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

99. Le Tableau Bleu

Sebillot, Paul, Contes populaires de la Haute-Bretagne. Paris, 1880. No. III, pp. 15-22. (Related at Saint-Cast in 1879 by Jean-Marie Herve, aged thirteen, of Pludono, Cotes-du-Nord.)



Ill-treated heroine (by step-mother)--Menial heroine (cowherd)--Helpful animal (bull)-Ear-cornucopia--Spy on heroine--Slaying of helpful animal (proposed)--Heroine's flight with helpful animal--They pass through (1) copper, (2) silver, (3) gold forests. Heroine cautioned not to touch copper leaf for fear of bears; she accidentally knocks off silver leaf and scorpions swarm and sting bull. Ointment from ear-cornucopia cures him. Similarly, fall of gold leaf brings lions: bull is mortally wounded. Heroine directed to bury bull--Revivified bones.--Menial heroine (turkey-girl)--Help at grave--Magic dresses--Rabbit minds kitchen for heroine (helpful animal)--Meeting-place (church)-- Three-fold flight--Lost shoe--Love-sick prince--Shoe marriage test--Mutilated foot--False bride--Animal witness--Happy marriage.


(1) Stepmother ill-treats heroine, dressing her meanly, and nearly starving her. She is sent every day into the fields to mind cattle. Amongst the cows there is one blue bull.-- (2) One day, when heroine is weeping at her hard lot, blue bull comes and asks cause of trouble; bids her put her hand in its ear. She does so, and finds piece of bread-and-butter, which she eats, and does the same every day when she is hungry.-- (3) Stepmother suspects that she is fed secretly, and hides behind clump of trees to spy. She then determines to slay blue bull, who, being aware of this project, tells heroine she may escape with him that night if she likes. Heroine makes bundle of her best clothes, and they set out.-- (4) They go a long way, and come to forest whose trees have copper leaves. Bull cautions heroine not to touch a leaf for if one should fall it would awaken the bears, which would devour them. She is careful to obey.-- (5) Next they come to forest of silver-leafed trees; bull cautions heroine not to touch leaves, for fear of awakening scorpions, who would sting them. In spite of her care she knocks off a leaf in passing the last tree, and at the noise of its fall swarms of scorpions attack them, and, in protecting heroine, bull is stung dangerously. He bids her rub his wounds with ointment from his ear. This cures him at once, and they proceed.-- (6) They come to forest of gold-leafed trees. Bull says if a leaf should fall lions will attack and devour them. Forest is passed without harm till heroine knocks end of branch on the last tree, and a leaf falls. Lions attack them, and, in protecting her, bull is seriously hurt. He says he must now leave her alone, for he is mortally wounded. Heroine in despair would apply ointment again, but bull says it is useless. She must try and find a spade, and dig a grave and bury him. Then she must go on till she reaches a house, and take service there as turkey-girl. Whenever she wants anything she can come to grave and get it.-- (7) Heroine does all as bidden, and becomes turkey-girl to young prince. On Sunday she is sent to early Mass, that she may stay to mind house during High Mass.-- (8) When left alone she runs to bull's grave, and says she wants someone to mind house whilst she attends High Mass dressed like a grand lady. Bull sends little rabbit to mind kitchen, and gives splendid dress to heroine, who goes to church and sits in sight of prince. He is attracted by her, and determines to speak to her after service; but she has then vanished. Her employers had given her a dress the colour of wood, instead of her rags, and for this reason she is called "Jacquette de Bois" (Wooden-Coat).-- (9) Next Sunday she goes again to early Mass. Presently she sets little rabbit to mind kitchen, gets silver dress from tomb, and goes to church. Again prince intends to speak to her, but she disappears after service. He returns very sad, and confides his grief to Jacquette, who, the moment she leaves church, has power to assume ordinary clothes. She advises prince to go next Sunday to Mass, and not to take his eye off the lady, but to follow her and speak to her.-- (10) Third time heroine appears in church in gold dress. Prince follows her so closely that he treads on heel of her shoe, and drags it from her foot. Whilst he picks it up she vanishes. Then he goes to Jacquette, finds her clad as usual, and busy in the kitchen. He shows her the shoe.-- (11) He falls ill, and Jacquette advises him to seek owner of shoe. He invites girls of high and low degree to a feast, and tries the shoe on all, saying he will wed whomsoever it fits. None can wear it. All the daughters of the peasants are invited to attend second feast. Amongst them is a cunning girl, who determines to double up her foot so as to get shoe on somehow. Her foot is tightly bound, and the shoe is put on, but prince sees it is not the beauty he loves.-- (12) Still he keeps his promise, and is about to mount carriage with her, when little bird sings:

"The princess's foot hurts her;
The princess's foot hurts her."

Prince asks what bird says. "Nothing," says the bride; but bird repeats, and looking at girl's feet, prince sees how cramped they are, and finds shoe is full of blood, and he will not marry her.-- (13) He is now more sad and ill than ever, and one day, when Jacquette is chatting with him to divert him, he notices what small feet she has for a turkey-girl. He insists on her trying shoe. She refuses at first, but it fits her perfectly, and he declares that he will wed her. -- (514) Heroine runs to tomb, tells news to bull, and asks for gold dress. Prince recognises her at- once, and is quite cured.


[Note.-- "La Petite Brebiette Blanche" (No. 58, p. 331, of this collection) opens with incidents common in Cinderella stories:--Ill-treated heroine--Tasks--Helpful animal--Spy on heroine--Slaying of helpful animal--Virgin bids her collect lamb's four feet. A castle springs up from them, which heroine inhabits.]

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: 99. Le Tableau Bleu
Tale Author/Editor: Sebillot, Paul
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: France
Classification: ATU 510A: Cinderella

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