Italian Popular Tales/Chapter 1
The most wide-spread and interesting class of Fairy Tales is the one in which a wife endeavors to behold the face of her husband, who comes to her only at night. She succeeds, but her husband disappears, and she is not reunited to him until she has expiated her indiscretion by weary journeys and the performance of difficult tasks. This class, which is evidently the popular form of the classic myth of Cupid and Psyche, may for convenience be divided into four classes. The first turns on the punishment of the wife's curiosity; the second, on the husband's (Melusina); in the third the heroine is married to a monster, is separated from him by her disobedience, but finally is the means of his recovering his human form; the fourth class is a variant of the first and third, the husband being an animal in form, and parted from his wife by the curiosity or disobedience of the latter or of her envious sisters.
To illustrate the first class, we select, from the large number of stories before us, a Sicilian tale (Pitrè, No. 18) entitled:
I. THE KING OF LOVE.
Once upon a time there was a man with three daughters, who earned his living by gathering wild herbs. One day he took his youngest daughter with him. They came to a garden, and began to gather vegetables. The daughter saw a fine radish, and began to pull it up, when suddenly a Turk appeared, and said: "Why have you opened my master's door? You must come in now, and he will decide on your punishment."
They went down into the ground, more dead than alive; and when they were seated they saw a green bird come in and bathe in a pan of milk, then dry itself, and become a handsome youth. He said to the Turk: "What do these persons want?" "Your worship, they pulled up a radish, and opened the door of the cave." "How did we know," said the father, "that this was Your Excellency's house? My daughter saw a fine radish; it pleased her, and she pulled it up." "Well, if that's the case," said the master, "your daughter shall stay here as my wife; take this sack of gold and go; when you want to see your daughter, come and make yourself at home." The father took leave of his daughter and went away.
When the master was alone with her, he said: "You see, Rosella (Rusidda), you are now mistress here," and gave her all the keys. She was perfectly happy (literally, "was happy to the hairs of her head"). One day, while the green bird was away, her sisters took it into their heads to visit her, and asked her about her husband. Rosella said she did not know, for he had made her promise not to try to find out who he was. Her sisters, however, persuaded her, and when the bird returned and became a man, Rosella put on a downcast air. "What is the matter?" asked her husband. "Nothing." "You had better tell me." She let him question her a while, and at last said: "Well, then, if you want to know why I am out of sorts, it is because I wish to know your name." Her husband told her that it would be the worse for her, but she insisted on knowing his name. So he made her put the gold basins on a chair, and began to bathe his feet. "Rosella, do you really want to know my name?" "Yes." And the water came up to his waist, for he had become a bird, and had got into the basin. Then he asked her the same question again, and again she answered yes, and the water was up to his mouth. "Rosella, do you really want to know my name?" "Yes, yes, yes!" "Then know that I am called The King of Love!" And saying this he disappeared, and the basins and the palace disappeared likewise, and Rosella found herself alone out in an open plain, without a soul to help her. She called her servants, but no one answered her. Then she said: "Since my husband has disappeared, I must wander about alone and forlorn to seek him!"
The poor woman, who expected before long to become a mother, began her wanderings, and at night arrived at another lonely plain; then she felt her heart sink, and, not knowing what to do, she cried out:—
"Ah! King of Love,
You did it, and said it.
You disappeared from me in a golden basin,
And who will shelter to-night
This poor unfortunate one?"
When she had uttered these words an ogress appeared and said: "Ah! wretch, how dare you go about seeking my nephew?" and was going to eat her up; but she took pity on her miserable state, and gave her shelter for the night. The next morning she gave her a piece of bread, and said: "We are seven sisters, all ogresses, and the worst of all is your mother-in-law; look out for her!"
To be brief, the poor girl wandered about six days, and met all six of the ogresses, who treated her in the same way. The seventh day, in great distress, she uttered her usual lament, and the sister of the King of Love appeared and said, "Rosella, while my mother is out, come up!" and she lowered the braids of her hair, and pulled her up. Then she gave her something to eat, and told her how to seize and pinch her mother until she cried out: "Let me alone for the sake of my son, the King of Love!"
Rosella did as she was told, but the ogress was so angry she was going to eat her. But her daughters threatened to abandon her if she did. "Well, then, I will write a letter, and Rosella must carry it to my friend." Poor Rosella was disheartened when she saw the letter, and, descending, found herself in the midst of a plain. She uttered her usual complaint, when the King of Love appeared, and said: "You see your curiosity has brought you to this point!" Poor thing! when she saw him she began to cry, and begged his pardon for what she had done. He took pity on her, and said: "Now listen to what you must do. On your way you will come to a river of blood; you must bend down and take some up in your hands, and say: 'How beautiful is this crystal water! such water as this I have never drunk!' Then you will come to another stream of turbid water, and do the same there. Then you will find yourself in a garden where there is a great quantity of fruit; pick some and eat it, saying: 'What fine pears! I have never eaten such pears as these.' Afterward, you will come to an oven that bakes bread day and night, and no one buys any. When you come there, say: 'Oh, what fine bread! bread like this I have never eaten,' and eat some. Then you will come to an entrance guarded by two hungry dogs; give them a piece of bread to eat. Then you will come to a doorway all dirty and full of cobwebs; take a broom and sweep it clean. Half-way up the stairs you will find two giants, each with a dirty piece of meat by his side; take a brush and clean it for them. When you have entered the house, you will find a razor, a pair of scissors, and a knife; take something and polish them. When you have done this, go in and deliver your letter to my mother's friend. When she wants to make you enter, snatch up a little box on the table, and run away. Take care to do all the things I have told you, or else you will never escape alive."
Rosella did as she was told, and while the ogress was reading the letter Rosella seized the box and ran for her life. When the ogress had finished reading her letter, she called: "Rosella! Rosella!" When she received no answer, she perceived that she had been betrayed, and cried out: "Razor, Scissors, Knife, cut her in pieces!" They answered: "As long as we have been razor, scissors, and knife, when did you ever deign to polish us? Rosella came and brightened us up." The ogress, enraged, exclaimed: "Stairs, swallow her up!" "As long as I have been stairs, when did you ever deign to sweep me? Rosella came and swept me." The ogress cried in a passion: "Giants, crush her!" "As long as we have been giants, when did you ever deign to clean our food for us? Rosella came and did it."
Then the furious ogress called on the entrance to bury her alive, the dogs to devour her, the furnace to burn her, the fruit-tree to fall on her, and the rivers to drown her; but they all remembered Rosella's kindness, and refused to injure her.
Meanwhile Rosella continued her way, and at last became curious to know what was in the box she was carrying. So she opened it, and a great quantity of little puppets came out; some danced, some sang, and some played on musical instruments. She amused herself some time with them; but when she was ready to go on, the little figures would not return to the box. Night approached, and she exclaimed, as she had so often before:—
"Ah! King of Love," etc.
Then her husband appeared and said, "Oh, your curiosity will be the death of you!" and commanded the puppets to enter the box again. Then Rosella went her way, and arrived safely at her mother-in-law's. When the ogress saw her she exclaimed: "You owe this luck to my son, the King of Love!" and was going to devour poor Rosella, but her daughters said: "Poor child! she has brought you the box; why do you want to eat her?" "Well and good. You want to marry my son, the King of Love; then take these six mattresses, and go and fill them with birds' feathers!" Rosella descended, and began to wander about, uttering her usual lament. When her husband appeared Rosella told him what had happened. He whistled and the King of the Birds appeared, and commanded all the birds to come and drop their feathers, fill the six beds, and carry them back to the ogress, who again said that her son had helped Rosella. However, she went and made up her son's bed with the six mattresses, and that very day she made him marry the daughter of the King of Portugal. Then she called Rosella, and, telling her that her son was married, bade her kneel before the nuptial bed, holding two lighted torches. Rosella obeyed, but soon the King of Love, under the plea that Rosella was not in a condition to hold the torches any longer, persuaded his bride to change places with her. Just as the queen took the torches in her hands, the earth opened and swallowed her up, and the king remained happy with Rosella.
When the ogress heard what had happened she clasped her hands over her head, and declared that Rosella's child should not be born until she unclasped her hands. Then the King of Love had a catafalque erected, and stretched himself on it as though he were dead, and had all the bells tolled, and made the people cry, "How did the King of Love die?" The ogress heard it, and asked: "What is that noise?" Her daughters told her that their brother was dead from her fault. When the ogress heard this she unclasped her hands, saying, "How did my son die?" At that moment Rosella's child was born. When the ogress heard it she burst a blood-vessel (in her heart) and died. Then the King of Love took his wife and sisters, and they remained happy and contented.1
There is another version of this story in Pitrè (No. 281) entitled, "The Crystal King," which resembles more closely the classic myth.
A father marries the youngest of his three daughters to a cavalier (the enchanted son of a king) who comes to his wife at night only. The cavalier once permits his wife to visit her sisters, and they learn from her that she has never seen her husband's face. The eldest gives her a wax candle, and tells her to light it when her husband is asleep, and then she can see him and tell them what he is like. She did so, and beheld at her side a handsome youth; but while she was gazing at him some of the melted wax fell on his nose. He awoke, crying, "Treason! treason!" and drove his wife from the house. On her wanderings she meets a hermit, and tells him her story. He advises her to have made a pair of iron shoes, and when she has worn them out in her travels she will come to a palace where they will give her shelter, and where she will find her husband. The remainder of the story is of no interest here.2
In the second class of stories belonging to this myth it is the curiosity of the husband which is punished, the best known example of this class, out of Italy, being the beautiful French legend of Melusina.3 A Sicilian story in Gonzenbach, No. 16, "The Story of the Merchant's Son Peppino," is a very close counterpart of "The King of Love," above given. Peppino is wrecked on a rock in the sea; the rock opens, fair maidens come out and conduct Peppino to a beautiful castle in the cave. There a maiden visits him at night only. After a time Peppino wishes to see his parents, and his wife allows him to depart, with the promise to return at a certain date. His parents, after hearing his story, give him a candle with which to see his wife. Everything happens as in the first story; the castle disappears, and Peppino finds himself on the top of a snow-covered mountain. He recovers his wife only after the lapse of many years and the accomplishment of many difficult tasks.4
The third class, generally known by the title of "Beauty and the Beast," is best represented by a story from Montale (near Pistoja), called:
II. ZELINDA AND THE MONSTER.
There was once a poor man who had three daughters; and as the youngest was the fairest and most civil, and had the best disposition, her other two sisters envied her with a deadly envy, although her father, on the contrary, loved her dearly. It happened that in a neighboring town, in the month of January, there was a great fair, and that poor man was obliged to go there to lay in the provisions necessary for the support of his family; and before departing he asked his three daughters if they would like some small presents in proportion, you understand, to his means. Rosina wished a dress, Marietta asked him for a shawl, but Zelinda was satisfied with a handsome rose. The poor man set out on his journey early the next day, and when he arrived at the fair quickly bought what he needed, and afterward easily found Rosina's dress and Marietta's shawl; but at that season he could not find a rose for his Zelinda, although he took great pains in looking everywhere for one. However, anxious to please his dear Zelinda, he took the first road he came to, and after journeying a while arrived at a handsome garden inclosed by high walls; but as the gate was partly open he entered softly. He found the garden filled with every kind of flowers and plants, and in a corner was a tall rose-bush full of beautiful rose-buds. Wherever he looked no living soul appeared from whom he might ask a rose as a gift or for money, so the poor man, without thinking, stretched out his hand, and picked a rose for his Zelinda.
Mercy! scarcely had he pulled the flower from the stalk when there arose a great noise, and flames darted from the earth, and all at once there appeared a terrible Monster with the figure of a dragon, and hissed with all his might, and cried out, enraged at that poor Christian: "Rash man! what have you done? Now you must die at once, for you have had the audacity to touch and destroy my rose-bush." The poor man, more than half dead with terror, began to weep and beg for mercy on his knees, asking pardon for the fault he had committed, and told why he had picked the rose; and then he added: "Let me depart; I have a family, and if I am killed they will go to destruction." But the Monster, more wicked than ever, responded: "Listen; one must die. Either bring me the girl that asked for the rose or I will kill you this very moment." It was impossible to move him by prayers or lamentations; the Monster persisted in his decision, and did not let the poor man go until he had sworn to bring him there in the garden his daughter Zelinda.
Imagine how downhearted that poor man returned home! He gave his oldest daughters their presents and Zelinda her rose; but his face was distorted and as white as though he had arisen from the dead; so that the girls, in terror, asked him what had happened and whether he had met with any misfortune. They were urgent, and at last the poor man, weeping bitterly, related the misfortunes of that unhappy journey and on what condition he had been able finally to return home. "In short," he exclaimed, "either Zelinda or I must be eaten alive by the Monster." Then the two sisters emptied the vials of their wrath on Zelinda. "Just see," they said, "that affected, capricious girl! She shall go to the Monster! She who wanted roses at this season. No, indeed! Papa must stay with us. The stupid creature!" At all these taunts Zelinda, without growing angry, simply said: "It is right that the one who has caused the misfortune should pay for it. I will go to the Monster's. Yes, Papa, take me to the garden, and the Lord's will be done."
The next day Zelinda and her sorrowful father began their journey and at nightfall arrived at the garden gate. When they entered they saw as usual no one, but they beheld a lordly palace all lighted and the doors wide open. When the two travellers entered the vestibule, suddenly four marble statues, with lighted torches in their hands, descended from their pedestals, and accompanied them up the stairs to a large hall where a table was lavishly spread. The travellers, who were very hungry, sat down and began to eat without ceremony; and when they had finished, the same statues conducted them to two handsome chambers for the night. Zelinda and her father were so weary that they slept like dormice all night.
At daybreak Zelinda and her father arose, and were served with everything for breakfast by invisible hands. Then they descended to the garden, and began to seek the Monster. When they came to the rose-bush he appeared in all his frightful ugliness. Zelinda, on seeing him, became pale with fear, and her limbs trembled, but the Monster regarded her attentively with his great fiery eyes, and afterward said to the poor man: "Very well; you have kept your word, and I am satisfied. Now depart and leave me alone here with the young girl." At this command the old man thought he should die; and Zelinda, too, stood there half stupefied and her eyes full of tears; but entreaties were of no avail; the Monster remained as obdurate as a stone, and the poor man was obliged to depart, leaving his dear Zelinda in the Monster's power.
When the Monster was alone with Zelinda he began to caress her, and make loving speeches to her, and managed to appear quite civil. There was no danger of his forgetting her, and he saw that she wanted nothing, and every day, talking with her in the garden, he asked her: "Do you love me, Zelinda? Will you be my wife?" The young girl always answered him in the same way: "I like you, sir, but I will never be your wife." Then the Monster appeared very sorrowful, and redoubled his caresses and attentions, and, sighing deeply, said: "But you see, Zelinda, if you should marry me wonderful things would happen. What they are I cannot tell you until you will be my wife."
Zelinda, although in her heart not dissatisfied with that beautiful place and with being treated like a queen, still did not feel at all like marrying the Monster, because he was too ugly and looked like a beast, and always answered his requests in the same manner. One day, however, the Monster called Zelinda in haste, and said: "Listen, Zelinda; if you do not consent to marry me it is fated that your father must die. He is ill and near the end of his life, and you will not be able even to see him again. See whether I am telling you the truth." And, drawing out an enchanted mirror, the Monster showed Zelinda her father on his death-bed. At that spectacle Zelinda, in despair and half mad with grief, cried: "Oh, save my father, for mercy's sake! Let me be able to embrace him once more before he dies. Yes, yes, I promise you I will be your faithful and constant wife, and that without delay. But save my father from death."
Scarcely had Zelinda uttered these words when suddenly the Monster was transformed into a very handsome youth. Zelinda was astounded by this unexpected change, and the young man took her by the hand, and said: "Know, dear Zelinda, that I am the son of the King of the Oranges. An old witch, touching me, changed me into the terrible Monster I was, and condemned me to be hidden in this rose-bush until a beautiful girl consented to become my wife."
The remainder of the story has no interest here. Zelinda and her husband strive to obtain his parents' consent to his marriage. They refuse and the young couple run away from the royal palace and fall into the power of an ogre and his wife, from whom they at last escape.5
A characteristic trait of this class of stories is omitted in the above version, but found in a number of others. In a Sicilian version (Pitrè, No. 39, "The Empress Rosina") the monster permits Rosina to visit her family, but warns her that if she does not return at the end of nine days he will die. He gives her a ring the stone of which will grow black in that event. The nine days pass unheeded, and when Rosina looks at her ring it is as black as pitch. She returns in haste, and finds the monster writhing in the last agony under the rose-bush. Four days she rubbed him with some ointment she found in the palace, and the monster recovered. As in the last story, he resumes his shape when Rosina consents to marry him. In one of Pitrè's variants the monster allows Elizabeth to visit her dying father, if she will promise not to tear her hair. When her father dies she forgets, in her grief, her promise, and tears out her hair. When she returns to the palace the monster has disappeared. She seeks him, exclaiming:—
"Fierce animal mine,
If I find thee alive
I will marry thee although an animal."
She finds him at last, and he resumes his form.6
The fourth class consists of stories more or less distantly connected with the first and third classes above mentioned, and which turn on the heroine's separation from, and search after, her lost husband, usually an animal in form.
The example we have selected from this class is from Venice (Bernoni, XVII.), and is as follows:—
III. KING BEAN.
There was once an old man who had three daughters. One day the youngest called her father into her room, and requested him to go to King Bean and ask him whether he wished her for his wife. The poor old man said: "You want me to go, but what shall I do; I have never been there?" "No matter," she answered; "I wish you to obey me and go." Then he started on his way, and asked (for he did not know) where the king lived, and they pointed out the palace to him. When he was in the king's presence he said: "Your Majesty's servant." The king replied: "What do you want of me, my good old man?" Then he told him that his daughter was in love with him, and wanted to marry him. The king answered: "How can she be in love with me when she has never seen or known me?" "She is killing herself with weeping, and cannot stand it much longer." The king replied: "Here is a white handkerchief; let her dry her tears with it."
The old man took back the handkerchief and the message to his daughter, who said: "Well, after three or four days you must go back again, and tell him that I will kill myself or hang myself if he will not marry me."
The old man went back, and said to the king: "Your Majesty, do me the favor to marry my daughter; if not, she will make a great spectacle of herself." The king replied: "Behold how many handsome portraits I have here, and how many beautiful young girls I have, and not one of them suits me." The old man said: "She told me also to say to you that if you did not marry her she would kill herself or hang herself." Then the king gave him a knife and a rope, and said: "Here is a knife if she wants to kill herself, and here is a rope if she wants to hang herself."
The old man bore this message back to his daughter, who told her father that he must go back to the king again, and not leave him until he obtained his consent. The old man returned once more, and, falling on his knees before the king, said: "Do me this great favor: take my daughter for your wife; do not say no, for the poor girl is beside herself." The king answered: "Rise, good old man, and I will consent, for I am sorry for your long journeys. But hear what your daughter must do first. She must prepare three vessels: one of milk and water, one of milk, and one of rose-water. And here is a bean; when she wants to speak with me, let her go out on the balcony and open the bean, and I will come."
The old man returned home this time more satisfied, and told his daughter what she must do. She prepared the three vessels as directed, and then opened the bean on the balcony, and saw at once something flying from a distance towards her. It flew into the room by the balcony, and entered the vessel of water and milk to bathe; then it hastened into the vessel of milk, and finally into that containing the rose-water. And then there came out the handsomest youth that was ever seen, and made love to the young girl. Afterward, when they were tired of their love-making, he bade her good-night, and flew away.
After a time, when her sisters saw that she was always shut up in her room, the oldest said: "Why does she shut herself up in her room all the time?" The other sister replied: "Because she has King Bean, who is making love to her." The oldest said: "Wait until she goes to church, and then we will see what there is in her room." One day the youngest locked her door, and went to church. Then the two sisters broke open the door, and saw the three vessels prepared, and said: "This is the vessel in which the king goes to bathe." The oldest said: "Let us go down into the store, and get some broken glass, and put a little in each of the three vessels; and when the king bathes in them, the glass will pierce him and cut all his body."
They did so, and then left the room looking as it did first. When the youngest sister returned, she went to her room, and wished to talk with her husband. She opened the balcony, and then she opened the bean, and saw at once her husband come flying from a distance, with his arms open to embrace her. He flew on to the balcony, and threw himself into the vessel of milk and water, and the pieces of glass pierced his body; then he entered the vessel of milk and that of rose-water, and his body was filled with the fragments of glass. When he came out of the rose-water, he flew away. Then his wife hastened out on the balcony, and saw a streak of blood wherever he had flown. Then she looked into the vessels, and saw all three full of blood, and cried: "I have been betrayed! I have been betrayed!"
She called her father, and told him that she had been betrayed by her sisters, and that she wished to go away and see whether she could cure her husband. She departed, and had not gone far when she found herself in a forest. There she saw a little house, with a little bit of a door, at which she knocked, and heard a voice saying, "Are you Christians?" She replied, "Yes." Then the door opened, and she saw a holy hermit, who said: "Blessed one, how did you get here? In a moment the witches will come who might bewitch you." She replied: "Father, I am seeking King Bean, who is ill." The hermit said: "I know nothing about him. Climb that tree; the witches will soon come, and you will learn something from them. If you want anything afterward, come to me, and I will give it to you."
When she was up the tree she heard a loud noise and the words, "Here we are! here we are!" and all the witches run and seat themselves on the ground in the midst of the forest, and begin to say: "The cripple is not here! Where has that cursed cripple gone?" Some one answered: "Here she is coming!" Another said: "You cursed cripple, where have you been?" The cripple answered: "Be still; I will tell you now. But wait a moment until I shake this tree to see whether there is any one in it." The poor girl held on firmly so as not to fall down. After she had shaken it this cripple said to her companions: "Do you want me to tell you something? King Bean has only two hours to live." Another witch said: "What is the matter with him?" The cripple answered: "He had a wife, and she put some broken glass in the three vessels, and he filled his body with it." Another witch asked: "Is there nothing that can cure him?" The cripple replied: "It is very difficult." Another said: "What would be necessary?" The cripple said: "Listen to what it needs. One of us must be killed, and her blood put in a kettle, and have added to it the blood of one of these doves flying about here. When this blood is well mixed, it must be heated, and with this blood the whole body of the king must be anointed. Another thing yet is necessary. Under the stone you see there is a flask of water. The stone must be removed, a bottle of the water must be poured over the king, and all the bits of glass will come out of him, and in five minutes he will be safe and sound."
Then the witches ate and drank until they were intoxicated and tired, and then threw themselves down on the ground to sleep. When the young girl saw that they were asleep, she descended quietly from the tree, knocked at the hermit's door, told him what the witches had said, and asked him for a kettle, knife, and bottle. He gave them to her, and caught a dove, which he killed, bled, and put the blood in a kettle.
The young girl did not know which one of the witches to kill, but finally she decided to kill the cripple who had spoken, and put her blood in the kettle. Afterward she lifted the stone, found the flask of water, and filled her bottle with it. She then returned to the hermit, and told him all she had done. He gave her a physician's dress, which she put on, and went to the palace of King Bean. There she asked the guards to let her pass, for she was going, she said, to see about curing the king. The guards refused at first, but, seeing her so confident, allowed her to enter. The king's mother went to her at once and said: "My good physician, if you can cure my son, you shall mount the throne, and I will give you my crown." "I have come in haste from a distance," said the physician, "and will cure him." Then the physician went to the kitchen, put the kettle on the fire, and afterward entered the room of the king, who had but a few minutes to live, anointed his whole body with the blood, and then poured the bottle of water all over him. Then the glass came out of his body, and in five minutes he was safe and sound. The king said: "Here, physician, is my crown. I wish to put it on your head." The physician answered: "How did your Majesty come to have this slight trouble?" The king said: "On account of my wife. I went to make love to her, and she prepared for me three vessels of water and milk, of milk, and of rose-water, and put broken glass in them, so that I had my body full of it." Said the physician: "See whether it was your wife who worked you this treason! Could it not have been some one else?" "That is impossible," said the king; "for no one entered her room." "And what would you do," said the physician, "if you had her now in your hands?" "I would kill her with a knife." "You are right," said the physician; "because, if it is true that she has acted thus, she deserves nothing but death."
Then the physician said he must depart; but the king's mother said: "No, no! It shall never be said that after saving my son's life you went away. Here you are, and here I wish you to stay; and, on account of the promise I made you, I wish my crown to come upon your head." "I want but one thing," said the physician. "Command, doctor; only say what you desire." "I wish the king to write on the palm of one of my hands my name and surname, and on the other his name and surname." The king did so, and the physician said: "Now I am going to make some visits, then I will return."
Instead of returning, the pretended physician went to her own home, and threw away the water and milk in the three vessels, and put in other pure water and milk and rose-water. Then she went out on the balcony, and opened the bean. The king, who felt his heart opened, seized his dagger, and hastened to his wife to kill her. When she saw the dagger, she raised her hands, and the king beheld his name and hers. Then he threw his dagger away, bathed in the three vessels, and then threw his arms about his wife's neck, and exclaimed: "If you are the one who did me so much harm, you are also the one who cured me." She answered: "It was not I. I was betrayed by my sisters." "If that is so," said he, "come at once to my parents' house, and we will be married there." When she arrived at the king's palace, she related everything to his parents, and showed them her hands with her name and surname. Then the king's parents embraced her, and gave her a wedding, and she and the king loved each other as long as they lived.7
The next class to which we shall direct our attention is the one in which jealous relatives (usually envious sisters or mother-in-law), steal a mother's new-born children, who are exposed and afterwards rescued and brought up far from their home by some childless person; or the mother is accused of having devoured them, and is repudiated or punished, and finally delivered and restored to her former position by her children, who are discovered by their father.8
The following story, belonging to this class, is from Pitrè (No. 36), slightly condensed.
There was once an herb-gatherer who had three daughters who earned their living by spinning. One day their father died and left them all alone in the world. Now the king had a habit of going about the streets at night, and listening at the doors to hear what the people said of him. One night he listened at the door of the house where the three sisters lived, and heard them disputing about something. The oldest said: "If I were the wife of the royal butler, I would give the whole court to drink out of one glass of water, and there would be some left." The second said: "If I were the wife of the keeper of the royal wardrobe, with one piece of cloth I would clothe all the attendants, and have some left. The youngest said: "Were I the king's wife, I would bear him three children: two sons with apples in their hands, and a daughter with a star on her brow."
