Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O' Rushes, abstracted and tabulated UNDER CONSTRUCTION | Annotated Tale

10. Story of Mjadveig, Daughter of Mani, The

Arnason, Jon, Icelandic Legends. Translated by Geo. J. Powell and Eirikr Magnusson (2nd series). London, 1866, pp. 235-250.



New queen sought for widowed king Máni. Harp-playing widowed queen, with one daughter, chosen. Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother and step-sister)--Spell wrought by step-mother causing heroine and step-sister, through exchange of dresses, to change places and shapes. Heroine (Mjadveig) bound hand and foot--Mother help (in dream)--Magic food-producing cloth--Spy on heroine--Magic cloth stolen by step-sister--Hero me, directed by mother in dream, escapes to house by the sea. Key opens house by charm only--One day heroine takes fright at sight of ships. Leader of fleet lands and picks up Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test--Hero goes to Máni's house in quest of the real Mjadveig--Mutilated foot--False bride--Animal witness (birds)--Spell dissolving plate put by prince on false bride's shoulders, transforms her to troll--Villain Nemesis (killed and salted).--Happy marriage--Salted flesh of false bride, given to step-mother to eat at wedding, transforms her to troll--Villain Nemesis (blown up with gunpowder)--Heroine has son. Bathwoman puts spell on her; they exchange dresses, places, and shapes--Herdsman sees heroine inside glass hall on rock which giant drags into sea by iron chain. Dwarf tells herdsman how to release heroine, giving axe with which to cut iron chain--Giant blinded by contents of bag flung by dwarf--Heroine delivered-- Herdsman informs prince; is made earl--Spell-dissolving board put by prince on bath-woman transforms her to troll--Villain Nemesis (killed)--Hero and heroine reunited.


(1) King Máni had beautiful daughter Mjadveig; her mother died. King so sorrowful thereat that things went awry, and his counsellors advised him to re-marry.-- (2) So he sent two in search of a new queen. After sundry mishaps they came to a wild land where they heard harp playing; sounds led them to tent, wherein sat lady, who, seeing them, dropped harp and swooned. When she revived, they told their errand, and learned she was a queen whose king had been slain by invaders, whose leader would have married her, but she fled with daughter to wild country.-- (3) She agreed to go with counsellors and wed Máni, who, seeing her, forgot his grief and married her.-- (4) One day she and daughter took Mjadveig for walk and changed dresses of the girls, laying spell on Mjadveig, so that other girl was taken for her. Then she bound Mjadveig hand and foot, and pot own daughter in Mjadveig's bower.-- (5) In sorrow laden sleep Mjadveig dreamed her mother came; unloosed her; gave her cloth with food, telling her never to let it be quite empty and to let none see it. All happened as she had dreamed.-- (6) Queen sent daughter to watch her; daughter craftily offered to share her exile. Feigning sleep, she saw Mjadveig take cloth and eat; then she snatched cloth and ran away.-- (7) Again Mjadveig's mother came in dream, chiding her incaution, but bidding her travel to the coast, whereon was house with key in door. She was to go three times forward and three times backward, touching key each time, when, at last touch, door would open. There she lived.-- (8) One day she took fright at seeing many ships and ran home so fast that she lost one of her gold shoes.-- (9) The leader of fleet was prince who came to woo her; on landing he found shoe, and vowed to marry only the woman it fitted. -- (10) He went to Mani's palace, asked for Mjadveig, told his vow, whereon queen took shoe to her daughter. -- (11) It did not fit; then queen cut off daughter's heel and toe, got slice on, took her to prince, who wooed her and started for his own country.-- (12) Passing Mjadveig's house he heard song of birds knowing their language, he heard this song:

"Heel chopped off sits in the stern,
And full of blood is her shoe,
Here on the seaside
Does Mjadveig abide,
A far better bride to woo.
Turn back then, king's son, O turn!"

(13) Then he put spell-dissolving plate on bride's shoulders; she became an ugly troll and told him the truth, he killed her, salted body, which filled twelve barrels, put it on ship laden with gunpowder.-- (14) Then he rowed to Mjadveig's house; heard her story; found gold shoe fitted her; took her to his ship; sailed to capital; bade Máni and queen to wedding.-- (15) Queen pleaded illness, but came; refused food, when prince offered her raw salt meat, which she cooked. She ate for eleven clays, becoming ugly troll while eating. On twelfth day she ate twelfth barrel; prince showed Máni cannibal queen. Then he set fire to meat-ship, while queen on board, blowing her to pieces.-- (16) Prince told Máni all; held wedding feast; then Máni went home and passes from this tale.-- (17) Prince became king in his father's stead; Mjadveig had son.-- (18) One day at bath woman came; asked her to exchange dresses; cast spell on her, she and woman changed places and shapes, but none knew this.-- (19) Prince had moved Mjadveig's house near her hall, but now all things went ill.-- ( 20) One day herdsman walked by sea; saw glass hall on rock, inside which woman like Mjadveig. Round hall was iron chain, by which giant dragged it into sea.-- (21) Herdsman saw child drawing water at brook; gave him gold ring, when dwarf appeared; asked what man wished for. He asked meaning of glass hall; when dwarf told him giant would free Mjadveig if in four times coming on shore some one came to release her.-- (22) Then dwarf gave man axe, wherewith he cut chain; then giant came; was blinded by contents of hag dwarf flung; rolled into sea and was drowned.-- (23) Then Mjadveig was freed; tarried while dwarf and herds-man went to tell prince.-- (24) Then they put magic board on false queen, who became troll; was cast into prison, and killed.-- (25) Herdsman brought back Mjadveig, and was made an earl.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: 10. Story of Mjadveig, Daughter of Mani, The
Tale Author/Editor: Arnason, Jon
Book Title: Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O' Rushes, abstracted and tabulated UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Book Author/Editor: Cox, Marian Roalfe
Publisher: David Nutt for the Folklore Society
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1893
Country of Origin: Iceland
Classification: ATU 510A: Cinderella

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