Athanas'ev, Russian Folk-Tales. Moscow, 1861. Part VI, pp. 152-154. No. XXX.
Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother and step-sisters)-Menial heroine nicknamed "the Black Girl "--Task (grain-sorting)-- Task-performing animals (doves)--Magic dresses (provided by doves)--Meeting-place (ball)--Threefold flight--Pitch-trap Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test--Mutilated foot--Animal witness (doves)--Happy marriage--Villain Nemesis.
(1) A gentleman and his wife had a beautiful daughter named Masha. The wife died, and the gentleman married a widow, who had two bad daughters. They ill-treated Masha. She had to do all hard work at home, clean stoves and attend to fires, and was nicknamed "the Black Girl".-- (2) One day, the king of that country announced that he wanted a wife, and invited all maids to the palace. The stepmother took her two daughters to the king, but refused to take Masha. They left her a bushelful of barley, soot, and flour, mixed together, and told her to separate them all by the time of their return. Masha went on the steps leading to the house, and burst into tears. Two doves flew in, and separated barley, soot, and flour.-- (3) Afterwards one of the doves alighted on her right, and the other on her left shoulder; and, in an instant, Masha discovered that she was beautifully dressed. "Go to the palace," said the doves, "but do not stay there till midnight." Masha did as she was told. All were surprised at her beauty. The king fell in love with her. Remembering doves' words, she returned home before midnight. The king tried to catch her, but could not.-- (4) On the following evening the same thing was repeated. On the third evening the doves dressed Ma better than ever. She went to the palace, and, dancing and enjoying herself, forgot about time. Midnight struck. Masha rushed borne. The prince ordered the stairs to he covered with pitch, and Masha lost one of her shoes.--(5) On the following day, prince's messengers tried to find owner of shoe, but could not; shoe would not fit any maid. At last they came to Masha's house. The stepmother told her eldest daughter to put the shoe on; it would not fit. "Cut off your great toe," she cried, "and the shoe will fit. You will become princess, and need never walk." The girl did so, and succeeded in putting on shoe. Suddenly two doves flew up, and cried, "Blood on the foot." The messengers, seeing blood dripping, said, "You are not the right maid."-- (6) Stepmother tried shoe on second daughter, but failed.-- (7) Messengers observed Masha, and asked her to try shoe. It fitted her exactly, and instantly she was dressed in the finest of dresses. They took her to the prince. When she went to church to be married, one of the doves sat upon her right shoulder and the other upon her left.-- (8) After the ceremony the doves flew to the stepsisters, and plucked out one eye of each.