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Cinderella Sources and Analogues

Homer. The Odyssey.
[There are few fairy tales that are not prefigured in some way in The Odyssey. But much of the Cinderella story, in a male version, begins here: 1) Odysseus in the ashes wins favor of Arete, queen of the Phaiakians; 2) Odysseus enjoys the support of Athena as fairy godmother who can transform him physically into something beautiful when the occasion demands or disguise him in poverty on other occasions; 3) he gains strength and guidance from his natural mother in Hades prior to his return to Ithaka; 4) the stepsister-like suitors usurp the privileges of his home; 5) Odysseus becomes orphan-beggar and is humiliated in his own home; 6) the beggar bears identifying marks that only he possesses – the uniqueness of his feet and his scar; 7) he passes tests which prove his valor; 8) he bets on the princess and wins; 9) she is there for his rescue when the time is right, establishing tests (e.g., the stringing of the bow and knowledge of the bed) which only he can pass; 10) He sits upon his throng and reasserts himself as leader, family intact, in the public forum.]
“The Story of Joseph and his Brothers.” Genesis 37-50.
[Contains elements of male-Cinderella narrative. Betrayed by his envious brothers; exiled into slavery; makes his way by humiliating work; is protected by a special relationship with divinity, and bears special marks and signs of identification; redeems his family; forgives his oppressors; becomes ruler after the death of Pharaoh. Consider also Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968).]
Plato. The Symposium.
[Plato’s account of the banquet at the house of Agathon incorporates several key components of the Cinderella myth. 1) The philosopher (lover of wisdom) as one who is poor, squalid, barefoot, yearning to join the feast at Agathon’s (Mr. Good’s) house. 2) The questions of who will be invited and the unexpected terms of the invitation–“To the feasts of the good the good unbidden go”–where Aristodemus fears he shall be the inferior person going to the feast of the wise unbidden. 3) The progression through successions, from squalor to celebration, with Socrates giving the finest eulogy to Love and its Ladder that takes one from poverty to riches in the transforming presence of the Good and Beautiful, driven perpetually toward that feast by a desire of worthiness and the beautiful that haunts everyone. 4) On this occasion, even Socrates dresses as a beau and puts on shoes. Much attention is given to receiving the call, to knowing when it will come, and to getting close to it when it comes. Socrates seems to be the one most frequently chosen, and others vie to imitate him, be close to him, hug him, or lie by him, to obtain some share in the glory.]
“Apollonius of Tyre.” Ed. B. P. Reardon. Trans. Gerald N. Sandy. In Collected Ancient Greek Novels. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. Pp. 736-772. An excellent Middle English version of this narrative may be found in John Gower, The Confessio Amantis, Book VIII. Gower’s version is source for Shakespeare’s Pericles.
[Incest motifs, variations on envy, sibling rivalry, and step-mother, and wanderings in exile. Both Apollonius and his daughter are Cinderella types who make their way through adversity by using their wits and good nature to overcome humiliating tasks and to achieve epiphanies and a happy conclusion–marriage to the governor for the daughter and a reunion of Apollonius with his patient wife.]
Apuleius. The Golden Asse of Lucius Apuleius. Translated out of Latin by William Adlington. Introduction by E.B. Osborn. Illustrated in colour and black and white by Jean de Bosschère. New York: Rarity Press, 1931.
[Apuleius was an African (Madaura) writing in second century Greek. HisGolden Ass is an adaptation of an earlier work by Lucian to which he adds autobiographical materials and various tales, including the Cupid and Psyche story, one of the most influential of the European Cinderella myths. The most entertaining English translation is that of William Adlington. 1566. N.b., Chapter XXII: The Most Pleasant and Delectable Tale of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche. Available in various 20th century editions, including the Loeb Classic edition (1915; numerous reprints), the Bodley Head edition with Bosschère illustrations by Jean de Bosschère (1922), the Navarre Society edition with illustrations by Philip Hagreen (1924), the Abbey Classics edition (1922), the Robert Graves translation (1954), and the Jack Lindsay translation (1960). This witty tale explores the most psychologically perturbing components of the Cinderella narrative, both in the frame narrative with the wanderings and humiliating animal transformations of Lucius, along with all his burdensome tasks, and in the Cupid and Psyche story, where Psyche must endure exile, the betrayals of her two jealous sisters and afflictions from an adverse mother-in-law (Venus), who imposes several impossible tasks which she accomplishes only with the help of animals. Ultimately, her worth is recognized, and she is elevated to divine status. Both the frame and Cupid and Psyche story contain Beauty and the Beast components fused with the Cinderella tropes. See C. S. Lewis, Erich Neumann, and Marie-Louise Von Franz under Criticism, Theory, and Analysis.]


