Coming Soon

Teddy.png

Ashputtel

The wife of a rich man fell sick; and when she felt that her enddrew nigh, she called her only daughter to her bed-side,...

Ashputtel

The wife of a rich man fell sick; and when she felt that her enddrew 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 watchover you.» Soon afterwards she shut her eyes and died, and was buriedin the garden; and the little girl went every day to her grave andwept, and was always good and kind to all about her. And the snow felland spread a beautiful white covering over the grave; but by the timethe spring came, and the sun had melted it away again, her father hadmarried another wife. This new wife had two daughters of her own, thatshe 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 thegood-for-nothing want in the parlour?» said they; «they who wouldeat bread should first earn it; away with the kitchen-maid!» Thenthey took away her fine clothes, and gave her an old grey frock to puton, 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, butwas 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 askedhis 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 tocome homewards,» said she. Then he bought for the first two the fineclothes and pearls and diamonds they had asked for: and on his wayhome, as he rode through a green copse, a hazel twig brushed againsthim, and almost pushed off his hat: so he broke it off and brought itaway; and when he got home he gave it to his daughter. Then she tookit, and went to her mother’s grave and planted it there; and cried somuch that it was watered with her tears; and there it grew and becamea fine tree. Three times every day she went to it and cried; and soona little bird came and built its nest upon the tree, and talked withher, 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 tolast three days; and out of those who came to it his son was to choose abride for himself. Ashputtel’s two sisters were asked to come; so theycalled her up, and said, «Now, comb our hair, brush our shoes, and tieour 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 nothelp crying, for she thought to herself, she should so have liked tohave gone with them to the ball; and at last she begged her mothervery hard to let her go. «You, Ashputtel!» said she; «you who havenothing to wear, no clothes at all, and who cannot even dance—you wantto go to the ball?» And when she kept on begging, she said at last, toget 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 tothe feast too.»

Then she threw the peas down among the ashes, but the little maidenran 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 birdsunder heaven, chirping and fluttering in: and they flew down into theashes. And the little doves stooped their heads down and set to work,pick, pick, pick; and then the others began to pick, pick, pick: andamong them all they soon picked out all the good grain, and put itinto a dish but left the ashes. Long before the end of the hour thework was quite done, and all flew out again at the windows.

Then Ashputtel brought the dish to her mother, overjoyed at thethought that now she should go to the ball. But the mother said,«No, no! you slut, you have no clothes, and cannot dance; you shallnot go.» And when Ashputtel begged very hard to go, she said, «If youcan in one hour’s time pick two of those dishes of peas out of theashes, you shall go too.» And thus she thought she should at leastget 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 thehouse, 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 cametwo turtle-doves; and after them came all the little birds underheaven, chirping and hopping about. And they flew down into theashes; and the little doves put their heads down and set to work,pick, pick, pick; and then the others began pick, pick, pick; and theyput all the good grain into the dishes, and left all the ashes. Beforehalf an hour’s time all was done, and out they flew again. And thenAshputtel took the dishes to her mother, rejoicing to think that sheshould 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 onlyput us to shame’: and off she went with her two daughters to the ball.

Now when all were gone, and nobody left at home, Ashputtelwent 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 goldand silver dress for her, and slippers of spangled silk; and she putthem on, and followed her sisters to the feast. But they did notknow her, and thought it must be some strange princess, she looked sofine and beautiful in her rich clothes; and they never once thought ofAshputtel, 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 anddanced with her, and no one else: and he never left her hand; butwhen anyone else came to ask her to dance, he said, «This lady isdancing with me.»

Thus they danced till a late hour of the night; and then she wanted togo home: and the king’s son said, «I shall go and take care of you toyour 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-houseand shut the door. Then he waited till her father came home, andtold him that the unknown maiden, who had been at the feast, hadhid herself in the pigeon-house. But when they had broken open thedoor 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 theashes, and her dim little lamp was burning in the chimney. For she hadrun as quickly as she could through the pigeon-house and on to thehazel-tree, and had there taken off her beautiful clothes, and putthem beneath the tree, that the bird might carry them away, and hadlain 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 shehad 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 forher, took her by the hand, and danced with her; and when anyone askedher 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 hereas before, that he might see into what house she went: but she sprangaway 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; andAshputtel, not knowing where to hide herself, jumped up into it withoutbeing seen. Then the king’s son lost sight of her, and could not findout where she was gone, but waited till her father came home, and saidto him, «The unknown lady who danced with me has slipped away, and Ithink she must have sprung into the pear-tree.» The father thought tohimself, «Can it be Ashputtel?» So he had an axe brought; and they cutdown the tree, but found no one upon it. And when they came backinto the kitchen, there lay Ashputtel among the ashes; for she hadslipped down on the other side of the tree, and carried her beautifulclothes back to the bird at the hazel-tree, and then put on her littlegrey frock.

The third day, when her father and mother and sisters were gone, shewent 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 theformer one, and slippers which were all of gold: so that when shecame 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 elseasked 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 gowith 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 thatshe dropped her left golden slipper upon the stairs.

The prince took the shoe, and went the next day to the king hisfather, and said, «I will take for my wife the lady that thisgolden slipper fits.» Then both the sisters were overjoyed to hearit; for they had beautiful feet, and had no doubt that they could wearthe golden slipper. The eldest went first into the room where theslipper was, and wanted to try it on, and the mother stood by. But hergreat toe could not go into it, and the shoe was altogether much toosmall for her. Then the mother gave her a knife, and said, «Nevermind, 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 tookher for his bride, and set her beside him on his horse, and rode awaywith her homewards.

But on their way home they had to pass by the hazel-tree thatAshputtel 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 theblood that streamed from it, what a trick she had played him. So heturned 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 puton the slipper.» Then she went into the room and got her foot intothe shoe, all but the heel, which was too large. But her mothersqueezed 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 awaywith 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 fromthe shoe, that her white stockings were quite red. So he turned hishorse 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 firstwife; I am sure she cannot be the bride.» The prince told him tosend her. But the mother said, «No, no, she is much too dirty; shewill not dare to show herself.» However, the prince would have hercome; and she first washed her face and hands, and then went in andcurtsied to him, and he reached her the golden slipper. Then she tookher clumsy shoe off her left foot, and put on the golden slipper; andit fitted her as if it had been made for her. And when he drew near andlooked at her face he knew her, and said, «This is the right bride.’But the mother and both the sisters were frightened, and turned palewith 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 uponher right shoulder, and so went home with her.

Love it? Rate itDon’t love itNot greatSatisfiedReally goodLove itLove it? Rate it