La moglie di un ricco si ammalò e, quando sentì avvicinarsi la fine, chiamò al capezzale la sua unica figlioletta e le disse: “Sii sempre docile e buona, così il buon Dio ti aiuterà e io ti guarderò dal cielo e ti sarò vicina.” Poi chiuse gli occhi e morì. La fanciulla andava ogni giorno alla tomba della madre, piangeva ed era sempre docile e buona. La neve ricoprì la tomba di un bianco drappo, e quando il sole l’ebbe tolto, l’uomo prese moglie di nuovo.La donna aveva due figlie che portò con s’ in casa, ed esse erano belle e bianche di viso, ma brutte e nere di cuore. Per la figliastra incominciarono tristi giorni. “Che vuole quella buona a nulla in salotto?” esse dicevano. “Chi mangia il pane deve guadagnarselo: fuori, sguattera!” Le presero i suoi bei vestiti, le diedero da indossare una vecchia palandrana grigia e la condussero in cucina deridendola. Lì doveva sgobbare per bene: si alzava prima che facesse giorno, portava l’acqua, accendeva il fuoco, cucinava e lavava. Per giunta le sorelle gliene facevano di tutti i colori, la schernivano e le versavano ceci e lenticchie nella cenere, sicché‚ doveva raccoglierli a uno a uno. La sera, quando era stanca, non andava a letto, ma doveva coricarsi nella cenere accanto al focolare. E siccome era sempre sporca e impolverata, la chiamavano Cenerentola.Un giorno, il padre volle recarsi alla fiera e chiese alle due figliastre che cosa dovesse portare loro. “Bei vestiti,” disse la prima. “Perle e gemme,” disse la seconda. “E tu, Cenerentola,” disse egli, “che cosa vuoi?” – “Babbo, il primo rametto che vi urta il cappello sulla via del ritorno,” rispose Cenerentola. Così egli comprò bei vestiti, perle e gemme per le due figliastre; e sulla via del ritorno, mentre cavalcava per un verde boschetto, un ramo di nocciolo lo sfiorò e gli fece cadere il cappello. Allora egli colse il rametto e quando giunse a casa diede alle due figliastre quello che avevano chiesto, e a Cenerentola diede il ramo di nocciolo. Cenerentola lo prese, andò a piantarlo sulla tomba della madre, e pianse tanto che le lacrime l’innaffiarono. Così crebbe e divenne un bell’albero. Cenerentola ci andava tre volte al giorno, piangeva e pregava e ogni volta si posava sulla pianta un uccellino che le dava ciò che aveva desiderato.
Ora avvenne che il re diede una festa che doveva durare tre giorni, perché‚ suo figlio potesse scegliersi una sposa. Anche le due sorellastre erano invitate, così chiamarono Cenerentola e dissero: “Pettinaci, spazzola le scarpe e assicura le fibbie: andiamo a ballare alla festa del re.” Cenerentola ubbidì ma piangeva, perché‚ anche lei sarebbe andata volentieri al ballo, e pregò la matrigna di accordarle il permesso. “Tu, Cenerentola,” disse questa, “non hai niente da metterti addosso, non sai ballare, e vorresti andare a nozze!” Ma Cenerentola insisteva e la matrigna finì col dirle: “Ti rovescerò nella cenere un piatto di lenticchie e se in due ore le sceglierai tutte, andrai anche tu.” La matrigna le rovesciò le lenticchie nella cenere, ma la fanciulla andò nell’orto dietro casa e chiamò: “Dolci colombelle mie, e voi, tortorelle, e voi, uccellini tutti del cielo, venite e aiutatemi a scegliere le lenticchie:Quelle buone me le date,
Rimasta sola, Cenerentola andò alla tomba della madre sotto il nocciolo, e gridò:”Scrollati pianta, stammi a sentire,
Cenerentola danzò fino a sera, poi volle andare a casa. Il principe disse: “Vengo ad accompagnarti,” perché‚ voleva vedere da dove veniva la bella fanciulla, ma ella gli scappò e balzò nella colombaia. Il principe allora aspettò che ritornasse il padre e gli disse che la fanciulla sconosciuta era saltata nella colombaia. Questi pensò: Che sia Cenerentola? e si fece portare un’accetta e un piccone per buttar giù la colombaia; ma dentro non c’era nessuno. E quando rientrarono in casa, Cenerentola giaceva sulla cenere nelle sue vesti sporche e un lumino a olio ardeva a stento nel focolare. Ella era saltata velocemente fuori dalla colombaia ed era corsa al nocciolo; là si era tolta le belle vesti, le aveva deposte sulla tomba e l’uccello le aveva riprese; ed ella nella sua palandrana grigia si era distesa sulla cenere in cucina.