Asneth, The Storie of. In Heroic Women from the Old Testament in Middle English Verse. Ed. Russell A. Peck. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1991. Pp. 1-71. Found in one MS: Huntington MS Ellesmere 26.A.13 (fols. 116-27), c. 1450. English translation c. 1400, from a 12th century Latin manuscript.
[Asneth, Potiphar’s daughter, undergoes a self-imposed penance in which she abandons her father and mother’s ways, becomes an orphan, puts on ashes and sackcloth, and prays for seven days. An angel godparent comes to her, bids her rise from the ashes, cleans her, dresses her beautifully in a new linen robe with a double cincture (glossed as a sign of her virginity), then gives her a visionary dream which she shares with the prince, Joseph of Egypt, who had earlier scorned her. She feeds the angel with honey from the bees of paradise, then goes to the gate where she meets Joseph, who is returning to the city. They share their mutual dream and then are married, uniquely suited each for the other. She rules well as queen, until she falls victim of an abduction attempt by Pharaoh’s son, who is assisted by Gad and Dan (her wicked brothers-in-law). But Benjamin defends her from Pharaoh’s son, and Simeon and Levi put down the rebellion. Asneth asks forgiveness for the wicked brothers-in-law. Pharaoh’s son dies, and Joseph becomes the new ruler. They live in prosperity for forty-eight years.]
Bevis of Hampton. In Four Romances of England. Ed. Ron Herzman and Graham Drake. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997, pp. 187-340. Survives in two forms (different rhyme schemes) in early MSS and printed editions: A text: Cambridge University Library Ff.2.38, fols 102r-133r (1450-1500); Caius Cambridge 175, fols 131v-156r (1400-1450); Egerton 2862, fols 45v-94r, 96v-96r (1375-1400); Advocates 19.2.1 (Auchinleck), fols 176v-201v (ca. 1330); Naples, Royal Library XIII.B.29, pp. 23-79 (ca. 1457). B text: Chetham 8009, fols 122v-187r (1450-1500); Trinity Cambridge 117 (fragment), fols 149-152 (1400-1500); Wynkyn de Worde, Westminster 1500 (STC no. 1987); R. Pynson, London, ca. 1503 (STC no. 1988); W. Copland, ca. 1565 (STC no 1989). Identified by Sarah Patricia Flanagan as a male Cinderella narrative. See the entry under Criticism.
[Guy, Earl of Southampton, late in life, marries the wicked daughter of the King of Scotland, who bears him a son, Bevis. Her lover, Devoun of Germany, slays Guy, but the faithful steward, Saber, saves the child. Pirates abduct Bevis and give him to the Saracen King of Armenia, whose daughter, Josian, falls in love with him, promising to convert. She gives him a war-horse named Arundel, but he is imprisoned for having seduced her. Josian is forced into marriage with King Yvor of Mombrant, but preserves her virginity by a charm. After seven years Bevis escapes from prison and, disguised as a palmer, rescues Josian from King Mombrant. Subduing a giant named Ascopart to his service, the three flee to Cologne, where Josian is baptized. Bevis frees the city from a dragon, then hastens to England to assist Saber, the faithful steward, against Devoun, who has usurped the title of Earl of Southampton. While he is gone Josian kills a knight who forced her into marriage. Bevis returns for her and brings her and Ascopart to the Isle of Wight, from which, with Saber’s help, he avenges his father’s death by killing Devoun. The evil mother dies, and Bevis is recognized as legitimate heir. He marries Josian and builds Arundel Castle. When his horse Arundel kills the son of King Edgar of England, Bevis is again forced to flee. While he is on the way to Mombrant, Josian, still in England, gives birth to twins, and Ascopart abducts her. Saber kills the giant, rescues Josian, and the four, disguised as palmers, search for Bevis. They find him after seven years. One of his twin sons, Guy, becomes King of Armenia. Meanwhile, Bevis kills Yvor and becomes King of Mombrant. He returns to England to support Saber’s son against the usurpation of King Edgar, whereupon Bevis’s other son, Miles, becomes heir to the English throne by marriage with Edgar’s daughter. Saber is appointed Earl of Southampton, and Bevis retires to Mombrant where he and Josian live and die in happiness and holiness.]