The king went back to his palace, and the next morning sent for the sisters, and said to them: "Do not be frightened, but tell me what you said last night." The oldest told him what she had said, and the king had a glass of water brought, and commanded her to prove her words. She took the glass, and gave all the attendants to drink, and there was some water left. "Bravo!" cried the king, and summoned the butler. "This is your husband. Now it is your turn," said the king to the next sister, and commanded a piece of cloth to be brought, and the young girl at once cut out garments for all the attendants, and had some cloth left. "Bravo!" cried the king again, and gave her the keeper of the wardrobe for her husband. "Now it is your turn," said the king to the youngest. "Your Majesty, I said that were I the king's wife, I would bear him three children: two sons with apples in their hands, and a daughter with a star on her brow." The king replied: "If that is true, you shall be queen; if not, you shall die," and straightway he married her.
Very soon the two older sisters began to be envious of the youngest. "Look," said they: "she is going to be queen, and we must be servants!" and they began to hate her. A few months before the queen's children were to be born, the king declared war, and was obliged to depart; but he left word that if the queen had three children: two sons with apples in their hands and a girl with a star on her brow, the mother was to be respected as queen; if not, he was to be informed of it, and would tell his servants what to do. Then he departed for the war.
When the queen's children were born, as she had promised, the envious sisters bribed the nurse to put little dogs in the place of the queen's children, and sent word to the king that his wife had given birth to three puppies. He wrote back that she should be taken care of for two weeks, and then put into a tread-mill.
Meanwhile the nurse took the little babies, and carried them out of doors, saying: "I will make the dogs eat them up," and she left them alone. While they were thus exposed, three fairies passed by and exclaimed: "Oh how beautiful these children are!" and one of the fairies said: "What present shall we make these children?" One answered: "I will give them a deer to nurse them." "And I a purse always full of money." "And I," said the third fairy, "will give them a ring which will change color when any misfortune happens to one of them."
The deer nursed and took care of the children until they grew up. Then the fairy who had given them the deer came and said: "Now that you have grown up, how can you stay here any longer?" "Very well," said one of the brothers, "I will go to the city and hire a house." "Take care," said the deer, "that you hire one opposite the royal palace." So they all went to the city and hired a palace as directed, and furnished it as if they had been royal personages. When the aunts saw these three youths, imagine their terror! "They are alive!" they said. They could not be mistaken, for there were the apples in their hands, and the star on the girl's brow. They called the nurse and said to her: "Nurse, what does this mean? are our nephews and niece alive?" The nurse watched at the window until she saw the two brothers go out, and then she went over as if to make a visit to the new house. She entered and said: "What is the matter, my daughter; how do you do? Are you perfectly happy? You lack nothing. But do you know what is necessary to make you really happy? It is the Dancing Water. If your brothers love you, they will get it for you!" She remained a moment longer and then departed.
When one of the brothers returned, his sister said to him: "Ah! my brother, if you love me go and get me the Dancing Water." He consented, and next morning saddled a fine horse, and departed. On his way he met a hermit, who asked him, "Where are you going, cavalier?" "I am going for the Dancing Water." "You are going to your death, my son; but keep on until you find a hermit older than I." He continued his journey until he met another hermit, who asked him the same question, and gave him the same direction. Finally he met a third hermit, older than the other two, with a white beard that came down to his feet, who gave him the following directions: "You must climb yonder mountain. On top of it you will find a great plain and a house with a beautiful gate. Before the gate you will see four giants with swords in their hands. Take heed; do not make a mistake; for if you do that is the end of you! When the giants have their eyes closed, do not enter; when they have their eyes open, enter. Then you will come to a door. If you find it open, do not enter; if you find it shut, push it open and enter. Then you will find four lions. When they have their eyes shut, do not enter; when their eyes are open, enter, and you will see the Dancing Water." The youth took leave of the hermit, and hastened on his way.
Meanwhile the sister kept looking at the ring constantly, to see whether the stone in it changed color; but as it did not, she remained undisturbed.
A few days after leaving the hermit the youth arrived at the top of the mountain, and saw the palace with the four giants before it. They had their eyes shut, and the door was open. "No," said the youth, "that won't do." And so he remained on the lookout a while. When the giants opened their eyes, and the door closed, he entered, waited until the lions opened their eyes, and passed in. There he found the Dancing Water, and filled his bottles with it, and escaped when the lions again opened their eyes.
The aunts, meanwhile, were delighted because their nephew did not return; but in a few days he appeared and embraced his sister. Then they had two golden basins made, and put into them the Dancing Water, which leaped from one basin to the other. When the aunts saw it they exclaimed: "Ah! how did he manage to get that water?" and called the nurse, who again waited until the sister was alone, and then visited her. "You see," said she, "how beautiful the Dancing Water is! But do you know what you want now? The Singing Apple." Then she departed. When the brother who had brought the Dancing Water returned, his sister said to him: "If you love me you must get for me the Singing Apple." "Yes, my sister, I will go and get it."
Next morning he mounted his horse, and set out. After a time he met the first hermit, who sent him to an older one. He asked the youth where he was going, and said: "It is a difficult task to get the Singing Apple, but hear what you must do: Climb the mountain; beware of the giants, the door, and the lions; then you will find a little door and a pair of shears in it. If the shears are open, enter; if closed, do not risk it." The youth continued his way, found the palace, entered, and found everything favorable. When he saw the shears open, he went in a room and saw a wonderful tree, on top of which was an apple. He climbed up and tried to pick the apple, but the top of the tree swayed now this way, now that. He waited until it was still a moment, seized the branch, and picked the apple. He succeeded in getting safely out of the palace, mounted his horse, and rode home, and all the time he was carrying the apple it kept making a sound.
The aunts were again delighted because their nephew was so long absent; but when they saw him return, they felt as though the house had fallen on them. Again they summoned the nurse, and again she visited the young girl, and said: "See how beautiful they are, the Dancing Water and the Singing Apple! But should you see the Speaking Bird, there would be nothing left for you to see." "Very well," said the young girl; "we will see whether my brother will get it for me."
When her brother came she asked him for the Speaking Bird, and he promised to get it for her. He met, as usual on his journey, the first hermit, who sent him to the second, who sent him on to a third one, who said to him: "Climb the mountain and enter the palace. You will find many statues. Then you will come to a garden, in the midst of which is a fountain, and on the basin is the Speaking Bird. If it should say anything to you, do not answer. Pick a feather from the bird's wing, dip it into a jar you will find there, and anoint all the statues. Keep your eyes open, and all will go well."
The youth already knew well the way, and soon was in the palace. He found the garden and the bird, which, as soon as it saw him, exclaimed: "What is the matter, noble sir; have you come for me? You have missed it. Your aunts have sent you to your death, and you must remain here. Your mother has been sent to the tread-mill." "My mother in the tread-mill?" cried the youth, and scarcely were the words out of his mouth when he became a statue like all the others.
When the sister looked at her ring she saw that it had changed its color to blue. "Ah!" she exclaimed, and sent her other brother after the first. Everything happened to him as to the first. He met the three hermits, received his instructions, and soon found himself in the palace, where he discovered the garden with the statues, the fountain, and the Speaking Bird.
Meanwhile the aunts, who saw that both their nephews were missing, were delighted; and the sister, on looking at her ring, saw that it had become clear again.
Now when the Speaking Bird saw the youth appear in the garden it said to him: "What has become of your brother? Your mother has been sent to the tread-mill." "Alas, my mother in the tread-mill!" And when he had spoken these words he became a statue.
The sister looked at her ring, and it had become black. Poor child! not having anything else to do, she dressed herself like a page and set out.
Like her brothers, she met the three hermits, and received their instructions. The third concluded thus: "Beware, for if you answer when the bird speaks you will lose your life." She continued her way, followed exactly the hermit's directions, and reached the garden in safety. When the bird saw her it exclaimed: "Ah! you here, too? Now you will meet the same fate as your brothers. Do you see them? one, two, and you make three. Your father is at the war. Your mother is in the tread-mill. Your aunts are rejoicing." She did not reply, but let the bird sing on. When it had nothing more to say it flew down, and the young girl caught it, pulled a feather from its wing, dipped it into the jar, and anointed her brothers' nostrils, and they at once came to life again. Then she did the same with all the other statues, with the lions and the giants, until all became alive again. Then she departed with her brothers, and all the noblemen, princes, barons, and kings' sons rejoiced greatly. Now when they had all come to life again the palace disappeared, and the hermits disappeared, for they were the three fairies.
The day after the brothers and sister reached the city where they lived, they summoned a goldsmith, and had him make a gold chain, and fasten the bird with it. The next time the aunts looked out they saw in the window of the palace opposite the Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird. "Well," said they, "the real trouble is coming now!"
The bird directed the brothers and sister to procure a carriage finer than the king's, with twenty-four attendants, and to have the service of their palace, cooks and servants, more numerous and better than the king's. All of which the brothers did at once. And when the aunts saw these things they were ready to die of rage.
At last the king returned from the war, and his subjects told him all the news of the kingdom, and the thing they talked about the least was his wife and children. One day the king looked out of the window and saw the palace opposite furnished in a magnificent manner. "Who lives there?" he asked, but no one could answer him. He looked again and saw the brothers and sister, the former with the apples in their hands, and the latter with the star on her brow. "Gracious! if I did not know that my wife had given birth to three puppies, I should say that those were my children," exclaimed the king. Another day he stood by the window and enjoyed the Dancing Water and the Singing Apple, but the bird was silent. After the king had heard all the music, the bird said: "What does your Majesty think of it?" The king was astonished at hearing the Speaking Bird, and answered: "What should I think? It is marvellous." "There is something more marvellous," said the bird; "just wait." Then the bird told his mistress to call her brothers, and said: "There is the king; let us invite him to dinner on Sunday. Shall we not?" "Yes, yes," they all said. So the king was invited and accepted, and on Sunday the bird had a grand dinner prepared and the king came. When he saw the young people, he clapped his hands and said: "I cannot persuade myself; they seem my children."
He went over the palace and was astonished at its richness. Then they went to dinner, and while they were eating the king said: "Bird, every one is talking; you alone are silent." "Ah! your Majesty, I am ill; but next Sunday I shall be well and able to talk, and will come and dine at your palace with this lady and these gentlemen." The next Sunday the bird directed his mistress and her brothers to put on their finest clothes; so they dressed in royal style and took the bird with them. The king showed them through his palace and treated them with the greatest ceremony: the aunts were nearly dead with fear. When they had seated themselves at the table, the king said: "Come, bird, you promised me you would speak; have you nothing to say?" Then the bird began and related all that had happened from the time the king had listened at the door until his poor wife had been sent to the tread-mill; then the bird added: "These are your children, and your wife was sent to the mill, and is dying." When the king heard all this, he hastened to embrace his children, and then went to find his poor wife, who was reduced to skin and bones and was at the point of death. He knelt before her and begged her pardon, and then summoned her sisters and the nurse, and when they were in his presence he said to the bird: "Bird, you who have told me everything, now pronounce their sentence." Then the bird sentenced the nurse to be thrown out of the window, and the sisters to be cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. This was at once done. The king was never tired of embracing his wife. Then the bird departed and the king and his wife and children lived together in peace.10
We next pass to the class of stories in which children are promised by their parents to witches or the Evil One. The children who are thus promised are often unborn, and the promise is made by the parents either to escape some danger with which they are threatened by witch or demon, or in return for money. Sometimes there is a misunderstanding, as in Grimm's story of the "Handless Maiden," where the Miller in return for riches promises the Evil One to give him "what stands behind his mill." The Miller supposes his apple-tree is meant, but it is his daughter, who happened to be behind the mill when the compact was made. The most usual form of the story in Italian is this: A woman who expects to give birth to a child is seized with a great longing for some herb or fruit (generally parsley) growing in the witch's garden. The witch (ogress) catches her picking it, and only releases her on condition that she shall give her the child after it is born and has reached a definite age. The following Sicilian story from Gonzenbach (No. 53) will illustrate this class sufficiently:
V. THE FAIR ANGIOLA.
Once upon a time there were seven women, neighbors, all of whom were seized with a great longing for some jujubes which only grew in a garden opposite the place where they all lived, and which belonged to a witch. Now this witch had a donkey that watched the garden and told the old witch when any one entered. The seven neighbors, however, had such a desire for the jujubes that they entered the garden and threw the donkey some nice soft grass, and while he was eating it they filled their aprons with jujubes and escaped before the witch appeared. This they did several times, until at last the witch noticed that some one had been in her garden, for many of the jujubes were gone. She questioned the donkey, but he had eaten the nice grass and noticed nothing. Then she resolved the third day to remain in the garden herself. In the middle of it was a hole, in which she hid and covered herself with leaves and branches, leaving only one of her long ears sticking out. The seven neighbors once more went into the garden and began picking jujubes, when one of them noticed the witch's ear sticking out of the leaves and thought it was a mushroom and tried to pick it. Then the witch jumped out of the hole and ran after the women, all of whom escaped but one. The witch was going to eat her, but she begged hard for pardon and promised never to enter the garden again. The witch finally forgave her on the condition that she would give her her child, yet unborn, whether a boy or girl, when it was seven years old. The poor woman promised in her distress, and the witch let her go.
Some time after the woman had a beautiful little girl whom she named Angiola. When Angiola was six years old, her mother sent her to school to learn to sew and knit. On her way to school she had to pass the garden where the witch lived. One day, when she was almost seven, she saw the witch standing in front of her garden. She beckoned to Angiola and gave her some fine fruits and said: "You see, fair Angiola, I am your aunt. Tell your mother you have seen your aunt, and she sends her word not to forget her promise." Angiola went home and told her mother, who was frightened and said to herself: "Ah! the time has come when I must give up my Angiola." Then she said to the child: "When your aunt asks you to-morrow for an answer, tell her you forgot her errand." The next day she told the witch as she was directed. "Very well," she replied, "tell her to-day, but don't forget." Thus several days passed; the witch was constantly on the watch for Angiola when she went to school, and wanted to know her mother's answer, but Angiola always declared that she had forgotten to ask her. One day, however, the witch became angry and said: "Since you are so forgetful, I must give you some token to remind you of your errand." Then she bit Angiola's little finger so hard that she bit a piece out. Angiola went home in tears and showed her mother her finger. "Ah!" thought her mother, "there is no help for it. I must give my poor child to the witch, or else she will eat her up in her anger." The next morning as Angiola was going to school, her mother said to her: "Tell your aunt to do with you as she thinks best." Angiola did so, and the witch said: "Very well, then come with me, for you are mine."
So the witch took the fair Angiola with her and led her away to a tower which had no door and but one small window. There Angiola lived with the witch, who treated her very kindly, for she loved her as her own child. When the witch came home after her excursions, she stood under the window and cried: "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your pretty tresses and pull me up!" Now Angiola had beautiful long hair, which she let down and with which she pulled the witch up.
Now it happened one day when Angiola had grown to be a large and beautiful maiden, that the king's son went hunting and chanced to come where the tower was. He was astonished at seeing the house without any door, and wondered how the people got in. Just then the old witch returned home, stood under the window, and called: "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your beautiful tresses and pull me up." Immediately the beautiful tresses fell down, and the witch climbed up by them. This pleased the prince greatly, and he hid himself near by until the witch went away again. Then he went and stood under the window and called: "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your beautiful tresses and pull me up." Then Angiola let down her tresses and drew up the prince, for she believed it was the witch. When she saw the prince, she was much frightened at first, but he addressed her in a friendly manner and begged her to fly with him and become his wife.
She finally consented, and in order that the witch should not know where she had gone she gave all the chairs, tables, and cupboards in the house something to eat; for they were all living beings and might betray her. The broom, however, stood behind the door, so she did not notice it, and gave it nothing to eat. Then she took from the witch's chamber three magic balls of yarn, and fled with the prince. The witch had a little dog that loved the fair Angiola so dearly that it followed her.
Soon after they had fled, the witch came back, and called: "Angiola, fair Angiola, let down your beautiful tresses and draw me up." But the tresses were not let down for all she called, and at last she had to get a long ladder and climb in at the window. When she could not find Angiola, she asked the tables and chairs and cupboards: "Where has she fled?" But they answered: "We do not know." The broom, however, called out from the corner: "The fair Angiola has fled with the king's son, who is going to marry her." Then the witch started in pursuit of them and nearly overtook them. But Angiola threw down behind her one of the magic balls of yarn, and there arose a great mountain of soap. When the witch tried to climb it she slipped back, but she persevered until at last she succeeded in getting over it, and hastened after the fugitives. Then Angiola threw down the second ball of yarn, and there arose a great mountain covered all over with nails small and large. Again the witch had to struggle hard to cross it; when she did she was almost flayed. When Angiola saw that the witch had almost overtaken them again, she threw down the third ball, and there arose a mighty torrent. The witch tried to swim across it, but the stream kept increasing in size until she had at last to turn back. Then in her anger she cursed the fair Angiola, saying: "May your beautiful face be turned into the face of a dog!" and instantly Angiola's face became a dog's face.
The prince was very sorrowful and said: "How can I take you home to my parents? They would never allow me to marry a maiden with a dog's face." So he took her to a little house, where she was to live until the enchantment was removed. He himself returned to his parents; but whenever he went hunting he visited poor Angiola. She often wept bitterly over her misfortunes, until one day the little dog that had followed her from the witch's said: "Do not weep, fair Angiola. I will go to the witch and beg her to remove the enchantment." Then the little dog started off and returned to the witch and sprang up on her and caressed her. "Are you here again, you ungrateful beast?" cried the witch, and pushed the dog away. "Did you leave me to follow the ungrateful Angiola?" But the little dog caressed her until she grew friendly again and took him up on her lap. "Mother," said the little dog, "Angiola sends you greeting; she is very sad, for she cannot go to the palace with her dog's face and cannot marry the prince." "That serves her right," said the witch. "Why did she deceive me? She can keep her dog's face now!" But the dog begged her so earnestly, saying that poor Angiola was sufficiently punished, that at last the witch gave the dog a flask of water, and said: "Take that to her and she will become the fair Angiola again." The dog thanked her, ran off with the flask, and brought it safely to poor Angiola. As soon as she washed in the water, her dog's face disappeared and she became beautiful again, more beautiful even than she had been before. The prince, full of joy, took her to the palace, and the king and queen were so pleased with her beauty that they welcomed her, and gave her a splendid wedding, and all remained happy and contented.11
An interesting class of stories is the one in which the heroes are twin brothers (sometimes three born at the same time, or a larger number) who are born in some unusual manner, generally in consequence of the mother's partaking of some magic fruit or fish. One of the brothers undertakes some difficult task (liberation of princess, etc.) and falls into great danger; the other brother discovers the fact from some sympathetic object and proceeds to rescue him. The following story from Pisa (Comparetti, No. 32) will give a good idea of the Italian stories of this class:
VI. THE CLOUD.
Once upon a time there was a fisherman who had a wife and many children. Now it happened that the fisherman did not catch any fish for a time and did not know how to support his family. One day he cast his net and drew out a large fish which began to talk: "Let me go and cast in your net again and you will catch as many fish as you wish." The fisherman did so and caught more fish than he remembered to have taken before. But in a few days the fish were gone and the fisherman cast his net again, and again caught the big fish, which said: "I see clearly that I must die, so kill me now, and cut me into pieces. Give half to the king, a piece to your wife, one to your dog, and one to your horse; the bones you will tie to the kitchen rafters; your wife will bear sons, and when anything happens to one of them the fish-bone will sweat drops of blood." The fisherman did as he was told, and in due time his wife gave birth to three sons, the dog to three puppies, and the horse to three colts. The boys grew up and went to school and learned much and prospered. One day the oldest said: "I want to go and see a little of the world," and took one of the dogs, one of the horses, and some money, and set out, after receiving his father's and mother's blessing. He arrived at a forest, and there saw a lion, an eagle, and an ant which had found a dead ass that they wanted to divide among themselves, but could not agree and so were quarrelling. They saw the youth, and called on him to make the division. He was afraid at first, but took heart and gave the lean meat to the eagle, the brains to the ant, and the rest to the lion. They were all satisfied, and the youth continued his way. After he had gone a few steps the animals called him back, and the lion said: "You have settled our dispute, and we wish to reward you; when you wish to become a lion, you have only to say: 'No more a man, a lion, with the strength of a hundred lions!'" The eagle said: "When you wish to become an eagle, say: 'No more a man, an eagle, with the strength of a hundred eagles!'" The ant, also, gave him power to transform himself into an ant in the same way. The youth thanked them and departed. As he was passing along the shore of the sea, he saw a dog-fish that was out of the water; he put it back into the sea. The fish said: "When you need me, come to the sea and cry: 'Dog-fish, help me!'"
The youth continued his way and arrived at a city all hung with mourning. "What is the matter?" the young man asked. "There is here," they told him, "a big cloud (it was a fairy) that every year must have a young girl. This year the lot has fallen on the king's daughter. If they do not give her up, the cloud will throw so many things into the city that we shall all be killed." The youth asked if he could see how the thing went, and they told him he could. The ceremony began with muffled drums and an escort of soldiers; the king and queen in tears accompanied their daughter, who was taken to the top of a mountain, placed in a chair, and left alone. The youth, who had followed them, hid himself behind a bush. Then the cloud came, took the young girl in her lap, took her finger in her mouth, and began to suck her blood. This was what the cloud lived on. The princess remained half dead, like a log, and then the cloud carried her away. The youth, who had seen all this, cried: "No more a man, an eagle, with the strength of a hundred eagles!" Then he became an eagle and flew after the cloud. They arrived at a palace, the doors flew open and the cloud entered and carried the princess up-stairs. The eagle alighted on a tree opposite and saw a large room all full of young girls in bed. When the cloud entered they exclaimed: "Mamma! here is our mamma!" The poor girls were always in bed, because the fairy half killed them. She put the princess in a bed, and said to the girls: "I am going to leave you for a few days." She went away and left the girls. The youth was near and heard everything; he said: "No more an eagle, an ant, with the force of a hundred ants!" He became an ant, entered the palace unseen, and went to the room where the young girls were. There he resumed his shape, and the girls were astonished at seeing a man appear so suddenly, and one of them said to him: "Take care, there is a fairy here; if she finds you on her return she will kill you." "Do not be troubled," he answered, "for I wish to see about setting you all free." Then he went to the bed of the king's daughter and asked her if she had some token to send her mother. She gave him a ring, and the youth took it and went to the queen, told her where her daughter was, and asked her to send some food to the poor girl. She did so, and the youth retraced his steps, reached the palace, informed the girls, and drew up the food with ropes. He then said to the girls: "When the fairy returns, ask her what you shall do when she dies; thus you will find out how to kill her." Then he hid himself, and when the fairy returned the girls asked her the question; but she answered: "I shall never die." They urged her to tell them, and the next day she took them out on a terrace, and said: "Do you see that mountain far off there? On that mountain is a tigress with seven heads. If you wish me to die, a lion must fight that tigress and tear off all seven of her heads. In her body is an egg, and if any one hits me with it in the middle of my forehead I shall die; but if that egg falls into my hands the tigress will come to life again, resume her seven heads, and I shall live." "Good!" said the young girls; "certainly our mamma can never die." But in their hearts they were discouraged. When the fairy had departed, the youth came forth and they told him all. "Do not be disheartened," he said, and straightway went to the princess' father, asked him for a room, a pan of bread, a barrel of good wine, and a child seven years old. He took all these things and shut himself up in the room, and said to the child: "Do you want to see something, my child? I am going to turn into a lion." Then he turned into a lion, and the child was afraid; but the youth persuaded him that it was only himself after all, and the child fed him, and was no longer frightened. As soon as he had instructed the child, he took all the things and went to the mountain where the tigress was. Then he filled the pan with bread and wine and said to the child: "I am going to become a lion; when I return give me something to eat." Then he became a lion, and went to fight the tigress. Meanwhile the fairy returned home, saying: "Alas! I feel ill!" The young girls said to themselves, in delight: "Good!" The youth fought until night, and tore off one of the tigress' heads; the second day another, and so on until six heads were gone. The fairy kept losing her strength all the time. The youth rested two days before tearing off the last head, and then resumed the fight. At evening the last head was torn off, and the dead tigress disappeared, but the youth was not quick enough to catch the egg, which rolled from her body into the sea and was swallowed by the dog-fish. Then the youth went to the sea: "Dog-fish, help me!" The fish appeared: "What do you want?" "Have you found an egg?" "Yes." "Give it to me;" and the fish gave him the egg. He took it and went in search of the fairy, and suddenly appeared before her with the egg in his hand. The fairy wanted him to give her the egg, but he made her first restore all the young girls to health and send them home in handsome carriages. Then the youth took the egg, struck it on the fairy's forehead, and she fell down dead. When the youth saw that she was really dead, he entered a carriage with the king's daughter and drove to the palace. When the king and queen saw their daughter again, they wept for joy, and married her to her deliverer. The wedding took place with great magnificence, and there were great festivities and rejoicings in the city.
A few days after, the husband looked out of the window and saw at the end of the street a dense fog; he said to his wife: "I will go and see what that fog is." So he dressed for the chase and went away with his dog and horse. After he had passed through the mist, he saw a mountain on which were two beautiful ladies. They came to meet him, and invited him to their palace. He accepted and they showed him into a room, and one of the ladies asked: "Would you like to play a game of chess?" "Very well," he answered, and began to play and lost. Then they took him into a garden where there were many marble statues, and turned him into one, together with his dog and horse. These ladies were sisters of the fairy, and this was the way they avenged her death.
Meanwhile the princess waited and her husband did not return. One morning the father and brothers of the youth found the kitchen full of blood, which dropped from the fish-bone. "Something has happened to him," they said, and the second brother started in search of him with another one of the dogs and horses. He passed by the palace of the princess, who was at the window, and those brothers looked so much alike that when she saw him she thought it was her husband and called him. He entered and she spoke to him of the fog, but he did not understand her; he let her talk on, however, imagining that his brother was mixed up in that affair. The next morning he arose and went to see the fog with his dog and horse. He passed through the fog, found the mountain and the two ladies, and, to make the story short, the same thing happened to him that happened to his brother, and he became stone. And the queen waited, and in the father's kitchen the bone dropped blood faster than ever.
The third brother too set out with his dog and horse. When he came to the palace, the princess saw him from the window, took him for her husband, and called him in. He entered and she reproved him for having made her wait so long, and spoke of the mist; but he did not understand her and said: "I did not see very clearly what was in the mist, and I wish to go there again." He departed, and when he had passed through the mist he met an old man who said to him: "Where are you going? Take care, your brothers have been turned into statues. You will meet two ladies; if they ask you to play chess with them, here are two pawns, say that you cannot play except with your own pawns. Then make an agreement with them that, if you win, you can do with them what you please; if they win, they can do what they please with you. If you win, and they beg for mercy, command them to restore to life all the stone statues with which the palace is filled, and when they have done so, you can do what you will with these ladies."