Il giorno dopo quando la festa ricominciò e i genitori e le sorellastre erano di nuovo usciti, Cenerentola andò sotto al nocciolo e gridò:”Scrollati pianta, stammi a sentire,
Il terzo giorno, quando i genitori e le sorelle se ne furono andati, Cenerentola tornò alla tomba di sua madre e disse all’alberello:”Scrollati pianta, stammi a sentire,
Quando fu sera Cenerentola se ne andò; il principe voleva accompagnarla ma ella gli sfuggì. Tuttavia perse la sua scarpetta sinistra, poiché‚ il principe aveva fatto spalmare tutta la scala di pece e la scarpa vi era rimasta appiccicata. Egli la prese e, con essa, si recò il giorno seguente dal padre di Cenerentola e disse: “Colei che potrà calzare questa scarpina d’oro sarà mia sposa.” Allora le due sorelle si rallegrarono perché‚ avevano un bel piedino. La maggiore andò con la scarpa in camera sua e voleva provarla davanti a sua madre. Ma la scarpa era troppo piccola e il dito grosso non le entrava; allora la madre le porse un coltello e disse: “Tagliati il dito: quando sarai regina non avrai più bisogno di andare a piedi.” La fanciulla si mozzò il dito, serrò il piede nella scarpa e andò dal principe. Egli la mise sul cavallo come sua sposa e partì con lei. Ma dovettero passare davanti alla tomba; sul nocciolo erano posate due colombelle che gridarono:”Voltati e osserva la sposina:
Quando stavano per essere celebrate le nozze con il principe, arrivarono le false sorellastre: esse volevano ingraziarsi Cenerentola e partecipare alla sua fortuna. All’entrata della chiesa, la maggiore si trovò a destra di Cenerentola, la minore alla sua sinistra. Allora le colombe cavarono un occhio a ciascuna. Poi, all’uscita, la maggiore era a sinistra e la minore a destra; e le colombe cavarono a ciascuna l’altro occhio. Così esse furono punite con la cecità per essere state false e malvagie.