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Clerk’s Tale, from The Canterbury Tales.
[Patient Griselda lives in poverty with her father. Walter, the Marquis, sees her;she serves him water from the well. He loves her, transforms her with new clothes, marries her, and begets children upon her. He then tests her, abandons her, tests her further, then elevates her a second time to be his queen. The tale is based on Petrarch and reenacts through allegory God’s love of his humble bride whom he elevates, then tries further before his "second coming."]
-----. The Man of Law’s Tale, from the Canterbury Tales.
[Constance, the Emperor of Rome’s daughter, is married to the Sultan of Syria. Custance’s wicked mother-in-law butchers her son and sets the bride adrift at sea. She arrives by providence in Northumbria where she works as a servant and then becomes queen. After further mother-in-law difficulties she is set adrift a second time, this time with her baby Morris, and providentially returns to Italy where she is restored to her husband, her father, and finally to God. Based on Nicholas Trivet and Gower’s Confessio Amantis. See Margaret Schlauch,Chaucer’s Constance and Accused Queens (New York, 1927) and Sources and Analogues to the Canterbury Tales, ed. Bryan and Dempster (London, 1941).]
Culhwch and Olwen, The Tale of. Ed. Patrick K. Ford. In The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977. Pp. 119-157. First translated into English by Charlotte Guest (1849).
[Male Cinderella typology: Culhwch (“Pigpen”) is born under unusual circumstances in a pig sty, with hogs all about his mother; he is cursed by his jealous stepmother when he refuses to wed his stepsister; the curse stipulates that he must wed Olwen, the unattainable daughter of a giant, with whom he is instantly filled with love-longing; he undertakes many tasks, often involving animals (e.g. ants collect for him flax seed that had been scattered over the earth) and animal disguises; ultimately he wins the maiden away from her possessive father and gains his own kingship. Andrew Lang offers a retelling of the story in The Lilac Fairy Book (London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1910; rpt. New York: Dover, 1968), pp. 349-367, with three illustrations by H. J. Ford.]
Sir Degaré. In The Middle English Breton Lays. Ed. Ann Laskaya and Eve Salisbury. Kalamazoo: The Medieval Institute, 1995. Pp. 89-144.
[In this Middle English romance, Degaré, sired by a fairy who raped a princess, is raised as an orphan in a hermitage. The hermit gives him his name and explains its meaning: “something that is lost” or “one who doesn’t know what he is.” At twenty he sets out with a mysterious pair of gloves that will fit only his mother, tokens from his father that were left him by his mother that he might to discover her identity. He defeats a dragon, thus saving an Earl. They have a glove fitting contest for all women in the land to see if Degaré has found the right person, but the gloves fit none. He then does battle with the king (his maternal grandfather) who keeps the princess (Degaré’s mother and his own daughter) as his prize. Degaré unhorses the king, but having won a bride (his mother), Degaré avoids incest when the gloves fit her. She gives him a pointless sword, also a gift from the fairy knight, whereby he wins himself a legitimate bride. But he delays the marriage until he finds his father, does battle with him, but, unlike Oedipus, does not slay him, because the fairy recognizes the pointless sword during a rest period, and all is revealed. With Degaré’s identity thus established, his father found and fought with but not slain, Degaré returns to his two brides. The fairy knight marries Degaré’s mother, thus giving Degaré legitimacy in father and mother, and he marries his other bride and becomes king in his grandfather’s place, thus resolving all the story’s Oedipal perplexities.]
Emaré. In The Middle English Breton Lays. Ed. Ann Laskaya and Eve Salisbury. Kalamazoo: The Medieval Institute, 1995. Pp. 145-99.
[This Middle English romance contains parallels to the Donkey skin version of Cinderella, as the adoring father would marry his daughter, who escapes only to pass through the several trials of Custance (see Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale) before living happily and at peace with her family. In exile she disguises herself under the name of Egaré, the lost one.]
Gamelyn. Ed. W. W. Skeat. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1884.
