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

32. Popelusa [NOTE 23]

Dobsinsky, Prostonarodnie Slovenske povesti. (Folk-tales of the Slovacs.) Turcansky Sv Marton (Szent Maron, in Hungary), 1880. Part VIII. Pp. 65-84.

(Cinderella; from popel = cinder)


King loses kingdom and becomes forest-ranger. Ill-treated heroine and sisters (by step-mother)--Heroine and sisters, abandoned in the desert, find their way home by means of clue of thread. Second time heroine recommends trail of ashes (hence she is called Popelusa); these are scattered by gale. One-eyed giant carries them off; heroine plans his death. They live at giant's castle. Elder sisters go to palace where king is to choose bride. Heroine finds gold keys opening rooms containing Magic dresses--Meeting-place (town)--Twofold flight--Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test --Happy marriage--Heroine fetches father
to castle.


(1) King has three daughters; the youngest is the most beautiful. His wife dies; he marries again, loses his kingdom, and becomes forest-ranger.-- (2) Stepmother ill-treats girls, and makes father turn them out. Heroine (the youngest) advises taking three balls of thread, in order to find way home. Father leads them into the desert, and abandons them whilst they sleep; but, by means of clue,1 they return. The same thing is repeated.-- (3) On the third occasion, instead of taking thread, the girls strew ashes on the road. Father leaves them sleeping, and meanwhile a violent wind scatters the ashes. Elder sisters abuse heroine for having recommended ashes, on which account they call her Popelusa.-- (4) A one-eyed giant falls upon them, binds them, and carries them off. He bids his wile cook the two elder, and fatten Popelusa for his eating. Wife, in making up the fire, omits to remove poker from the stove. She goes out.-- (5) Counselled by Popelusa, elder sisters take red-hot poker and thrust it into eye of sleeping giant, thus killing him. They put the giantess into the stove.-- (6) Giant's castle is magnificent, for giant was a brigand. Elder sisters deck themselves in gorgeous dresses which they find in castle, and leave only rags for Popelusa. One day they go out to explore the country, leaving heroine in charge of castle. They arrive at large town, where young king announces his intended marriage, and assembles all the girls in kingdom to make choice of bride. Heroine's sisters please him, and stay a whole month with him. Returning to the cattle, they do nothing but scold heroine, and take themselves off again to the king -- (7) Meanwhile, in sweeping the castle, heroine finds three golden keys, and enters a room in which there are dresses more beautiful than those worn by sisters. In a second room she finds men's clothes, and in a third a heap of riches.-- (8) Her sisters return once more, and then go off again to the town; whereupon heroine dons her splendid attire, hies to the town, and is admired of all Her sisters do not recognise her. King falls in love with Popelusa, who abruptly leaves him and runs home.-- (9) Popelusa visit to town and, escapade repeated. This time, in her flight, she loses her shoe.-- (10) Young king obeys the command of his lather to take to wife whomsoever the shoe will fit. Heroine follows sisters from afar, carrying her clothes in a bundle. Shoe fits nobody. King's son is going about every where with it, and encounters Popelusa. He bids her try it. She says it is her own, dresses herself magnificently, and also dresses prince, then goes with him before the king. -- (11) They are married. Heroine learns that father is quite near, and fetches him to her castle.


[1]: See Note 23.

Note 23

(P. 208.) This story (No. 32), like Nos. 856, and 111, opens with the "Hop o' my Thumb" incidents, upon which see Mr. Lang's Perrault, p. civ ff. (In No. 308 the heroine, like the seven girls in No. 307, is deserted by her father; but they do not find their way home, as in the other stories.) The trail occurs also in the following: Busk, No. 6; Denton, "The Wicked Stepmother"; Frere, O. D. D., "Surya Bai" and "Raksha's Palace"; Friis, pp. 85, 106; Grimm, No.15, "Hansel und Grethel"No. 116, "The Blue Light"; Halliwell, Pop. Tales, "Hop o' my Thumb"; Karajich, No. 35; Magyar Folk-tales, p. 145, "The Three Princesses" (= No. 111, Stier); Pedroso, Port. Tales, No. xiv, p. 59; Pentamerone, v, 8,"Nennillo e Nennilla"; Perrault, "Le Petit Poucet"; Roumanian Fairy Tales, p. 81, "Handsome is as Handsome does"; Theal, p. 120.

With the device of thrusting the giantess into the stove, compare Callaway, pp. 16-18, "Uhlakanyana," and p. 20; Campbell, i, 255, 328; Dasent, pp. 128, 220; Grimm, No. 15; Hahn, Nos. 3, 95; ii, pp. 181, 309, note; Haltrich, No. 37; Haupt and Schmaler, ii, 172-4; Magyar Tales, p. 147; Minaef, Conte Kamaon, No. 46; Pedroso, p. 60; Radloff, i, 31; Ralston, pp. 165, 168; Steere, Swahili Tales, p. 380; Theal, p. 99; Wide-Awake Stories, p. 194. In Nos. 56 and 111, it is the giant who is entrapped into the oven.

The "red-hot poker", applied as in the tale, is orthodox treatment for a Cyclops. In No. 56, also, the giant is one-eyed; so is Crinnawn, son of Belore, in Hyde's Beside the Fire, p. 144. The Tartar giant Depeghoz (eye on top of head) has to be supplied daily by the Oghuzes with two men and five hundred sheep. Bissat, the hero, burns out his eye with a red-hot knife. Sindbad, on his third voyage, punches out the eye of a man-eating giant. Comp. the story of Eigill (Nilsson, 4, 33; Muller, Sagenbib., 2, 612). The Laplanders tell of a giant Stalo, who was one-eyed, and went about in a garment of iron (see Grimm, T. M., p. 554).

For one-eyed persons cf. Grimm, Nos. 11130; Stokes, pp. 3, 36; Wide-Awake Stories, 12, 295. In folk-tales it is generally a sign of wickedness. Comp. the one-eyed black man, Oppression, whom Peredur fought and slew (Mabinogion, p. 105). Woden pawned one of his eyes to giant Mimi in the Brook of the Weird Sisters for the precious mead, whence it comes that he is one-eyed (see Snorri's Edda, and C. P. B., i, 20 ff.). The Greek myth has a Jupiter with three eyes. Three-eyed persons are common in folk-tales.

See note 40, on the man-eating ogre who smells human flesh.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: 32. Popelusa [NOTE 23]
Tale Author/Editor: Dobšinský, Pavol
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: Hungary
Classification: ATU 510A: Cinderella

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