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

89. Hearth Cat, The

Pedroso, Consiglieri, Portuguese Folk-Tales. Translated from the original MS by Miss Henriqueta Monteiro. (F.-L. Soc.). London, 1882. No. XVIII, pp. 75-79.



Widowed school-mistress seeks marriage with father of heroine. Iron shoes must rust to pieces first. Heroine pours water in them--Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother and step-sister)-- Hearth abode--Task (to wind skeins)---Loaf given to heroine which she must bring home entire. Cow scoops out all crumb with its horn, leaving crust whole--Task-performing animal (cow)--Slaying of helpful animal--Golden ball from cow's entrails falls into water. Heroine searching for it comes to fairies' house, which she finds disordered and tidies. Dog reveals her. Fairies begift her. Pearls and gold fall from her mouth. Magic wand will do her bidding--Step-sister, following false instruction of heroine, makes fairy-house untidy. Dog reveals her. Fairies curse her. Filth falls from her mouth-- Meeting-place (races)--Magic dresses--Three-fold flight--Lost shoe--Shoe marriage test--Happy marriage--Villain Nemesis.


(1) Widowed schoolmistress with one daughter seeks to marry father of pretty pupil, to whom she promises porridge and honey if she persuades father into marriage. Father orders boots of iron, and says he will only marry schoolmistress when these are rusty with age. Heroine tells school mistress, who bids her wet boots daily. Boots fall to pieces, and father marries schoolmistress.-- (2) Heroine is kindly treated in father's presence; when he is absent stepmother ill-treats her, and sends her to graze cow. Gives her loaf, which she must bring back whole, and pot of water, which she must bring back full. One day stepmother says she must wind skeins of thread till evening. Cow comforts her; bids her fix skein on her horns and unravel the thread. Cow takes all crumb of loaf out by making small hole with its horn, then stops up aperture and gives loaf entire.-- (3) Step-mother is angry to find task completed, and, suspecting cow's aid, orders it to be killed, and says heroine must wash entrails. Cow comforts her and bids her save whatever comes out of entrails. Heroine sees ball of gold fall into water, gets into tank to search for it, and there sees house with every thing in disorder. She begins to set it straight, when, hearing footsteps, she hides behind door. Fairies enter, and look about. Dog, who came in with them, says, "Bow, wow, behind door hides somebody who has done us good." Fairies find heroine, and endow her with gift of beauty. Another fairy casts spell, so that pearls and gold shall drop from heroine's lips. Third fairy blesses her with happiness, and gives wand to grant every wish. Heroine returns home. Stepmother asks where she has been, and heroine relates the contrary of what she has seen, as directed to do by fairies--that she had found tidy house, which she had tried to make untidy, etc.-- (4) Stepmother sends own daughter to act similarly. She makes house untidy; hides behind door. Fairies enter, and dog says, "Behind door is one who will harm us." First fairy endows stepsister with extreme ugliness. Second bewitches her, so that filth shall fall from her mouth. Third says she shall be poorest maiden in existence. She returns home. Stepmother is enraged; orders "Hearth-Cat" to stay in kitchen.-- (5) One day stepmother and stepsister go to races. Heroine asks wand for handsome clothes, and goes too, and stays in front of royal stand. Stepsister recognises her, and proclaims aloud that beautiful maiden is their hearth-cat. Stepmother quiets her, and denies it. King falls in love with heroine. She goes home before others, says she has not been out, and shows smutty face.-- (6) Next day she gets more splendid dresses for races, and drives home before anyone else. King sees her again.-- (7) Third day she wears different dress and shoes. King is disappointed that she leaves so soon, and picks up shoe, which she drops in her haste. Shoe has written on it that it will only fit its owner. King falls love-sick. Search is made for owner of shoe. Stepmother and stepsister both try in vain. King orders Hearth-Cat to be brought, and insists on her trying shoe, which fits.-- (8) They are married, and stepmother and step sister are put to death.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: 89. Hearth Cat, The
Tale Author/Editor: Pedroso, Consiglieri
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: Portugal
Classification: ATU 510A: Cinderella

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