Now if came to pass that the king ordained a festival that should last for three days, and to which all the beautiful young women of that country were bidden, so that the king’s son might choose a bride from among them. When the two stepdaughters heard that they too were bidden to appear, they felt very pleased, and they called Cinderella, and said, “Comb our hair, brush our shoes, and make our buckles fast, we are going to the wedding feast at the king’s castle.” Cinderella, when she heard this, could not help crying, for she too would have liked to go to the dance, and she begged her step-mother to allow her. “What, you Cinderella!” said she, “in all your dust and dirt, you want to go to the festival! you that have no dress and no shoes! you want to dance!” But as she persisted in asking, at last the step-mother said, “I have strewed a dish-full of lentils in the ashes, and if you can pick them all up again in two hours you may go with us.” Then the maiden went to the backdoor that led into the garden, and called out, “O gentle doves, O turtle-doves, And all the birds that be, The lentils that in ashes lie Come and pick up for me!The good must be put in the dish,
The bad you may eat if you wish.”Then there came to the kitchen-window two white doves, and after them some turtle-doves, and at last a crowd of all the birds under heaven, chirping and fluttering, and they alighted among the ashes; and the doves nodded with their heads, and began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and then all the others began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and put all the good grains into the dish. Before an hour was over all was done, and they flew away. Then the maiden brought the dish to her step-mother, feeling joyful, and thinking that now she should go to the feast; but the step-mother said, “No, Cinderella, you have no proper clothes, and you do not know how to dance, and you would be laughed at!” And when Cinderella cried for disappointment, she added, “If you can pick two dishes full of lentils out of the ashes, nice and clean, you shall go with us,” thinking to herself, “for that is not possible.” When she had strewed two dishes full of lentils among the ashes the maiden went through the backdoor into the garden, and cried, “O gentle doves, O turtle-doves, And all the birds that be, The lentils that in ashes lie Come and pick up for me!The good must be put in the dish,
The bad you may eat if you wish.”So there came to the kitchen-window two white doves, and then some turtle-doves, and at last a crowd of all the other birds under heaven, chirping and fluttering, and they alighted among the ashes, and the doves nodded with their heads and began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and then all the others began to pick, peck, pick, peck, and put all the good grains into the dish. And before half-an-hour was over it was all done, and they flew away. Then the maiden took the dishes to the stepmother, feeling joyful, and thinking that now she should go with them to the feast; but she said “All this is of no good to you; you cannot come with us, for you have no proper clothes, and cannot dance; you would put us to shame.” Then she turned her back on poor Cinderella, and made haste to set out with her two proud daughters.
And as there was no one left in the house, Cinderella went to her mother’s grave, under the hazel bush, and cried,”Little tree, little tree, shake over me,
That silver and gold may come down and cover me.”Then the bird threw down a dress of gold and silver, and a pair of slippersembroidered with silk and silver. , And in all haste she put on the dress and went to the festival. But her step-mother and sisters did not know her, and thought she must be a foreign princess, she looked so beautiful in her golden dress. Of Cinderella they never thought at all, and supposed that she was sitting at home, arid picking the lentils out of the ashes. The King’s son came to meet her, and took her by the hand and danced with her, and he refused to stand up with any one else, so that he might not be obliged to let go her hand; and when any one came to claim it he answered, “She is my partner.”
And when the evening came she wanted to go home, but the prince said he would go with her to take care of her, for he wanted to see where the beautiful maiden lived. But she escaped him, and jumped up into the pigeon-house. Then the prince waited until the father came, and told him the strange maiden had jumped into the pigeon-house. The father thought to himself, “It cannot surely be Cinderella,” and called for axes and hatchets, and had the pigeon-house cut down, but there was no one in it. And when they entered the house there sat Cinderella in her dirty clothes among the cinders, and a little oil-lamp burnt dimly in the chimney; for Cinderella had been very quick, and had jumped out of the pigeon-house again, and had run to the hazel bush; and there she had taken off her beautiful dress and had laid it on the grave, and the bird had carried it away again, and then she had put on her little gray kirtle again, and had sat down in. the kitchen among the cinders.
The next day, when the festival began anew, and the parents and step-sisters had gone to it, Cinderella went to the hazel bush and cried,”Little tree, little tree, shake over me,
That silver and gold may come down and cover me.”Then the bird cast down a still more splendid dress than on the day before. And when she appeared in it among the guests every one was astonished at her beauty. The prince had been waiting until she came, and he took her hand and danced with her alone. And when any one else came to invite her he said, “She is my partner.” And when the evening came she wanted to go home, and the prince followed her, for he wanted to see to what house she belonged; but she broke away from him, and ran into the garden at the back of the house. There stood a fine large tree, bearing splendid pears; she leapt as lightly as a squirrel among the branches, and the prince did not know what had become of her. So he waited until the father came, and then he told him that the strange maiden had rushed from him, and that he thought she had gone up into the pear-tree. The father thought to himself, “It cannot surely be Cinderella,” and called for an axe, and felled the tree, but there was no one in it. And when they went into the kitchen there sat Cinderella among the cinders, as usual, for she had got down the other side of the tree, and had taken back her beautiful clothes to the bird on the hazel bush, and had put on her old grey kirtle again.
