Thorpe, Benjamin, Yule-Tide Stories. Popular Tales and Traditions from the Swedish, Danish, and German. London, 1888. Pp. 236-244. (From Hylten-Cavallius and Stephens, Svenska Folk-Sagor och Afventyr. Story from South Smaland.)
"THE PRINCESS IN THE CAVERN."
King shuts heroine in cavern with maid, clog, cock, and pro visions for seven years--King killed during war--Heroine gets out of cavern lives with charcoal-burner. Sets out to seek service. Gives dog to wolf, and is helped over sea--Menial heroine (waiting-maid at palace of betrothed)--Prince to wed anyone who can finish princess's ( = heroine's) web, ant wash stains from kerchief. Heroine performs tasks for mistress; roust go to church in her stead. Bride cannot presently repeat to prince words said on way to church, or show girdle which only he can unclasp from heroine's waist. Heroine sent for; recognised-- Happy marriage.
(1) Heroine, a princess, is betrothed to prince. War breaks out, and king has cavern excavated in the depths of a forest, and shuts heroine up in it, with provisions, and a maid, a dog, and a cock. Heroine takes leave of her betrothed, who is to accompany king to battle, and makes him promise to wed no one who cannot wash stains from certain handkerchief, and finish weaving her gold web-- (2) King is killed in battle, and, the enemy devastate his land, burning royal palace. Prince returns to his own country; seeks in vain for heroine-- (3) For seven years she lives with her maid in cavern, doing gold embroidery, and expecting king's return. Then, provisions being exhausted, they kill the cock, and no longer can note flight of days. Servant dies of grief. Heroine scrapes a hole with knife in cavern roof, and, after three days, gets out.-- (4) She dons servant's clothes, and sets out with dog. After long wandering, she comes upon aged charcoal-burner, and promises to help him work in turn for food. From him she learns king's death.-- (5) When old man can give her no more work, he advises her to seek service at king's palace. She sets forth, and comes to impassable sheet of water, and sits down at its marge and weeps. Wolf runs out of forest, and says:
Wolf devours dog, then says:
and lands her on opposite shore, where stands royal palace of which her betrothed is master, having succeeded his father as king.-- (6) He has been urged to choose a queen, and having, after seven years' vain search for heroine, concluded she must be dead, has issued proclamation that she should be queen who could finish princess's gold web and wash stains from kerchief. No one has been skilful enough to fulfil conditions. A young lady of rank has just come to try, and to her heroine applies for employment, calling herself Asa. She is engaged as waiting-maid. Young lady is unable to complete web.-- (7) One day, during her absence, heroine weaves a long piece, and acknowledges to mistress that she has done it. She is accordingly made to finish web; but whenever king enters there is no one at the loom. Handkerchief has now to be washed. Young lady cannot remove stains; heroine washes it for her. King inquires why young lady is never washing when he is present, and she makes excuse; "I cannot wash linen while I must have red gold rings on my fingers." Preparations are made for wedding.-- (8) Bride falls ill on wedding morning, and makes heroine don bridal dress, and red gold rings and red gold crown, and ride to church in her stead. They come to bridge of which it is foretold that it will break down if crossed by a bride not of royal lineage. So princess says:
Prince asks what she says, and she pretends she is talking to Asa, her waiting-maid. They reach spot where had stood the palace of heroines father. She says:
Same inquiry from prince, same answer. They come to lime-tree, and heroine says:
Same question, same answer. Presently she notices pair of doves flying, and says:
Same question and answer. They come to the cavern in the gloomy forest. Prince bids heroine tell him some story as they ride. She sighs, and says:
Same question and answer. They reach the church, and heroine says:
Procession enters church in great state, the musicians walking before. The bridal mass having been read, and the king having exchanged rings with bride, he clasps round her waist a silver girdle,1 which none but he can unlock.-- (9) Returning to palace, heroine exchanges clothes with mistress. In the evening king asks bride all the things she had said in the morning on way to church, and each time she pretends she has forgotten, and must ask Asa, her waiting-maid. But when he presently asks what she has done with the girdle, she knows naught of it, and pretends she has given it to waiting-maid. Heroine is sent for, and appears wearing girdle, which only prince can unfasten. Bride, seeing her falsehood exposed, leaves the palace in anger. -- (10) King recognises heroine, hears all that has befallen her, and marries her mid great rejoicings.
[Note.--Thorpe cites two slightly different versions of the above story, also from South Smaland, in the first of which it is a bear that carries heroine over the water, on condition that she does not "name his name". In the church prince gives the bride a pair of gloves and a gold apple. In the second version heroine is shut up in a mountain by wicked stepmother, and released by a wolf.
(P. 409.) The writer on Turkish marriages, whom I quote
in note 12, states that the bridegroom,
without lifting the bride's veil, or yet seeing her face, encircles her
waist with a diamond zone, the old one being thrown aside. This custom
affords a curious parallel to the marriage ceremony described in the Swedish
tale (No. 302). In all the stories of this class
(see Nos. 276, 283, 284,
289, 290, 291,
292, 293, 294,
299, 303), it is evident
that the bridegroom is not familiar with the features of his betrothed,
or he is party to the deception practised on him; for only in No. 290
is the bride described as being closely veiled.
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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