Friday, March 1, 2013

Crow-Cloak: A Swedish Cinderella

Peter Newell

" 'Did you ever hear tell of Crow-Cloak? She was really a woman, though people used to say she was an awful fool.'

All the people of the farm go to church, but Crow-cloak must stay home and is very sad.

A mountain-troll comes to comfort her, dresses her in a white dress, making her very lovely, and sends her to church, where all look at her in amazement. Her horse is outside. She jumps up, saying: 'White before me! Black behind me! Nobody shall see whither I go.' Crow-cloak is sitting in her wonted place when people return to the farm, talking about the beautiful lady.

The next Sunday, lest Crow-cloak should follow, they pour a jug of salt into the ashes, and bid her pick it up. The troll assists and sends her to church in a silver dress and shoes.

On the third Sunday, a bag of peas is thrown into the ashes. The troll sends Crow-cloak to church in a golden dress and shoes. In her hurry to leave, Crow-cloak does not see a trough of tar placed in the church doorway and loses a shoe. Everyone marvels at its small size.

The prince announces he will marry whomsoever the shoe fits. A woman at the farm wants her daughter to be the queen. She chops her daughter's heel and cuts her toe. The shoe is squeezed on, but birds betray the girl on the way to church.

'What meants that singing in the wood?' asks the prince.

'I suppose the birds are warbling.'

The prince is suspicious, and returns to the farm, but finds nobody, the woman having thrust Crow-cloak beneath a water-butt in the courtyard. The prince, supposing his bride spoke the truth, returns to the church, but more loudly still from every bush is heard: 'Chop heel, cut toe. In the courtyard is the girl whom the shoe fits.'

Thither the prince returns, seeks and finds Crow-cloak, and marries her. Neither the woman nor her daughter gets any profit for their pains!"
This tale was originally found in Marian Roalfe Cox's collection of Cinderella tales, but I am reading it from Surlalune's Cinderella Tales from Around the World. I don't travel much for work, but this week I happened to be sent to Nashville. As I was planning for my trip it occured to me that Heidi Anne Heiner of Surlalune happens to live in Nashville, so I emailed her on the offchance she'd be able to/want to meet up with me.

And I'm so glad I did! Heidi was sweet enough not only to meet up with me (despite her very busy schedule), but gifted me some books! In addition to her Cinderella collection I also got the Sleeping Beauties, and another book that isn't from her collection I'll have to write up when I have more time to look at it. It was such a pleasure to meet with someone whose blog, books, and website I have admired for so long. When I first started to do basic internet research on Beauty and the Beast, years ago, I discovered that all internet searches seemed to lead to Surlalune, and it was the best resource. I use it ALL the time for this blog (Peter Newell illustration of Cinderella? Got that from Surlalune's Cinderella Illustrations page).

So Heidi, it was an honor, I hope I wasn't too fangirly! The books are such wonderful resources, I highly recommend them to anyone interested in the history of fairy tales and how they spread around the world!

*Also-this tale variant provides fascinating references to color which fit perfectly with the idea of viewing fairy tales as alchemical stories...

1 comment:

  1. Color me green with envy! Thanks for sharing the story as well as the tale of your encounter. :)