch deutsche Weltanschauung in Märchen und Mythen im Deutschunterricht," Zeitschrifte für deutsche Bildung, 12 (1936), 603-16, especially p. 615).]

H. The Goose Girl. Pp. 322-27.

[A widowed queen plans the marriage of her beautiful daughter to a prince in a far away land. The queen prepares a splendid dowry, then gives the child a handkerchief with three drops of blood on it from the mother’s own finger, which she claims will protect the girl when she is in need. She then sends her daughter on her way, mounted on a horse named Falada, who could talk. She has only her chambermaid to accompany her. When she comes to a stream she asks for water. The maid refuses to get it for her, so the girl drinks from the stream without using her golden cup. Her handkerchief responds, “If your mother knew, her heart would break in two.” They travel on and again the girl is thirsty; again the maid refuses to help, and again the handkerchief bemoans the insurrection. As the princess stoops over the stream to drink, her handkerchief falls into the water without her knowing it, but the maid sees and knows now that the girl has no power over her. So she threatens to kill the princess and extracts an oath from her never to tell what has happened. Then she switches horses and makes the girl wear her shabby clothes while she dresses as the princess. When they arrive at the royal palace, the maid claims to be the brides and has Falada the talking horse beheaded. The head is nailed to a wall, but it still speaks gnomically to the true princess. The true bride is then set to work as a goose girl. She attracts the attention of Conrad, the goose boy, who tries to obtain a few strands of her golden hair as she combs it in the field. But when he approaches a wind, at goose girl’s request, blows off his cap, and he runs after it. Next day the same thing happens, and the boy tells the king of the strange doings. Each night she speaks to Falada who sympathizes with her in the refrain of the handkerchief. The king overhears the head speak and witnesses the strange behavior of the wind. He inquires of the girl what she is hiding, but she refuses to say, only acknowledging that she took an oath under the open skies that she would not bemoan her sad plight to anyone. The king suggests she tell her story to the iron stove, if she can speak to no person, but he hides behind the stove and hears her tale. He then introduces his son to the true princess, but all three keep the secret that they know. At the wedding feast the king asks the false bride if she can solve a riddle and asks what punishment a woman would deserve who deceived her lord, using the story of the wicked chambermaid as his example. The false princess says that the villain should be stripped naked and placed in a barrel studded with nails, then dragged through the streets until she is dead. The king announces then that the false bride is that very person and that she has pronounced her own sentence, which is immediately carried out. The prince then marries the true bride. See Tom Davenport’s film adaptation of the story under Movies.]

I. Snow White. Pp. 196-204.

[In the middle of winter a lovely woman pricks her finger and three drops of blood fall on the snow. She wishes for a child with skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair as black as ebony. Snow White is born, as white as snow, as red as blood, and with black hair. As in Cinderella stories her mother dies, and her father remarries. The stepmother would be most beautiful herself and, addressing the mirror on the wall, learns that Snow White is her rival. Like the jealous stepmother in Cinderella narratives, she attempts to destroy her stepchild, but the huntsman slays a boar instead. Snow White escapes into the woods, where, as in Allerleirauh and other Cinderella analogues, she becomes housekeeper in a different court. The stepmother pursues her and three times attempts to kill her, first by tying her laces so tightly that she suffocates, then by placing a poisoned comb in her hair. In the first two attempts, the dwarfs arrive home from work in time to unlace her or to remove the comb. On the third attempt, the wicked stepmother gives her a poisoned apple which she eats and dies, but she is so beautiful that the dwarfs cannot bury her in the earth. Instead, they carry her to a mountain top where they guard her glass coffin. A prince, who loves her, asks for the coffin but is refused. At last his declaration of love for her so moves the dwarfs that they consent. But in bringing the coffin down the mountain they slip and as the coffin bumps to the ground the jolt jars the apple from Snow White’s throat. She awakens and she and the prince are married. The stepmother comes to the feast, but they force her to wear iron slippers heated over the fire and brought to her on tongs. The red-hot slippers so burn her that she dances until she falls down dead.]

Disney’s film adaptation of Grimm’s narrative (see Movies) abandons the perverted slipper motif, but adds other Cinderella components, particularly the stepmother’s forcing of Snow White to be a scullery maid. Also, in Grimm we are told that the house of the seven dwarfs is neat and clean. In Disney it is a mess, and Snow White becomes cleaning woman for them. They have a festive ball, as in Cinderella, at which Snow White dreams of her Prince, whom she met at the well while drawing water for her scullery work for the stepmother. As in Disney’s Cinderella, there is only one test (rather than a midnight test, here a high noon test) rather than three trips to the festival or, in Grimm’s Snow White, three attempts by the stepmother. Here the stepmother gets her first try but then is pursued by the dwarfs to her death. As in various Cinderella stories, the oppressed girl is helped by friendly animals. There is no fairy godmother in this narrative, though in Grimm one senses that the heroine is somehow protected by her deceased mother’s wishes that she be as beautiful as snow, blood, etc. Her beauty wins the hearts of the dwarfs, the huntsman, and, ultimately, the prince. A typical children’s book adaptation of Disney’s revision is Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Story adapted by Teddy Slater Margulies; Illustrated by Guell. A Golden Book. Racine, Wisconsin: Western Publishing Company, Inc., 1993. Perhaps the most handsome recently illustrated version of the story is Snow White. Illustrated by Charles Santore. New York: Park Lane Press, 1996.]