[A tale in seven stress lines from the early to mid-fourteenth century, perhaps once considered by Chaucer as material to be adapted for the Canterbury Tales. Following the death of his father Gamelyn, a third son, is robbed of his inheritance by his older brother John and forced to work in the stables. His Cinderella journey takes him from oppressed victim to outlaw as he scrambles back toward justice and his own. His brother fears his great strength from the outset and locks him out of the estate when he comes of age and first complains. When Gamelyn kills the porter who obstructed him, his mean brother tries to have Gamelyn killed in a wrestling match. When that fails John plays upon the youth’s sense of justice to have him bound and starved to death. But old Adam Spenser comes to his aid, and Gamelyn rids the court of corrupt ecclesiastes and those courtiers who favor John. At the king’s bench Gamelyn attempts to accuse his brother but is bound himself. Then the second brother, Sir Ote, releases him, placing himself in John’s hands as pledge. Gamelyn meanwhile becomes king of the outlaws and returns to rescue Ote, kills the false justices and John, who now has become sheriff. The king pardons Gamelyn and makes him chief justice of all the king’s forests. His inheritance is returned to him along with John’s property, and Sir Ote makes him his heir. This story is the basis for Lodge’s Rosalynde and Shakespeare’s As You Like It. A new edition of it may be found in Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales (Ed. Stephen Knight and Thomas Ohlgren. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997, pp. 184-226). It should be noted here that many Robin Hood narratives include components of male Cinderella lore.]
Gowther, Sir. In The Middle English Breton Lays. Ed. Ann Laskaya and Eve Salisbury. Kalamazoo: The Medieval Institute, 1995. Pp. 263-307.
[In this romance, Gowther, born as a wish-child to his mother who conceived with a demon, is a wild child who suckles his nurses to death, bites the nipples off his mother, and, after being given a great falchion and knighted in hopes of channeling his enormous energy more constructively, rapes and murders a whole convent. Upon learning of his demonic origin he becomes penitent, goes to the Pope, and is cast out incognito into a life with animals. He takes refuge with the dogs under the table of an emperor who has a mute daughter. The daughter becomes a kind of fairy godmother to Gowther, attending his needs during his kitchen phase. She cleanses the dog’s mouths so that when they carry food to him he will not be poisoned and administers bread and wine to him. Ultimately, she mediates between Gowther and God. The Emperor is attacked by Saracens, and three times Gowther saves the kingdom, each time in a different colored armor. (Cf. Donkey-Skin’s three dresses at the ball, or Finette Cendron’s three gifts to the Prince in his soup, or Iron John’s three incognito victories for his lady’s lord.) In the third of his victories, this one fought in white armor, Gowther receives a wound so hideous that his sympathetic mediatrix faints and falls from a tower. She lies comatose for three days, but Gowther now attends her and on the third day she comes back to life, her powers of speech restored, and announces his absolution. With her miraculous return and pronouncement, Gowther is absolved by the Pope and restored to his familial patriarchy from his sub rosa position. He marries the princess, inherits the German Empire, arranges the marriage of his mother to a kindly earl, and establishes a convent. In one version he becomes identified with Saint Guthlac, a patron of the poor, the desolate, and the insane.]
Guy of Warwick. C. 1300, from an Anglo-Norman romance written ca. 1232-42. Found in five MSS: Tripartite version in Advocates 19.2.1 (Auchinleck) fols. 108r-146v. 146v-167r. 167r-175v (ca. 1330). Caius Cambridge 107, pp. 1-271 (ca. 1475, in couplets). Sloane 1044 no. 625, fols. 345r-v (ca. 1375-1400, fragment). Cambridge University Library Ff.2.38, fols 161r-239r (ca. 1450-1500, late couplets version). British Library Additional 14409 (Phillipps), fols 74r-77v (ca. 1325-1350, fragment). Plus early prints by Pynson, Wynkyn de Worde, and Copland. For a modern edition of the Advocates/Caius version, see J. Zupitza’s edition (crit. by E. Kolbing), Early English Text Society, e.s. 42, 49, 50 (London: 1883, 1887, 1891). For the Sloane/Cambridge University Library version, see J. Zupitza (crit. by E. Kolbing), EETS, e.s. 25, 26 (London: 1875-1876).
