Imbriani,Vittorio. La Novellaja Fiorentina, Fiabe e Novelle stenografate in Firenze dal dettato popolare, ristampa accresciuta di molte novelle inedite....nelle quali e accolta integralmente La Novellaja Milanese. Livorno, 1877. Pp. 195-201. No. XIV.
LA BELIA E LA BRUTTA."
Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother)--Tasks: spinning, sewing--Old woman aid--Task-performing animal (cow)--Heroine sent to fairies; does their bidding graciously; is rewarded with riches and star on brow--Step-sister offends fairies; gets worth less gifts and ass-tail on head--Only heroine can pick magic apples for king. Heroine hidden in cask--False bride--Animal witness (cat)--Happy marriage--Step-mother boils own daughter; props up corpse; father knocks it down--Villain Nemesis. Father imprisoned; step-mother shot.
(1) Widower, with one daughter, marries again, and has another daughter. Stepmother ill-treats heroine; sets her spinning-task. One day gives her pound to spin before evening, or she will get no supper.-- (2) Heroine goes out weeping. Meets old woman, who, hearing of her trouble, tells her to go to wood, where she will find a cow, and say to it:
By evening heroine brings home flax all ready spun and wound.-- (3) Next day stepmother sends own daughter, giving her only half-a-pound of wool, of which she does not spin a quarter.-- (4) Day after she sends heroine again with two pounds to spin. She meets same old woman, who bids her say same words to cow in the wood. She returns at night with task done. Next day she gets three pounds spun in same way.-- (5) Then stepmother gives her shirt to sew, and if not finished by evening, she will get no supper. Old woman sends heroine to wood to say to cow:
Stepmother is at a loss to find fault with her.-- (6) Next day she sends her to fairies for a sieve to sift flour for bread. I- knocks at door, and fairies ask, "Who is it?" "Friends." "Come softly; the stairs are glass." Heroine takes off shoes to go more gently. Fairies say, "Be so good as to comb me. What do you find in my head?" "Pearls and diamonds." "Pearls and diamonds you will have. Kindly make my bed. What do you find there?" "Gold and silver." "Gold and silver you shall have. Do me the kindness to sweep my house. What do you find?" "Rubies and cherubs." "Rubies and cherubs you shall have." They then show her lots of dresses, and bid her choose. She takes one of the worst; they give her the most beautiful instead. Told to help herself to money in another room, she takes three or four bad pennies; instead of which they give her gold and silver. They allow jewel-case, and bid her choose pair of ear-rings, giving her diamond pair instead of broken ones. They say, "When you get to the bridge, turn round; you will hear a cock crow." Heroine turns round on the bridge when cock crows, and gets lovely star on brow. Stepmother tries to remove star, but, if she cuts it with a knife, it reappears more beautiful still.-- (7) Next day she sends own daughter, who, on being told to go softly upstairs, makes as much noise as possible, and breaks all the stairs. "Comb me. What do you find?" "Ticks and lice, you filthy people, you!" "Ticks and lice you shall have. Make my bed. What do you find?" "Fleas and bugs." Such shall she have. "Sweep my house. What do you find?" "Sweepings, and dirt, and filth, you horrid people!" Such shall she have. She chooses best dress, and gets worst; fills her lap with money, which is exchanged for three bad pennies; gets the broken ear-rings instead of those she chooses. They say, "When you get to the bridge, turn round; you will hear an ass bray." She turns, and gets ass-tail on the top of her head. Time more mother cuts it, the more it grows, so daughter is uglier than ever.-- (8) One day king passes and asks mother for a few apples from tree near house. She calls own daughter to pick some, but they keep stretching up out of reach. King says, is there no one in house who can pick a few apples. Step-mother says her other girl is fit for nothing; is always amongst the ashes. King has her called. Heroine dons dress the fairies gave, which rings like a bell as she comes downstairs. Stepmother says, "Hark at that stupid Cinderella; she is dragging the shovel after her." King asks her to pick a few apples; tree bows down, and fills her lap in a minute. King would marry her; stepmother consents, and it is arranged that in three days carriages shall be sent to fetch her. King sends outfit and seven rings.-- (9) On wedding morning stepmother dresses up own daughter, puts heroine naked inside cask, and sets water to boil. King drives off with wrong girl, and cat runs behind carriage, saying:
King heeds not, but cat follows mewing, and so annoys him that, at length, he says, "Turn back."-- (10) Then he finds heroine naked in cask, recognizes her, takes clothes off stepsister, puts her in cask, dresses heroine, and off they go.-- (11) Stepmother begins filling cask with boiling water; daughter cries out, "Mamma, you are scalding me!" Stepmother says:
Daughter screams again; mother replies in same words. When she finds she has killed own daughter, she fears to tell father.-- (12) She dresses up corpse, and sets her on chair by the door,1 with distaff beside her as though she were spinning. Father comes along, and says, "What are you doing there?-- always sleeping instead of working!" and gives corpse a blow which knocks it down. Mother weeps, and says he has killed her child.-- (13) Father is imprisoned, and afterwards mother is found guilty and shot.
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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