The youth thanked the old man, departed, followed his directions, and won. The two ladies begged for their lives, and he granted their prayer on condition of restoring to life all those stone statues. They took a wand, touched the statues, and they became animated; but no sooner were they all restored to life than they fell on the two ladies and cut them into bits no larger than their ears.
Thus the three brothers were reunited. They related their adventures, and returned to the palace. The princess was astonished when she saw them, and did not know which was her husband. But he made himself known, told her that these were his brothers, and they had their parents come there, and they all lived happily together, and thus the story is ended.12
We now pass to the class of stories in which one of several brothers succeeds in some undertaking where the others fail, and thereby draws down on himself the hatred of the others, who either abandon him in a cavern, or kill him and hide his body, which is afterwards discovered by a musical instrument made of one of the bones or of the reeds growing over the grave. The former treatment is illustrated by a Sicilian tale (Pitrè, No. 80) called:
VII. THE CISTERN.
There were once three king's sons. Two of them were going hunting one day, and did not want to take their youngest brother with them. Their mother asked them to let him go with them, but they would not. The youngest brother, however, followed them, and they had to take him with them. They came to a beautiful plain, where they found a fine cistern, and ate their lunch near it. After they had finished, the oldest said: "Let us throw our youngest brother into the cistern, for we cannot take him with us." Then he said to his brother: "Salvatore, would you like to descend into this cistern, for there is a treasure in it?" The youngest consented, and they lowered him down. When he reached the bottom, he found three handsome rooms and an old woman, who said to him: "What are you doing here?" "I am trying to find my way out; tell me how to do it." The old woman answered: "There are here three princesses in the power of the magician; take care." "Never mind, tell me what to do; I am not afraid." "Knock at that door." He did so and a princess appeared: "What has brought you here?" "I have come to liberate you; tell me what I have to do." "Take this apple and pass through that door; my sister is there, who can give you better directions than I can."
She gave him the apple as a token. He knocked at that door, another princess appeared, who gave him a pomegranate for a remembrance and directed him to knock at a third door. It opened and the last princess appeared. "Ah! Salvatore" (for she knew who he was), "what have you come for?" "I have come to liberate you; tell me what to do." She gave him a crown, and said: "Take this; when you are in need, say: 'I command! I command!' and the crown will obey you. Now enter and eat; take this bottle; the magician, you see, is about rising; hide yourself behind this door, and when he awakens he will ask you: 'What are you here for?' You will answer: 'I have come to fight you; but you must agree to take smaller horse and sword than mine, because I am smaller than you.' You will see there a fountain which will invite you to drink; do not risk it, for all the statues you see there are human beings who have become statues drinking that water; when you are thirsty drink secretly from this bottle."
With these directions the youth went and knocked at the door. Just then the magician arose and said: "What are you here for?" "I have come to fight with you." And he added what the princess had told him. The fountain invited him to drink, but he would not. They began to fight, and at the first blow the youth cut off the magician's head. He took the head and sword, and went to the princesses and said: "Get your things together, and let us go, for my brothers are still waiting at the mouth of the cistern."
Let us now return to the brothers. After they had lowered their youngest brother into the cistern, they turned around and went back to the royal palace. The king asked: "Where is your brother?" "We lost him in a wood, and could not find him." "Quick!" said the king, "go and find my son, or I will have your heads cut off." So they departed, and on their way found a man with a rope and a bell, and took them with them. When they reached the cistern, they lowered the rope with the bell, saying among themselves: "If he is alive he will hear the bell and climb up; if he is dead, what shall we do with our father?" When they lowered the rope, Salvatore made the princesses ascend one by one. As the first appeared, who was the oldest, the oldest brother said: "Oh, what a pretty girl! This one shall be my wife." When the second appeared, the other brother said: "This is mine." The youngest princess did not wish to ascend, and said to Salvatore: "You go up, Salvatore, first; if you do not, your brothers will leave you here." He said he would not; she said he must; finally he prevailed, and she ascended. When she appeared the two brothers took her, and left Salvatore in the cistern, and returned to the palace. When they arrived there, they said to their father: "We have looked for Salvatore, but we could not find him; but we have found these three young girls, and now we wish to marry them." "I," said the oldest brother, "will take this one." "And I," said the second, "take this one. The other sister we will marry to some other youth."
Now let us return to Salvatore, who, when he found himself alone and disconsolate, felt in his pockets and touched the apple. "O my apple, get me out of this place!" And at once he found himself out of the cistern. He went to the city where he lived, and met a silversmith, who took him as an apprentice, feeding and clothing him. While he was with the silversmith, the king commanded the latter to make a crown for his oldest son, who was to be married: "You must make me a royal crown for my son, and to-morrow evening you must bring it to me."
He gave him ten ounces and dismissed him. When he reached home, the silversmith was greatly disturbed, for he had such a short time to make the crown in. Salvatore said: "Grandfather, why are you so disturbed?" The master replied: "Take these ten ounces, for now I am going to seek refuge in a church, for there is nothing else for me to do." (For in olden times the church had the privilege that whoever robbed or killed fled to the church, and they could not do anything with him.) The apprentice replied: "Now I will see if I can make this crown. My master would take refuge in a church for a trifle." So he began to make the crown. What did he do? He took out the apple and commanded it to make a very beautiful crown. He hammered away, but the apple made the crown. When it was finished he gave it to the wife of the silversmith, who took it to her husband. When the latter saw that he need not flee to the church, he went to the king, who, well pleased, invited him to the feast in the evening. When he told this at home, the apprentice said: "Take me to the feast." "How can I take you when you have no clothes fit to wear? I will buy you some, and when there is another feast I will take you." When it struck two, the silversmith departed, and Salvatore took the apple and said: "O my apple, give me clothes and carriages and footmen, for I am going to see my brother married." Immediately he was dressed like a prince, and went to the palace, where he hid in the kitchen, saw his brother married, and then took a big stick and gave the silversmith a sound beating. When the latter reached home, he cried: "I am dying! I am dying!" "What is the matter?" asked the apprentice, and when he learned what had happened, he said: "If you had taken me with you to the feast this would not have happened."
A few days after, the king summoned the silversmith again to make another crown within twenty-four hours. Everything happened as before: the apprentice made a crown handsomer than the first, with the aid of the pomegranate. The smith took it to the king, but after the feast came home with his shoulders black and blue from the beating he received.
After a time they wanted to marry the third sister, but she said: "Who wishes me must wait a year, a month, and a day." And she had no peace wondering why Salvatore did not appear for all he had the apple, the pomegranate, and the crown. After a year, a month, and a day, the wedding was arranged, and the smith had orders to make another crown more beautiful than the first two. (This was so that no one could say that because the young girl was a foreigner they treated her worse than the others.) Again the smith was in despair, and the apprentice had to make, by the aid of his magic crown, a better and larger crown than the others. The king was astonished when he saw the beautiful crown, and again invited the silversmith to the feast. The smith returned home sorrowful, for fear that he should again receive a beating, but he would not take his apprentice with him.
After Salvatore had seen him depart, he took his magic crown and ordered splendid clothes and carriages. When he reached the palace, he did not go to the kitchen, but before the bride and groom could say "yes," "Stop!" said Salvatore. He took the apple and said: "Who gave me this?" "I did," replied the wife of the oldest brother. "And this?" showing the pomegranate. "I, my brother-in-law," said the wife of the second brother. Then he took out the crown. "Who gave me that?" "I, my husband," said the young girl whom they were marrying. And at once she married Salvatore, "for," said she, "he freed me from the magician."
The bridegroom was fooled and had to go away, and the astonished silversmith fell on his knees, begging for pity and mercy.13
In some of the versions of the above story, the hero, after he is abandoned by his brothers in the cistern or cave, is borne into the upper world by an eagle. The rapacious bird on the journey demands from the young man flesh from time to time. At last the stock of flesh with which he had provided himself is exhausted and he is obliged to cut off and give the eagle a piece of his own flesh. In one version (Pitrè, ii. p. 208) he gives the eagle his leg; and when the journey is concluded the bird casts it up, and the hero attaches it again to his body, and becomes as sound as ever.14
The class of stories in which the brother is killed and his death made known by a musical instrument fashioned from his body is sufficiently illustrated by a short Neapolitan story (Imbriani, Pomiglianesi, p. 195) entitled:
VIII. THE GRIFFIN.
There was once a king who had three sons. His eyes were diseased, and he called in a physician who said that to cure them he needed a feather of the griffin. Then the king said to his sons: "He who finds this feather for me shall have my crown." The sons set out in search of it. The youngest met an old man, who asked him what he was doing. He replied: "Papa is ill. To cure him a feather of the griffin is necessary. And papa has said that whoever finds the feather shall have his crown." The old man said: "Well, here is some corn. When you reach a certain place, put it in your hat. The griffin will come and eat it. Seize him, pull out a feather, and carry it to papa." The youth did so, and for fear that some one should steal it from him, he put it into his shoe, and started all joyful to carry it to his father. On his way he met his brothers, who asked him if he had found the feather. He said No; but his brothers did not believe him, and wanted to search him. They looked everywhere, but did not find it. Finally they looked in his shoe and got it. Then they killed the youngest brother, and buried him, and took the feather to their father, saying that they had found it. The king healed his eyes with it. A shepherd one day, while feeding his sheep, saw that his dog was always digging in the same place, and went to see what it was, and found a bone. He put it to his mouth, and saw that it sounded and said: "Shepherd, keep me in your mouth, hold me tight, and do not let me go! For a feather of the griffin, my brother has played the traitor, my brother has played the traitor."
One day the shepherd, with this whistle in his mouth, was passing by the king's palace, and the king heard him, and called him to see what it was. The shepherd told him the story, and how he had found it. The king put it to his mouth, and the whistle said: "Papa! papa! keep me in your mouth, hold me tight, and do not let me go. For a feather of the griffin, my brother has played the traitor, my brother has played the traitor." Then the king put it in the mouth of the brother who had killed the youngest, and the whistle said: "Brother! brother! keep me in your mouth, hold me fast, and do not let me go. For a feather of the griffin, you have played the traitor, you have played the traitor." Then the king understood the story and had his two sons put to death. And thus they killed their brother and afterwards were killed themselves.15
The feminine counterpart of "Boots," or the successful youngest brother, is Cinderella, the youngest of three sisters who despise and ill-treat her. Her usual place is in the chimney-corner, and her name is derived from the grime of cinders and ashes (her name in German is Aschenputtel). Assisted by some kind fairy who appears in various forms, she reveals herself in her true shape, captivates the prince, who finally recognizes her by the slipper. There are two branches of this story: the one just mentioned, and one where the heroine assumes a repulsive disguise in order to escape the importunities of a father who wishes to marry her. This second branch may be distinguished by the name of "Allerleirauh," the well-known Grimm story of this class. For the first branch of this story we have selected a Florentine story (Novellaja fior. p. 151) called:
Once upon a time there was a man who had three daughters. He was once ordered to go away to work, and said to them: "Since I am about making a journey, what do you want me to bring you when I return?" One asked for a handsome dress; the other, a fine hat and a beautiful shawl. He said to the youngest: "And you, Cinderella, what do you want?" They called her Cinderella because she always sat in the chimney-corner. "You must buy me a little bird Verdeliò." "The simpleton! she does not know what to do with the bird! Instead of ordering a handsome dress, a fine shawl, she takes a bird. Who knows what she will do with it!" "Silence!" she says, "it pleases me." The father went, and on his return brought the dress, hat, and shawl for the two sisters, and the little bird for Cinderella. The father was employed at the court, and one day the king said to him: "I am going to give three balls; if you want to bring your daughters, do so; they will amuse themselves a little." "As you wish," he replies, "thanks!" and accepts. He went home and said: "What do you think, girls? His Majesty wishes you to attend his ball." "There, you see, Cinderella, if you had only asked for a handsome dress! This evening we are going to the ball." She replied: "It matters nothing to me! You go; I am not coming." In the evening, when the time came, they adorned themselves, saying to Cinderella: "Come along, there will be room for you, too." "I don't want to go; you go; I don't want to." "But," said their father, "let us go, let us go! Dress and come along; let her stay." When they had gone, she went to the bird and said: "O Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" She became clothed in a sea-green dress, with so many diamonds that it blinded you to behold her. The bird made ready two purses of money, and said to her: "Take these two purses, enter your carriage, and away!" She set out for the ball, and left the bird Verdeliò at home. She entered the ball-room. Scarcely had the gentlemen seen this beautiful lady (she dazzled them on all sides), when the king, just think of it, began to dance with her the whole evening. After he had danced with her all the evening, his Majesty stopped, and she stood by her sisters. While she was at her sisters' side, she drew out her handkerchief, and a bracelet fell out. "Oh, Signora," said the eldest sister, "you have dropped this." "Keep it for yourself," she said. "Oh, if Cinderella were only here, who knows what might not have happened to her?" The king had given orders that when this lady went away they should find out where she lived. After she had remained a little, she left the ball. You can imagine whether the servants were on the lookout! She entered her carriage and away! She perceives that she is followed, takes the money and begins to throw it out of the window of the carriage. The greedy servants, I tell you, seeing all that money, thought no more of her, but stopped to pick up the money. She returned home and went up-stairs. "O Bird Verdeliò, make me homelier than I am!" You ought to see how ugly, how horrid, she became, all ashes. When the sisters returned, they cried: "Cin-der-ella!" "Oh, leave her alone," said her father; "she is asleep now, leave her alone!" But they went up and showed her the large and beautiful bracelet. "Do you see, you simpleton? You might have had it." "It matters nothing to me." Their father said: "Let us go to supper, you little geese."
Let us return to the king, who was awaiting his servants, who had not the courage to appear, but kept away. He calls them. "How did the matter go?" They fall at his feet. "Thus and thus! She threw out so much money!" "Wretches, you are nothing else," he said, "were you afraid of not being rewarded? Well! to-morrow evening, attention, under pain of death." The next evening the usual ball. The sisters say: "Will you come this evening, Cinderella?" "Oh," she says, "don't bother me! I don't want to go." Their father cries out to them: "How troublesome you are! Let her alone!" So they began to adorn themselves more handsomely than the former evening, and departed. "Good-by, Cinderella!" When they had gone, Cinderella went to the bird and said: "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she became clothed in sea-green, embroidered with all the fish of the sea, mingled with diamonds more than you could believe. The bird said: "Take these two bags of sand, and when you are followed, throw it out, and so they will be blinded." She entered her carriage and set out for the ball. As soon as his Majesty saw her he began to dance with her and danced as long as he could. After he had danced as long as he could (she did not grow weary, but he did), she placed herself near her sisters, drew out her handkerchief, and there fell out a beautiful necklace all made of coal. The second sister said: "Signora, you have dropped this." She replied: "Keep it for yourself." "If Cinderella were here, who knows what might not happen to her! To-morrow she must come!" After a while she leaves the ball. The servants (just think, under pain of death!) were all on the alert, and followed her. She began to throw out all the sand, and they were blinded. She went home, dismounted, and went up-stairs. "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me homelier than I am!" She became frightfully homely. When her sisters returned they began from below: "Cin-der-ella! if you only knew what that lady gave us!" "It matters nothing to me!" "But tomorrow evening you must go!" "Yes, yes! you would have had it!" Their father says: "Let us go to supper and let her alone; you are really silly!"
Let us return to his Majesty, who was waiting for his servants to learn where she lived. Instead of that they were all brought back blinded, and had to be accompanied. "Rogue!" he exclaimed, "either this lady is some fairy or she must have some fairy who protects her."
The next day the sisters began: "Cinderella, you must go this evening! Listen; it is the last evening; you must come." The father: "Oh let her alone! you are always teasing her!" Then they went away and began to prepare for the ball. When they were all prepared, they went to the ball with their father. When they had departed, Cinderella went to the bird: "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she was dressed in all the colors of the heavens; all the comets, the stars, and moon on her dress, and the sun on her brow. She enters the ball-room. Who could look at her! for the sun alone they lower their eyes, and are all blinded. His Majesty began to dance, but he could not look at her, because she dazzled him. He had already given orders to his servants to be on the lookout, under pain of death; not to go on foot, but to mount their horses that evening. After she had danced longer than on the previous evenings she placed herself by her father's side, drew out her handkerchief, and there fell out a snuff-box of gold, full of money. "Signora, you have dropped this snuff-box." "Keep it for yourself!" Imagine that man: he opens it and sees it full of money. What joy! After she had remained a time she went home as usual. The servants followed her on horseback, quickly; at a distance from the carriage; but on horseback that was not much trouble. She perceived that she had not prepared anything to throw that evening. "Oh!" she cried, "what shall I do?" She left the carriage quickly, and in her haste lost one of her slippers. The servants picked it up, took the number of the house, and went away. Cinderella went up-stairs and said: "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more homely than I am!" The bird does not answer. After she had repeated it three or four times, it answered: "Rogue! I ought not to make you more homely, but . . ." and she became homely and the bird continued: "What are you going to do now? You are discovered." She began to weep in earnest. When her sisters returned, they cried: "Cin-der-ella!" You can imagine that she did not answer them this evening. "See what a beautiful snuff-box. If you had gone you might have had it." "I do not care! Go away!" Then their father called them to supper.
Let us now turn to the servants who went back with the slipper and the number of the house. "To-morrow," said his Majesty, "as soon as it is day, go to that house, take a carriage, and bring that lady to the palace." The servants took the slipper and went away. The next morning they knocked at the door. Cinderella's father looked out and exclaimed: "Oh, Heavens! it is his Majesty's carriage; what does it mean?" They open the door and the servants ascend. "What do you want of me?" asked the father. "How many daughters have you?" "Two." "Well, show them to us." The father made them come in there. "Sit down," they said to one of them. They tried the slipper on her; it was ten times too large for her. The other one sat down; it was too small for her. "But tell me, good man, have you no other daughters? Take care to tell the truth! because his Majesty wishes it, under pain of death!" "Gentlemen, there is another one, but I do not mention it. She is all in the ashes, the coals; if you should see her! I do not call her my daughter from shame." "We have not come for beauty, or for finery; we want to see the girl!"
Her sisters began to call her: "Cin-der-ella!" but she did not answer. After a time she said: "What is the matter?" "You must come down! there are some gentlemen here who wish to see you." "I don't want to come." "But you must come, you see!" "Very well; tell them I will come in a moment." She went to the little bird: "Ah little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she was dressed as she had been the last evening, with the sun, and moon, and stars, and in addition, great chains all of gold everywhere about her. The bird said: "Take me away with you! Put me in your bosom!" She puts the bird in her bosom and begins to descend the stairs. "Do you hear her?" said the father, "do you hear her? She is dragging with her the chains from the chimney-corner. You can imagine how frightful she will look!" When she reached the last step, and they saw her, "Ah!" they exclaimed, and recognized the lady of the ball. You can imagine how her father and sisters were vexed. They made her sit down, and tried on the slipper, and it fitted her. Then they made her enter the carriage, and took her to his Majesty, who recognized the lady of the other evenings. And you can imagine that, all in love as he was, he said to her: "Will you really be my wife?" You may believe she consents. She sends for her father and sisters, and makes them all come to the palace. They celebrate the marriage. Imagine what fine festivals were given at this wedding! The servants who had discovered where Cinderella lived were promoted to the highest positions in the palace as a reward.16
In the second class of stories alluded to above, the heroine flees in disguise from her home to avoid a marriage with her father or brother. The remainder of the story resembles Cinderella: the heroine reveals herself from time to time in her true form, and finally throws off her disguise. The following story, which illustrates this class, is from the province of Vicenza (Corazzini, p. 484), and is entitled:
X. FAIR MARIA WOOD.
There was once a husband and wife who had but one child, a daughter. Now it happened that the wife fell ill and was at the point of death. Before dying she called her husband, and said to him, weeping: "I am dying; you are still young; if you ever wish to marry again, be mindful to choose a wife whom my wedding ring fits; and if you cannot find a lady whom it fits well, do not marry." Her husband promised that he would do so. When she was dead he took off her wedding ring and kept it until he desired to marry again. Then he sought for some one to please him. He went from one to another, but the ring fitted no one. He tried so many but in vain. One day he thought of calling his daughter, and trying the ring on her to see whether it fitted her. The daughter said: "It is useless, dear father; you cannot marry me, because you are my father." He did not heed her, put the ring on her ringer, and saw that it fitted her well, and wanted to marry his daughter nolens volens. She did not oppose him, but consented. The day of the wedding, he asked her what she wanted. She said that she wished four silk dresses, the most beautiful that could be seen. He, who was a gentleman, gratified her wish and took her the four dresses, one handsomer than the other, and all the handsomest that had ever been seen. "Now, what else do you want?" said he. "I want another dress, made of wood, so that I can conceal myself in it." And at once he had this wooden dress made. She was well pleased. She waited one day until her husband was out of sight, put on the wooden dress, and under it the four silk dresses, and went away to a certain river not far off, and threw herself in it. Instead of sinking and drowning, she floated, for the wooden dress kept her up.
The water carried her a long way, when she saw on the bank a gentleman, and began to cry: "Who wants the fair Maria Wood?" That gentleman who saw her on the water, and whom she addressed, called her and she came to the bank and saluted him. "How is it that you are thus dressed in wood, and come floating on the water without drowning?" She told him that she was a poor girl who had only that dress of wood, and that she wanted to go out to service. "What can you do?" "I can do all that is needed in a house, and if you would only take me for a servant you would be satisfied."
He took her to his house, where his mother was, and told her all that had happened, saying: "If you, dear mother, will take her as a servant, we can try her." In short, she took her and was pleased with this woman dressed in wood.
It happened that there were balls at that place which the best ladies and gentlemen attended. The gentleman who had the servant dressed in wood prepared to go to the ball, and after he had departed, the servant said to his mother: "Do me this kindness, mistress: let me go to the ball too, for I have never seen any dancing." "What, you wish to go to the ball so badly dressed that they would drive you away as soon as they saw you!" The servant was silent, and when the mistress was in bed, dressed herself in one of her silk dresses and became the most beautiful woman that was ever seen. She went to the ball, and it seemed as if the sun had entered the room; all were dazzled. She sat down near her master, who asked her to dance, and would dance with no one but her. She pleased him so much that he fell in love with her. He asked her who she was and where she came from. She replied that she came from a distance, but told him nothing more.
At a certain hour, without any one perceiving it, she went out and disappeared. She returned home and put on her wooden dress again. In the morning the master returned from the ball, and said to his mother: "Oh! if you had only seen what a beautiful lady there was at the ball! She appeared like the sun, she was so beautiful and well dressed. She sat down near me, and would not dance with any one but me." His mother then said: "Did you not ask her who she was and where she came from?" "She would only tell me that she came from a distance; but I thought I should die; I wish to go again this evening." The servant heard all this dialogue, but kept silent, pretending that the matter did not concern her.
In the evening he prepared himself again for the ball, and the servant said to him: "Master, yesterday evening I asked your mamma to let me, too, go to the ball, for I have never seen dancing, but she would not; will you have the kindness to let me go this evening?" "Be still, you ugly creature, the ball is no place for you!" "Do me this favor," she said, weeping, "I will stand out of doors, or under a bench, or in a corner so no one shall see me; but let me go!" He grew angry then, and took a stick and began to beat the poor servant. She wept and remained silent.
After he had gone, she waited until his mother was in bed, and put on a dress finer than the first, and so rich as to astonish, and away to the ball! When she arrived all began to gaze at her, for they had never seen anything more beautiful. All the handsomest young men surround her and ask her to dance; but she would have nothing to do with any one but her master. He again asked her who she was, and she said she would tell him later. They danced and danced, and all at once she disappeared. Her master ran here and there, asked one and another, but no one could tell him where she had gone. He returned home and told his mother all that had passed. She said to him: "Do you know what you must do? Take this diamond ring, and when she dances with you give it to her; and if she takes it, it is a sign that she loves you." She gave him the ring. The servant listened, saw everything, and was silent.
In the evening the master prepared for the ball and the servant again asked him to take her, and again he beat her. He went to the ball, and after midnight, as before, the beautiful lady returned more beautiful than before, and as usual would dance only with her master. At the right moment he took out the diamond ring, and asked her if she would accept it. She took it and thanked him, and he was happy and satisfied. Afterward he asked her again who she was and where from. She said that she was of that country
That when they speak of going to a ball,
They are beaten on the head;
and said no more. At the usual hour she stopped dancing and departed. He ran after her, but she went like the wind, and reached home without his finding out where she went. But he ran so in all directions, and was in such suffering, that when he reached home he was obliged to go to bed more dead than alive. Then he fell ill and grew worse every day, so that all said he would die. He did nothing but ask his mother and every one if they knew anything of that lady, and that he would die if he did not see her. The servant heard everything; and one day, when he was very ill, what did she think of? She waited until her mistress' eye was turned, and dropped the diamond ring in the broth her master was to eat. No one saw her, and his mother took him the broth. He began to eat it, when he felt something hard, saw something shine, and took it out. . . . You can imagine how he looked at it and recognized the diamond ring! They thought he would go mad. He asked his mother if that was the ring and she swore that it was, and all happy, she said that now he would see her again.
