Revue des Traditions populaires, t. iii. "Trois Contes Pontevins," by Leon Pineau. No. I, pp. 268-272. (From Lussac-les-Chateaux, Vienne.)
"THE WHITE GOAT."
Father visits white-goat castle; omits to thank his invisible host. Must return next day or bring youngest daughter in his stead. White-goat wants to marry heroine; bids her not look in his ear. Whilst he sleeps she looks and finds key which opens three chambers wherein for seven years workers have been making robes, etc., for her. White-goat is awake when she would replace key; he reproves her and she leaves him to return home--Death bed promise--Deceased wife's resemblance marriage test--Unnatural father--Fairy godmother aid--Counter-tasks--Magic dresses -- Heroine escapes in magic wheel-harrow: Heroine flight--Heroine disguise (ass-skin)--On way to castle she begs from pickers, a walnut, an almond, a nut-- Menial heroine (turkey girl)--(Task self-imposed)--Heroine asks mistress for hemp, which magic spinning instruments [contained in three nuts], spin and wind--Spy on heroine--Mistress wants to buy magic instruments. Heroine parts with each in turn for permission to pass night in chamber of echoes--Servants hear her calling all night to white-goat and complain--Master's son throws away sleeping- draught, hears also and replies to heroine--Love-sick prince-- Recognition food, contains heroine's ring--Ring marriage test-- Happy marriage.
(1) A man is transformed by a fairy into a white goat till he shall find someone to marry him. He lives alone in castle, and is invisible to all comers. Father determines to visit castle. He and his horse are well cared for by invisible hands. A huge shadow waits upon him. He has feasted well, explored everything, and is about to depart, when shadow cries, "Ungrateful wretch, are you going without thanking me?" Then it says he must return on the morrow, or bring his youngest daughter in his stead.1-- (2) He goes home and tells daughter, who weeps, but consents to go. They set out together. Arrived at the castle, they are well served. They see the shadow waiting upon them.-- (3) Father departs, and a white goat appears to heroine and asks her to marry him. She need have no fear, for he will not be a white goat much longer. He forbids her to look in his ear, then falls asleep.-- (4) She looks and finds a key. With this she opens a door and sees workmen making cloth. She greets them. They say they have been seven years working at this cloth for her. She opens another door, and sees dressmakers at work upon all sorts of robes and things. She greets them, and learns they have been seven years working for her. In a third room she finds girls who for seven years have been making lace for her. Then she returns to replace key in goat's ear; but goat is awake, and reproves her for her disobedience. Heroine says she shall go home to her father.-- (5) Her mother has just died, having made husband promise never to marry again unless he finds someone just like her.-- (6) Heroine resembles deceased mother, and father wishes to marry her.-- (7) She seeks advice of fairy-godmother, who bids her demand dress like the sun, then dress like the stars, lastly, dress like the moon. Father provides them all in turn, and heroine then demands a little wheelbarrow which will travel night or day, above or below the ground. -- (8) He finds this at last, and off she goes in it.-- (9) She meets a queer little man with a little donkey, asks him to sell it to her, skins it, and gets inside skin. She goes on further, and sees some people beating walnut-tree, and asks leave to take one walnut. A little further, people are picking almonds, and she begs for an almond. Further still they are picking nuts, and she takes one.-- (10) Then she goes to a castle, and asks to be engaged as turkey girl. She drives her turkeys into the park, cracks her walnut, and finds inside a distaff, which spins all by itself. In the almond she finds a winder, which works alone, and in the nut a frame, which makes the balls all by itself. Then she asks mistress for some hemp, and returns it to her in the evening all ready wound.-- (11) Next day she tells mistress that she did not give her enough hemp. Mistress asks, in surprise, how she can possibly get so much done. She is watched, and they see the instruments working by themselves, whilst heroine walks round her flock, singing. Mistress wants to buy the distaff.-- (12) Heroine consents to part with it, if in return she may sleep one night in the chamber of echoes. All night long heroine says, "Did I offend you so sorely, my dear white goat?" Next day the other servants ask mistress what can have been the matter with the turkey-girl, and tell her what she was saying all night long-- (13) Mistress wants to buy the winder, and heroine parts with it for permission to pass another night in the chamber of echoes; and the same thing happens as before. Young master hears servants complaining of being kept awake.' He throws away his habitual sleeping draught, listens to heroine, and says, "I hear you, I hear you!" Heroine is heard no more.-- (14) Next day young master falls ill, and doctors are called. He says he must have a paté made by Peau d'Ane to cure him. Mother tries to dissuade him by saying that Peau d'Ane is so dirty. He insists that nothing but that paté can cure him.-- (15) Peau d'Ane is ordered to make it. She asks to be left alone. They watch her. Having washed herself in a silver basin, she makes the paté, and puts in it a ring off her finger.-- (16) Young master finds ring, and declares he will wed whomsoever it fits. Duchesses and countesses try it in vain. Peau d'Ane is called, and the grand ladies gather up their skirts lest she touch them.-- (17) When she has put on the ring she reappears in her sun-dress, which, in her turn, she gathers together, that it shall not touch the others. And that very day they are married.
(P. 357.) A similar incident occurs in the opening of
the story of "Sigurdr the King's Son" (Arnason, pp. 278 ff.)
The king is leaving the house of the brown dog, where he has found hospitable
entertainment for himself and for his horse, when the brown dog reproaches
him with ingratitude, and threatens his life unless he will promise to
give him whatever he first meets on his return home. In three days' time
the dog comes for the king's youngest daughter. The same promise is exacted
from the king by the lion-prince in Grimm's "Singing,
Soaring Lark". This is a distortion of the Jephtha formula, which
is itself (as Mr. Lang says, Cupid
and Psyche) "a moral warning against rash vows, combined
with a reminiscence of human sacrifice". Compare other
stories of the "Beauty and the Beast" type (as, e.g., Cosquin's
"Le Loup Blanc", ii, 215 ff., and variants), and see also Nos.
275 and 297 of this collection.
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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