Thorpe, Benjamin, Yule-Tide Stories. Popular Tales and Traditions from the Swedish, Danish, and German. (Third variant from South Smaland of the foregoing, No. 112.)
"FROKEN SKINN-PELS ROR I ASKAN"
[You can read Thorpe's Fröken Skinn-pels Rör i askan on SurLaLune.]
Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother)--Menial heroine (tends cattle)--Helpful animal (white bear)--Magic gold pipe for heroine summons bear at will--Snares set to entrap hear-- Heroine flight on helpful animal through silver, gold, diamond forests--Heroine disobeys and plucks leaf in each, causing pursuit by wild beasts--Bear bids heroine slay him; throw carcase into fountain--Heroine disguise (bear-skin)--Menial heroine (kitchenmaid at palace)--Golden pipe brings Pysslings to prepare dinner and give Magic dresses--Meeting-place (church)--Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test--Happy marriage.
[Introduction borrowed from the story of "De tre Under-sko-garne", i.e., the Three Wonderful Forests.]-- (1) Stepmother sends heroine to tend cattle, giving her only a morsel of oatmeal bread.-- (2) She weeps under tree; huge white bear asks why; promises help if she will be true to him; gives her pipe of gold on which to blow whenever she would speak with him.-- (3) Stepmother and step daughter, hearing of heroine's benefactor, lay snares to entrap bear. Heroine goes to oak in forest, blows pipe, and warns bear. She escapes on bear's back, promising to obey him. They come to silver forest; heroine disobeys, and plucks silver leaf; wild beasts, lions, tigers, pursue bear, he comes out of forest half-dead with fear. Same thing happens in gold forest and in diamond forest.-- (4) They reach a spring. Bear says they must part; one must descend into fountain. Heroine is willing to go, but bear gives her knife, bids her slay him and throw carcase into fountain, then clothe herself in skin, and take service at king's palace.-- (5) She gets employment in kitchen, and sits in chimney-corner raking the cinders. People are struck with her garb and manner, and call her "Fröken Skinnpels rör-i-askan" (Miss Skin-cloak rakes-in-the-ashes).-- (6) King, queen, young prince, and court go to church; master-cook wants to go too, and asks Fröken Skinnpels to prepare dinner. She blows golden pipe, and says, "Up, my little Pysslings,1 prepare dainty dinner for royal table." Swarm of little Pysslings obey; then she asks them for silver dress, goes to church, and sits between queen and princess.-- (7) Prince falls in love with her.
1: In forests and wildernesses
the spirits of little children that have been murdered are said to wander
about wailing within an assigned space, as long as their lives would have
lasted on earth, if they had been permitted to live. As a terror for unnatural
mothers that kill their offspring, their sad cry is said to be, "Mamma!
mamma!" When travellers by night pass such places these beings will
hang on to the vehicle, when the liveliest horses will toil as if they
were dragging millstones, will sweat, and at length be unable to proceed
further. The peasant then knows that a ghost, or Pyssling, has attached
itself to the vehicle. If he goes to the horse's head, lifts the head-stall,
and looks through it towards the carriage, he will see the little pitiable
being, but will get a smart blow on the ear, or fill sick. This is called
"ghost-pressed" (gastkramad). (Thorpe, Northern Antiquities,
Cox, Marian Roalfe. Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O' Rushes, abstracted and tabulated. London: David Nutt for the Folklore Society, 1893.
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