[Synopsis of Advocates MS, Part I: Guy, son of Syward of Wallingford, falls in love with Felice, daughter of Rohaut, Earl of Warwick, Oxford, and Buckingham. She scorns him for his inferiority and he journeys afar, hoping to gain her favor. Winning tournaments on the continent he attracts the love of a French princess, but returns to Felice, who sends him abroad a second time. Now he distinguishes himself in battle with the Emperor of Germany and then the Emperor of Constantinople who would reward him with his daughter in marriage. But Guy returns again to England, slays a dragon in Northumberland, and marries Felice. Part II: After fifty days of married life he sets out on pilgrimage to atone for his earlier life of fighting. Felice is pregnant. In Alexandria he meets an old friend Tirri, whom he had earlier helped to recover a lost lady-love, and again saves him by slaying a giant Amoraunt, then aids him by rescuing him from false accusations by challenging his accuser to a duel. He returns to England disguised as a palmer, saves King Athelstan from King Anlaf, defeating the invader’s champion the African giant Colbrond. On his death-bed Guy reveals his identity to Felice by sending her a ring. She buries him in his hermitage and dies herself soon afterwards. Tirri translates Guy’s remains to an abbey in Lorraine. Part III: Guy’s son Reinbrun, born after his father had renounced married life, is stolen from Wallingford by pirates at the age of seven. He is raised by the daughter of King Argus of Africa. Heraud, Guy’s faithful steward, searches for Reinbrun and unwittingly finds he’s the one with whom he is dueling. The two return to England. Reinbrun frees Amis, a knight imprisoned for aiding Guy. He unwittingly duels with Heraud’s son, who has also been searching for Reinbrun. But the right identities are all in time discovered, and Reinbrun, Heraud, and Heraud’s son return home safely.]
Guy of Warwick (ca. 12,000 lines in the Advocates version) enjoyed great popularity in both England and France and even Catalan. An adaptation appears in the Latin Gesta Romanorum, and a ballad version, Guy and Colbrond, survives in the Percy Folio MS (ca. 1600). His story also appears in a line of historians including Knighton, Rudborne, Hardyng, Rous, Fabyan, Grafton, Holinshed, Stow, and Dugdale. In the Renaissance Guy’s story is turned into a play by Dekker and Day as well as a prose chapbook and several popular ballads.
Havelok the Dane. In Middle English Verse Romances, ed. Donald B. Sands. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966. Pp. 55-129. MSS: Bodl 1486 (Laud Misc 108), fols 204r-219v (ca. 1300); Cambridge University Additional 4407.19 (ca. 1375-1400).
[A double Cinderella plot, one male, one female. The good king of England dies, leaving his daughter Goldborogh in the care of a steward, Godrich, who quickly proves himself false. At her twentieth year of age Godrich would defile her by marrying her to a churl, albeit a strong one–the strongest in England, thus fulfilling the letter of his promise to her father. Meanwhile, the king of Denmark likewise has died, leaving his baby son and two daughters in the care of a steward named Godard, who likewise proves false, kills the two daughters, and gives baby Havelok to a fisherman named Grim to be killed. But Grim and his wife see a one hundred candlepower beam of light come from his mouth, notice the royal strawberry on his chest, and carry him to England where they attempt to raise him as a fisherman’s son. His appetite is so great that they cannot feed him. He takes apprenticeships as a bread bearer, meat bearer, fish bearer, and water and wood bearer, gets almost enough food and grows into a mighty, hard-working man, able to defeat all in the stone throwing competition, thereby winning the princess. He does not want to marry, however, since he has no means to support a wife, and she does not want a churl for a husband. But Godrich forces the marriage when Havelok goes to sleep on their wedding night Goldborogh sees the 100 candle power beam and the strawberry and is eager for the consummation. They flee back to Denmark with Grim’s three sons, and after many feats of strength, obtain a following of loyal men who likewise are impressed with his prowess, breast strawberry, and beam of light; they defeat Godard, and Havelok becomes king. He then returns to England, defeats Godrich, and sets Goldborogh on her throne where they rule together for years in happiness.]
King Horn. In Middle English Verse Romances, ed. Donald B. Sands. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966. Pp. 15-54. Found in three MSS: Bodleian 1486 (Laud Misc. 108), ca. 1300; Camb. Univ. Gg.4.27 (ca. 1260-1300); Harley 2253 (ca. 1325).