Meanwhile the servant went to her room, took off her wooden dress, and put on one all of silk, so that she appeared a beauty, and went to the room of the sick man. His mother saw her and began to cry: "Here she is; here she is!" She went in and saluted him, smiling, and he was so beside himself that he became well at once. He asked her to tell him her story,—who she was, where she came from, how she came, and how she knew that he was ill. She replied: "I am the woman dressed in wood who was your servant. It is not true that I was a poor girl, but I had that dress to conceal myself in, for underneath it I was the same that I am now. I am a lady; and although you treated me so badly when I asked to go to the ball, I saw that you loved me, and now I have come to save you from death." You can believe that they stayed to hear her story. They were married and have always been happy and still are.17
In the various stories thus far mentioned which involve the family relations, we have had examples of treachery on the part of brothers, ill-treatment of step-children, etc. It remains now to notice the trait of treachery on the part of sister or mother towards brother or son. The formula as gjven by Hahn (No. 19) is as follows: The hero, who is fleeing with his sister (or mother), overcomes a number of dragons or giants. The only survivor makes love to the sister (or mother), and causes her, for fear of discovery, to send her brother, in order to destroy him, on dangerous adventures, under the pretence of obtaining a cure for her illness. The hero survives the dangers, discovers the deception, and punishes the guilty ones. Traces of this formula are found in several Italian stories,18 but it constitutes only two entire stories: one in Pitrè (No. 71) the other in Comparetti (No. 54, "The Golden Hair," from Monferrato, Piedmont). The latter is in substance as follows: A king with three sons marries again in his old age. The youngest son falls in love with his step-mother and the jealous father tries to poison her. The son and wife flee together, and fall in with some robbers whom they kill, and set at liberty a princess who has the gift of curing blindness and other diseases. They afterward find a cave containing rooms and all the necessaries of life, but see no one. They spend the night there, and the next morning the youth goes hunting; and as soon as he has departed a giant appears and solicits the step-mother's love, saying that if she will marry him, she will always be healthy and never lose her youth. But first it will be necessary to remove from her step-son's head a golden hair, and then he will become so weak that he can be killed by a blow. She was unwilling at first, because he had saved her life, but finally yielded. First she tried to get rid of him by pretending to be ill, and sending him for some water from a fountain near which was a lion. He obtained the water safely. Then his step-mother, pretending to comb his hair, cut off the golden hair, and the giant dragged him by the feet fifty miles, and let him fall first in the bushes and then on the ground. From the wounds in his head he became blind, but recovered his sight by means of the princess mentioned in the first part of the story, whom he married. After his golden lock had grown out again he returned to the cave and killed the giant, punishing his step-mother by leaving her there without even looking at her.
The story in Pitrè (No. 71, "The Cyclops") is more detailed. A queen who has been unfaithful to her husband is put in confinement, gives birth to a son, and afterward, through his aid, escapes. They encounter some cyclops, a number of whom the son kills; but one becomes secretly the mother's lover. To get rid of her son, she sends him for the water of a certain fountain, which he brings back safely. Finally the mother binds the son fast, under the pretence of playing a game, and delivers him to the cyclops, who kills him and cuts him into small bits, which he loads on his horse and turns him loose. The youth is, however, restored to life by the same water that he had brought back, and kills the cyclops and his mother, finally marrying the princess to whom he owes his life.19
In marked contrast to the above class is the one in which a number of brothers owe their deliverance from enchantment to the self-sacrifice of a sister. Generally the sister is the innocent cause of her brothers' transformation. They live far from home, and their sister is not aware for a long time of their existence. When she learns it she departs in search of them, finds them, and, after great risk to herself, delivers them. But two versions of this story have yet been published in Italy: one from Naples (Pent. IV. 8), the other from Bologna (Coronedi-Berti, No. 19). The latter version we give at length.
XI. THE CURSE OF THE SEVEN CHILDREN.
There was once a king and a queen who had six children, all sons. The queen was about to give birth to another child, and the king said that if it was not a daughter all seven children would be cursed. Now it happened that the king had to go away to war; and before departing he said to the queen, "Listen. If you have a son, hang a lance out of the window; if a daughter, a distaff; so that I can see as soon as I arrive which it is." After the king had been gone a month, the queen gave birth to the most beautiful girl that was ever seen. Imagine how pleased the queen was at having a girl. She could scarcely contain herself for joy, and immediately gave orders to hang the distaff out of the window; but in the midst of the joyful confusion, a mistake was made, and they put out a lance. Shortly after, the king returned and saw the sign at the window, and cursed all his seven sons; but when he entered the house and the servants crowded around him to congratulate him and tell him about his beautiful daughter, then the king was amazed and became very melancholy. He entered the queen's room and looked at the child, who seemed exactly like one of those wax dolls to be kept in a box; then he looked about him and saw nothing of his sons, and his eyes filled with tears, for those poor youths had wandered out into the world.
Meanwhile the girl grew, and when she was large she saw that her parents caressed her, but always with tears in their eyes. One day she said to her mother: "What is the matter with you, mother, that I always see you crying?" Then the queen told her the story, and said that she was afraid that some day she would see her disappear too. When the girl heard how it was, what did she do? One night she rose softly and left the palace, with the intention of going to find her brothers. She walked and walked, and at last met a little old man, who said to her: "Where are you going at this time of the night?" She answered: "I am in search of my brothers." The old man said: "It will be difficult to find them, for you must not speak for seven years, seven months, seven weeks, seven days, seven hours, and seven minutes." She said: "I will try." Then she took a bit of paper which she found on the ground, wrote on it the day and the hour with a piece of charcoal, and left the old man and hastened on her way. After she had run a long time, she saw a light and went towards it, and when she was near it, she saw that it was over the door of a palace where a king lived. She entered and sat down on the stairway, and fell asleep. The servants came later to put out the light, and saw the pretty girl asleep on the stone steps; they awakened her, asking her what she was doing there. She began to make signs, asking them to give her a lodging. They understood her, and said they would ask the king. They returned shortly to tell her to enter, for the king wished to see her before she was shown to her room. When the king saw the beautiful girl, with hair like gold, flesh like milk and wine, teeth white as pearls, and little hands that an artist could not paint as beautiful as they were, he suddenly imagined that she must be the daughter of some lord, and gave orders that she should be treated with all possible respect. They showed her to a beautiful room; then a maid came and undressed her and put her to bed. Next morning, Diana, for so she was called, arose, saw a frame with a piece of embroidery in it, and began to work at it. The king visited her, and asked if she needed anything, and she made signs that she did not. The king was so pleased with the young girl that he ended by falling in love with her, and after a year had passed he thought of marrying her. The queen-mother, who was an envious person, was not content with the match, because, said she, no one knows where she came from, and, besides, she is dumb, something that would make people wonder if a king should marry her. But the king was so obstinate that he married her; and when his mother saw that there was no help, she pretended to be satisfied. Shortly after, the queen-mother put into the king's hands a letter which informed him of an imminent war, in which, if he did not take part, he would run the risk of losing his realm. The king went to the war, in fact, with great grief at leaving his wife; and before departing, he commended her earnestly to his mother, who said: "Do not be anxious, my son, I shall do all that I can to make her happy." The king embraced his wife and mother, and departed.
Scarcely had the king gone when the queen-mother sent for a mason, and made him build a wall near the kitchen-sink, so that it formed a sort of box. Now you must know that Diana expected soon to become a mother, and this afforded the queen-mother a pretext to write to her son that his wife had died in giving birth to a child. She took her and put her in the wall she had had built, where there was neither light nor air, and where the wicked woman hoped that she would die. But it was not so. The scullion went every day to wash the dishes at the sink near where poor Diana was buried alive. While attending to his business, he heard a lamentation, and listened to see where it could come from. He listened and listened, until at last he perceived that the voice came from the wall that had been newly built. What did he do then? He made a hole in the wall, and saw that the queen was there. The scullion asked how she came there; but she only made signs that she was about to give birth to a child. The poor scullion had his wife make a fine cushion, on which Diana reposed as well as she could, and gave birth to the most beautiful boy that could be seen. The scullion's wife went to see her every moment, and carried her broth, and cared for the child; in short, this poor woman, as well as her husband, did everything she could to alleviate the poor queen, who tried to make them understand by signs what she needed. One day it came into Diana's head to look into her memorandum book and see how long she still had to keep silent, and she saw that only two minutes yet remained. As soon as they had passed, she told the scullion all that had happened. At that moment the king arrived, and the scullion drew the queen from out the hole, and showed her to the king. You can imagine how delighted he was to see again his Diana, whom he believed to be dead. He embraced her, and kissed her and the child; in short, such was his joy that it seemed as if he would go mad. Diana related everything to him: why she had left her home, and why she had played dumb so long, and finally how she had been treated by the queen-mother, and what she had suffered, and how kind those poor people had been to her. When he had heard all this, he said: "Leave the matter to me; I will arrange it."
The next day the king invited all the nobles and princes of his realm to a great banquet. Now it happened that in setting the tables the servants laid six plates besides the others; and when the guests sat down, six handsome youths entered, who advanced and asked what should be given to a sister who had done so and so for her brothers. Then the king sprang up and said: "And I ask what shall be done to a mother who did so and so to her son's wife?" and he explained everything. One said: "Burn her alive." Another: "Put her in the pillory." Another: "Fry her in oil in the public square." This was agreed to. The youths had been informed by that same old man whom Diana had met, and who was a magician, where their sister was and what she had done for them. Then they made themselves known, and embraced Diana and their brother-in-law the king, and after the greatest joy, they all started off to see their parents. Imagine the satisfaction of the king and queen at seeing again all their seven children. They gave the warmest reception to the king, Diana's husband, and after they had spent some days together, Diana returned with her husband to their city. And all lived there afterward in peace and contentment.20
We shall now turn our attention to another wide-spread story, which may be termed "The True Bride," although the Grimm story of that name is not a representative of it. One of the simplest versions is Grimm's "The Goose-Girl," in which a queen's daughter is betrothed to a king's son who lives far away. When the daughter grew up she was sent to the bridegroom, with a maid to wait upon her. On the journey the maid takes the place of the princess, who becomes a poor goose-girl. The true bride is of course discovered at last, and the false one duly punished. "The White and the Black Bride," of the same collection, is a more complicated version of the same theme. The first part is the story of two sisters (step-sisters) who receive different gifts from fairies, etc.; the second part, that of the brother who paints his sister's portrait, which the king sees and desires to marry the original. The sister is sent for, but on the journey the ugly step-sister pushes the bride into a river or the sea, and takes her place. The true bride is changed into a swan (or otherwise miraculously preserved), and at last resumes her lawful place. In the above stories the substitution of the false bride is the main incident in the story; but there are many other tales in which the same incident occurs, but it is subordinate to the others. Examples of this latter class will be given as soon as we reach the story of "The Forgotten Bride."
The first class mentioned is represented in Italy by two versions also. The first is composed of the two traits: "Two Sisters" and "True Bride"; the second, of "Brother who shows beautiful sister's portrait to king." This second version sometimes shows traces of the first. It is with this second version that we now have to do, as in it only is the substitution of the false bride the main incident. Examples of the first version will be found in the notes.21 The story we have selected to illustrate the second version of this story is from Florence (Nov. fior. p. 314), and is entitled:
XII. ORAGGIO AND BIANCHINETTA.
There was once a lady who had two children: the boy was called Oraggio, the girl, Bianchinetta. By misfortunes they were reduced from great wealth to poverty. It was decided that Oraggio should go out to service, and indeed he found a situation as valet de chambre to a prince. After a time the prince, satisfied with his service, changed it, and set him to work cleaning the pictures in his gallery. Among the various paintings was one of a very beautiful lady, which was constantly Oraggio's admiration. The prince often surprised him admiring the portrait. One day he asked him why he spent so much time before that picture. Oraggio replied that it was the very image of his sister, and having been away from her some time, he felt the need of seeing her again. The prince answered that he did not believe that picture resembled his sister, because he had a search made, and it had not been possible to find any lady like the portrait. He added: "Have her come here, and if she is as beautiful as you say, I will make her my wife."
Oraggio wrote at once to Bianchinetta, who immediately set out on her journey. Oraggio went to the harbor to await her, and when he perceived the ship at a distance, he called out at intervals: "Mariners of the high sea, guard my sister Bianchina, so that the sun shall not brown her." Now, on the ship where Bianchinetta was, was also another young girl with her mother, both very homely. When they were near the harbor, the daughter gave Bianchinetta a blow, and pushed her into the sea. When they landed, Oraggio could not recognize his sister; and that homely girl presented herself, saying that the sun had made her so dark that she could no longer be recognized. The prince was surprised at seeing such a homely woman, and reproved Oraggio, removing him from his position and setting him to watch the geese. Every day he led the geese to the sea, and every day Bianchinetta came forth and adorned them with tassels of various colors. When the geese returned home, they said:—
From the sea we come,
We feed on gold and pearls.
Oraggio's sister is fair,
She is fair as the sun;
She would suit our master well."
The prince asked Oraggio how the geese came to repeat those words everyday. He told him that his sister, thrown into the sea, had been seized by a fish, which had taken her to a beautiful palace under the water, where she was in chains. But that, attached to a long chain, she was permitted to come to the shore when he drove the geese there. The prince said: "If what you relate is true, ask her what is required to liberate her from that prison."
The next day Oraggio asked Bianchinetta how it would be possible to take her from there and conduct her to the prince. She replied: "It is impossible to take me from here. At least, the monster always says to me: 'It would require a sword that cuts like a hundred, and a horse that runs like the wind.' It is almost impossible to find these two things. You see, therefore, it is my fate to remain here always." Oraggio returned to the palace, and informed the prince of his sister's answer. The latter made every effort, and succeeded in finding the horse that ran like the wind, and the sword that cut like a hundred. They went to the sea, found Bianchinetta, who was awaiting them. She led them to her palace. With the sword the chain was cut. She mounted the horse, and thus was able to escape. When they reached the palace the prince found her as beautiful as the portrait Oraggio was always gazing at, and married her. The other homely one was burned in the public square, with the accustomed pitch-shirt; and they lived content and happy.22
We have already encountered the trait of "Thankful Animals," who assist the hero in return for kindness he has shown them. What is merely an incident in the stories above alluded to constitutes the main feature of a class of stories which may be termed "Animal Brothers-in-law." The usual formula in these stories is as follows: Three princes, transformed into animals, marry the hero's sisters. The hero visits them in turn; they assist him in the performance of difficult tasks, and are by him freed from their enchantment. This formula varies, of course. Sometimes there are but two sisters, and the brothers-in-law are freed from their enchantment in some other way than by the hero. A good specimen of this class is from the south of Italy, Basilicata (Comparetti, No. 20), and is called:
XIII. THE FAIR FIORITA.
There was once a king who had four children: three daughters and a son, who was the heir to the throne. One day the king said to the prince: "My son, I have decided to marry your three sisters to the first persons who pass our palace at noon." At that time there first passed a swine-herd, then a huntsman, and finally a grave-digger. The king had them all three summoned to his presence, and told the swine-herd that he wished to give him his oldest daughter for a wife, the second to the huntsman, and the third to the grave-digger. Those poor creatures thought they were dreaming. But they saw that the king spoke seriously, or rather commanded. Then, all confused, but well pleased, they said: "Let your Majesty's will be done." The prince, who loved his youngest sister dearly, was deeply grieved that she should become a grave-digger's wife. He begged the king not to make this match, but the king would not listen to him.
The prince, grieved at his father's caprice, would not be present at his sisters' wedding, but took a walk in the garden at the foot of the palace. Now, while the priest in the marriage hall was blessing the three brides, the garden suddenly bloomed with the fairest flowers, and there came forth from a white cloud a voice which said: "Happy he who shall have a kiss from the lips of the fair Fiorita!" The prince trembled so that he could hardly stand; and afterward, leaning against an olive-tree, he began to weep for the sisters he had lost, and remained buried in thought many hours. Then he started, as if awakening from a dream, and said to himself: "I must flee from my father's house. I will wander about the world, and will not rest until I have a kiss from the lips of the fair Fiorita."
He travelled over land and sea, over mountains and plains, and found no living soul that could give him word of the fair Fiorita. Three years had elapsed, when one day, leaving a wood and journeying through a beautiful plain, he arrived at a palace before which was a fountain, and drew near to drink. A child two years old, who was playing by the fountain, seeing him approach, began to cry and call its mother. The mother, when she saw the prince, ran to meet him, embraced him, and kissed him, crying: "Welcome, welcome, my brother!" The prince at first did not recognize her; but looking at her closely in the face, he saw that it was his oldest sister, and embracing her in turn, exclaimed: "How glad I am to see you, my sister!" and they rejoiced greatly. The sister invited him to enter the palace, which was hers, and led him to her husband, who was much pleased to see him, and all three overwhelmed with caresses the child who, by calling his mother, had been the cause of all that joy.
The prince then asked about his other two sisters, and his brother-in-law replied that they were well, and lived in a lordly way with their husbands. The prince was surprised, and his brother-in-law added that the fortunes of the three husbands of his sisters had changed since they had been enchanted by a magician. "And cannot I see my other two sisters?" asked the prince. The brother-in-law replied: "Direct your journey towards sunrise. After a day you will find your second sister; after two days, the third." "But I must seek the way to the fair Fiorita, and I do not know whether it is towards sunrise or sunset." "It is precisely towards sunrise; and you are doubly fortunate: first, because you will see your two sisters again; secondly, because from the last you can receive information about the fair Fiorita. But before departing I wish to give you a remembrance. Take these hog's bristles. The first time you encounter any danger from which you cannot extricate yourself, throw them on the ground, and I will free you from the danger." The prince took the bristles, and after he had thanked his brother-in-law, resumed his journey.
The next day he arrived at the palace of his second sister; was received there also with great joy, and this brother-in-law, too, wished to give him a memento before he departed; and because he had been a huntsman, presented him with a bunch of birds' feathers, telling him the same thing that the other brother-in-law had. He thanked him and departed. The third day he came to his youngest sister's, who, seeing the brother who had always loved her more dearly than his other sisters, welcomed him more warmly, as did also her husband. The latter gave him a little human bone, giving him the same advice as the other brothers-in-law had. His sister then told him that the fair Fiorita lived a day's journey from there, and that he could learn more about her from an old woman who was indebted to her, and to whom she sent him.
As soon as the prince arrived at the fair Fiorita's country (she was the king's daughter), he went to the old woman. When she heard that he was the brother of the one who had been so kind to her, she received him like a son. Fortunately, the old woman's house was exactly opposite that side of the king's palace where there was a window to which the fair Fiorita came every day at dawn. Now one morning at that hour she appeared at the window, scarcely covered by a white veil. When the prince saw that flower of beauty, he was so agitated that he would have fallen had not the old woman supported him. The old woman attempted to dissuade him from the idea of marrying the fair Fiorita, saying that the king would give his daughter only to him who should discover a hidden place, and that he killed him who could not find it, and that already many princes had lost their lives for her. But, notwithstanding, he answered that he should die if he could not obtain possession of the fair Fiorita. Having learned afterward from the old woman that the king bought for his daughter the rarest musical instruments, hear what he devised! He went to a cymbal-maker and said: "I want a cymbal that will play three tunes, and each tune to last a day, and to be made in such a way that a man can be hidden inside of it; and I will pay you a thousand ducats for it. When it is finished I will get in it; and you must go and play it in front of the king's palace; and if the king wishes to buy it you will sell it to him on condition that you shall take it every three days to fix it." The cymbal-maker consented, and did all that the prince commanded him. The king purchased the cymbal with the maker's condition, had it carried to his daughter's bed-chamber, and said to her: "See, my daughter, I do not wish you to lack any diversion, even when you are in bed and cannot sleep."
Next to the fair Fiorita's chamber slept her maids of honor. In the night when all were asleep, the prince, who was hidden in the cymbal, came out and called: "Fair Fiorita! fair Fiorita!" She awoke in a fright and cried: "Come, my maids of honor, I hear some one calling me." The maids of honor came quickly, but found no one, for the prince hid himself suddenly in the instrument. The same thing happened twice, and the maids coming and finding no one, the fair Fiorita said: "Well, it must be my fancy. If I call you again, do not come, I command you." The prince, within the cymbal, heard this. Scarcely had the maids of honor fallen asleep again, when the prince approached the fair one's bed and said: "Fair Fiorita, give me, I beg you, a kiss from your lips; if you do not, I shall die." She, all trembling, called her maids; but obeying her command, they did not come. Then she said to the prince: "You are fortunate and have won. Draw near." And she gave him the kiss, and on the prince's lips there remained a beautiful rose. "Take this rose," she said, "and keep it on your heart, for it will bring you good luck." The prince placed it on his heart, and then told his fair one all his history from the time he had left his father's palace until he had introduced himself into her chamber by the trick with the cymbal. The fair Fiorita was well pleased, and said that she would willingly marry him; but to succeed, he must perform many difficult tasks which the king would lay upon him. First he must discover the way to a hiding-place where the king had concealed her with a hundred damsels; then he must recognize her among the hundred damsels, all dressed alike and veiled. "But," she said, "you need not trouble yourself about these difficulties, for the rose you have taken from my lips, and which you will always wear over your heart, will draw you like the loadstone, first to the hiding-place, and afterward to my arms. But the king will set you other tasks, and perhaps terrible ones. These you must think of yourself. Let us leave it to God and fortune."
The prince went at once to the king, and asked for the fair Fiorita's hand. The king did not refuse it, but made the same conditions that the princess had told him of. He consented, and by the help of the rose quickly performed the first tasks. "Bravo!" exclaimed the king, when the prince recognized the fair Fiorita among the other damsels; "but this is not enough." Then he shut him up in a large room all full of fruit, and commanded him, under pain of death, to eat it all up in a day. The prince was in despair, but fortunately he remembered the hog's bristles and the advice which his first brother-in-law had given him. He threw the bristles on the ground, and there suddenly came forth a great herd of swine which ate up all the fruit and then disappeared. This task was accomplished. But the king proposed another. He wished the prince to retire with his bride, and cause her to fall asleep at the singing of the birds which are the sweetest to hear and the most beautiful to see. The prince remembered the bunch of feathers given him by his brother-in-law the huntsman, and threw them on the ground. Suddenly there appeared the most beautiful birds in the world, and sang so sweetly that the king himself fell asleep. But a servant awakened him at once, because he had commanded it, and he said to the prince and his daughter: "Now you can enjoy your love at liberty. But to-morrow, on arising, you must present me with a child two years old, who can speak and call you by name. If not, you will both be killed." "Now let us retire, my dear wife," said the prince to the fair Fiorita. "Between now and to-morrow some saint will aid us." The next morning the prince remembered the bone which his brother-in-law the grave-digger had given him. He rose and threw it to the ground, and lo! a beautiful child, with a golden apple in his right hand, who cried papa and mamma. The king entered the room, and the child ran to meet him, and wished to put the golden apple on the crown which the king wore. The king then kissed the child, blessed the pair, and taking the crown from his head, put it on his son-in-law's, saying: "This is now yours." Then they gave a great feast at the court for the wedding, and they invited the prince's three sisters, with their husbands. And the prince's father, receiving such good news of the son whom he believed lost, hastened to embrace him, and gave him his crown too. So the prince and the fair Fiorita became king and queen of two realms, and from that time on were always happy.23
In the above story the wife is won by the performance of difficult tasks by the suitor. A somewhat similar class of stories is the one in which the bride is won by the solution of a riddle. The riddle, or difficult question, is either proposed by the bride herself, and the suitor who fails to answer it is killed, or the suitor is obliged to propose one himself, and if the bride fails to solve it, she marries him; if she succeeds, the suitor is killed. The first of the above two forms is found in three Italian stories, two of which resemble each other quite closely.
In the Pentamerone (I. 5, "The Flea"), the King of High-Hill, "being bitten by a flea, caught him by a wonderful feat of dexterity; and seeing how handsome and stately he was, he could not in conscience pass sentence on him upon the bed of his nail. So he put him into a bottle, and feeding him every day with the blood of his own arm, the little beast grew at such a rate that at the end of seven months it was necessary to shift his quarters, for he was grown bigger than a sheep. When the king saw this, he had him flayed, and the skin dressed. Then he issued a proclamation, that whoever could tell to what animal this skin had belonged should have his daughter to wife." The question is answered by an ogre, to whom the king gives his daughter rather than break his promise. The hapless wife is afterward rescued by an old woman's seven sons, who possess remarkable gifts. In Gonz. (No. 22, "The Robber who had a Witch's Head"), a king with three daughters fattens a louse and nails its skin over the door as in the Pentamerone. A robber, who had a witch's head that told him everything he wanted to know, answers the question, and receives in marriage the king's eldest daughter. He takes her home and leaves her alone for a time, and on his return learns from the witch's head that his wife has reviled him. He kills her and marries the second sister, whom he kills for the same reason, and marries the youngest. She is more discreet, and the witch's head can only praise her. One day she finds the head and throws it in the oven; and the robber, whose life was in some way connected with it, died. The wife then anointed her sisters with a life-giving salve, and all three returned to their father's house, and afterward married three handsome princes. The third story, from the Tyrol (Schneller, No. 31, "The Devil's Wife"), is connected with the Bluebeard story which will be mentioned later. A king and queen had an only daughter, who was very pretty and fond of dress. One day she found a louse; and as she did not know what kind of an animal it was, she ran to her mother and asked her. Her mother told her and said: "Shut the louse up in a box and feed it. As soon as it is very large, we will have a pair of gloves made of its skin; these we will exhibit, and whoever of your suitors guesses from the skin of what animal they are made, shall be your husband." The successful suitor is no other than the Devil, who takes his wife home and forbids her to open a certain room. One day, while he is absent, she opens the door of the forbidden chamber, and sees from the flames and condemned souls who her husband is. She is so frightened that she becomes ill, but manages to send word to her father by means of a carrier-pigeon. The king sets out with many brave men to deliver her; on the way he meets three men who possess wonderful gifts (far seeing, sharp ear, great strength), and with their aid rescues his daughter.
More frequently, however, this class of stories turns on a riddle proposed by the suitor himself, and which the bride is unable to solve.
