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The Brothers Grimm
Ashputtel
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ASHPUTTEL

The wife of a rich man fell sick; and when she felt that her end drew
nigh, she called her only daughter to her bed-side, and said, 'Always
be a good girl, and I will look down from heaven and watch over you.'
Soon afterwards she shut her eyes and died, and was buried in the
garden; and the little girl went every day to her grave and wept, and
was always good and kind to all about her. And the snow fell and
spread a beautiful white covering over the grave; but by the time the
spring came, and the sun had melted it away again, her father had
married another wife. This new wife had two daughters of her own, that
she brought home with her; they were fair in face but foul at heart,
and it was now a sorry time for the poor little girl. 'What does the
good-for-nothing want in the parlour?' said they; 'they who would eat
bread should first earn it; away with the kitchen-maid!' Then they
took away her fine clothes, and gave her an old grey frock to put on,
and laughed at her, and turned her into the kitchen.

There she was forced to do hard work; to rise early before daylight,
to bring the water, to make the fire, to cook and to wash. Besides
that, the sisters plagued her in all sorts of ways, and laughed at
her. In the evening when she was tired, she had no bed to lie down on,
but was made to lie by the hearth among the ashes; and as this, of
course, made her always dusty and dirty, they called her Ashputtel.

It happened once that the father was going to the fair, and asked his
wife's daughters what he should bring them. 'Fine clothes,' said the
first; 'Pearls and diamonds,' cried the second. 'Now, child,' said he
to his own daughter, 'what will you have?' 'The first twig, dear
father, that brushes against your hat when you turn your face to come
homewards,' said she. Then he bought for the first two the fine
clothes and pearls and diamonds they had asked for: and on his way
home, as he rode through a green copse, a hazel twig brushed against
him, and almost pushed off his hat: so he broke it off and brought it
away; and when he got home he gave it to his daughter. Then she took
it, and went to her mother's grave and planted it there; and cried so
much that it was watered with her tears; and there it grew and became
a fine tree. Three times every day she went to it and cried; and soon
a little bird came and built its nest upon the tree, and talked with
her, and watched over her, and brought her whatever she wished for.

Now it happened that the king of that land held a feast, which was to
last three days; and out of those who came to it his son was to choose
a bride for himself. Ashputtel's two sisters were asked to come; so
they called her up, and said, 'Now, comb our hair, brush our shoes,
and tie our sashes for us, for we are going to dance at the king's
feast.' Then she did as she was told; but when all was done she could
not help crying, for she thought to herself, she should so have liked
to have gone with them to the ball; and at last she begged her mother
very hard to let her go. 'You, Ashputtel!' said she; 'you who have
nothing to wear, no clothes at all, and who cannot even dance--you
want to go to the ball? And when she kept on begging, she said at
last, to get rid of her, 'I will throw this dishful of peas into the
ash-heap, and if in two hours' time you have picked them all out, you
shall go to the feast too.'

Then she threw the peas down among the ashes, but the little maiden
ran out at the back door into the garden, and cried out:

'Hither, hither, through the sky,
Turtle-doves and linnets, fly!
Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,
Hither, hither, haste away!
One and all come help me, quick!
Haste ye, haste ye!--pick, pick, pick!'

Then first came two white doves, flying in at the kitchen window; next
came two turtle-doves; and after them came all the little birds under
heaven, chirping and fluttering in: and they flew down into the ashes.
And the little doves stooped their heads down and set to work, pick,
pick, pick; and then the others began to pick, pick, pick: and among
them all they soon picked out all the good grain, and put it into a
dish but left the ashes. Long before the end of the hour the work was
quite done, and all flew out again at the windows.

Then Ashputtel brought the dish to her mother, overjoyed at the
thought that now she should go to the ball. But the mother said, 'No,
no! you slut, you have no clothes, and cannot dance; you shall not
go.' And when Ashputtel begged very hard to go, she said, 'If you can
in one hour's time pick two of those dishes of peas out of the ashes,
you shall go too.' And thus she thought she should at least get rid of
her. So she shook two dishes of peas into the ashes.

But the little maiden went out into the garden at the back of the
house, and cried out as before:

'Hither, hither, through the sky,
Turtle-doves and linnets, fly!
Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,
Hither, hither, haste away!
One and all come help me, quick!
Haste ye, haste ye!--pick, pick, pick!'

Then first came two white doves in at the kitchen window; next came
two turtle-doves; and after them came all the little birds under
heaven, chirping and hopping about. And they flew down into the ashes;
and the little doves put their heads down and set to work, pick, pick,
pick; and then the others began pick, pick, pick; and they put all the
good grain into the dishes, and left all the ashes. Before half an
hour's time all was done, and out they flew again. And then Ashputtel
took the dishes to her mother, rejoicing to think that she should now
go to the ball. But her mother said, 'It is all of no use, you cannot
go; you have no clothes, and cannot dance, and you would only put us
to shame': and off she went with her two daughters to the ball.

Now when all were gone, and nobody left at home, Ashputtel went
sorrowfully and sat down under the hazel-tree, and cried out:

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,
Gold and silver over me!'

Then her friend the bird flew out of the tree, and brought a gold and
silver dress for her, and slippers of spangled silk; and she put them
on, and followed her sisters to the feast. But they did not know her,
and thought it must be some strange princess, she looked so fine and
beautiful in her rich clothes; and they never once thought of
Ashputtel, taking it for granted that she was safe at home in the
dirt.

The king's son soon came up to her, and took her by the hand and
danced with her, and no one else: and he never left her hand; but when
anyone else came to ask her to dance, he said, 'This lady is dancing
with me.'