[Late twelfth-century romance based on an Old French predecessor. Fifteen Saracen ships raid the coast of Suddene, slaying Mody the king. The queen hides under a rock but young Prince Horn and twelve of his youthful retainers are cast adrift at sea to die. His boat comes ashore at Westernesse where King Almair raises him under the care the good steward Athelbrus, who teaches him hunting and harping. The Princes Rimenhild falls wildly in love with him but the Athelbrus protects the youth from her by sending Athulf, his loyal retainer to her bed instead in an effort to slow her passions down. She agrees to be more mild providing she can have Horn, who comes to her but convinces her that she must first make him a knight. She does and to prove his prowess he slays many Saracens. The wicked Fikenhild then exposes the youths’ affections toward each other and King Almair, finding them together in bed, banishes Horn. Rimenhild gives him a magic ring, and he goes to Ireland, defeats a giant, wins Reynald as bride, but chooses to keep her in reserve. Meanwhile wicked Fikenhild attempts to steal Rimenhild for himself, but Horn returns first disguised as a palmer and then disguised as a fisherman with a “colmie snute” (sooty nose). As Rimenhild serves the beggar he drops the ring in the cup and she recognizes him and he rescues her. But still he cannot marry her, despite her terrifyingly portentous dream of a great fish that is attempting to devour her, for he must win back Suddenne and free his mother. This time he takes Athulf with him. They find Athulf’s father who leads them to Horn’s mother. As horns sound, Horn destroys the Saracens in an apocalyptic surge. He dreams then of Rimenhild’s danger and returns to Westernesse just in time for Fikenhild’s wedding feast. He goes to the head table disguised as a harper, tells Rimenhild that he is a “fisher,” which she reads as the answer to her dream. She recognizes him again, and this time he slays Fikenhild rather than trust him a third time. Athulf marries Reynald (the spare bride) and rules Ireland. Athelbrus the good steward is given Westernesse, and Horn and Rimenhild rule happily in Suddenne.]
Horn Child. MS Advocates 19.2.1 (ca. 1330).
[Horn Child is son of Hatheolf, ruler of all England north of the Humber. When his father is killed by Malkan and his Irish invaders, the trustworthy Arlaund brings the boy to the south of England, where he places him in the protection of King Houlac. Rimnild, the princess, falls in love with him but the wicked Wikard and Wikel accuse Horn before the king of seducing the princess. The king beats his daughter but she persuades Horn to flee, bearing her ring as a token of fidelity. She promises to wait for him for seven years. Taking the name of Godebounde, Horn serves King Snowdon in Wales and King Finlak of Youghal in Ireland. He kills Finlak’s enemy King Malkan, thus avenging his father. Finlak’s daughter falls in love with Horn but he is protected by Rimnild’s magic ring and returns to England just as his woman is about to be given in marriage to Moging. Horn attends the wedding banquet disguised as a beggar and reveals himself to the bride by placing her ring in a goblet with which she serves him. In the wedding tournament Horn defeats Moging, kills Wikard, blinds Wikel, and marries Rimnild himself, then returns to conquer his own kingdom in the north.]
Two other variant versions of King Horn survive: The Ballad of Hind Horn, reprinted in Child’s English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882), and King Ponthus, adapted from the French Horn et Rimenild (ca. 1170-80) into French prose ca. 1390, then translated into English prose ca. 1400-1450, and surviving in MS Bodl 1786 (Digby 185) ca. 1450, and, in two fragments, in Bodl 21959 (Douce 384), ca. 1450-1500.
Malory, Sir Thomas. “The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney that was called Bewmaynes.” In Sir Thomas Malory, The Complete Works. Ed. Eugene Vinaver. London: Oxford University Press, 1971. Pp. 175-226.
[Male-Cinderella narrative. Gareth begins disguised as “kitchen boy” and works his way toward recognition and marriage to a princess. Includes such topics as sibling rivalry, making it on one’s own despite a cruel step-family (n.b. Sir Kay), courtship through disguises, identity crises, a masquerade tournament followed by a search for the unknown hero, a grand state wedding ceremony, and a reordering of estates. The narrative shares Cinderella components with the La Côte Male Tayle and Alexander the Orphan narratives that Malory intercalates into the Tristram-world of his opus and also with the Fair Unknown (Le Bel Inconnu) romances in French. See entries on folkloristic components of the narrative by Donald L. Hoffman (1988) under Criticism. See also T. H. White’s treatment of Arthur as a male Cinderella.]
Le Manékine. By Philippe de Beaumanoir (13th century).
[Upon learning that the king, her father, has incestuous designs upon her, Joie, the heroine, cuts off her hand with a kitchen knife “big enough to shear the spine of a swan in half.” The hand falls into the moat. When the father sees her mutilated he detests her and orders her to be burned alive. The seneschal takes pity upon her and sets her adrift in a rudderless boat (cp. accused queens and princesses such as Emaré, Constance, and Thais in the Apollonius legend), returning with the heart of an animal to prove his obedience in carrying out the order. Winds carry Joie’s boat to Scotland where she eventually marries the king, only to suffer atrocities at the hands of her wicked mother-in-law. But one day a fish is brought into the kitchen and her hand is found inside it. Her hand is miraculously restored to her arm, and she is reinvested with love and power.]