The following story, which illustrates the latter version, is from Istria (Ive, 1877, p. 13), and is entitled:
Once upon a time there was a mother who had a son, who went to school. One day he came home and said to his mother: "Mother, I want to go and seek my fortune." She replied: "Ah, my son, are you mad? Where do you want to seek it?" "I want to wander about the world until I find it." Now he had a dog whose name was Bierde. He said: "To-morrow morning bake me some bread, put it into a bag, give me a pair of iron shoes, and I and Bierde will go and seek our fortune." His mother said: "No, my son, don't go, for I shall not see you again!" And she wept him as dead. After she was quieted she said to him: "Well, if you will go, to-morrow I will bake you some bread, and I will make you a bread-cake." She made the bread-cake, and put some poison in it; she put the bread and the bread-cake in the bag, and he went away. He walked and walked and walked until he felt hungry, and said to the dog: "Ah, poor Bierde, how tired you are, and how hungry, too! Wait until we have gone a little farther, and then we will eat." He went on, tired as he was, and at last seated himself under a tree, with the dog near him. He said: "Oh, here we are; now we will eat. Wait, Bierde; I will give you a piece of the bread-cake so that you, too, can eat." He broke off a piece of the cake, and gave it to him to eat. The dog was so hungry that he ate it greedily. After he had eaten it he took two or three turns, and fell dead on the ground, with his tongue sticking out. "Ah, poor Bierde!" said his master. "You have been poisoned! My mother has done it! The wretch! She has put poison in the cake in order to kill me!" He kept weeping and saying: "Poor Bierde, you are dead, but you have saved my life!" While he was weeping three crows passed, alighted, and pecked at the tongue of the dog, and all three died. Then he said: "Well, well! Bierde dead has killed three crows! I will take them with me." So he took them and continued his journey. He saw at a distance a large fire; he approached and heard talking and singing, and beheld seven highwaymen, who had eaten a great many birds, and who had a great deal of meat still left. He said to himself: "Poor me! Now I shall have to die; there is no escape; they will certainly take me and kill me!" Then he said: "Enough; I will go ahead." As soon as they saw him they cried: "Stop! Your money or your life!" The poor fellow said: "Brothers, what would you have me give you? Money I have not. I am very hungry. I have nothing but these three birds. If you want them I will give them to you." "Very well," they said; "eat and drink; we will eat the birds." They took the birds, picked them, skinned them, roasted them over the coals, and said to the youth: "We will not give you any of these; you can eat the others." They ate them, and all seven fell down dead. When the youth saw that they did not stir, but were dead, he said: "Well, well! Bierde dead has killed three, and these three have killed seven!" He rose and went away after he had made a good meal. On the way he felt hungry again, and sat down under a tree, and began to eat. When he got up he saw a beautiful canary-bird on the top of another tree. He took up a stone and threw at it. The bird flew away. Now, behind this tree was a hare, big with young, and it happened that the stone fell on it and killed it. The youth went to see where the stone fell, and when he saw the dead hare he said: "Well, well! I threw it at the canary-bird and the stone killed the hare! I will take it with me. If I had the fire that those robbers left I would cook it." He went on until he came to a church, in which he found a lighted lamp and a missal. So he skinned the hare, and made a fire with the missal, and roasted and ate the hare. Then he continued his journey until he came to the foot of a mountain, where the sea was. On the shore he saw two persons with a boat, who ferried over those who wished to reach the other shore, because one could not go on foot on account of the great dust, which was suffocating. The price for crossing was three soldi. The youth said to the owners of the bark: "How much do you want to set me down on the other bank?" "Three soldi." "Take me across, brothers; I will give you two, for I have no more." They replied: "Two do not enter if there are not three." He repeated his offer and they made the same answer. Then he said: "Very well. I will stay here." And he remained there. In a moment, however, there came up a shower, and laid the dust, and he went on. He reached a city, and found it in great confusion. He asked: "What is the matter here, that there are so many people?" They answered: "It is the governor's daughter, who guesses everything. He whose riddle she cannot guess is to marry her; but he whose riddle she guesses is put to death." He asked: "Could I, too, go there?" "What, you go, who are a foolish boy! So many students have abstained, and you, so ignorant, wish to go! You will certainly go to your death!" "Well," he said, "my mother told me that she would never see me again, so I will go." He presented himself to the governor and said: "Sir governor, I wish to go to your daughter and see whether she can guess what I have to tell her." "Do you wish," he replied, "to go to your death? So many have lost their lives, do you, also, wish to lose yours?" He answered: "Let me go and try." He wished to go and see for himself. He entered the hall where the daughter was. The governor summoned many gentlemen to hear. When they were all there the governor again said that the youth should reflect that if she guessed what he had to say that he would lose his life. He replied that he had thought of that. The room was full of persons of talent, and the youth presented himself and said:—
"Bierde dead has killed three."
She said to herself: "How can it be that one dead should kill three?"
"And three have killed seven."
She said: "Here is nothing but dead and killed; what shall I do?" She was puzzled at once, and felt herself perplexed. He continued:—
"I threw where I saw, and reached where I did not expect to.
I have eaten that which was born, and that which was not born.
It was cooked with words.
Two do not enter if there are not three;
But the hard passes over the soft."
When she heard this the governor's daughter could not answer. All the others were astonished likewise, and said that she must marry him. Then he told them all that had happened, and the marriage took place.24
We shall now direct our attention to a class of stories found in all lands, and which may, from one of its most important episodes, be called "The Forgotten Bride." In the ordinary version, the hero, in consequence of some imprecation, sets out in search of the heroine, who is either the daughter or in the custody of ogre or ogress. The hero, by the help of the heroine, performs difficult tasks imposed upon him by her father or mother, etc., and finally elopes with her. The pursuit of father or mother, etc., is avoided by magic obstacles raised in their way, or by transformations of the fugitives. The hero leaves his bride, to prepare his parents to receive her; but at a kiss, usually from his mother, he entirely forgets his bride until she recalls herself to his memory, and they are both united. The trait of difficult tasks performed by the hero is sometimes omitted, as well as flight with magic obstacles or transformations. All the episodes of the above story, down to the forgetting bride at mother's kiss, are found in many stories; notably in the class "True Bride," already mentioned.
A Sicilian story (Pitrè, No. 13) will best illustrate this class. It is entitled:
There was once a king and queen who had no son, and they were always making vows to obtain one; and they promised that if they had a son, or even a daughter, they would maintain two fountains for seven years: one running wine, the other oil. After this vow the queen gave birth to a handsome boy.
As soon as the child was born, the two fountains were erected, and everybody went and took oil and wine. At the end of seven years the fountains began to dry up. An ogress, wishing to collect the drops that still fell from the fountain, went there with a sponge and pitcher. She sopped up the drops with the sponge and then squeezed it in the pitcher. After she had worked so hard to fill this pitcher, the little son of the king, who was playing ball, from caprice threw a ball and broke the pitcher. When the old woman saw this, she said: "Listen. I can do nothing to you, for you are the king's son; but I can bestow upon you an imprecation: May you be unable to marry until you find Snow-white-fire-red!" The cunning child took a piece of paper and wrote down the old woman's words, put it away in a drawer, and said nothing about it. When he was eighteen the king and queen wished him to marry. Then he remembered the old woman's imprecation, took the piece of paper, and said: "Ah! if I do not find Snow-white-fire-red I cannot marry!" When it seemed fit, he took leave of his father and mother, and began his journey entirely alone. Months passed without meeting any one. One evening, night overtook him, tired and discouraged, in a plain in the midst of which was a large house.
At daybreak he saw an ogress coming, frightfully tall and stout, who cried: "Snow-white-fire-red, lower your tresses for me to climb up!" When the prince heard this he took heart, and said: "There she is!" Snow-white-fire-red lowered her tresses, which seemed never to end, and the ogress climbed up by them. The next day the ogress descended, and when the prince saw her depart, he came from under the tree where he had concealed himself, and cried: "Snow-white-fire-red, lower your tresses for me to climb up!" She, believing it was her mother (for she called the ogress mother), lowered her tresses, and the prince climbed boldly up. When he was up, he said: "Ah! my dear little sister, how I have labored to find you!" And he told her of the old woman's imprecation when he was seven years old.
She gave him some refreshments, and then said: "You see, if the ogress returns and finds you here, she will devour you. Hide yourself." The ogress returned, and the prince concealed himself.
After the ogress had eaten, her daughter gave her wine to drink, and made her drunk. Then she said: "My mother, what must I do to get away from here? Not that I want to go, for I wish to stay with you; but I want to know just out of curiosity. Tell me!" "What you must do to get away from here!" said the ogress. "You must enchant everything that there is here, so that I shall lose time. I shall call, and instead of you, the chair, the cupboard, the chest of drawers, will answer for you. When you do not appear, I will ascend. You must take the seven balls of yarn that I have laid away. When I come and do not find you, I shall pursue you; when you see yourself pursued, throw down the first ball, and then the others. I shall always overtake you until you throw down the last ball."
Her daughter heard all that she said, and remembered it. The next day the ogress went out, and Snow-white-fire-red and the prince did what they had to do. They went about the whole house, saying: "Table, you answer if my mother comes; chairs, answer if my mother comes; chest of drawers, answer if my mother comes;" and so she enchanted the whole house. Then she and the prince departed in such a hurry that they seemed to fly. When the ogress returned, she called: "Snow-white-fire-red, let down your tresses that I may climb up!" The table answered: "Come, come, mother!" She waited a while, and when no one appeared to draw her up, she called again: "Snow-white-fire-red, lower your tresses for me to climb up!" The chair answered: "Come, come, mother!" She waited a while, but no one appeared; then she called again, and the chest of drawers replied: "Come, come, mother!" Meanwhile the lovers were fleeing. When there was nothing left to answer, the ogress cried out: "Treason! treason!" Then she got a ladder and climbed up. When she saw that her daughter and the balls of yarn were gone, she cried; "Ah, wretch! I will drink your blood!" Then she hastened after the fugitives, following their scent. They saw her afar off, and when she saw them, she cried: "Snow-white-fire-red, turn around so that I can see you." (If she had turned around she would have been enchanted.)
When the ogress had nearly overtaken them, Snow-white-fire-red threw down the first ball, and suddenly there arose a lofty mountain. The ogress was not disturbed; she climbed and climbed until she almost overtook the two again. Then Snow-white-fire-red, seeing her near at hand, threw down the second ball, and there suddenly appeared a plain covered with razors and knives. The ogress, all cut and torn, followed after the lovers, dripping with blood.
When Snow-white-fire-red saw her near again, she threw down the third ball, and there arose a terrible river. The ogress threw herself into the river and continued her pursuit, although she was half dead. Then another ball, and there appeared a fountain of vipers, and many other things. At last, dying and worn out, the ogress stopped and cursed Snow-white-fire-red, saying: "The first kiss that the queen gives her son, may the prince forget you!" Then the ogress could stand it no longer, and died in great anguish.
The lovers continued their journey, and came to a town near where the prince lived. He said to Snow-white-fire-red: "You remain here, for you are not provided with proper clothes, and I will go and get what you need, and then you can appear before my father and mother." She consented, and remained.
When the queen beheld her son, she threw herself on him to kiss him. "Mother," said he, "I have made a vow not to allow myself to be kissed." The poor mother was petrified. At night, while he was asleep, his mother, who was dying to kiss him, went and did so. From that moment he forgot all about Snow-white-fire-red.
Let us leave the prince with his mother, and return to the poor girl, who was left in the street without knowing where she was. An old woman met her, and saw the poor girl, as beautiful as the sun, weeping. "What is the matter, my daughter?" "I do not know how I came here!" "My daughter, do not despair; come with me." And she took her to her house. The young girl was deft with her hands, and could work enchantment. She made things, and the old woman sold them, and so they both lived. One day the maiden said to the old woman that she wanted two bits of old cloth from the palace for some work she had to do. The old woman went to the palace, and began to ask for the bits, and said so much that at last she obtained them. Now the old woman had two doves, a male and a female, and with these bits of cloth Snow-white-fire-red dressed the doves so prettily that all who saw them marvelled. The young girl took these doves, and whispered in their ears: "You are the prince, and you are Snow-white-fire-red. The king is at the table, eating; fly and relate all that you have undergone."
While the king, queen, prince, and many others were at the table, the beautiful doves flew in and alighted on the table. "How beautiful you are!" And all were greatly pleased. Then the dove which represented Snow-white-fire-red began: "Do you remember when you were young how your father promised a fountain of oil and one of wine for your birth?" The other dove answered: "Yes, I remember." "Do you remember the old woman whose pitcher of oil you broke? do you remember?" "Yes, I remember." "Do you remember the imprecation she pronounced on you,—that you could not marry until you found Snow-white-fire-red?" "I remember," replied the other dove. In short, the first dove recalled all that had passed, and finally said: "Do you remember how you had the ogress at your heels, and how she cursed you, saying that at your mother's first kiss you must forget Snow-white-fire-red?" When the dove came to the kiss, the prince remembered everything, and the king and queen were astounded at hearing the doves speak.
When they had ended their discourse, the doves made a low bow and flew away. The prince cried: "Ho, there! ho, there! see where those doves go! see where they go!" The servants looked and saw the doves alight on a country house. The prince hastened and entered it, and found Snow-white-fire-red. When he saw her he threw his arms about her neck, exclaiming: "Ah! my sister, how much you have suffered for me!" Straightway they dressed her beautifully and conducted her to the palace. When the queen saw her there, she said: "What a beauty!" Things were soon settled and the lovers were married.25
As we have remarked above, this story is often found incomplete, the ending—"forgetfulness of bride"—being wanting.
Several of these versions are from Milan (Nov. fior. pp. 411, 415, 417). In the first, "The King of the Sun," a trait occurs that is of some interest. The hero plays billiards with the King of the Sun and wins his daughter. He goes in search of his bride, and at last finds an old man who tells him where the King of the Sun lives, and adds: "In a wood near by is a pond where, in the afternoon, the king's three daughters bathe. Go and carry away their clothes; and when they come and ask for them give them back on condition that they will take you to their father." The hero does as he is told, is taken to the king, and obliged to choose his bride from among the three, with his eyes blindfolded. The remainder of the story consists of the usual flight, with the transformations of the lovers. The incident of the maidens who bathe, and whose clothes the hero steals, is clearly an example of the Swan-maiden myth, and occurs in a few other Italian tales. In a story from the North of Italy (Monferrato, Comparetti, No. 50), "The Isle of Happiness," a poor boy goes to seek his fortune. He encounters an old man who tells him that fortune appears but once in a hundred years, and if not taken then, never is. He adds that this is the very time for fortune to appear—that day or the next—and advises the youth to hide himself in a wood near the bank of a stream, and when three beautiful girls come and bathe, to carry away the clothes of the middle one. He does so, and compels the owner (who is none other than Fortune) to marry him. By his mother's fault he loses his bride, as in the Cupid and Psyche stories, and is obliged to go in search of her to the Isle of Happiness. The same incident occurs in several Sicilian stories. In one (Pitrè, No. 50, "Give me the Veil!") the hero, a poor youth, goes in search of his fortune as in the last story, and meets an old woman who tells him to go to a certain fountain, where twelve doves will come to drink and become twelve maidens "as beautiful as the sun, with veils over their faces," and advises the youth to seize the veil of the most beautiful girl and keep it; for if she obtains it she will become a dove again. The youth does as he is commanded, and takes his wife home, giving the veil to his mother to keep for him. She gives it to the wife, who becomes a dove again, and disappears. The same thing happens twice; the third time the veil is burned, and the wife, who turns out to be the enchanted daughter of the king of Spain, remains with her husband.26
There yet remains a large and interesting class of stories to be examined. The class may conveniently be termed "Bluebeard," although, as we shall see, there are three versions of this story, to only one of which the above name properly belongs. These three versions are well represented by the three Grimm stories of "The Feather Bird" (No. 46), "The Robber Bridegroom" (No. 40), and "The Wood-cutter's Child (No. 3). In the first version, which is, properly speaking, the Bluebeard story, two sisters are married in turn and killed by their husband, because they open the forbidden chamber. The youngest sister, although she opens the forbidden door, manages to escape and deliver her sisters, whom she restores to life. In the second version a robber marries several sisters, whom he kills for disobeying his commands (the trait of forbidden chamber is usually wanting); the youngest sister again manages to escape and restores her dead sisters to life. Generally in this version the husband makes a desperate effort to be revenged on the sister who has escaped from him, but fails in this also. In the third version a young girl is under the guardianship of some supernatural being, who forbids her to open a certain door. The child disobeys, denies her fault, and is sent away in disgrace; she afterward marries and her children are taken from her one by one until she confesses her fault, or, as is the case in an Italian version, persists in her denial to the very end. We shall examine these three versions separately, and first give an example of the first, or Bluebeard, class. It is from Venice (Widter-Wolf, No. 11, Jahrb. VII. 148), and is entitled:
XVI. HOW THE DEVIL MARRIED THREE SISTERS.
Once upon a time the Devil was seized with a desire to marry. He therefore left hell, took the form of a handsome young man, and built a fine large house. When it was completed and furnished in the most fashionable style, he introduced himself to a family where there were three pretty daughters, and paid his addresses to the eldest of them. The handsome man pleased the maiden, her parents were glad to see a daughter so well provided for, and it was not long before the wedding was celebrated.
When he had taken his bride home, he presented her with a very tastefully arranged bouquet, led her through all the rooms of the house, and finally to a closed door. "The whole house is at your disposal," said he, "only I must request one thing of you; that is, that you do not on any account open this door."
Of course the young wife promised faithfully; but equally, of course, she could scarcely wait for the moment to come when she might break her promise. When the Devil had left the house the next morning, under pretence of going hunting, she ran hastily to the forbidden door, opened it, and saw a terrible abyss full of fire that shot up towards her, and singed the flowers on her bosom. When her husband came home and asked her whether she had kept her promise, she unhesitatingly said "Yes;" but he saw by the flowers that she was telling a lie, and said: "Now I will not put your curiosity to the test any longer. Come with me. I will show you myself what is behind the door." Thereupon he led her to the door, opened it, gave her such a push that she fell down into hell, and shut the door again.
A few months after he wooed the next sister for his wife, and won her; but with her everything that had happened with the first wife was exactly repeated.
Finally he courted the third sister. She was a prudent maiden, and said to herself: "He has certainly murdered my two sisters; but then it is a splendid match for me, so I will try and see whether I cannot be more fortunate than they." And accordingly she consented. After the wedding the bridegroom gave her a beautiful bouquet, but forbade her, also, to open the door which he pointed out.
Not a whit less curious than her sisters, she, too, opened the forbidden door when the Devil had gone hunting, but she had previously put her flowers in water. Then she saw behind the door the fatal abyss and her sisters therein. "Ah!" she exclaimed, "poor creature that I am; I thought I had married an ordinary man, and instead of that he is the Devil! How can I get away from him?" She carefully pulled her two sisters out of hell and hid them. When the Devil came home he immediately looked at the bouquet, which she again wore on her bosom, and when he found the flowers so fresh he asked no questions; but reassured as to his secret, he now, for the first time, really loved her.
After a few days she asked him if he would carry three chests for her to her parents' house, without putting them down or resting on the way. "But," she added, "you must keep your word, for I shall be watching you." The Devil promised to do exactly as she wished. So the next morning she put one of her sisters in a chest, and laid it on her husband's shoulders. The Devil, who is very strong, but also very lazy and unaccustomed to work, soon got tired of carrying the heavy chest, and wanted to rest before he was out of the street on which he lived; but his wife called out to him: "Don't put it down; I see you!" The Devil went reluctantly on with the chest until he had turned the corner, and then said to himself: "She cannot see me here; I will rest a little." But scarcely had he begun to put the chest down when the sister inside cried out: "Don't put it down; I see you still!" Cursing, he dragged the chest on into another street, and was going to lay it down on a doorstep, but he again heard the voice: "Don't lay it down, you rascal; I see you still!" "What kind of eyes must my wife have," he thought, "to see around corners as well as straight ahead, and through walls as if they were made of glass!" and thus thinking he arrived, all in a perspiration and quite tired out, at the house of his mother-in-law, to whom he hastily delivered the chest, and then hurried home to strengthen himself with a good breakfast.
The same thing was repeated the next day with the second chest. On the third day she herself was to be taken home in the chest. She therefore prepared a figure which she dressed in her own clothes, and placed on the balcony, under the pretext of being able to watch him better; slipped quickly into the chest, and had the maid put it on the Devil's back. "The deuce!" said he; "this chest is a great deal heavier than the others; and to-day, when she is sitting on the balcony, I shall have so much the less chance to rest." So by dint of the greatest exertions he carried it, without stopping, to his mother-in-law, and then hastened home to breakfast, scolding, and with his back almost broken. But quite contrary to custom, his wife did not come out to meet him, and there was no breakfast ready. "Margerita, where are you?" he cried; but received no answer. As he was running through the corridors he at length looked out of a window, and saw the figure on the balcony. "Margerita, have you gone to sleep? Come down. I am as tired as a dog, and as hungry as a wolf." But there was no reply. "If you do not come down instantly I will go up and bring you down," he cried, angrily; but Margerita did not stir. Enraged, he hastened up to the balcony, and gave her such a box on the ear that her head flew off, and he saw that the head was nothing but a milliner's form, and the body, a bundle of rags. Raging, he rushed down and rummaged through the whole house, but in vain; he found only his wife's empty jewel-box. "Ha!" he cried; "she has been stolen from me, and her jewels, too!" and he immediately ran to inform her parents of the misfortune. But when he came near the house, to his great surprise he saw on the balcony above the door all three sisters, his wives, who were looking down on him with scornful laughter.
Three wives at once terrified the Devil so much that he took his flight with all possible speed.
Since that time he has lost his taste for marrying.27
We have already mentioned, in the class of "Bride Won by Solving Riddle," the story in Gonzenbach of "The Robber who had a Witch's Head." In this story, after the robber has married the first princess, he takes her home, and learns from the witch's head, which hangs over the window in a basket, what his wife says of him in his absence. The counterpart of the witch's head is found in several very curious Italian stories. In these a magician is substituted for the robber, and marries, in the same way, several sisters. In the version in Gonzenbach, No. 23 ("The Story of Ohimè"), Ohimè, the magician, leaves his wife for a few days, and before he goes gives her a human bone, telling her she must eat it before his return. The wife throws the bone away; but when the magician returns he calls out: "Bone, where are you?" "Here I am." "Come here, then." Then the bone came, and the magician murdered his wife because she had not done her duty. The second sister is married and killed in the same way. Then the youngest becomes the magician's bride. In her perplexity and grief at her husband's command to eat a human arm during his absence, she invokes her mother's spirit, which tells her to burn the arm to a coal, powder it, and bind it about her body. When the magician returns and asks the arm where it is, it replies: "In Maruzza's body." Then her husband trusted her, and treated her kindly, showing her, among other things, a closet containing flasks of salve which restored the dead to life. He forbade her, however, to open a certain door. Maruzza could not restrain her curiosity, and the first opportunity she had she opened the door, and found in the room a handsome young prince murdered. She restored him to life, heard his story, and then killed him again, so that her husband would not notice it. Then she extracted from her husband the secret of his life: "I cannot be killed, but if any one sticks a branch of this herb in my ears I shall fall asleep, and not wake up again." Maruzza, of course, throws her husband, as soon as possible, into this magic sleep, restores the prince, flies with him, and marries him.
Some years after, the branch in the magician's ears withered and fell out, and he awakened. Then he desired to be revenged, and travelled about until he found where his wife lived. Then he had a silver statue made in which he could conceal himself, and in which he placed some musical instruments. He shut himself up in it, and had himself and the statue taken to the palace where Maruzza and her husband lived. In the night, when all were asleep, the magician came out of the statue, carried Maruzza to the kitchen, kindled a fire, and put on some oil to boil, into which he intended to throw poor Maruzza. But just as he was about to do it, the flask which he had laid on the king's bed, and which had thrown him into a magic sleep, rolled off, and the king awoke, heard Maruzza's cries, saved her, and threw the magician into the boiling oil. In spite of his assurances he seems to have been very thoroughly killed.28
A Florentine story (Nov. fior. p. 290), called "The Baker's Three Daughters," is a combination of the Bluebeard and Robber Bridegroom stories. The husband forbids his wife to open a certain door with a gold key, saying: "You cannot deceive me; the little dog will tell me; and, besides, I will leave you a bouquet of flowers, which you must give me on my return, and which will wither if you enter that room." The two sisters yield to their curiosity, and are killed. The third sister kills the treacherous little dog, delivers the prince, as in the last story, flies with him, and the story ends much as the last does. In a Milanese version of this story, with the same title (Nov. fior. p. 298), the robber bridegroom takes his wife home, and informs her that it is her duty to watch at night, and open the door to the robbers when they return. The poor wife falls asleep, and is murdered. So with the second sister. The third remains awake, rescues the prince, and flies with him. The rest of the story is as above.
Of the third version of the Bluebeard story there are but two Italian examples: one from Sicily (Gonz. No. 20), and one from Pisa (Comparetti, No. 38). The former is entitled "The Godchild of St. Francis of Paula," and is, briefly, as follows: A queen, through the intercession of St. Francis of Paula, has a girl, whom she names Pauline, from the saint. The saint is in the habit of meeting the child on her way to school, and giving her candy. One day the saint tells her to ask her mother whether it is best to suffer in youth or old age. The mother replies that it is better to suffer in youth. Thereupon the saint carries away Pauline, and shuts her up in a tower, climbing up and down by her tresses, as in other stories we have already mentioned. In the tower the saint instructed Pauline in all that belonged to her rank. One day a king climbs up by the hair, and persuades Pauline to fly with him. She consents and becomes his bride. When her first child was born St. Francis came and took it away, rubbed the mother's mouth with blood, and deprived her of speech. Three times this happened, and then the queen was repudiated and confined in a remote room, where she spent her time in praying to St. Francis.
Meanwhile the queen-mother arranged another marriage for her son; but during the banquet the saint brought Pauline royal robes, and restored her three children to her. Then he led all four to the banquet-hall, and the happy family lived thereafter in peace and happpines.
The "forbidden chamber" is omitted in the above version, but is found in the Pisan story, "The Woodman." The main idea of the story, however, is curiously distorted. A woodman had three daughters whom he cannot support. One day a lady met him in the wood, and offered to take one of his daughters for a companion, giving him a purse of money, and assuring him that he would always find enough wood. The lady took her home, and told her she must not open a certain door during her absence. The girl did so, however, and saw her mistress in a bath, with two damsels reading a book. She closed the door at once; but when the mistress returned and asked her whether she had disobeyed, and what she had seen, she confessed her fault, and told what she saw. Then the lady cut her head off, hung it by the hair to a beam, and buried the body.
The same thing happened to the second sister, who opened the door, and saw the lady sitting at a table with gentlemen. The lady killed her, too, and then took the third sister, who, in spite of having seen her two sisters' heads, could not control her curiosity, and opened the door. She saw her mistress reclining in a beautiful bed. In the evening the lady returned and asked her what she had seen; but she answered: "I have seen nothing." The lady could extort no other answer from her, and finally clothed her in her peasant's dress, and took her back to the wood and left her.
