Comparetti, Domenico, Novelline popolari Italiane. Roma, Torino, Firenze, 1875. Story No. LXI, pp. 264-68. (From Montale.)
King Lear judgment--Loving like salt--Outcast heroine-- Nurse accompanies heroine. They meet funeral of old woman aged hundred years; nurse buys her skin from grave-digger-- Heroine disguise--Prince takes old woman ( = disguised heroine) to palace; she is nicknamed Blear-Eye. Queen is surprised to find how beautifully she can spin and sew--Heroine discovered-- Happy marriage--Value of salt.
(1) King asks his three daughters how much they love him. First says, "As much as bread"; second, "As much as wine"; and with these answers he is contented. Youngest daughter says, "As much as salt", and because salt melts away, father thinks she wishes his destruction, and with curses drives her from home.-- (2) Heroine, who is only fifteen, weeping, seeks her nurse, who comforts her, bids her take bag of gold, then they set out together, carrying bundle of clothes. They journey many days. Nurse has some pains to protect beautiful girl.-- (3) One day they enter a city, and meet the funeral of an old woman aged a hundred years. Nurse thinks if she can buy her skin they are safe. They enter church, and after service nurse persuades gravedigger to sell old woman's skin for twenty scudi. She sews this, with the white hair, and the hands and nails on a cotton foundation, and puts it on heroine, making her look a hundred years old. They proceed on their way without further annoyance, only people wonder to see old woman walk so swiftly.-- (4) Arrived at great city, king's son notices old woman and questions nurse about her. Nurse says she can answer for herself, and heroine says she is one hundred and fifteen years old, and that she comes from her own country, and her father and her mother are her parents. Prince is much amused, and asks king and queen as a favour to himself to keep old woman at palace. She has a room given her, and the prince visits her often for the amusement of talking with her. Nurse returns to her home.-- (5) Old woman lives happily at palace, and is nicknamed Occhi-Marci. Queen asks if she can do anything, and she replica that when she was fifteen she could spin and cook, but now eyes and hands arc too feeble. Queen bids her try to spin, and sends her some wool. Heroine locks door, doffs disguise, and spins. Queen and all the court are amazed to see how beautifully blind old woman spins, and queen bids her make a shirt for prince. They take her fine stuff, and after locking door she makes shirt, and embroiders the front with flowers. All marvel at the lovely handiwork-- (6) Prince determines to find out what she does when alone, so watches at key-hole, and sees her doff disguise before eating. He bursts open door and rushes to embrace heroine, who is frightened and tries to escape. She tells her history, and prince asks her to marry him.-- (7) On the wedding day her father comes with other guests, but does not recognise her. Heroine sits beside him, and has given orders that all his food shall be prepared without salt, and in consequence he can eat nothing. When the feast is over heroine comments on this, and father says he cannot possibly eat food without salt. "Then you like salt?" says she. "Yes, for I don't know how to do without it." "Then why, my father, did you send me from home? etc." Father recognises her, and begs forgiveness.
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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