The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok Together with The Lay of Kraka. From The Saga of theVolsungs, translated from the Old Norse by Margaret Schlauch. Scandinavian Classics, vol. 35. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1930. Pp. 185 ff.
[At the death of Sigurd and Brynhild, their three-year-old daughter Aslaug is cared for by Heimir, who keeps her hidden from harm within his harp with only a leek for food. He journeys into the Northlands, traveling as a beggar. At Spangarheath, in the dwelling of a karl named Aki and his wife Grima, he is slain when Grima, seeing a bit of rich cloth sticking out of the harp, thinks Heimir must have some treasure hidden within. When they discover the child who has not yet learned to speak they give her rags for clothes and raise her to do the hardest work, always in great poverty, and name her Kraka. Years later Ragnar, having slain a great dragon and won a wife and become king, visits Norway. His wife has died, leaving him two sons. He sends two kitchen men ashore to obtain bread. Kraka is herding cattle and sees them coming. She bathes as Grima has been forbidden her to do, thus revealing her beauty. Kraka is ordered to make the bread dough for the cooks to bake but the two kitchen men burn the bread, they’re so taken with looking at Kraka. Ragnar objects to the meal and orders messengers to go see if she is beautiful as the kitchen boys say. If she is she is to be brought to him to accomplish three riddles. She must be neither naked nor clad, neither fasting nor fed, and neither alone or with any man attending her. If she accomplishes these conditions King Ragnar will marry her. Grima says the tasks are impossible, but Kraka wraps herself in a trout net then lets her hair fall down, thus covering herself though she is still naked. She nibbles on a leek so that she is neither fasting nor fed, and she takes her hound with her so that she is not alone but is with no man. On the boat Ragnar is bold but the hound bites him. They kill the hound but Kraka wittily matches Ragnar’s demands with counter verses. He offers her his queen’s robe but she says it is more fitting for her to wear coal-black rags and drive goats. She will take the robe, however, but only wear it if he comes back and takes her with him. She tells Grima and Aki that she knows of their murder of Heimir. She will not set Ragnar on them but wishes that each day of their lives henceforth be worse than the one before and the last the worst. She then leaves and joins Ragnar when he returns. He would bed her at once but she refuses until after they are married so that her children will all be legitimate. She asks that three nights they lie together yet apart. But on the third night Ragnar has his will despite her prophesy that their son will be born boneless but wise, which is what happens, etc.]
The Squire of Low Degree. In Middle English Verse Romances. Ed. Donald B. Sands. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966. Pp. 249-278.
[A male-Cinderella narrative of sorts. A squire of low degree loves the “Kings doughter of Hungré.” She loves him but would put him through many tests to prove his worthiness. He, in turn, would gladly undertake all the trials. A wicked steward overhears their love talk and exposes them to the king. But the king supports the lovers, warning the steward that he must provide proof of any disloyalty. The king receives the squire’s supplication favorably and sends him on a quest. The steward spies on the parting of the squire and the princess and attempts to entrap them. The scene is comical, for she will not unbar the door to let her lover enter even though he is being attacked by the steward and thirty men, for she has to finish her love speech. By the time she finishes the wicked steward is slain and the squire sent onward on his quest. The king lets his daughter believe that the slain man is her beloved, and she weeps over his corpse for seven years, until it turns to “powder small”; meanwhile, the squire performs his tasks and returns. The father tells the princess that she now should marry a king. She resists but is amazed to discover that the “king” is her beloved. The daughter wonders why her father treated her so, but all acknowledge that “A trewer lover than ye are one / Was never yet of fleshe ne bone,” a maxim that applies to both the squire and his bride.]
Shakespeare, William. As You Like It (1598).
[Rosalind is separated from her family and estate and in the care of her wicked uncle. Celia proves to be friend, rather than stepsister, however, and helps Rosalind to flee in disguise into exile. In the green world, disguised as a man, Rosalind manages, through her wits, good fortune, and charm to win the prince, who is pining for her without knowing who she is (or isn’t). Oppression becomes friend in the chastening of the pair into their adult rites. See Gamelyn, above, as a male Cinderella source for this romance-like comedy.]
