Reading time: 5 minutes. Word count: 1000 words.
It happened, however, that the king gave orders for a festival which was to last three days, and to which all the beautiful young girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose himself a bride. When the two step-sisters heard that they too were to appear among the number, they were delighted, called Cinderella and said, "Comb our hair for us, brush our shoes and fasten our buckles, for we are going to the wedding at the king's palace."
Cinderella obeyed, but wept, because she too would have liked to go with them to the dance, and begged her step-mother to allow her to do so. "You go, Cinderella, said she, covered in dust and dirt as you are, and would go to the festival. You have no clothes and shoes, and yet would dance."
As, however, Cinderella went on asking, the step-mother said at last, "I have emptied a dish of lentils into the ashes for you; if you have picked them out again in two hours, you shall go with us."
The maiden went through the back-door into the garden, and called, "You tame pigeons, you turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me to pick the good into the pot, the bad into the crop." Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen window, and afterwards the turtle-doves, and at last all the birds beneath the sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes. And the pigeons nodded with their heads and began pick, pick, pick, pick, and the rest began also pick, pick, pick, pick, and gathered all the good grains into the dish. Hardly had one hour passed before they had finished, and all flew out again. Then the girl took the dish to her step-mother, and was glad, and believed that now she would be allowed to go with them to the festival.
But the step-mother said, "No, Cinderella, you have no clothes and you can not dance. You would only be laughed at."
And as Cinderella wept at this, the step-mother said, "If you can pick two dishes of lentils out of the ashes for me in one hour, you shall go with us." And she thought to herself, that she most certainly cannot do again.
When the step-mother had emptied the two dishes of lentils amongst the ashes, the maiden went through the back-door into the garden and cried, "You tame pigeons, you turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me to pick the good into the pot, the bad into the crop." Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen-window, and afterwards the turtle-doves, and at length all the birds beneath the sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes. And the doves nodded with their heads and began pick, pick, pick, pick, and the others began also pick, pick, pick, pick, and gathered all the good seeds into the dishes, and before half an hour was over they had already finished, and all flew out again.
Then the maiden was delighted, and believed that she might now go with them to the wedding. But the step-mother said, "All this will not help. You cannot go with us, for you have no clothes and can not dance. We should be ashamed of you." On this she turned her back on Cinderella, and hurried away with her two proud daughters.
As no one was now at home, Cinderella went to her mother's
grave beneath the hazel-tree, and cried -
shiver and quiver, little tree,
silver and gold throw down over me.
Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and slippers embroidered with silk and silver. She put on the dress with all speed, and went to the wedding. Her step-sisters and the step-mother however did not know her, and thought she must be a foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in the golden dress. They never once thought of Cinderella, and believed that she was sitting at home in the dirt, picking lentils out of the ashes.
The prince approached her, took her by the hand and danced with her. He would dance with no other maiden, and never let loose of her hand, and if any one else came to invite her, he said, 'This is my partner." She danced till it was evening, and then she wanted to go home. But the king's son said, "I will go with you and bear you company," for he wished to see to whom the beautiful maiden belonged. She escaped from him, however, and sprang into the pigeon-house.
The king's son waited until the father came, and then he told him that the unknown maiden had leapt into the pigeon-house. The old man thought, "Can it be Cinderella." And they had to bring him an axe and a pickaxe that he might hew the pigeon-house to pieces, but no one was inside it.
And when they got home Cinderella lay in her dirty clothes among the ashes, and a dim little oil-lamp was burning on the mantle-piece, for Cinderella had jumped quickly down from the back of the pigeon-house and had run to the little hazel-tree, and there she had taken off her beautiful clothes and laid them on the grave, and the bird had taken them away again, and then she had seated herself in the kitchen amongst the ashes in her grey gown.
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Source: Margaret Hunt, Tales Collected by the Brothers Grimm (1884). Weblink. online at William Barker's website).
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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