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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/284

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Cinderella in Britain.

animal given by dying mother—Ill-treated heroine—Mental heroine—Ear cornucopia—Spy on heroine—Slaying by helpful animal—Tasks—Revivified bones. I have attempted to reconstruct the "English" Cinderella according to this formula in my forthcoming More English Fairy Tales. It will be observed that the helpful animal is helpful in two ways—(a) in helping the heroine to perform tasks; (b) in providing her with magic dresses. It is the same with the Grimms' Aschenputtel and other Continental variants.

Turning to the Celtic variants, these divide into two sets. Campbell's and Macleod's versions are practically at one with the English formula, the latter with an important variation which will concern us later. But the other two, Curtin's and Sinclair's, one collected in Ireland and the other in Scotland, both continue the formula with the conclusion of the Sea Maiden tale (on which see the notes of my Celtic Fairy Tales, No. XVII). This is a specifically Celtic formula, and would seem therefore to claim Cinderella for the Celts. But the welding of the Sea Maiden ending on to the Cinderella formula is clearly a later and inartistic junction, and implies rather imperfect assimilation of the Cinderella formula. To determine the question of origin we must turn to the purer type given by the other two Celtic versions.

Campbell's tale can clearly lay no claim to represent the original type of Cinderella. The golden shoes are a gift of the hero to the heroine which destroys the whole point of the Shoe marriage-test, and cannot have been in the original, wherever it originated. Mr. Macleod's version, however, contains an incident which seems to bring us nearer to the original form than any version contained in Miss Cox's book. Throughout the variants it will be observed what an important function is played by the helpful animal. This in some of the versions is left as a legacy by the heroine's dying mother. But in Mr. Macleod's version the helpful animal, a sheep, is the heroine's mother herself!