-----. King Lear (1605).
[Contains themes of incest and sibling rivalry. The good daughter Cordelia is outcast for failing to flatter the old father in his demands for expressions of love. See Like Meat Loves Salt Cinderella type under Modern Children’s Editions and Adaptations. Goneril and Regan play the ugly (step) sisters as they would destroy both Cordelia and the old father. See Dundes on psychoanalytical readings of Cinderella motifs in the play, and William Hooks’ Moss Gown, for a children’s adaptation, under Allerleirauh, Tattercoats, Cat Skin, Donkey Skin.]
-----. Pericles (1607).
[See Apollonius of Tyre, under Ancients, above. Both Pericles (the Apollonius figure) and his daughter Marina (Thais in Gower, a name given to the lost wife in Shakespeare) are Cinderella types, exiled and forced to work their ways back to power and respectability through assumed identities. Adversity ultimately serves them well in shaping the possibilities for a new life. As in Apollonius, the lost wife functions/ participates as a protective/protected spirit waiting benevolently at the holy shrine of Diana for the final revelation. The physician Cerimon functions somewhat in capacity of a fairy godparent in his care and wise guidance of Marina and also of Pericles.]
-----. Twelfth Night (1600).
[The orphan Viola is cast ashore in exile, assumes a disguise which hides her sexual nature, takes a job in a subservient position, falls in love with the prince, has repeated encounters with him in which she would indicate her love but is unable to do so because of the constraints of the disguise, and in a wondrous revelation is reestablished in her privileged position and wins the prince.]
The Wooing of Olwen. In Celtic Fairy Tales. Ed. Joseph Jacobs. Illustrated by John D. Batten. London: David Nutt, 1892. Pp. 99-111.
[Kilhuch’s mother dies shortly after his birth. As she dies she charges her husband King Kilyth never to marry again until he sees a briar with two blossoms upon her grave. After many years the briar appears and he marries the widow of King Doged. She foretells that Kilhuch will marry Olwen, daughter of Yspathaden Penkawr. He goes to his cousin King Arthur’s court for help in finding the maiden. Arthur sends messengers in search of her but they return empty handed. So Sir Kay sets out to help. He can go nine days and nine nights without sleep. He also has such heat that no rain or cold may approach him closer than a hand’s breadth. Bedwyr also goes to help. He is swifter than all except Arthur and Drych Ail Kibthar and though one handed, could shed blod faster on the field of battle than three warriors and could produce a wound equal to that of nine opposing lances. Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, who knows all tongues, also goes, along with Gwalchmai, son of Gwyar, how never returns home without achieving his adventure, and Menw, son of Teirgwaeth, who had a charm enabling him to be invisible in savage countries. They come upon a shepherd who takes them to his wife who rushes to greet and embrace them with such strength that they would be crushed, except that places a log between her hands and she twists it into a coil. She tells them where Olwen washes every Saturday. Kilhuch expresses his love for her but she says he must win her from her father. When they approach Yspathaden says, “Raise up the forks beneath my two eyebrows which have fallen over my eyes that I may see the fashion of my son-in-law.” He says that he will tell Kilhuch his mind tomorrow, but as they leave hurls a poisoned dart at Kilhuch. Bedwyr catches it and hurls it back, wounding Yspathaden in the knee. Next day Yspathaden says they must get the blessing of Olwen’s four great-grandmothers and four great-grandsires. As the knights leave he throws a second poisoned dart which Menw catches and flings back, piercing Yspathaden’s breast all the way through. On the third day he throws a third dart but Kilhuch catches it and throws it back piercing his eye. So the old father sets tasks. Kilhuch must obtain a comb and scissors between the ears of Turch Truith, son of Prince Tared (who will never give them up of his own free will) and comb and trim Yspathaden’s hair. Kilhuch says that that will be easy, but Yspathaden says that he cannot possibly hunt Turch without Drudwyn, a great hound, who will obey none but Mabon, who was taken from his mother at three days old and may not be living. That will be easy too, Kilhuch says, even though Mabon cannot be found without Eiodoel, whom it is useless to seek. They find Eiodoel who, with the aid of the eagle of Gwern Abwy find a great salmon who carries them to Mabon. They rescue him from a prison. He leads them to the gread Boar Truith from whom Mabon obtains the comb and scissors. Then Kilhuch shaves Yspathaden, who dies and is beheaded while Kilhuch wins to wife Olwen.]