The king of the neighboring city happened to pass by, and fell in love with her, and married her. When her first child was born the lady appeared at her bedside, and said: "Now it is time to tell me what you saw." "I saw nothing," replied the young queen. Then the lady carried away the child, having first rubbed the mother's mouth with blood. This happened a second time, and then the king put her away, and prepared to marry again. The first wife was invited to the wedding feast. While at the table the lady appeared under it, and pulled the first wife's dress, and said: "Will you tell what you saw?" The reply was twice: "Nothing." Then the queen fainted. At that moment a carriage drove up to the palace with a great lady in it, who asked to see the king. She told him that it was she who had carried away his children, and added that from her childhood she had been subjected to an enchantment that was to end when she found a person who should say that she had seen nothing in that room. She then brought back the children, and all lived together in peace and joy.29
One of the most beautiful and touching of all fairy tales is the one known to the readers of Grimm's collection by the title of "Faithful John," and which has such a charming parallel in the story of "Rama and Luxman," in Miss Frere's "Old Deccan Days." There are seven Italian versions of this interesting story, which we shall mention briefly, giving first the shortest entire, as a point of departure. It is from the North of Italy (Comparetti, Monferrato, No. 29), and is called:
XVII. IN LOVE WITH A STATUE.
There was once a king who had two sons. The eldest did not wish to marry, and the youngest, although he went about everywhere, found no lady to his taste. Now it happened that he once went to a certain city, and there saw a statue with which he fell in love. He bought it, had it carried to his room, and every day embraced and kissed it. One day his father became aware of this, and said to him: "What are you doing? If you want a wife, take one of flesh and bones, and not one of marble." He answered that he would take one exactly like the statue, or none at all. His older brother, who at this time had nothing to do, went out into the world to seek her. On his way he saw in a city a man who had a mouse which danced so that it seemed like a human being. He said to himself: "I will take it home to my brother to amuse himself with." He continued his journey, and, arrived in a more distant town, where he found a bird that sang like an angel, and bought that, too, for his brother. He was on the point of returning home, and was passing through a street, when he saw a beggar knocking at a door. A very beautiful girl appeared at the window, who resembled in every respect the prince's statue, and suddenly withdrew. Then he told the beggar to ask alms again; but the beggar refused, because he feared that the magician, who was then absent, would return home and eat him up. But the prince gave him so much money and other things that he knocked again, and the young girl appeared again, and suddenly withdrew. Then the prince went through the streets, saying that he mended and sold looking-glasses. The servant of the young girl, who heard him, told her mistress to go and see the mirrors. She went, but he told her that if she wanted to select the mirrors she would have to go on board his ship. When she was there, he carried her away, and she wept bitterly and sighed, so that he would let her return home, but it was like speaking to the wall.
When they were out at sea, there was heard the voice of a large black bird, saying: "Ciriu, ciriu! what a handsome mouse you have! You will take it to your brother; you will turn his head; and if you tell him of it, you will become marble. Ciriu, ciriu! a fine bird you have; you will take it to your brother; you will turn his head; and if you tell him, you will become marble. Ciriu, ciriu! a fine lady you have; you will take her to your brother; you will turn his head; and if you tell him of it, you will become marble." He did not know how he could tell his brother, because he was afraid of becoming marble. He landed, and took the mouse to his brother; and when he had seen it and wanted it, the elder brother cut off its head. Then he showed him the bird that sang like an angel, and his brother wanted it; but the elder brother again cut off its head. Then he said: "I have thing handsomer," and he produced the beautiful girl who looked like the statue. And as the brother who had brought her said nothing, the other feared that he would take her away from him, and had him thrown into prison, where he was a long time; and because he continued to keep silence, he was condemned to death. Three days before he was to die he asked his brother to come and see him, and he consented, although unwillingly. Then the condemned brother said: "A large black bird told me that if I brought you back the dancing mouse, and spoke, I should become a statue." And saying this, he became a statue to the waist. "And if, bringing you the singing bird, I spoke, it would be the same." Then he became a statue to his breast. "And if, bringing you the lady, I spoke, I should become a statue." Then he became a statue all over, and his brother began to lament in despair, and tried to restore him to life. All kinds of physicians came, but none succeeded. Finally there came one who said that he was capable of turning the statue into a man provided they gave him what he needed. The king said he would do so, and the physician demanded the blood of the king's two children; but the mother would on no account consent. Then the king gave a ball, and while his wife was dancing he had the two children killed, and bathed with their blood the statue of his brother, and the statue straightway became a man and went to the ball. The mother, when she beheld him, suddenly thought of her children. She ran to them and found them half dead, and fainted away. All around sought to console and encourage her; but when she opened her eyes and saw the physician, she cried: "Out of my sight, ugly wretch! It is you who have caused my children to be killed." He answered: "Pardon me, my lady, I have done no harm. Go and see whether your children are there!" She ran to see, and found them alive and making a great noise. Then the physician said: "I am the magician, your father, whom you forsook, and I have wished to show you what it is to love one's children." Then they made peace, and remained happy and contented.
In the Venetian version (Teza, La Trad. dei Sette Sari, p. 26), called "Mela and Buccia," from the names of the prince and his friend, while the two friends are spending the night in a deserted castle, Buccia hears a voice foretelling the dangers to which Mela will be exposed. His horse will throw him if Buccia does not kill it; a dragon will devour him on his wedding night if Buccia does not kill it; and finally, the queen's pet dog will mortally wound him if Buccia does not kill it. If, however, Buccia reveals what he has heard, he will turn to stone. Buccia acts accordingly, and the king forgives him everything but killing the queen's pet dog; for that Buccia is condemned to be hung. Then he relates all, and gradually turns to stone from his feet up. The king, queen, and Buccia's mother are inconsolable until they are informed by an old woman that the blood of the little prince will bring the statue back to life. The faithful friend is by that means restored, and the child also saved. In this version the abduction is wanting, and the last danger is not the one usually threatened.
In a version from Siena (Gradi, Vigilia, p. 64), one of two brothers goes in search of the "Princess with Blonde Tresses." He also buys a parrot and a horse, and the dangers are: he who touches the parrot will have his eyes put out; he who mounts the horse will be thrown; he who marries the fair one will be devoured by a dragon; and he who reveals these dangers will become stone. The remainder of the story is like the last version.
The Florentine version (Nov. fior. p. 421) is mixed up with a number of other incidents. The dangers from which the prince is saved by his faithful servant are: poisoned apples, poisoned pastry, and a lion in the royal chamber. The servant is turned to stone and restored, as in the other versions.
In a Mantuan story (Fiabe mant, No. 9), the dangers are: parrot, horse, and bride; whoever touches these will be devoured by a dragon; whoever reveals these dangers will become stone. The conclusion is the same as above.
The last version we shall mention here is in the Pentamerone (IV. 9), and resembles the one from Monferrato. The elder brother, who goes in search of a bride for his younger brother, buys a falcon and a horse. The first will pick out the younger brother's eyes; the horse will throw him, and finally a dragon will devour him on his wedding night. The remainder of the story is as usual.30
We shall conclude this chapter with the class of stories in which giants are outwitted by men. The simplest form is found in two stories which are interesting examples of the survival of classic myths. Both stories are from Sicily, and one was told to Pitrè by a girl eight years old (Pitrè, No. 51). It is entitled "The Little Monk," and is, in substance, as follows: There were once two monks who went begging for the church every year. One was large and the other small. They lost their way once and came to a large cave, in which was a monster (lit. animal, armalu), who was building a fire. The two monks, however, did not believe it was a monster, but said: "Let us go and rest there." They entered, and saw the monster killing a sheep and roasting it. He had already killed and cooked twenty.
"Eat!" said the monster to them. "We don't want to eat; we are not hungry." "Eat, I tell you!" After they had eaten the sheep, they lay down, and the monster closed the entrance to the cave with a great stone. Then he took a sharp iron, heated it in the fire, and stuck it in the throat of the larger of the two monks, roasted the body, and wanted the other monk to help eat it. "I don't want to eat," said he; "I am full." "Get up!" said the monster. "If you don't I will kill you."
The wretched monk arose in fright, seated himself at the table, and pretended to eat, but threw the flesh away. In the night the good man took the iron, heated it, and plunged it in the monster's eyes. Then the monk in his terror slipped into the skin of a sheep. The monster felt his way to the entrance of the cave, removed the stone, and let the sheep out one by one; and so the good man escaped and returned to Trapani, and told his story to some fishermen. The monster went fishing, and being blind, stumbled against a rock and broke his head. The other version is from the Albanian colony of Piana de' Greci (Comparetti, No. 70), in Sicily, and is substantially the same as the story just given.31
Generally, however, the stories in which giants are outwitted by men are more complicated, and may be divided into two classes: one where the giant is outwitted by superior cunning, the other where the giant's stupidity is deceived by the man's braggadocio. The first class may be represented by a Sicilian story (Pitrè, No. 33), entitled:
There was once a father who had thirteen sons, the youngest of whom was named Thirteenth. The father had hard work to support his children, but made what he could gathering herbs. The mother, to make the children quick, said to them: "The one who comes home first shall have herb soup." Thirteenth always returned the first, and the soup always fell to his share, on which account his brothers hated him and sought to get rid of him.
The king issued a proclamation in the city that he who was bold enough to go and steal the ogre's coverlet should receive a measure of gold. Thirteenth's brothers went to the king and said: "Majesty, we have a brother, named Thirteenth, who is confident that he can do that and other things too." The king said: "Bring him to me at once." They brought Thirteenth, who said: "Majesty, how is it possible to steal the ogre's coverlet? If he sees me he will eat me!" "No matter, you must go," said the king. "I know that you are bold, and this act of bravery you must perform." Thirteenth departed and went to the house of the ogre, who was away. The ogress was in the kitchen. Thirteenth entered quietly and hid himself under the bed. At night the ogre returned. He ate his supper and went to bed, saying as he did so:
"I smell the smell of human flesh;
Where I see it I will swallow it!"
After a time the king issued another proclamation, that whoever would steal the ogre's horse and bring it to the king should receive a measure of gold. Thirteenth again presented himself, and asked for a silk ladder and a bag of cakes. With these things he departed, and went at night to the ogre's, climbed up without being heard, and descended to the stable. The horse neighed on seeing him, but he offered it a cake, saying: "Do you see how sweet it is? If you will come with me, my master will give you these always." Then he gave it another, saying: "Let me mount you and see how we go." So he mounted it, kept feeding it with cakes, and brought it to the king's stable.
The king issued another proclamation, that he would give a measure of gold to whoever would bring him the ogre's bolster. Thirteenth said: "Majesty, how is that possible? The bolster is full of little bells, and you must know that the ogre awakens at a breath." "I know nothing about it," said the king. "I wish it at any cost." Thirteenth departed, and went and crept under the ogre's bed. At midnight he stretched out his hand very softly, but the little bells all sounded. "What is that?" said the ogre. "Nothing," replied the ogress; "perhaps it is the wind that makes them ring." But the ogre, who was suspicious, pretended to sleep, but kept his ears open. Thirteenth stretched out his hand again. Alack! the ogre put out his arm and seized him. "Now you are caught! Just wait; I will make you cry for your first trick, for your second, and for your third." After this he put Thirteenth in a barrel, and began to feed him on raisins and figs. After a time he said: "Stick out your finger, little Thirteenth, so that I can see whether you are fat." Thirteenth saw there a mouse's tail, and stuck that out. "Ah, how thin you are!" said the ogre; "and besides, you don't smell good! Eat, my son; take the raisins and figs, and get fat soon!" After some days the ogre told him again to put out his finger, and Thirteenth stuck out a spindle. "Eh, wretch! are you still lean? Eat, eat, and get fat soon."
At the end of a month Thirteenth had nothing more to stick out, and was obliged to show his finger. The ogre cried out in joy: "He is fat, he is fat!" The ogress hastened to the spot: "Quick, my ogress, heat the oven three nights and three days, for I am going to invite our relatives, and we will make a fine banquet of Thirteenth."
The ogress heated the oven three days and three nights, and then released Thirteenth from the barrel, and said to him: "Come here, Thirteenth; we have got to put the lamb in the oven." But Thirteenth caught her meaning; and when he approached the oven, he said: "Ah, mother ogress, what is that black thing in the corner of the oven?" The ogress stooped down a little, but saw nothing. "Stoop down again," said Thirteenth, "so that you can see it." When she stooped down again, Thirteenth seized her by the feet and threw her into the oven, and then closed the oven door. When she was cooked, he took her out carefully, cut her in two, divided her legs into pieces, and put them on the table, and placed her trunk, with her head and arms, in the bed, under the sheet, and tied a string to the chin and another to the back of her head.
When the ogre arrived with his guests he found the dishes on the table. Then he went to his wife's bed and asked: "Mother ogress, do you want to dine?" Thirteenth pulled the string, and the ogress shook her head. "How are you, tired?" And Thirteenth, who was hidden under the bed, pulled the other string and made her nod. Now it happened that one of her relatives moved something and saw that the ogress was dead, and only half of her was there. She cried in a loud voice: "Treason! treason!" and all hastened to the bed. In the midst of the confusion Thirteenth escaped from under the bed and ran away to the king with the bolster and the ogre's most valuable things.
After this, the king said to Thirteenth: "Listen, Thirteenth. To complete your valiant exploits, I wish you to bring me the ogre himself, in person, alive and well." "How can I, your Majesty?" said Thirteenth. Then he roused himself, and added: "I see how, now!" Then he had a very strong chest made, and disguised himself as a monk, with a long, false beard, and went to the ogre's house, and called out to him: "Do you know Thirteenth? The wretch! he has killed our superior; but if I catch him! If I catch him, I will shut him up in this chest!" At these words the ogre drew near and said: "I, too, would like to help you, against that wretch of an assassin, for you don't know what he has done to me." And he began to tell his story. "But what shall we do?" said the pretended monk. "I do not know Thirteenth. Do you know him?" "Yes, sir." "Then tell me, father ogre, how tall is he?" "As tall as I am." "If that is so," said Thirteenth, "let us see whether this chest will hold you; if it will hold you, it will hold him." "Oh, good!" said the ogre; and got into the chest. Then Thirteenth shut the chest and said: "Look carefully, father ogre, and see whether there is any hole in the chest." "There is none." "Just wait; let us see whether it shuts well, and is heavy to carry."
Meanwhile Thirteenth shut and nailed up the chest, took it on his back, and hastened to the city. When the ogre cried: "Enough, now!" Thirteenth ran all the faster, and, laughing, sang this song to taunt the ogre:
"I am Thirteenth,
Who carry you on my back;
I have tricked you and am going to trick you.
I must deliver you to the king."
When he reached the king, the king had an iron chain attached to the ogre's hands and feet, and made him gnaw bones the rest of his miserable life. The king gave Thirteenth all the riches and treasures he could bestow on him, and always wished him at his side, as a man of the highest valor.32
The second version of the above story, in which the giant is deceived by the hero's braggadocio, is represented by several Italian stories; the simplest are some Milanese versions (Nov. fior. pp. 575-580), one of which (Ibid. p. 575) is as follows:
XIX. THE COBBLER.
There was once a cobbler who one day was so tired of cobbling that he said: "Now I will go and seek my fortune." He bought a little cheese and put it on the table. It got full of flies, and he took an old shoe, and hit the cheese and killed all the flies. He afterward counted them, and five hundred were killed, and four hundred wounded. He then girded on a sword, and put on a cocked hat, and went to the court, and said to the king: "I am the chief warrior of the flies. Four hundred I have killed, and five hundred I have wounded." The king answered: "Since you are a warrior, you will be brave enough to climb that mountain there, where there are two magicians, and kill them. If you kill them, you shall marry my daughter." Then he gave him a white flag to wave when he had killed them. "And sound the trumpet, you will put his head in a bag, both the heads, to show me." The cobbler then departed, and found a house, which was an inn, and the inn-keeper and his wife were none other than the magician and his wife. He asked for lodging and food, and all he needed. Afterward he went to his room; but before going to bed, he looked up at the ceiling. There he saw a great stone over the bed. Instead of getting into bed, he got into a corner. When a certain hour struck, the magicians let the stone drop and it crushed the whole bed. The next morning the cobbler went down and said that he could not sleep for the noise. They told him they would change his room. The same thing happened the next night, and in the morning they told him they would give him another room. When it was a certain hour, the husband and wife went to the forest to cut a bundle of fagots. Then the magician went home; and the cobbler, who had made ready a sickle, said: "Wait until I help you to take the bundle off your back." Then he gave the magician a blow with the sickle and cut off his head. He did the same thing when the magician's wife returned. Then he unfurled his flag, and sounded his trumpet, and the band went out to meet him. After he had arrived at the court, the king said to him: "Now that you have killed the two magicians, you shall marry my daughter." But the cobbler had got so used to drawing the thread that he did so in his sleep, and kept hitting his wife, so that she could not rest. Then the king gave him a great deal of money and sent him home.33
A more detailed version is found in a Sicilian story in Gonzenbach, "The Brave Shoemaker" (No. 41), the first part of which is like the Milanese version. On his way to the giant's, the cobbler makes some balls of plaster of Paris and cream-cheese, and puts them in his pocket. When he heard the giant coming through the woods, he climbed a tree; but the giant scented him, and told him to come down. The cobbler answered that if he did not leave him alone he would twist his neck; and to show him how strong he was, he crushed the balls of plaster of Paris in his hands, telling the giant they were marble. The giant was frightened, and invited the cobbler to remain with him, and took him home. After a while, the giant asked him to bring some water in a pitcher from the well. The cobbler said that if the giant would give him a strong rope he would bring the well itself. The giant in terror took the pitcher, and drew the water himself. Then the giant asked the cobbler to cut some wood, but the latter asked for a strong rope to drag a whole tree to the house with. Then the giant proposed a trial of strength, to see which could carry a heavy stick the longer. The cobbler said that the giant had better wind something about the thick end, for when he, the cobbler, turned a somersault with it, he might hit the giant. When they went to bed, the giant made the cobbler sleep with him; but the latter crept under the bed, leaving a pumpkin in his place. The giant, who was anxious to get rid of the cobbler, took an iron bar and struck at the pumpkin all night, believing it the cobbler's head. After he had beaten the pumpkin to pieces, the cobbler, under the bed, gave a sigh. "What is the matter with you?" asked the terrified giant. "A flea has just bitten my ear," answered the cobbler. The next day the cobbler proposed to the giant to cook a great kettle of macaroni, and after they had eaten it, he would cut open his stomach to show the giant that he had eaten it without chewing it; the giant was to do the same afterward. The cobbler, of course, secretly tied a sack about his neck, and put his macaroni in it; then he took a knife and ripped open the bag, and the macaroni fell out. The giant, in attempting to follow the cobbler's example, killed himself. Then the cobbler cut his head off, carried it to the king, and claimed his daughter's hand.34
The stories given in this chapter constitute, as we have already said in the Introduction, but a small part of Italian fairy tales. They represent, however, as well as our space will allow, the great fairy cycles, so to speak. As our purpose has been to give only those stories which have been taken down from the mouths of the people, we have not drawn, except for purposes of reference, upon the Pentamerone, one of the most original and charming collections of fairy tales in any language. Enough has been given, we trust, to show how the Italians have treated the themes familiar to us from childhood, and to furnish the scholar with additional material for comparison.
1. This story is a variant of Pitrè, No. 17, Marvizia (the name of the heroine who was as small as a marva, the mallow plant), in which the introduction is wanting. The heroine falls in love with a green bird she sees in her garden, and goes in search of it. After many adventures, she restores the bird to its former human shape and marries it. Other Italian versions of the story in the text are: Sicilian, Pitrè, No. 281, Nuovo Saggio, V.; Gonz., No. 15; Neapolitan, Pent. II. 9, V. 4; Comp., No. 33 (from the Basilicata); Roman, Busk, p. 99; Tuscan, De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 14; and Tyrolese, Schneller, No. 13.
An important trait in the above class is "Tasks set Wife." Besides in the above stories, this trait is also found in those belonging to other classes: see De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 2, and Nov. fior. p. 209.
Another important trait is the following: When after a long search the wife discovers her husband, it is only to find him in the power of a second wife, who, however, by various bribes, is induced to permit the first wife to spend a night in her husband's chamber. She is unable to awaken her husband, who has been drugged by the second wife. The third night she succeeds, makes herself known to him, and they escape. As an example of this trait, we give in full De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 14, referred to above.
XX. SIR FIORANTE, MAGICIAN.
A woodman had three daughters. Every morning one after the other, in turn, carried him his bread to the wood. The father and the daughters noticed in a thicket a large snake, which one day asked the old man for one of his daughters in marriage, threatening him with death if none of them would accept such an offer. The father told his daughters of the snake's offer, and the first and second immediately refused. If the third had refused too, there would have been no hope of salvation for the father; but for his sake she declared at once that snakes had always pleased her, and she thought the snake proposed by her father very handsome. At this the snake shook his tail in token of great joy, and making his bride mount it, carried her away to the midst of a beautiful meadow, where he caused a splendid palace to arise while he himself became a handsome man, and revealed himself as Sir Fiorante with the red and white stockings. But woe to her if she ever disclosed to any one his existence and name! She would lose him forever, unless, to obtain possession of him again, she wore out a pair of iron shoes, a staff and a hat, and filled with her tears seven bottles. The maiden promised; but she was a woman; she went to visit her sisters; one of them wished to know her husband's name, and was so cunning that at last her sister told her, but when the poor girl went back to see her husband, she found neither husband nor palace. To find him again, she was obliged in despair to do penance. She walked and walked and walked, and wept unceasingly. She had already filled one bottle with tears, when she met an old woman who gave her a fine walnut to crack in time of need, and disappeared. When she had filled four bottles, she met another old woman, who gave her a hazel-nut to crack in time of need, and disappeared. She had filled all seven bottles when a third old woman appeared to her, and left her an almond to be cracked in a third case of need, and she, too, disappeared. At last the young girl reached the castle of Sir Fiorante, who had taken another wife. The girl broke first the walnut, and found in it a beautiful dress which the second wife wanted herself. The young girl said: "You may have it if you will let me sleep with Sir Fiorante." The second wife consented, but meanwhile she gave Sir Fiorante some opium. In the night, the young girl said: "Sir Fiorante with the red and white stockings, I have worn out a pair of iron shoes, the staff and the hat, and filled seven bottles with tears, wherefore you must recognize your first wife."
He made no answer, for he had taken opium. The next day the girl opened the hazel-nut, and out came a dress more beautiful than the first; Sir Fiorante's second wife wanted this, and obtained it on the same condition as the first, but took care that Sir Fiorante should take some opium before going to bed. The third day, a faithful servant asked Sir Fiorante if he had not heard in the night the cries that were uttered near him. Sir Fiorante replied, No, but was careful not to take any opium the third night, when, having broken the almond and found in it a dress of unapproachable beauty, the young girl obtained the second wife's consent to sleep anew with Sir Fiorante. The latter pretended this time to take the opium, but did not. Then he feigned to be asleep, but remained awake in order to hear the cries of his abandoned wife, which he could not resist, and began to embrace her. The next day they left that palace to the second wife, and departed together and went to live in happiness at another more wonderful castle.
This episode is found in the Pent. V. 3, otherwise not belonging to this class; and in Comp., No. 51, and Nov. fior. p. 168, which properly belong to the formula of "Animal Children."
Hahn's formula No. 6, in which a maiden sells herself for three costly presents, and is obliged to marry the buyer, is sufficiently illustrated by Gonz., No. 18, Pitrè, No. 105, and Nerucci, No. 50. In the last story the person to whom the maiden has sold herself refuses to marry her.
The wedding torch is found also in Pitrè, No. 17, and is clearly a survival of the classic custom. The episode in which the birth of the child is hindered recalls the myths of Latona and Alcmene, see Köhler's notes to Gonz., No. 12 (II. p. 210). Other cases of malicious arrest of childbirth in popular literature may be found in Child's English and Scottish Pop. Ballads, Part I. p. 84. Pandora's box is also found in Pent. V. 4.
Copious references to other Europeans versions of our story will be found in Köhler's notes to Gonz., No. 15 (II. 214), and to Bladé, Contes pop. rec. en Agenais, p. 145, to which may be added the notes to the Grimm stories Nos. 88, 113, 127 ("The Soaring Lark," "The Two Kings' Children," and "The Iron Stove"), and Benfey, Pant. I. p. 255.
2. The lamp lighted at night to enable the wife to see her husband is found in Pitrè, No. 82, and in a Calabrian story in De Gub., Zoöl. Myth. II. 286–287, where the drop of wax falls on the mirror of the sleeping youth. The same incident occurs in the curious story of "The Enchanted Palace," in Comp., No. 27, which is simply a reversal of the Cupid and Psyche myth, and in which the husband is the curious one, and the drop of wax falls on the sleeping wife, and awakens her.
The "iron shoes" are found in Comp., No. 51; Pitrè, No. 56; Pent. V. 4; De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 14; Gradi, Vigilia, p. 26; and Ortoli, p. 8. See also Hahn, Nos. 73, 102, and Basque Legends, p. 39.
3. See Köhler to Gonz., No. 16; Dunlop-Liebrecht, p. 406 (Anmerkung. 475, and Nachtrag, p. 544); Graesse, Sagen-Kreise, p. 380; Benfey, I. 254; and Simrock, D. M. pp. 332, 391, 427.
4. Other Italian versions of this story are: Nerucci, Nos. 33, 59; Comparetti, No. 27 (Monferrato), mentioned already in Note 2; and Schneller, No. 13. Pitrè, No. 27, has some points of contact also with our story.
5. Nerucci, No. 1, and Nov. fior. p. 319. For the story of "Beauty and the Beast" in general, see Ralston's article with this title in the Nineteenth Century, No. 22, December, 1878; and notes to Schiefner's Tibetan Tales, London, 1882, p. xxxvii.
6. The following versions all contain the episodes of the father asking his daughters what gifts he shall bring them, and daughter's tardy return to the monster: Busk, p. 115; Gradi, Saggio, p. 189; Comparetti, No. 64 (Montale); and Zoöl. Myth. II. p. 382 (Leghorn), with which compare Indian Fairy Tales, p. 292. In Fiabe Mant. No. 24, we have father's gifts and sympathetic ring; but the danger to monster does not depend on the tardiness of his bride. In Zoöl. Myth. II. p. 381 (Piedmont), we have father's gift; but danger to monster results from wife's revealing his name to her sisters. Schneller, No. 25, contains the usual introduction (father's gifts), but the monster, a snake, accompanies his bride on her visit home, and while they are dancing together she steps on his tail and crushes it, whereupon the snake becomes a handsome young man. A Sicilian story, "Zafarana" (Gonz., No. 9), contains both episodes above mentioned, but otherwise differs from the class of stories we are now examining.
