Dixon, James, Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England. Edited by Robert Bell. London, 1857. Pp. 115-122.
"THE WANDERING YOUNG GENTLEWOMAN; OR, CATSKIN."
[You can read Dixon's The Wandering Young Gentlewoman; or, Catskin on SurLaLune.]
Outcast heroine because father is disappointed of heir--Heroine disguise (catskin dress) -- Menial heroine (scullion)--Rank dresses hidden in out-house--Mistress strikes heroine with ladle; with skimmer; throws basin of water at her-- Meeting-place (ball)--Token objects named--Threefold flight--Young master tracks her to out-house, seeks her in marriage, plans feigned illness-- Lovesick lord; will only be nursed by Catskin-- Happy marriage--Father now bereft of wife and child seeks outcast daughter. To test her love he comes as beggar; is kindly received; gives rich dowry.
(1) Rich young squire is disappointed that first child is a girl; tells wife if the next is not a son it shall be outcast. Wife bears daughter, who is sent away and brought up in the country.-- (2) Heroine determines to travel about and seek her fortune, since father does not love her. She puts her jewels and rich attire in a bundle, and dons robe of catskins.-- (3) She asks at knight's door for night's rest in stable. Lady takes her in to kitchen and gives her food; then sends her to out-house for the night. Here she hides her possessions in the straw, and returns next day to kitchen, and is hired as scullion. Cook befriends her. She is called Catskin.-- (4) Mistress's son goes to ball. Catskin asks to go after him, and mistress strikes her with ladle, breaking it in two. Heroine dons fine clothes, goes to ball, dances with young master, and tells him she dwells at the "sign of the broken ladle". She slips home first.-- (5) Next night all happens as before. Mistress hits her with skimmer, and site says she lives at "sign of the broken skimmer". Young master returns, finds Catskin in kitchen, and says how much she resembles the ball beauty.-- (6) Third night mistress throws basin of water at heroine, who then goes to ball, and tells young master she comes from the "sign of the basin of water". This time he follows her, sees her enter out-house, vows he will marry her, and, to get his friends' consent, will feign illness-- (7) He takes to his bed, and will have none but Catskin to nurse him. One day his mother enters, and sees Catskin grandly dressed. Son says he will die unless he marries her.-- (8) Parents consent; there is grand wedding-- (9) Meanwhile heroine's father has lost wife and other daughter, and determines to seek pardon of heroine, he comes to her gate dressed as a beggar; tells his name. Heroine receives him kindly, and will let him live with her. Then father says he is only trying her love, for he is rich and can give her large dowry.
[Note.-- This version of the ancient English ballad has been collated with three copies. In some editions it is called Catksin's Garland; or, The Wandering young Gentlewoman . For some account of it see Pictorial Book of Ballads, ii, 153, edited by Mr. J. S. Moore.]
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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