Gubernatis, Angelo de, Le Novelline di Santo Stefano, raccolte da. Torino, 1869. No. XII, pp. 32-35. (Narrated by Teresina del Ponte a Signa.)
"THE CRUEL STEPMOTHER."
Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother) --King is absent, step mother sends heroine to forest with assassins. They spare her; delude queen with heart and eyes of lamb, and blood-stained dress. Assassins treacherously killed. Feigned mourning for heroine--Old woman aid--Queen informed that heroine has been seen at window, offers witch reward to kill her. Heroine disregards old woman's injunction, and admits beggar (witch) who gives her nosegay and necklet of flowers which send her into trance. Old woman puts her in coffin, lights four candles and abandons house. Hunting prince finds and tries to resuscitate beautiful corpse. Takes coffin to his own room in palace. Mother persuades him to leave it to give audience; meanwhile she enters room with two maidens. They remove nosegay and necklet; corpse comes to life--Happy marriage--Parents bidden to wedding--Villain Nemesis (step-mother burnt).
(1) King's beautiful wife dies, leaving him a lovely daughter. He marries again, and stepmother is jealous of heroine. King has to be absent six months at the war, and stepmother, in spite of promise to take care of heroine, resolves to get rid of her. She sends her with two assassins to the forest on the eve of father's return, pretending she is sent to meet him. Assassins spare heroine, kill a lamb, and take its eyes and heart to stepmother, together with heroine's dress soaked in its blood. Instead of rewarding assassins, she contrives their fall through a trap-door, which kills them. Then she makes known that the princess has died, and all the city mourns.-- (2) King returns, and is overcome with grief. Meanwhile, Caterina reaches seashore, where an old woman meets her, and befriends her, and tells her to open to none whilst she goes out to beg.-- (3) One day Caterina is seen at the window, and the queen hearing of it, at once promises three hundred scudi to an old witch if she will kill her. Witch comes begging under heroine's window, and at length persuades her to open door to her. She then gives her a nosegay and a necklet of flowers. Caterina is enchanted, and the witch goes away and receives her reward. Old woman returns, finds heroine as though dead, guesses what has happened, puts her in an iron chest, lights four candles round her, and abandons the house.-- (4) One day prince is hunting in the forest, when a whirlwind drives him and his companions to seek shelter. They spy a light, and come to the house. Prince finds chest, opens it, and falls in love with the beautiful corpse. Tries to resuscitate it, but in vain. Then has chest conveyed to palace, and keeps it in his own room, he prays day and night over it, neglecting his kingdom.-- (5) His mother begs him to give audience of at least two hours a day, and meanwhile his room shall be guarded that none shall enter it. King yields, but mother is curious, and enters room with two maidens. They surround corpse, and one takes the nosegay from the hand, and the other takes the garland from the neck, and the corpse comes to life.-- (6) King returns, and instead of the dead one, the living comes to meet him, and there is great rejoicing in the kingdom. The wedding is announced; all the kings of the earth are bidden-- even Caterina's father and the cruel stepmother.-- (7) When she sees Caterina at the window she wants to turn back, but guards have orders not to let any go back. At the feast heroine tells her story from the beginning. Her sorrowful father is filled with joy, and the stepmother would like to hide under the earth. Caterina would have pardoned her, but the court having decreed that she should be burnt, a huge pile is erected, and so the cruel stepmother ends her days.
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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