Crane, Italian Popular Tales. London, 1885. No. X, pp. 48-52. (From the province of Vicenza. Corazzini, op. cit. p. 484.)
"FAIR MARIA WOOD."
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Death-bed promise--Deceased wife's ring marriage test--Unnatural father--Counter-tasks (not set till wedding dresses --Heroine disguise (wooden dress) -- Heroine flight-.-- Heroine dons wooden dress, throws herself into river and floats. Gentleman rescues her and takes her home as servant to his mother --Meeting-place (ball) -- Gentleman beats heroine twice for asking to go to hall--(Token objects) --Three-fold flight--Love-sick prince--Recognition food (ring given at third ball)--Happy marriage.
(1) Husband and wife have only one child, a daughter. Wife falls ill, and before dying makes her husband promise he will marry no one whom her ring does not fit.-- (2) After her death he takes off her wedding-ring, and when he wishes to marry again seeks in vain for someone whom the ring fits; at last tries it on his daughter; it fits her, and he wants to marry her.-- (3) She does not oppose him, but consents. On the day of the wedding she begs for four most beautiful silk dresses, which he gives; then she asks for a wooden dress in which she can conceal herself; he gives this also.-- (4) She waits one day till he is out of sight, puts on the wooden dress with the four silk ones under it, goes to a river not far off, throws herself in, and floats in the wooden dress.-- (5) Water carries her a long way, till she sees a gentleman on the bank she cries out, "Who wants the fair Maria Wood?" Gentleman calls her; she comes out; he takes her home to his mother, who takes her as a servant.-- (6) The gentleman goes to balls; the servant begs mistress to let her go and see the dancing ; mistress refuses. She waits till mistress is in bed, dresses herself in one of the silk dresses, and becomes most beautiful woman ever seen. Goes to ball; all dazzled; she sits down near master; he asks her to dance, and will dance with no one else. Asks her whence she comes; she tells him from a distance. At certain hour she disappears, goes home, puts on wooden dress. Gentleman tells his mother when he comes home in the morning of beautiful lady, and that she only told him she came from a distance; that he thought he should die, and wishes to go again. Servant hears all, but keeps silence.-- (7) He prepares himself again for the ball; servant begs him to let her go, saying mistress had refused her the night before. "Be still, ugly creature; the ball is no place for you," says he. She persists. He beats her; she weeps,-- (8) After he has gone, and mistress is in bed, she puts on another dress, finer than the first, and all the handsomest young men beg her to dance; she refuses all but the master. 1-le asks who she is ; she says she will tell him later, but she disappears. He runs here and there asking for her; no one has seen her.-- (9) He goes home and tells his mother, who gives him a diamond ring to give her, so that if she takes it he may know she loves him. Servant listens, sees everything, but is silent. -- (10) In the evening master again prepares for ball; servant again begs to go, and he beats her. He goes to ball, and after midnight, as before, beautiful lady returns will only dance with master, lie offers her the ring ; she accepts it. He asks whence she comes; she says she is of that country
and says no more. At usual hour she leaves off dancing and goes; he runs after her, but cannot overtake her. He runs hither and thither, till when at last he reaches home he goes to bed, more dead than alive.-- (11) Then he falls ill; all say he will die; he does nothing but ask for that lady. Servant hears all, waits till her mistress's eye is turned, drops diamond ring in the broth her master is to eat. No one sees her. Mother takes him the broth; he finds ring; is beside himself with joy.-- (12) Servant meanwhile goes to her room, takes off wooden dress, puts on one all of silk, so that she appears a beauty goes to master's room; the mother cries out, "Here she is, here she is!" She goes smiling to son, who is beside himself, and becomes well at once. She tells her story; they are married.
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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