On the third day, when the parents and the step-children had set off, Cinderella went again to her mother’s grave, and said to the tree,”Little tree, little tree, shake over me,
That silver and gold may come down and cover me.”Then the bird cast down a dress, the like of which had never been seen for splendour and brilliancy, and slippers that were of gold. And when she appeared in this dress at the feast nobody knew what to say for wonderment. The prince danced with her alone, and if any one else asked her he answered, “She is my partner.”
And when it was evening Cinderella wanted to go home, and the prince was about to go with her, when she ran past him so quickly that he could not follow her. But he had laid a plan, and had caused all the steps to be spread with pitch, so that as she rushed down them the left shoe of the maiden remained sticking in it. The prince picked it up, and saw that it was of gold, and very small and slender. The next morning he went to the father and told him that none should be his bride save the one whose foot the golden shoe should fit. Then the two sisters were very glad, because they had pretty feet. The eldest went to her room to try on the shoe, and her mother stood by. But she could not get her great toe into it, for the shoe was too small; then her mother handed her a knife, and said, “Cut the toe off, for when you are queen you will never have to go on foot.” So the girl cut her toe off, squeezed her foot into the shoe, concealed the pain, and went down to the prince. Then he took her with him on his horse as his bride, and rode off. They had to pass by the grave, and there sat the two pigeons on the hazel bush, and cried,”There they go, there they go!
There is blood on her shoe;
The shoe is too small,
Not the right bride at all!”Then the prince looked at her shoe, and saw the blood flowing. And he turned his horse round and took the false bride home again, saying she was not the right one, and that the other sister must try on the shoe. So she went into her room to do so, and got her toes comfortably in, but her heel was too large. Then her mother handed her the knife, saying, “Cut a piece off your heel; when you are queen you will never have to go on foot.” So the girl cut a piece off her heel, and thrust her foot into the shoe, concealed the pain, and went down to the prince, who took his bride before him on his horse and rode off. When they passed by the hazel bush the two pigeons sat there and cried,”There they go, there they go!
There is blood on her shoe;
The shoe is too small,
Not the right bride at all!”Then the prince looked at her foot, and saw how the blood was flowing from the shoe, and staining the white stocking. And he turned his horse round and brought the false bride home again. “This is not the right one,” said he, “have you no other daughter?” – “No,” said the man, “only my dead wife left behind her a little stunted Cinderella; it is impossible that she can be the bride.” But the King’s son ordered her to be sent for, but the mother said, “Oh no! she is much too dirty, I could not let her be seen.” But he would have her fetched, and so Cinderella had to appear. First she washed her face and hands quite clean, and went in and curtseyed to the prince, who held out to her the golden shoe. Then she sat down on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and slipped it into the golden one, which fitted it perfectly. And when she stood up, and the prince looked in her face, he knew again the beautiful maiden that had danced with him, and he cried, “This is the right bride!” The step-mother and the two sisters were thunderstruck, and grew pale with anger; but he put Cinderella before him on his horse and rode off. And as they passed the hazel bush, the two white pigeons cried,”There they go, there they go!
No blood on her shoe;
The shoe’s not too small,
The right bride is she after all.”And when they had thus cried, they came flying after and perched on Cinderella’s shoulders, one on the right, the other on the left, and so remained.
And when her wedding with the prince was appointed to be held the false sisters came, hoping to curry favour, and to take part in the festivities. So as the bridal procession went to the church, the eldest walked on the right side and the younger on the left, and the pigeons picked out an eye of each of them. And as they returned the elder was on the left side and the younger on the right, and the pigeons picked out the other eye of each of them. And so they were condemned to go blind for the rest of their days because of their wickedness and falsehood.