Closely allied with the formula of "Beauty and the Beast" is that of "Animal Children." In the latter class the introduction (father's gift) is wanting, and also the episode of visit of wife and tardy return. The "animal child" is usually born in accordance with a rash wish of childless mother that she might have a son, even if he were like one of the animals which she happens to see (Hahn, Formula No. 7). When the "animal child" is grown up his parents attempt to obtain a wife for him; two of three sisters show their disgust and are killed; the third is more prudent, and ultimately disenchants her husband, usually by burning his skin, which he puts on and off at pleasure. The typical story of this class is Pitrè, No. 56, "The Serpent." To Pitrè's copious references may be added: Comparetti, No. 9 (Monferrato), in which the prince resumes his shape after his third marriage without any further means of disenchantment; No 66 (Monferrato), the prince takes off seven skins, and from a dragon becomes a handsome youth. In both these stories the prince is enchanted and not born in accordance with mother's wish. Gianandrea, p. 15, is a version of Comp., No. 9. Corazzini, p. 429 (Benevento), belongs more properly to "Beauty and the Beast;" the husband disappears on wife's revealing to his mother the secret of his being a handsome youth by night. A somewhat similar version is in Prato, No. 4, "Il Re Serpente." See also Finamore, Nov. pop. abruzzesi, Nos. 6, 21, and Archivio, I. 424 (Piedmont), 531 (Tuscany); II. 403 (Marches); III. 362 (Abruzzi).
For other references to this class see Köhler's notes to Widter-Wolf, Jahrb. VII. p. 249; Benfey, Pant. I. p. 265 et seq.; and notes to Grimm, Nos. 108 ("Hans the Hedgehog") and 144 ("The Little Ass").
7. Other Italian versions may be found in Pitrè, No. 38; Gonz., No. 27; Pent. II. 2; Busk, pp. 46, 57, and 63; Fiabe Mant. Nos. 3 and 17; Nov. tosc. 4; and Schneller, No. 21. Pent. II. 5, contains many points of resemblance, although it belongs to the class of "Animal Children."
Two very close non-Italian versions are Asbj., No. 84, "The Green Knight" [Tales from the Fjeld, p. 311, "The Green Knight"], and Hahn, No. 7, "The Golden Wand."
An important episode in the above stories is "sick prince and secret remedy." This is found in stories belonging to other classes, as for example in Schneller, 9, 10, 11; in 10 the princess is ill, in 11 there is simply the "overheard council of witches;" Nov. fior. pp. 599, 601 (princess ill), and Comp., No. 8 (sick prince).
The above trait is found in the class of stories which may be named "True and Untrue," and of which Grimm, No. 107, "The Two Travellers," is a good example. Italian versions may be found in Widter-Wolf, No. 1 (Jahrb. VII. p. 3); Nerucci, No. 23; Ive, Nozze Ive-Lorenzetto, p. 31, "La Curona del Gran Giegno." Non-Italian versions will be found in Köhler's notes to Widter-Wolf, and Ive's notes to above cited story.
8. This class is named by Hahn from Geneviève de Brabant, whose legend may be found in Dict. des Légendes, p. 396, and, with copious references, in D'Ancona's Sacre Rappresentazioni, III. p. 235.
9. The title of the original is "Li figghi di lu Cavuliciddaru," "The Herb-gatherer's Daughters."
10. Another Sicilian version is "Re Sonnu," in Pitrè, Nuovo Saggio, No. 1. To the references in Pitrè, No. 36, and Gonz., No. 5, may be added: Fiabe Mant. No. 14, only as far as abstraction of children are concerned and accusation of murder against the mother; No. 46, a poor version, the beginning of which is lost; Comparetti, Nos. 6 (Basilicata), and 30 (Pisa); No. 17 (Pisa) is a defective version, the search for the marvellous objects being omitted; another distorted version from Monferrato is found in the same collection, No. 25. See also Prato, Quattro nov. pop. livornesi, No. 2, and Finamore, No. 39. Two of the traits of our story are found in many others; they are: "Sympathetic objects," ring, etc., and "Life-giving ointment or leaves." For the former, see notes to next two stories, and in general, Brueyre, p. 93; for the latter, see Gonz., No. 40; Comparetti, No. 32 (see Note 12); Bernoni, Punt. III. p. 84. In these stories the life-restoring substance is an ointment; leaves possessing the same power are found in Pitrè, No. 11, Pent. I. 7, La Posillechejata, No. 1, and Coronedi-Berti, No. 14. See also Grimm, No. 16, "The Three Snake-Leaves;" Basque Legends, p. 117; Benfey, Pant. I. 454, Cox, Aryan Myth. I. 160; and Germania, XXI. p. 68. For non-Italian versions of the story in the text see Köhler's notes in Mélusine, p. 213, to a Breton version, and Indian Fairy Tales, pp. 242, 277.
In the above formula are embraced several somewhat different stories in which the persecution of innocent wife proceeds from various persons. For instance, in the Italian legends Sta. Guglielma is persecuted by her brother-in-law; Sta. Ulila by her father and mother-in-law; and Stella by her stepmother. See D'Ancona, op. cit., pp. 199, 235, 317. A popular version, somewhat distorted, of the second of the above-mentioned legends may be found in Nerucci, No. 39; of the third in Gonz., No. 24.
More commonly, however, the persecution is on the part of envious sisters or wicked stepmother. The important rôle played by the last in tales of the North of Europe has its counterpart in those of the South. The following story from Siena (Pitrè, La Scatola di Cristallo) will sufficiently illustrate this class.
XXI. THE CRYSTAL CASKET.
There was once a widower who had a daughter. This daughter was between ten and twelve years old. Her father sent her to school, and as she was all alone in the world commended her always to her teacher. Now, the teacher, seeing that the child had no mother, fell in love with the father, and kept saying to the girl: "Ask your father if he would like me for a wife." This she said to her every day, and at last the girl said: "Papa, the school-mistress is always asking me if you will marry her." The father said: "Eh! my daughter, if I take another wife, you will have great troubles." But the girl persisted, and finally the father was persuaded to go one evening to the school-mistress' house. When she saw him she was well pleased, and they settled the marriage in a few days. Poor child! how bitterly she had to repent having found a stepmother so ungrateful and cruel to her! She sent her every day out on a terrace to water a pot of basil, and it was so dangerous that if she fell she would go into a large river.
One day there came by a large eagle, and said to her: "What are you doing here?" She was weeping because she saw how great the danger was of falling into the stream. The eagle said to her: "Get on my back, and I will carry you away, and you will be happier than with your new mamma." After a long journey they reached a great plain, where they found a beautiful palace all of crystal; the eagle knocked at the door and said: "Open, my ladies, open! for I have brought you a pretty girl." When the people in the palace opened the door, and saw that lovely girl, they were amazed, and kissed and caressed her. Meanwhile the door was closed, and they remained peaceful and contented.
Let us return to the eagle, who thought she was doing a spite to the stepmother. One day the eagle flew away to the terrace where the stepmother was watering the basil. "Where is your daughter?" asked the eagle. "Eh!" she replied, "perhaps she fell from this terrace and went into the river; I have not heard from her in ten days." The eagle answered: "What a fool you are! I carried her away; seeing that you treated her so harshly I carried her away to my fairies, and she is very well." Then the eagle flew away.
The stepmother, filled with rage and jealousy, called a witch from the city, and said to her: "You see my daughter is alive, and is in the house of some fairies of an eagle which often comes upon my terrace; now you must do me the favor to find some way to kill this stepdaughter of mine, for I am afraid that some day or other she will return, and my husband, discovering this matter, will certainly kill me." The witch answered: "Oh, you need not be afraid of that: leave it to me."
What did the witch do? She had made a little basketful of sweetmeats, in which she put a charm; then she wrote a letter, pretending that it was her father, who, having learned where she was, wished to make her this present, and the letter pretended that her father was so glad to hear that she was with the fairies.
Let us leave the witch who is arranging all this deception, and return to Ermellina (for so the young girl was named). The fairies had said to her: "See, Ermellina, we are going away, and shall be absent four days; now in this time take good care not to open the door to any one, for some treachery is being prepared for you by your stepmother." She promised to open the door to no one: "Do not be anxious, I am well off, and my stepmother has nothing to do with me." But it was not so. The fairies went away, and the next day when Ermellina was alone, she heard a knocking at the door, and said to herself: "Knock away! I don't open to any one." But meanwhile the blows redoubled, and curiosity forced her to look out of the window. What did she see? She saw one of the servant girls of her own home (for the witch had disguised herself as one of her father's servants). "O my dear Ermellina," she said, "your father is shedding tears of sorrow for you, because he really believed you were dead, but the eagle which carried you off came and told him the good news that you were here with the fairies. Meanwhile your father, not knowing what civility to show you, for he understands very well that you are in need of nothing, has thought to send you this little basket of sweetmeats." Ermellina had not yet opened the door; the servant begged her to come down and take the basket and the letter, but she said: "No, I wish nothing!" but finally, since women, and especially young girls, are fond of sweetmeats, she descended and opened the door. When the witch had given her the basket, she said: "Eat this," and broke off for her a piece of the sweetmeats which she had poisoned. When Ermellina took the first mouthful the old woman disappeared. Ermellina had scarcely time to close the door, when she fell down on the stairs.
When the fairies returned they knocked at the door, but no one opened it for them; then they perceived that there had been some treachery, and began to weep. Then the chief of the fairies said: "We must break open the door," and so they did, and saw Ermellina dead on the stairs. Her other friends who loved her so dearly begged the chief of the fairies to bring her to life, but she would not, "for," said she, "she has disobeyed me;" but one and the other asked her until she consented; she opened Ermellina's mouth, took out a piece of the sweetmeat which she had not yet swallowed, raised her up, and Ermellina came to life again.
We can imagine what a pleasure it was for her friends; but the chief of the fairies reproved her for her disobedience, and she promised not to do so again.
Once more the fairies were obliged to depart. Their chief said: "Remember, Ermellina: the first time I cured you, but the second I will have nothing to do with you." Ermellina said they need not worry, that she would not open to any one. But it was not so; for the eagle, thinking to increase her stepmother's anger, told her again that Ermellina was alive. The stepmother denied it all to the eagle, but she summoned anew the witch, and told her that her stepdaughter was still alive, saying: "Either you will really kill her, or I will be avenged on you." The old woman, finding herself caught, told her to buy a very handsome dress, one of the handsomest she could find, and transformed herself into a tailoress belonging to the family, took the dress, departed, went to poor Ermellina, knocked at the door and said: "Open, open, for I am your tailoress." Ermellina looked out of the window and saw her tailoress; and was, in truth, a little confused (indeed, any one would have been so). The tailoress said, "Come down, I must fit a dress on you." She replied, "No, no; for I have been deceived once." "But I am not the old woman," replied the tailoress, "you know me, for I have always made your dresses." Poor Ermellina was persuaded, and descended the stairs; the tailoress took to flight while Ermellina was yet buttoning up the dress, and disappeared. Ermellina closed the door, and was mounting the stairs; but it was not permitted her to go up, for she fell down dead.
Let us return to the fairies, who came home and knocked at the door; but what good did it do to knock! There was no longer any one there. They began to weep. The chief of the fairies said: "I told you that she would betray me again; but now I will have nothing more to do with her." So they broke open the door, and saw the poor girl with that beautiful dress on; but she was dead. They all wept, because they really loved her. But there was nothing to do; the chief struck her enchanted wand, and commanded a beautiful rich casket all covered with diamonds and other precious stones to appear; then the others made a beautiful garland of flowers and gold, put it on the young girl, and then laid her in the casket, which was so rich and beautiful that it was marvellous to behold. Then the old fairy struck her wand as usual and commanded a handsome horse, the like of which not even the king possessed. Then they took the casket, put it on the horse's back, and led him into the public square of the city, and the chief of the fairies said: "Go, and do not stop until you find some one who says to you: 'Stop, for pity's sake, for I have lost my horse for you.'"
Now let us leave the afflicted fairies, and turn our attention to the horse, which ran away at full speed. Who happened to pass at that moment? The son of a king (the name of this king is not known); and saw this horse with that wonder on its back. Then the king began to spur his horse, and rode him so hard that he killed him, and had to leave him dead in the road; but the king kept running after the other horse. The poor king could endure it no longer; he saw himself lost, and exclaimed: "Stop, for pity's sake, for I have lost my horse for you!" Then the horse stopped (for those were the words). When the king saw that beautiful girl dead in the casket, he thought no more about his own horse, but took the other to the city. The king's mother knew that her son had gone hunting; when she saw him returning with this loaded horse, she did not know what to think. The son had no father, wherefore he was all powerful. He reached the palace, had the horse unloaded, and the casket carried to his chamber; then he called his mother and said: "Mother, I went hunting, but I have found a wife." "But what is it? A doll? A dead woman?" "Mother," replied her son, "don't trouble yourself about what it is, it is my wife." His mother began to laugh, and withdrew to her own room (what could she do, poor mother?).
Now this poor king no longer went hunting, took no diversion, did not even go to the table, but ate in his own room. By a fatality it happened that war was declared against him, and he was obliged to depart. He called his mother, and said: "Mother, I wish two careful chambermaids, whose business it shall be to guard this casket; for if on my return I find that anything has happened to my casket, I shall have the chambermaids killed." His mother, who loved him, said: "Go, my son, fear nothing, for I myself will watch over your casket." He wept several days at being obliged to abandon this treasure of his, but there was no help for it, he had to go.
After his departure he did nothing but commend his wife (so he called her) to his mother in his letters. Let us return to the mother, who no longer thought about the matter, not even to have the casket dusted; but all at once there came a letter which informed her that the king had been victorious, and should return to his palace in a few days. The mother called the chambermaids, and said to them: "Girls, we are ruined." They replied: "Why, Highness?" "Because my son will be back in a few days, and how have we taken care of the doll?" They said: "True, true; now let us go and wash the doll's face." They went to the king's room and saw that the doll's face and hands were covered with dust and fly-specks, so they took a sponge and washed her face, but some drops of water fell on her dress and spotted it. The poor chambermaids began to weep, and went to the queen for advice. The queen said: "Do you know what to do! call a tailoress, and have a dress precisely like this bought, and take off this one before my son comes." They did so, and the chambermaids went to the room and began to unbutton the dress. The moment that they took off the first sleeve, Ermellina opened her eyes. The poor chambermaids sprang up in terror, but one of the most courageous said: "I am a woman, and so is this one; she will not eat me." To cut the matter short, she took off the dress, and when it was removed Ermellina began to get out of the casket to walk about and see where she was. The chambermaids fell on their knees before her and begged her to tell them who she was. She, poor girl, told them the whole story. Then she said: "I wish to know where I am?" Then the chambermaids called the king's mother to explain it to her. The mother did not fail to tell her everything, and she, poor girl, did nothing but weep penitently, thinking of what the fairies had done for her.
The king was on the point of arriving, and his mother said to the doll: "Come here; put on one of my best dresses." In short, she arrayed her like a queen. Then came her son. They shut the doll up in a small room, so that she could not be seen. The king came with great joy, with trumpets blowing, and banners flying for the victory. But he took no interest in all this, and ran at once to his room to see the doll; the chambermaids fell on their knees before him saying that the doll smelled so badly that they could not stay in the palace, and were obliged to bury her. The king would not listen to this excuse, but at once called two of the palace servants to erect the gallows. His mother comforted him in vain: "My son, it was a dead woman." "No, no, I will not listen to any reasons; dead or alive, you should have left it for me." Finally, when his mother saw that he was in earnest about the gallows, she rang a little bell, and there came forth no longer the doll, but a very beautiful girl, whose like was never seen. The king was amazed, and said: "What is this!" Then his mother, the chambermaids, and Ermellina, were obliged to tell him all that had happened. He said: "Mother, since I adored her when dead, and called her my wife, now I mean her to be my wife in truth." "Yes, my son," replied his mother, "do so, for I am willing." They arranged the wedding, and in a few days were man and wife.
Sicilian versions of this story may be found in Pitrè, Nos. 57, 58; Gonz., Nos. 2–4. To the copious references in the notes to the stories just mentioned may be added: Fiabe Mant. No. 28; Tuscan Fairy Tales, No. IX.; Nov. fior. pp. 232, 239; De Nino, XLI., XLIX., L.; Nov. tosc. 9. Other European versions are: Grimm, No. 53, "Little Snow-White;" Hahn, No. 103; Lo Rondallayre, No. 46: see also Köhler's notes to Gonz., Nos. 2–4.
The last class of "stepmother" stories which we shall mention is Hahn's Formula 15, "Phryxos and Helle," in which both brother and sister are persecuted by stepmother. A good example of this class is Pitrè, No. 283.
XXII. THE STEPMOTHER.
There was once a husband and a wife who had two children, a son and a daughter. The wife died, and the husband married a woman who had a daughter blind of one eye. The husband was a farmer, and went to work in a field. The stepmother hated her husband's children, and to get rid of them she baked some bread, and sent it by them to her husband, but directed them to the wrong field, so that they might get lost. When the children reached a mountain they began to call their father, but no one answered. Now the girl was enchanted; and when they came to a spring and the brother wanted to drink, she said to him: "Do not drink of this fountain, or you will become an ass." Afterwards they found another spring, and the brother wanted to drink; but his sister said to him: "Do not drink of it, or you will become a calf." However, the boy would drink, and became a calf with golden horns. They continued their journey, and came to the seashore, where there was a handsome villa belonging to the prince. When the prince saw the young girl, and beheld how beautiful she was, he married her, and afterwards asked her what there was about the little calf, and she replied: "I am fond of him because I have brought him up."
Let us now return to her father, who, from the great grief he had on account of his children's disappearance, had gone out to divert himself, and wandered away, gathering fennel. He arrived at last at the villa, where was his daughter who had married the king. His daughter looked out of the window and said to him: "Come up, friend." His daughter had recognized him, and asked: "Friend, do you not know me?" "No, I do not recognize you." Then she said: "I am your daughter, whom you believed lost." She threw herself at his feet, and said: "Pardon me, dear father; I came by chance to this villa, and the king's son was here and married me." The father was greatly consoled at finding his daughter so well married. "Now, my father," said she, "empty this sack of fennel, for I will fill it with gold for you." And then she begged him to bring his wife, and the daughter blind of one eye. The father returned home with his bag full of money, and his wife asked in terror: "Who gave you this money?" He answered: "O wife! do you know that I have found my daughter, and she is the king's wife, and filled this bag with money?" She, instead of being happy, was angry at hearing that her stepdaughter was still alive; however, she said to her husband: "I will go and take my daughter." So they went, the husband, the wife, and the blind daughter, and came to the husband's daughter, who received her stepmother very kindly. But the latter, seeing that the king was away, and that her stepdaughter was alone, seized her and threw her from a window into the sea; and what did she do then? She took her blind daughter and dressed her in the other's clothes, and said to her: "When the king comes and finds you here weeping, say to him: 'The little calf has blinded me with his horn, and I have only one eye!'" Then the stepmother returned to her own house. The king came and found her daughter in bed weeping, and said to her: "Why are you weeping?" "The little calf struck me with his horn and put out one of my eyes." The king cried at once: "Go call the butcher to kill the calf?" When the calf heard that he was to be killed, he went out on the balcony and called to his sister in the sea:—
For me the water is heated,
And the knives are sharpened."
The sister replied from the sea:—
"Oh! brother, I cannot help you,
I am in the dog-fish's mouth."
When the king heard the calf utter these words, he looked out of the window, and when he saw his wife in the sea, he summoned two sailors, and had them take her out and bring her up and restore her. Then he took the blind girl and killed her and cut her in pieces and salted her like tunny-fish, and sent her to her mother. When her husband found it out he left her and went to live with his daughter.
It may not be amiss to mention here another class of stories which come under the formula of "Persecuted Maiden." The class resembles in some respects the story of King Lear. The youngest daughter is persecuted by her father because he thinks she does not love him as much as her older sisters. A good example of this class is Pitrè, No. 10, L'Acqua e lu Sali.
XXIII. WATER AND SALT.
A very fine story is related and told to your worships. Once upon a time there was a king with three daughters. These three daughters being at table one day, their father said: "Come now, let us see which of you three loves me." The oldest said: "Papa, I love you as much as my eyes." The second answered: "I love you as much as my heart." The youngest said: "I love you as much as water and salt." The king heard her with amazement: "Do you value me like water and salt? Quick! call the executioners, for I will have her killed immediately." The other sisters privately gave the executioners a little dog, and told them to kill it and rend one of the youngest sister's garments, but to leave her in a cave. This they did, and brought back to the king the dog's tongue and the rent garment: "Royal Majesty, here is her tongue and garment." And his Majesty gave them a reward. The unfortunate princess was found in the forest by a magician, who took her to his house opposite the royal palace. Here the king's son saw her and fell desperately in love with her, and the match was soon agreed upon. Then the magician came and said: "You must kill me the day before the wedding. You must invite three kings, your father the first. You must order the servants to pass water and salt to all the guests except your father." Now let us return to the father of this young girl, who the longer he lived the more his love for her increased, and he was sick of grief. When he received the invitation he said: "And how can I go with this love for my daughter?" And he would not go. Then he thought: "But this king will be offended if I do not go, and will declare war against me some time." He accepted and went. The day before the wedding they killed the magician and quartered him, and put a quarter in each of four rooms, and sprinkled his blood in all the rooms and on the stairway, and the blood and flesh became gold and precious stones. When the three kings came and saw the golden stairs, they did not like to step on them. "Never mind," said the prince, "go up: this is nothing." That evening they were married: the next day they had a banquet. The prince gave orders: "No salt and water to that king." They sat down at table, and the young queen was near her father, but he did not eat. His daughter said: "Royal Majesty, why do you not eat? Does not the food please you?" "What an idea! It is very fine." "Why don't you eat then?" "I don't feel very well." The bride and groom helped him to some bits of meat, but the king did not want it, and chewed his food over and over again like a goat (as if he could eat it without salt!). When they finished eating they began to tell stories, and the king told them all about his daughter. She asked him if he could still recognize her, and stepping out of the room put on the same dress she wore when he sent her away to be killed. "You caused me to be killed because I told you I loved you as much as salt and water: now you have seen what it is to eat without salt and water." Her father could not say a word, but embraced her and begged her pardon. They remained happy and contented, and here we are with nothing.
A Venetian version (Bernoni, No. 14) is translated in the Cornhill Magazine, July, 1875, p. 80, a Bolognese version may be found in Coronedi-Berti, No. 5, and from the Abruzzi in Finamore, Nos. 18, 26. Compare also Pomiglianesi, p. 42. For transmutation of magician's body see Zoöl. Myth. I. p. 123, Benfey, Pant. I. pp. 477, 478, Ralston, R. F. T. p. 223, and Indian Fairy Tales, p. 164.
Other Sicilian versions are in Gonz., Nos. 48, 49. A Neapolitan is in Pent. V. 8; a Mantuan, in Fiabe Mant. No. 16; a Tuscan, in Archivio per le Trad. pop. I. p. 44, and one from the Abruzzi in Archivio, III. 546. The same story is in Grimm, Nos. 11 and 141. "The Little Brother and Sister" and "The Little Lamb and the Little Fish." See also Hahn, No. 1. The latter part of the story is connected with "False Bride." See note 21 of this chapter.
11. Other Italian versions are: Pitrè, No. 20; Pent. II. 1; Pomiglianesi, pp. 121, 130, 136, 188, 191; Busk, p. 3; Nov. fior. p. 209; Gargiolli, No. 2; Fiabe Mant. No. 20; Bernoni, No. 12; Archivio, I. 525 (Tuscan), III. 368 (Abruzzi), and De Nino, XX. Some points of resemblance are found also in Pent. V. 4; Coronedi-Berti, No. 8; and Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 12.
Other stories in which children are promised to ogre, demon, etc., are to be found in Pitrè, No. 31, Widter-Wolf, No. XIII., and in the various versions of the story of "Liombruno." See Chap. II., note 13.
For other European versions of the story in the text, see Ralston's R. F. T. p. 141; Grimm, No. 12, "Rapunzel," and Basque Legends, p. 59. For child promised to demon, see Romania, No. 28, p. 531; Grimm, Nos. 31 ("The Girl Without Hands") 55, ("Rumpelstiltskin") 92, ("The King of the Golden Mountain"), and 181 ("The Nix of the Mill-Pond"). See also Hahn, I. p. 47, No. 8.
Some of the incidents of this story are found in those belonging to other classes. The girl's face changed to that of dog, etc., is in Comparetti, No. 3 (furnished with a long beard), and Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 1, Pent. I. 8 (goat), Nerucci, Nos. 30 (sheep's neck), 37 (buffalo), and Nov. pop. toscani, in Archivio per la Trad. pop. No. 1 (goat). For "flight and obstacles," see Nov. fior. pp. 12, 415, Pent. II. 1, and stories cited by Pitrè in his notes to No. 13, also note 25 to this chapter, Basque Legends, p. 120, Orient und Occident, II. p. 103, and Brueyre, p. 111. For "ladder of hair," see Pomiglianesi, p. 126.
12. Other Italian versions are: Pent. I. 9; Gonz., Nos. 39, 40; Comparetti, No. 46 (Basilicata); De Gub., Sto. Stefano, Nos. 17, 18; Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 22; De Nino, LXV.; Nov. fior, pp. 375, 387 (Milan); Coronedi-Berti, No. 16; Fiabe Mant. No. 19; and Schneller, No. 28. This story, as far as the two brothers (not born miraculously) and liberation of princess are concerned, is in Pent. I. 7, and Widter-Wolf, No. 8.
References to other European versions may be found in the Romania, Nos. 19, pp. 336, 339; 28, p. 563; 32, p. 606: Orient und Occident, II. p. 115 (Köhler to Campbell, No. 4), and Bladé, Agenais, No. 2 (p. 148).
As regards the separate traits, as usual many of them are found in other classes of stories: the cloud occurs in Comp., No. 40; children born from fish, De Gub., Zoöl. Myth. II. 29; for sympathetic objects and life-giving ointment, see last two stories. For "kindness to animals," and "thankful beasts," see Fiabe Mant. Nos. 37, 26, Gonz., No. 6, and the stories belonging to the class "Giant with no heart in his body" mentioned below. The gratitude and help of an animal form the subject of some independent stories, e. g., Strap. III. 1; Pent. I. 3; and Gonz., No. 6, above mentioned; and are also found in the formula "Animal Brothers-in-law." See note 23. For European versions see Orient und Occident, II. p. 101; Brueyre, p. 98; Ralston, R. F. T. p. 98; Benfey, Pant. I. p. 193 et seq.; Basque Legends, p. 81, and Zoöl. Myth. I. p. 197; II. 45. For transformation into statues, see stories mentioned in note 10, Bernoni, Punt. III. p. 89, Nov. fior. p. 112, and Ortoli, pp. 10, 34.
