Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Fairy Tale

My blog serves many purposes. The simplest of which is to provide a purpose. What to write, how to write occupies time and space in my mind.

Today’s blog is not the one I intended to put up and composed mentally last evening. That’ll keep. This morning Susanna me caregiver came as usual. She pulls up my bed before she attends to me. This morning she gave each of my feather pillows a solid thumping. I made a casual comment about getting rid of a lot of frustrations.

She told me a Grimms fairy tale I’d never heard before. She grew up in Germany and her grandmother had a wealth of such tales. This was a variation of the Cinderella story – the persecuted heroine who wins through to a happy ending.

A girl had a stepmother and a stepsister. She did most of the work. And got little thanks for it. One day – Susanna’s account was much more complicated she dropped something down the well. Her wicked stepmother forced her to climb down into the well to retrieve the item.

But when she got to the bottom it opened on to a garden, which she entered. There was an apple tree laden with fruit. The tree was groaning and asking for the fruit to be picked to relieve its burden. The girl willingly harvested the crop and stored it as suggested. The tree was very grateful.

Several similar adventures happened (this is Susanna’a abbreviation) before the girl arrived before a large house. The lady there said I’m looking for a maid, and offered her the post. The girl accepted. The lady showed her how to fluff up feather pillows and duvets.

After a month’s work the lady said the girl had earned a reward. She led her to a gate out of the garden. When the girl entered there was a large pot of gold. Another gate and she was spirited back home to be with her stepmother.

Hearing of the adventure the stepsister climbed down the well. She ignored the apple tree and went straight to the lady’s house. Again the same offer. But this girl was lazy. She couldn’t be bothered thumping the pillows into shape. Nor sweeping or cleaning.

At the end of the month she was led to the gate. But instead of gold there was a pot of warm tar. Which miraculously was tipped all over her.

Morality tale! House-care advice! A story to keep attention on a cold winter’s night!

I’ve spent over an hour on the internet seeking more detail about it. So far failure. But the search illustrates another purpose of the blog. Information-gathering/checking/sharing.

I had not realised the Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears were all English and that Little Red Riding Hood was originally French. Up till now I had wrongly assumed all these had been uncovered by the Grimm Bros research. Of course, later research has discovered that many of the tales attributed to the men had actually been gathered by their womenfolk.

Anyway, thanks Susanna for the story. I enjoyed its telling.

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