Visentini, Isaia, Fiabe Mantovane. Torino, Roma, 1879. No. XXXVIII, pp. 177-81. (Cantie Racconti del Popolo Italiano, pubblicati per cura di Domenico Comparetti ed Allesandro d'Ancona, vol. vii.)
Heroine, greatly beloved by father, is never allowed to go out--Witch nurse aid--(Counter-tasks); heroine asks father for wooden den and bearskin--Heroine disguise--Heroine flight-- Hunting prince takes heroine to palace--Magic dresses, procured by means of wand--Meeting-place (ball)--Threefold flight-- Prince follows; is detained by (1) thick mist, (2) heavy deluge, (3) furious wind--Lovesick prince--Recognition food contains ring given at third ball--Happy marriage.
(1) King has an only daughter whom he loves very much, but will never allow to go out, so that she is like a prisoner.-- (2) Daughter is discontented, sad complains to nurse, who is a witch, and who says to her that her father will be certain to grant any wish except letting her out. "Ask him for a wooden cave and a bear-skin. Then come to me, and with my magic wand I will make cave convey you whither you will; and the bearskin will so disguise you that you will not be recognised."-- (3) Heroine does as bidden, and at a touch from the witch's wand cave goes in every direction, according to heroine's wish. In this way she reaches a forest and hides herself amongst some bushes.-- (4) Prince comes hunting, sees the bear, and sets his hounds on it. Heroine, alarmed, cries out to him to call hounds off. Prince is astonished, and offers to take her to his house. She accepts willingly. The cave moves, and the prince's mother is surprised to see bear, who attends to the house affairs better than any servant.-- (5) Carnival-time arrives. Prince says to his mother at table that he will go that night to the ball. Bear, under the table, says, "Let me go too"; prince, enraged, gives it a kick, and drives it away. Prince departs, and bear begs queen to allow her to watch ball, promising she will hide herself so as not to be seen. Queen consents. Bear runs to cave, tears off skin, and, by means of wand which witch has given her, procures a dress like the moon, and a carriage and pair. Everyone at the ball admires her, and prince dances with her. She hurries away and doffs finery. Prince follows on horseback, hoping to track her, but a dense mist rises and hides her from view. He tells mother about lovely stranger, and bear overhears and laughs.-- (6) Next day heroine appears at ball in dress like the sun. Prince dances with her, but cannot get a word out of her, he tries to follow, but loses sight of her on account of a sudden deluge of rain. Prince returns, and bear overhears his talk to mother.-- (7) Third night heroine goes to ball in dress like the stars. Prince dances with her, and puts ring on her finger. Heroine gets home in a twinkling, but a furious wind impedes prince. He tells mother that he despairs of finding his love again; bear listens and smiles.-- (8) He falls ill, and asks to have soup made for him, and says, "Mind that bear has nothing to do with it; each time I speak of my love it laughs, and makes fun of me, and I cannot stand it."-- (9) Bear brings the soup, having put ring in the bowl. Prince recognises ring; bids bear take off skin, and then sees the unknown beauty, still wearing dress like the stars.-- (10) He presents her to his mother, and there is a grand wedding.
(I was there under the table. No one spoke to me. I ate plenty, though.)
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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