Cinderella

Then the maiden went to the back-door 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 back-door 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 step-mother, 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 slippers embroidered 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, and 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 surely cannot 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 chinmey; 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.

From Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Garden City, N.Y.: International Collectors Library, 1900.

ClassicsFairy tales

EuropeGermany

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