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

66. Greasy Matty [Fedte-Mette]

Kristensen, E. T., Unpublished Collection. (Narrated by Birthe Marie Nielsdatter, Jutland.)

(Greasy Matty).


Ill-treated heroine (by widowed step-mother); outcast--Old woman aid--Heroine herds sheep for old woman; sits darning rags on hill; prince passes and questions her; she replies as directed by old woman--Heroine receives three grains of linseed as wages; sent to castle--Menial heroine (scullion at castle)-- Magic dresses procured by throwing linseed grains over head-- Meeting-place (church) -- Twofold flight--Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test--Happy marriage.


(1) Widow has three children, one of them an ill-used stepchild. Not liking to have to keep her, she drives her from home.-- (2) An old woman overtakes heroine, and asks where she is going. "To seek employment." "Come with me and herd my sheep." Old woman gives her some shreds, sends her to sit on a little hill, and tells her what to say should any passer-by question her. She is busy with her needlework when king's son passes the hill on horseback. "What are you doing, my girl?" he asks. "Well, I'm darning rag upon rag and shred upon shred; but I hope one of these days to be washing gold [1] [clothes] in England!" "You will be lucky if you attain to that." When he returns at night old woman asks what has happened, and heroine tells all.-- (3) Next day she is Sent to the hill with the sheep. Prince passes again. "Still in your old place, then?" She replies as before.-- (4) Third day the same thing happens; prince remarks, "Who knows? fortune may attend you!" -- (5) Old woman sends her to seek employment at the castle, after having given her three grains of linseed for her wages. Heroine is employed to help the cook's helper, and is called Greasy-Matty.-- (6) English prince is staying at castle, and he gives order for all the ladies and misses to attend church, that he may select a bride. Everybody is eager to look on. The cook's help asks Greasy-Matty to stir the pot whilst he is away, so that it shall not burn. The old woman appears before her, bidding her throw one of the grains of linseed over her head, and wish for a silver dress. She is to go to church, but be sure to return quickly as soon as the clergyman leaves the pulpit. Everyone in church is amazed. When the others return she is sitting in her rags stirring the pot-- (7) Next Sunday she goes to church in gold dress. The prince gets so close to her that he treads off one of her shoes.-- (8) The following Sunday all are to appear at the castle, and whoever can wear the shoe is to be queen. Greasy-Matty stays below, stirring the pot. Old woman appears and bids her throw the third grain, wishing for a gold dress trimmed with diamonds. In the hall everyone is trying the shoe in vain. "Is there nobody left?" prince asks. Cook's helper says there is Greasy-Matty in the kitchen. She is fetched, and the shoe fits her. "You must be of higher descent than you appear, I imagine!" says the prince.-- (9) She leaves him a moment, and returns in gold dress. Prince marries her, and she has the good luck to wash gold [clothes] in England.



[1]: The meaning is a little doubtful. A dialect expression is used, signifying to wash in the ashes of beech-wood. Of course the queen, like every other woman is supposed to wash her own linen. - F.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: 66. Greasy Matty [Fedte-Mette]
Tale Author/Editor: Kristensen, E. T.
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: Denmark
Classification: ATU 510A: Cinderella

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