Waldau, A., Bohmisches Märchenbuch. Prague, 1860. Pp. 638-655. (Translated from the original of Bozena Nemcova.)
"THE THREE SISTERS."
Ill-treated heroine (by mother and elder sisters) -- Gifts from father; heroine asks for whatever hits his hat on way home; gets three nuts, which she lets fall into well. Frog restores them; tells her they contain Magic dresses--Meeting-place (church)-- Pear-tree cut down because heroine pretends to have spied thence--Three-fold flight--Trap---Prince has road strewn with fir-trunks--Lost shoe--Beggar tells where heroine lives--Shoe marriage test--Mutilated feet--False brides--Animal witness (dog)--Happy marriage--Father fetches nuts from same tree for elder daughters, who are strangled by snakes which nuts contain. Earth swallows corpses. Villain Nemesis.
(1) In a certain town a man and wife have three daughters, named Baruska, Dorotka, and Anuska. The elder are vain girls, and idle their time away adorning themselves, whilst youngest must work for them. Mother also ill-treats heroine, and makes a slave of her, whilst she indulges the elder girls. Father asks daughters what he shall bring them from market. The elder two choose brocades and stuffs, ribbons and pearls. Youngest says she wants nothing but what hits father's hat on the way.-- (2) Father buys the costly gifts, and on way home through the wood his hat knocks against a nut-tree. Then he remembers promise to heroine, and picks three nuts for her. She hides them in her bosom, but that night, when bending down to dip water from the well, the nuts fall in, and she is greatly distressed and weeps. A frog jumps up and asks why, then dives and fetches them for her. He asks if she knows what is inside nuts. Only a kernel, she supposes. "Not at all," says frog. "There is a costly dress in each, and when you want to wear one you can crack a nut." Frog disappears, and heroine cannot believe him, though she will take great care of the nuts. At night she puts them in a kerchief in the chest.-- (3) Next Sunday sisters go to church in their finery, and heroine must stay at home alone to cook the dinner. When she has put it on the fire she sits down on the chest and weeps, and wishes she could go to church. But her rags! If only it were true what the frog said! She will crack a nut and see. She washes herself; then draws from nut a rose-coloured dress trimmed with silver, a silver girdle, a white veil, a pearl diadem, and white and silver shoes. Thus arrayed she leaves the house. On the threshold she sprinkles herself with holy water, and says, "Mist before me, mist behind me, God Almighty above me! Little angels, guardian angels, protect the house whilst I'm away." In the church all make way for her, and she sits by her sisters, who cannot take their eyes off her splendid clothes. The young king of the land is in church, and is greatly struck with the lovely lady, but none can tell him who she is. He means to watch her leave, but she is off and away before prince can follow her. She doffs her clothes and returns them to chest; dinner is ready, and parents and sisters return. Sisters try to make her envious by telling her of lovely lady.-- (4) Heroine says she saw her too from the pear-tree. Pear-tree is cut down.-- (5) Next Sunday all happens as before; heroine goes to church in sky-blue dress covered with pearls and diamonds, a diamond coronet, white veil, and white shoes. Everything as before. She looks towards prince, and blushes to meet his glance. She hurries away after service; prince fails to follow her.-- (6) She tells sisters she watched princess from the top of wicket, which is then torn down.-- (7) Third Sunday heroine wears pearl-coloured dress embroidered with gold, a golden-bordered veil, a diadem of rubies, and gold-embroidered shoes. Everything as before. Prince will not be baffled this time; he has contrived it cunningly. Two waggons laden with fir-trunks are stationed near the church, and the men have orders to strew the road with fir-branches the moment the lady has entered the church. The prince counts on catching her before she can get over the trunks. On leaving church she sees a great heap of wood outside. But that is nothing to her; she springs over the fir-trunks, shakes out her dress, and is away. Only, one of her shoes is left behind among the branches.-- (8) Prince follows after her and picks up shoe. An old beggar woman comes up to him whispering she knows who the lady is, and points to the house she comes from. Beggar is gone before he can look round. Mean while heroine has put away her splendid clothes, weeping, and almost wishing she had never worn them.-- (9) Sisters return, and whilst they are at dinner a carriage-and-four drives up with the prince inside. Father hurries to him, and prince asks if it is true that he has a daughter. Mother winks to father, and replies. Prince says he has picked up a shoe, and has vowed to wed whomsoever it fits. Where is the daughter? Mother says girl is very shy, and would not try it on in his presence. She will take it to her. She goes to elder daughters, and says one of them will be a princess.-- (10) Eldest daughter cuts off heel, puts on shoe, and mother leads her to prince, who does not recognise her, but puts her in the carriage with her mother. On the way the little dog who goes everywhere with him, begins barking: "Bow- wow-wow! Our master is bringing home a heelless wife." "What's that?" asks the prince. Dog repeats; then he turns to Baruska, and bids her take off shoe. She does so, disclosing a bandaged foot.-- (11) Mother says the right daughter would not come, but sent her sister. They turn back. Mother takes shoe to second daughter, who cuts off big toe. On the way home with prince dog barks, "Bow-wow-wow! Our master is bringing home a toeless wife." He makes her take off shoe, then turns back with mother and daughter. Mother says there is only a servant-girl in the house besides. She is sent for, and prince shakes his head.-- (12) At last father confesses that they have another daughter, but she never sees people-- she is too dirty. She is to be called. Mother and sisters are furious. Heroine is sitting on the chest n the garret, weeping as though her heart would break. Father comes to fetch her; tells her how sisters have been brought back again, and now she must go to prince. Father is astonished when she dons pearl dress. They go before the prince, who is overjoyed to recognise heroine. All want to know whence she obtained her gorgeous dresses, and she tells them every thing. Sisters, seeing she is a great princess, fall on her neck weeping, as though sorry to lose her. When she steps into the carriage little dog jumps about and barks "Bow-wow-wow! Our master is bringing a lovely wife home."-- (13) Mother and daughters rail at father, and scold him for giving magic nuts to youngest daughter. He declares he knew nothing of their contents. They insist that he shalt give similar ones to them. He determines to go to same tree, pick them some nuts, then go to his youngest daughter. They snatch nuts from him, crack them, and out of each comes a snake, three ells in length, which twines round the neck of each and strangles her. They fall to the earth, which opens and swallows them up.
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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