Thus they danced till a late hour of the night; and then she wanted to
go home: and the king's son said, 'I shall go and take care of you to
your home'; for he wanted to see where the beautiful maiden lived. But
she slipped away from him, unawares, and ran off towards home; and as
the prince followed her, she jumped up into the pigeon-house and shut
the door. Then he waited till her father came home, and told him that
the unknown maiden, who had been at the feast, had hid herself in the
pigeon-house. But when they had broken open the door they found no one
within; and as they came back into the house, Ashputtel was lying, as
she always did, in her dirty frock by the ashes, and her dim little
lamp was burning in the chimney. For she had run as quickly as she
could through the pigeon-house and on to the hazel-tree, and had there
taken off her beautiful clothes, and put them beneath the tree, that
the bird might carry them away, and had lain down again amid the ashes
in her little grey frock.

The next day when the feast was again held, and her father, mother,
and sisters were gone, Ashputtel went to the hazel-tree, and said:

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,
Gold and silver over me!'

And the bird came and brought a still finer dress than the one she had
worn the day before. And when she came in it to the ball, everyone
wondered at her beauty: but the king's son, who was waiting for her,
took her by the hand, and danced with her; and when anyone asked her
to dance, he said as before, 'This lady is dancing with me.'

When night came she wanted to go home; and the king's son followed
here as before, that he might see into what house she went: but she
sprang away from him all at once into the garden behind her father's
house. In this garden stood a fine large pear-tree full of ripe fruit;
and Ashputtel, not knowing where to hide herself, jumped up into it
without being seen. Then the king's son lost sight of her, and could
not find out where she was gone, but waited till her father came home,
and said to him, 'The unknown lady who danced with me has slipped
away, and I think she must have sprung into the pear-tree.' The father
thought to himself, 'Can it be Ashputtel?' So he had an axe brought;
and they cut down the tree, but found no one upon it. And when they
came back into the kitchen, there lay Ashputtel among the ashes; for
she had slipped down on the other side of the tree, and carried her
beautiful clothes back to the bird at the hazel-tree, and then put on
her little grey frock.

The third day, when her father and mother and sisters were gone, she
went again into the garden, and said:

'Shake, shake, hazel-tree,
Gold and silver over me!'

Then her kind friend the bird brought a dress still finer than the
former one, and slippers which were all of gold: so that when she came
to the feast no one knew what to say, for wonder at her beauty: and
the king's son danced with nobody but her; and when anyone else asked
her to dance, he said, 'This lady is /my/ partner, sir.'

When night came she wanted to go home; and the king's son would go
with her, and said to himself, 'I will not lose her this time'; but,
however, she again slipped away from him, though in such a hurry that
she dropped her left golden slipper upon the stairs.

The prince took the shoe, and went the next day to the king his
father, and said, 'I will take for my wife the lady that this golden
slipper fits.' Then both the sisters were overjoyed to hear it; for
they had beautiful feet, and had no doubt that they could wear the
golden slipper. The eldest went first into the room where the slipper
was, and wanted to try it on, and the mother stood by. But her great
toe could not go into it, and the shoe was altogether much too small
for her. Then the mother gave her a knife, and said, 'Never mind, cut
it off; when you are queen you will not care about toes; you will not
want to walk.' So the silly girl cut off her great toe, and thus
squeezed on the shoe, and went to the king's son. Then he took her for
his bride, and set her beside him on his horse, and rode away with her
homewards.

But on their way home they had to pass by the hazel-tree that
Ashputtel had planted; and on the branch sat a little dove singing:

'Back again! back again! look to the shoe!
The shoe is too small, and not made for you!
Prince! prince! look again for thy bride,
For she's not the true one that sits by thy side.'

Then the prince got down and looked at her foot; and he saw, by the
blood that streamed from it, what a trick she had played him. So he
turned his horse round, and brought the false bride back to her home,
and said, 'This is not the right bride; let the other sister try and
put on the slipper.' Then she went into the room and got her foot into
the shoe, all but the heel, which was too large. But her mother
squeezed it in till the blood came, and took her to the king's son:
and he set her as his bride by his side on his horse, and rode away
with her.

But when they came to the hazel-tree the little dove sat there still,
and sang:

'Back again! back again! look to the shoe!
The shoe is too small, and not made for you!
Prince! prince! look again for thy bride,
For she's not the true one that sits by thy side.'

Then he looked down, and saw that the blood streamed so much from the
shoe, that her white stockings were quite red. So he turned his horse
and brought her also back again. 'This is not the true bride,' said he
to the father; 'have you no other daughters?' 'No,' said he; 'there is
only a little dirty Ashputtel here, the child of my first wife; I am
sure she cannot be the bride.' The prince told him to send her. But
the mother said, 'No, no, she is much too dirty; she will not dare to
show herself.' However, the prince would have her come; and she first
washed her face and hands, and then went in and curtsied to him, and
he reached her the golden slipper. Then she took her clumsy shoe off
her left foot, and put on the golden slipper; and it fitted her as if
it had been made for her. And when he drew near and looked at her face
he knew her, and said, 'This is the right bride.' But the mother and
both the sisters were frightened, and turned pale with anger as he
took Ashputtel on his horse, and rode away with her. And when they
came to the hazel-tree, the white dove sang:

'Home! home! look at the shoe!
Princess! the shoe was made for you!
Prince! prince! take home thy bride,
For she is the true one that sits by thy side!'

And when the dove had done its song, it came flying, and perched upon
her right shoulder, and so went home with her.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From "Fairy Tales" by Jakob Grimm (1785 -1863) and Wilhelm
Grimm (1786-1859) -- translated from "Kinder und Hausmarchen"
by Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes.
 

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