The most interesting episode, however, is that of "Magician (or Giant) with no heart in his body" (see Chap. III., note 8), which is in the following Italian tales: Pitrè, No. 81, Busk, p. 158; Nov. fior. pp. 7, 347; Gonz., Nos. 6, 16; Fiabe Mant. No. 37; and Pomiglianesi, No. 2, p. 21 (v. p. 41). For other references, see Basque Legends, p. 83; Brueyre, pp. 81–83; Ralston, R. F. T., Am. ed., pp. 119–125; Orient und Occident, II. p. 101; Hahn, I. p. 56, No. 31; and Romania, No. 22, p. 234. See also note 18 of this chapter.
The story in our text is not a good example of Hahn's Form. 13, "Andromeda, or Princess freed from Dragon." Some of the other stories cited are much better, notably Widter-Wolf, No. 8, Gonz., Nos. 39, 40, and also Strap., X. 3, and Schneller, No. 39. Hahn's Danaë Form. 12 is represented by Nov. tosc. No. 30. The allied myth of Medusa by Nov. tosc. No. 1, and Archivio, I. p. 57.
13. Versions of this wide-spread story are in Pitrè, Otto Fiabe, No. 1; Gonz., Nos. 58, 59, 61, 62, 63 (partly), and 64; Köhler, Italien Volksm. (Sora) No. 1, "Die drei Brüder und die drei befreiten Königstöchter" (Jahrb. VIII. p. 241); Widter-Wolf, No. 4 (Jahrb. VII. p. 20); Schneller, No. 39; Nov. fior. p. 70, and De Gub., Zoöl. Myth. II. 187 (Tuscan). Part of our story is also found in Schneller, pp. 188–192, and Pitrè, Nos. 83, 84 (var.). To these references, which are given by Pitrè, may be added the following: Comparetti, Nos. 19 (Monferrato) partly, 35 (Monferrato), and 40 (Pisa); De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 19; Fiabe Mant. Nos. 18, 32 (the latter part), 49 (partly); Tuscan Fairy Tales, No. 3; Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 29; and Nov. tosc. No. 3.
The trait "underground world" is also found in Busk, p. 141. These stories illustrate sufficiently Hahn's Form. 40, "Descent into the Nether World."
14. To the stories in Note 13 containing "liberation of hero by eagle" may be added Comparetti, No. 24 (Monferrato). See in general: De Gub., Zoöl. Myth. II. 186; Benfey, Pant. I. pp. 216, 388; Rivista Orientale, I. p. 27; Orient und Occident, II. p. 299; and Basque Legends, p. 110.
15. Another version from Avellino is in the same collection, p. 201. Other Italian versions are: Pitrè, No. 79; Gonz., No. 51; De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 20; De Nino, No. 2; Comparetti, No. 28 (Monferrato); Ive, Fiabe pop. rovignesi, p. 20; No. 3, "El Pumo de uoro;" Schneller, No. 51; and Corazzini, p. 455 (Benevento).
In general see Ive's and Köhler's notes to stories above cited, and Romania, No. 24, p. 565. The corresponding Grimm story is No. 28, "The Singing Bone."
16. Other Italian versions are: Pitrè, Nos. 41, 42; Pent. I. 6; Busk, pp. 26, 31; Comp., No. 23 (Pisa); Fiabe Mant. No. 45; Nov. fior. p. 162 (Milan); Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. II.; and Archivio, II. 185 (Sardinia).
Schneller, No. 24, and Bernoni, No. 8, are connecting links between "Cinderella" and "Allerleirauh." In the former, Cinderella's father asks his three daughters what present he shall make them. Cinderella asks for a sword, and shortly after leaves her home and obtains a situation in a city as servant. In the palace opposite lives a young count, with whom Cinderella falls in love. She obtains a situation in his house. Her sword, which is enchanted, gives her beautiful dresses, and she goes to the balls as in the other versions. The third evening the count slips a costly ring on her finger, which Cinderella uses to identify herself with. Bernoni, No. 8, is substantially the same. After the death of their mother and father Cinderella's sisters treat her cruelly, and she obtains a place as servant in the king's palace, and is aided by the fairies, who take pity upon her. She is identified by means of a ring, and also by her diamond slipper, which she throws to the servants, who are following her to see where she lives.
European versions will be found in the notes to Grimm, No. 21 ("Cinderella"), and W. R. S. Ralston's article, "Cinderella," in the Nineteenth Century, November, 1879.
17. Other Italian versions are: Pitrè, No. 43; Gonz., 38; Pent. II. 6; Busk, pp. 66, 84, 90, 91; Comparetti, No. 57 (Montale); De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 3 (see also Rivista di Lett. Pop. I. p. 86); Gradi, Saggio, p. 141; Fiabe Mant. No. 38; Nov. fior. p. 158 (Milan), Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 3; De Nino, No. 17, and Archivio, I. 190 (Tuscany), II. 26 (Sardinia). Straparola, I. 4, contains the first part of our story, which is also partly found in Coronedi-Berti, No. 3, and Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 13.
The gifts, which in the story in the text are given the day of the wedding, in the other versions are bestowed before marriage by father, in order to overcome daughter's opposition. The recognition by means of ring is found in the last two stories mentioned in Note 16, in Fiabe Mant. No. 38, above cited, and Nov. fior. p. 158 (Milan). See also Grimm, Nos. 93 ("The Raven"), 101 ("Bearskin"); Hahn, No. 25; Asbj., No. 71 (Tales from the Fjeld, p. 130); and Romania, No. 23, p. 359.
Other European versions of our story will be found mentioned in the notes to Grimm, No. 65 ("Allerleirauh"), to Gonz., No. 38 (II. 229); Orient und Occident, II. 295; D'Ancona, Sacre Rappresent. III. 238; Romania, No. 24, 571; Basque Legends, p. 165, and Ralston's R. F. T. p. 159.
18. See Gonz., No. 26, and Widter-Wolf, No. 8 (Jahrb. VII. p. 128).
For story in general, see notes to stories just cited, and Cox, Aryan Myth. vol. I. p. 224; II. p. 261, "The Myth of Nisos and Skylla;" Hahn, I. p. 52; and De Gub., Zoöl. Myth. I. p. 211 et seq.
19. Pitrè, in his notes to No. 71, gives two variants of his story, and mentions a Piedmontese version yet unpublished. Comparetti, No. 54, an analysis of which is given in the text, represents sufficiently Hahn's Form. No. 37, "Strong Hans."
20. In the version in Pent. IV. 8, after the seven sons have disappeared, their sister goes in search of them, finds them, and they all live happily together until by her fault they are changed into doves, and she is obliged to go to the house of the Mother of Time and learn from her the mode of disenchantment. In a story in Pitrè, No. 73, a husband threatens to kill his wife if she does not give birth to a male child.
For other European versions of our story, see Grimm, No. 9, "The Twelve Brothers;" No. 25, "The Seven Ravens;" and No. 49, "The Six Swans;" Mélusine, p. 419, and Basque Legends, p. 186. Part of the story in text belongs to the Geneviève formula, see notes 8, 10, of this chapter.
21. The first trait, "Two Sisters," is also found as an independent story, see Chap. II., p. 100, and note 2. "Substitution of false bride" is found without "Two Sisters" in Comp., Nos. 53 (Montale) and 68 (Montale); Fiabe Mant. No. 16; and Gradi, Saggio, p. 141. See note 10 of this chapter. The best example of "substitution" is, as we have said before, Grimm, No. 89, "The Goose-Girl;" see also Romania, No. 24, p. 546. The same trait is found also in a very extensive and interesting class of stories which may be termed, from the usual titles of the stories, "The Three Citrons," some of the versions of which belong to "Forgotten Bride." We give here, however, a version belonging to the class above-mentioned, and which we have taken, on account of its rarity, from Ive, Fiabe pop. rovignesi, p. 3.
XXIV. THE LOVE OF THE THREE ORANGES.
Once upon a time there was a king and queen who had a half-witted son. The queen was deeply grieved at this, and she thought to go to the Lord and ask counsel of him what she was to do with this son. The Lord told her to try and do something to make him laugh. She replied: "I have nothing but a jar of oil, unfortunately for me!" The Lord said to her: "Well, give this oil away in charity, for there will come many people; some bent, some straight, some humpbacked, and it may happen that your son will laugh." So the queen proclaimed that she had a jar of oil, and that all could come and take some. And everybody, indeed, hurried there and took the oil down to the last drop. Last of all came an old witch, who begged the queen to give her a little, saying: "Give me a little oil, too!" The queen replied: "Ah, it is all gone, there is no more!" The queen was angry and full of spite because her son had not yet laughed. The old witch said again to the queen: "Let me look in the jar!" The queen opened the jar, and the old woman got inside of it and was all covered with the dregs of the oil; and the queen's son laughed, and laughed, and laughed. The old woman came out, saw the prince laughing, and said to him: "May you never be happy until you go and find the Love of the three Oranges." The son, all eager, said to his mother: "Ah, mother, I shall have no more peace until I go and find the Love of the three Oranges." She answered: "My dear son, how will you go and find the Love of the three Oranges?" But he would go; so he mounted his horse and rode and rode and rode until he came to a large gate. He knocked, and some one within asked: "Who is there?" He replied: "A soul created by God." The one within said: "In all the years that I have been here no one has ever knocked at this gate." The prince repeated: "Open, for I am a soul created by God!" Then an old man came down and opened the gate. He had eyelids that reached to his feet, and he said: "My son, take down those little forks, and lift up my eyelids." The prince did so, and the old man asked: "Where are you going, my son, in this direction?" "I am going to find the Love of the three Oranges." The old man answered: "So many have gone there and never returned! Do you wish not to return, too? My son, take these twigs; you will meet some witches who are sweeping out their oven with their hands; give them these twigs, and they will let you pass." The prince very gratefully took the twigs, mounted his horse and rode away. He journeyed a long time, and at last saw in the distance the witches of immense size who were coming towards him. He threw them the twigs, and they allowed him to pass.
He continued his journey, and arrived at a gate larger than the first. Here the same thing occurred as at the first one, and the old man said: "Well! since you will go, too, take these ropes, on your way you will encounter some witches drawing water with their tresses; throw them these ropes, and they will let you pass."
Everything happened as the old man said; the prince passed the witches, continued his journey and came to a third gate larger than the second. Here an old man with eyelids longer than the other two gave him a bag of bread, and one of tallow, saying: "Take this bag of bread; you will meet some large dogs; throw them the bread and they will let you pass; then you will come to a large gate with many rusty padlocks; then you will see a tower, and in it the Love of the three Oranges. When you reach that place, take this tallow and anoint well the rusty padlocks; and when you have ascended the tower, you will find the oranges hanging from a nail. There you will also find an old woman who has a son who is an ogre and has eaten all the Christians who have come there; you see, you must be very careful!"
The prince, well contented, took the bag of bread and the tallow and rode away. After a long journey, he saw at a distance, three great dogs with their mouths wide open coming to eat him. He threw them the bread, and they let him pass.
He journeyed on until he came to another large gate with many rusty padlocks. He dismounted, tied his horse to the gate, and began to anoint the locks with the tallow, until, after much creaking, they opened. The prince entered, saw the tower, went up and met an old woman who said to him: "Dear son, where are you going? What have you come here for? I have a son who is an ogre, and will surely eat you up." While she was uttering these words, the son arrived. The old woman made the prince hide under the bed; but the ogre perceived that there was some one in the house, and when he had entered, he began to cry:—
"Geîn geîn, I smell a Christian,
Giàn giàn, I smell a Christian!"
"Son," his mother said, "there is no one here." But he repeated his cry. Then his mother, to quiet him, threw him a piece of meat, which he ate like a madman; and while he was busy eating, she gave the three oranges to the prince, saying: "Take them, my son, and escape at once, for he will soon finish eating his meat, and then he will want to eat you, too." After she had given him the three oranges, she repented of it, and not knowing what else to do, she cried out: "Stairs, throw him down! lock, crush him!" They answered: "We will not, for he gave us tallow!" "Dogs, devour him!" "We will not, for he gave us bread!" Then he mounted his horse and rode away, and the old woman cried after him: "Witch, strangle him!" "I will not, for he gave me ropes!" "Witch, kill him!" "I will not, for he gave me twigs!" The prince continued his journey, and on the way became very thirsty, and did not know what to do. Finally he thought of opening one of the oranges. He did so, and out came a beautiful girl, who said to him:
"Love, give me to drink!"
"Love, I have none!"
And she said:
"Love, I shall die!"
And she died at once. The prince threw away the orange, and continued his journey, and soon became thirsty again. In despair he opened another orange, and out sprang another girl more beautiful than the first. She, too, asked for water, and died when the prince told her he had none to give her. Then he continued his way, saying: "The next time I surely do not want to lose her." When he became thirsty again, he waited until he reached a well; then he opened the last orange and there appeared a girl more beautiful than the first two. When she asked for water, he gave her the water of the well; then took her out of the orange, put her on horseback with himself, and started for home. When he was nearly there, he said to her: "See, I will leave you here for a time under these two trees;" one had leaves of gold and silver fruit, and the other gold fruit and silver leaves. Then he made her a nice couch, and left her resting between the two trees. "Now," said he, "I must go to my mother to tell her that I have found you, then I will come for you and we shall be married!" Then he mounted his horse and rode away to his mother.
Now while he was gone an old witch approached the girl and said: "Ah, dear daughter, let me comb your hair." The young girl replied: "No, the like of me do not wish it." Again she said: "Come, my dear daughter, let me comb you!" Tired of being asked so often by the old woman, the girl at last allowed her to comb her hair, and what did that monster of an old witch take it into her head to do. She stuck a pin through the girl's temples from side to side, and the girl at once was changed into a dove. What did this wretch of an old woman then do? She got into the couch in the place of the young girl, who flew away.
Meanwhile the prince reached his mother's house, and she said to him: "Dear son, where have you been? how have you spent all this time?" "Ah, my mother," said he, "what a lovely girl I have for my wife!" "Dear son, where have you left her?" "Dear mother, I have left her between two trees, the leaves of one are of gold and the fruit is silver, the leaves of the other are of silver and the fruit gold."
Then the queen gave a grand banquet, invited many guests, and made ready many carriages to go and bring the young girl. They mounted their horses, they entered their carriages, they set out, but when they reached the trees they saw the ugly old woman, all wrinkled, in the couch between the trees, and the white dove on top of them.
The poor prince, you can imagine it! was grieved to the heart, and ashamed at seeing the ugly old woman. His father and mother, to satisfy him, took the old woman, put her in a carriage, and carried her to the palace, where the wedding-feast was prepared. The prince was downhearted, but his mother said to him: "Don't think about it, my son, for she will become beautiful again." But her son could not think of eating or of talking. The dinner was brought on and the guests placed themselves at the round table. Meanwhile, the dove flew up on the kitchen balcony, and began to sing:
"Let the cook fall asleep,
Let the roast be burned,
Let the old witch be unable to eat of it."
The guests waited for the cook to put the roast on the table. They waited, and waited and waited, and at last they got up and went to the kitchen, and there they found the cook asleep. They called and called him, and at last he awoke, but soon became drowsy again. He said he did not know what was the matter with him, but he could not stand up. He put another roast on the spit, however. Then the dove again flew on the balcony and sang:
"Let the cook fall asleep,
Let the roast be burned,
Let the old witch be unable to eat of it."
Again the guests waited until they grew weary, and then the groom went to see what was the matter. He found the cook asleep again, and said: "Cook, good cook, what is the matter with you that you sleep?" Then the cook told him that there was a dove that flew on the balcony and repeated:—
"Let the cook fall asleep,
Let the roast be burned,
Let the old witch be unable to eat of it."—
and that he was immediately seized with drowsiness, and fell asleep at once. The bridegroom went out on the balcony, saw the dove, and said to it: "Cuócula, pretty cuócula, come here and let me see you!" The dove came near him and he caught it, and while he was caressing it he saw the pins planted in its head, one in its forehead, and one in each of its temples. What did he do? He pulled out the pin in the forehead! Then he caressed it again, and pulled out the pins from its temples. Then the dove became a beautiful girl, more beautiful than she was before, and the prince took her to his mother and said: "Here, my mother, this is my bride!" His mother was delighted to see the beautiful girl, and the king, too, was well pleased. When the old witch saw the girl, she cried: "Take me away, take me away, I am afraid!" Then the fair girl told the whole secret how it was. The guests who were present wished to give their opinions as to what should be done with the old woman. One of the highest rank said: "Let her be well greased, and burned!" "Bravo, bravo!" exclaimed the others, "burn her; she must be burned!" So they seized the old woman, had wood brought, and burned her in the midst of the city. Then they returned home, and had a finer wedding than before.
The following are the Italian versions of the above: Pent. IV. 9; Pitrè, Otto Fiabe, II. "La Bella di li setti Citri;" Gonz., No. 13; Busk, p. 15; Nov. fior. pp. 305, 308 (Milan); Comparetti, No. 68 (also in Nerucci, p. 111); De Gub., Sto. Stefano, Nos. 4, 5; Prato, Quattro nov. pop. livornesi, No. 1; Archivio, I. 525 (Tuscan); II. 204 (Sardinian); Piedmontese in Mila y Fontanals Observaciones sobre la poesia popular, Barcelona, 1853, p. 179; Coronedi-Berti, No. 11; Corazzini (Benevento), p. 467; and Schneller, No. 19. Part of our story is the same as Pitrè, No. 13, "Snow-white-fire-red," given in full in our text. See also Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 15.
Copious references to other European versions will be found in the notes of Ive, Köhler, etc., to the above versions; to these may be added, Lo Rondallayre, Nos. 18, 37, Liebrecht to Simrock's Deut. Märchen in Orient und Occident, III. p. 378 (Kalliopi), No. 3, and Indian Fairy Tales, pp. 253, 284.
22. See Pent. IV. 7; Gonz., Nos. 33, 34; Pitrè, Nos. 59, 60 (61); Archivio, II. 36 (Sardinia); De Nino, No. 19; and Schneller, No. 22. The corresponding Grimm story is No. 135, "The White Bride and the Black One." For other European references, see Köhler to Gonz., Nos. 33, 34 (II. p. 225), and Romania, No. 24, pp. 546, 561. See also Chapter II., note 1.
23. The best version is in the Pent. IV. 3, where the three daughters are married to a falcon, a stag, and a dolphin, who, as in our story, assist their brother-in-law, but are disenchanted without his aid. Other Italian versions are: Pitrè, No. 16, and Nov. pop. sicil., Palermo, 1873, No. 1; Gonz., No. 29; Knust (Leghorn), No. 2 (Jahrb. VII. 384); Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 23; Nov. fior. p. 266; Comparetti, Nos. 4, 58; Archivio, II. p. 42 (Tuscan); Nov. tosc. No. 11.
For other European versions see, besides references in notes to above stories, Hahn, No. 25; Grimm, vol. II. p. 510, to Musäus' "Die drei Schwestern," and No. 197, "The Crystal Ball;" Benfey, Pant. I. p. 534; and Ralston, R. F. T. p. 96. See also note 12 of this chapter.
As usual, many of the incidents of our stories are found in those belonging to other classes; among the most important are: Prince hidden in musical instrument, Pitrè, No. 95; finding princess' place of concealment, Pitrè, Nos. 95, 96; Gonz., No. 68; and Grimm, No. 133; "The Shoes which were danced to Pieces;" princess recognized among others dressed alike, or all veiled; Nov. fior. p. 411 (Milan); Grimm, No. 62, "The Queen Bee," Ralston, R. F. T. p. 141, note; Basque Legends, p. 125; Orient und Occident, II. pp. 104, 107–114; tasks set hero to win wife, Pitrè, Nos. 21, 95, 96; Gonz., No. 68; De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 8; Basque Legends, p. 120; Orient und Occident, II. 103; and Romania, No. 28, p. 527. This last incident is found also in "Forgotten Bride," see note 25 of this chapter.
24. For other European references to the first class, "riddle solved by suitor," see Jahrb. V. 13; Grimm, No. 114, "The Cunning Little Tailor," and Hahn, I. p. 54.
Other Italian versions of the second class are: Comparetti, Nos. 26 (Basilicata), 59 (Monferrato); Nerucci, p. 177 (partly); and Widter-Wolf, No. 15 (Jahrb. VII. 269). See also Köhler's notes to last-mentioned story, and also to Campbell, No. 22, in Orient und Occident, II. 320; Grimm, No. 22, "The Riddle;" and Prof. F. J. Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Part II. p. 414.
For other stories containing riddles belonging to other classes than the above, see Bernoni, Punt. II. p. 54; Gradi, Vigilia, p. 8; Corazzini, p. 432; Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 7; and Köhler's article, Das Räthselmärchen von dem ermordeten Geliebten in the Rivista di Lett. pop. I. p. 212. A peculiar version of the second class may be found in Ortoli, p. 123, where a riddle very much like the one in the text is proposed by suitor to princess' father.
25. Other Italian versions are: Gonz., Nos. 14, 54, 55; Pent. II. 7, III. 9 (forgets bride on touching shore); Pomiglianesi, p. 136 (the first part belongs to the class of "Fair Angiola;") Busk, p. 3 (first part same as last story); De Gub., Sto. Stefano, No. 5 (see also Rivista di Lett. pop. I. p. 84); Coronedi-Berti, No. 13 (this is one of the few "Three Citrons" stories containing episode of bride forgotten at mother's kiss); Schneller, No. 27; Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, No. 4 (mother's kiss); Pitrè, vol. IV. p. 285, gives an Albanian version of our story. The imprecation and mother's kiss are also found in another of the "Three Citrons" stories, Gonz., No. 13. For obstacles to flight, see Note 11 of this chapter.
For other European versions see Köhler's notes to Gonz., No. 14; to Campbell, No. 2 (Orient und Occident, II. 103); to Kreutzwald-Löwe, No. 14; Hahn, I. p. 55; Romania, Nos. 19, p. 354, 20, p. 527; Grimm, Nos. 56, ("Sweetheart Roland"), 113 ("The Two Kings' Children"), 186 ("The True Bride"), 193 ("The Drummer;") Basque Legends, p. 120; Ralston, R. F. T. pp. 119, 131; Brueyre, p. 111; and B. Schmidt, Griechische Märchen, Sagen und Volkslieder, Leipzig, 1877, cited by Cosquin, Romania, No. 28, p. 543. See also in general, Cox, Aryan Myth. I. p. 158.
26. The same incident is found in Gonz., No. 6, and Pitrè, No. 61. See Köhler's notes to Gonz., No. 6; Grimm, No. 193 ("The Drummer"); Romania, No. 28, p. 527; and Hahn, No. 15.
27. Another Venetian version is in Bernoni, No. 3. See also Nov. fior. p. 290; Gradi, Vigilia, p. 53; Fiabe Mant. No. 39; and Schneller, No. 32.
For other European versions, see Grimm, No. 46 ("Fitcher's Bird"), Köhler's notes to Widter-Wolf, No. 11 (Jahrb. VII. 148); and Ralston, R. F. T. p. 97.
28. See Pitrè, No. 19, Nuovo Saggio, No. 4; Nov. fior. pp. 7, 12; and Nerucci, No. 49. Compare also Gonz., Nos. 10 and 22 (already mentioned, "The Robber who had a Witch's Head"), and Comparetti, No. 18 (Pisa).
For other references to this class, see Grimm, No. 40 ("The Robber-Bridegroom") and Romania, No. 22, p. 236.
29. See Chap. II., note 4. For other references to this class, see Grimm, No. 3 ("Our Lady's Child"), and Romania, No. 28, p. 568.
30. The seventh version is from Bologna and is entitled La Fola dêl Muretein ("The Story of the Little Moor"), and was published by Coronedi-Berti in the Rivista Europea, Florence, 1873. It is briefly as follows: A queen has no children and visits a witch who gives her an apple to eat, telling her that in due time she will bear a son. One of the queen's maids eats the peel and both give birth to sons; the maid's being called the Little Moor from resembling the dark red color of the apple peel. The two children grow up together, and when the prince goes off on his travels his friend the little Moor accompanies him. They spend the night in an enchanted castle and the friend hears a voice saying that the prince will conquer in a tournament and marry the king's daughter, but on their wedding night a dragon will devour the bride, and whoever tells of it will become marble. The friend saves the princess' life, but is thrown into prison, and when he exculpates himself becomes marble. He can only be restored to life by being anointed with the blood of a cock belonging to a wild man (om salvadgh) living on a certain mountain. The prince performs the difficult feat of stealing the cock and healing his friend.
For other European versions, see Grimm, No 6 ("Faithful John"); Hahn, No. 29; Wolf, Proben Port. und Cat. Volksm. p. 52; Lo Rondallayre, No. 35 ("Lo bon criat"); Old Deccan Days, p. 98; and in general, Benfey, Pant. I. p. 417, and Köhler in Weimarische Beiträge zur Lit. und Kunst, Weimar, 1865, p. 192 et seq.
31. See Pitrè, vol. I. pp. xcix., ciii.; IV. pp. 382, 430, and Comparetti, No. 44. A version from the Abruzzi may be found in Finamore, No. 38. See also Grimm, No. 191 ("The Robber and his Sons"); Basque Legends, p. 4; Dolopathos ed. Oesterley, pp. xxii., 65; and in general, Orient und Occident, II. 120, and Benfey, Pant. I. 295.
32. Another Sicilian version is in Gonz., No. 83. Other versions are: Pent. III. 7; Nerucci, p. 341; De Nino, No. 30; Fiabe Mant. No. 4; Nov. fior. p. 340 (Milan); and Widter-Wolf, No. 9 (Jahrb. VII. p. 134). There are other similar stories in which a person is forced by those envious of him to undertake dangerous enterprises: see Pitrè, Nos. 34, 35; Comparetti, No. 16; Tuscan Fairy Tales, No. 8, De Nino, No. 39, etc. Strap., I. 2, also offers many points of resemblance to our story.
For other versions, see Grimm, No. 192 ("The Master-Thief"), and Köhler's notes to Widter-Wolf, No. 9.
33. The version in Nov. fior. p. 574, is from Florence, the others, pp. 575 (the story in our text), 577, 578, 579, are from Milan, and closely resemble each other.
34. Compare Pitrè, No. 83, and De Nino, No. 43. Tyrolese versions are in Schneller, Nos. 53, 54. See also Widter-Wolf, No. 2 (Jahrb. VII. 13), and Jahrb. VIII. p. 246, Italien. Märchen aus Sora, No. 2. For additional European versions, see Jahrb. ut supra, and V. 7; Romania, Nos. 19, p. 350; 24, p. 562; 28, p. 556; and Grimm, Nos. 20 ("The Valiant Little Taylor"), and 183 ("The Giant and the Tailor") Some of the episodes mentioned in the text may be found in a Corsican story in Ortoli, p. 204, where, however, instead of a giant, a priest is outwitted by his servant.